How to Reduce Florida Homeowners Insurance

How to Reduce Florida Homeowners Insurance

Over the past several years Floridians have seen a significant increase in home insurance premiums that have risen by almost 70%. 

Compared to the annual increase of 9% for the rest of the U.S, Florida has definitely made headlines! 

What's the cost? 

A Florida homeowner pays an average $4,231 for insurance compared to $1,544 nationwide.  What is the answer to having Florida homeowners insurance savings?  

First, we need to go through the triggers of red flags and how to reduce Florida homeowners insurance.

 How to Reduce Florida Homeowners Insurance

How did Florida get to an “Insurance Crisis”?

                                     (as news outlets call it)

Florida experiences hurricanes almost annually, but hurricane Ian cost insurance carriers $60 Billion in payouts.  

With such high losses, many Florida insurance companies left the State, resulting in less insurance options for homeowners. This created a short supply of insurance carriers.  

A high amount of litigation, plus insurance fraud, has cost Florida insurance companies more than the policy limits allow.  This has caused a mountain of problems for the insurance industry in Florida.

Even though there is legislation working to resolve these issues, Florida homeowners have been left with higher insurance costs. 

They have more price hikes, reduced insurance coverage, and the homeowners current home conditions are being scrutinized more than ever.  

For example insurance companies may require you to replace a roof  and trim your trees in order not to have your insurance policy canceled. They may even come to your home to inspect the things that they have been insuring.

Lastly, the state sponsored company, Citizens, has up to 2 million policies adding additional strain to the insurance industry.

What is Citizens Insurance?

In August 2002, the Florida Legislature created a not-for-profit, tax exempt, government entity for Florida Property owners that were unable to find insurance coverage in the private sector…They named it Citizens Insurance.

Basically it is the last stop for difficult to get insurance. Lately I am seeing that Citizens Insurance is requiring all their policy holders to carry flood insurance even when the property is not in a flood zone.

Citizens require all homes that are more than 20 years old to have a four point home inspection.  They don’t like to see old roofs (shingle that are 20 years old or tile roofs that are more than 40 years old). 

Citizens will want proof that there is at least 5 years of a life left in order to get a reduction on your Florida insurance.

When a roof has less than five years of remaining useful life, the property owner must provide proof of a full-roof replacement to the inspector before any policy is written on the property.

So that means if your home is older with an or older roof, it may have a problem passing a 4-point inspection.  Insurance may be a problem with mainstream insurance companies.

Most insurance companies also do not want old AC’s or old electrical or old anything. More on that below… 

Failing a 4-pt inspection can cost you money…

In order to get a clear 4 point inspection, the property must be inspected by a Florida-licensed inspector who will check the home’s electrical system, plumbing, heating/cooling system (HVAC) and roof. 

The inspector must provide the age, type and condition of the wiring, heating and plumbing systems, and roof.

What makes Florida Homeowners insurance uninsurable

Any serious hazards or deficiencies (such as exposed wiring, active leaks or evidence of leaks) should be repaired before an application for coverage is submitted.

Just be aware that unless a home can pass a 4-point inspection, you may have an extra cost to get these items fixed before it is eligible for homeowners insurance or even Citizens insurance as well.

If your property can pass a “clear” 4 point inspection that will give you more options to reduce your home inspection insurance policy.  Or you may be stuck with only one interested insurer and have to pay their price.

What about Flood Insurance??

Tampa Bay, an extra large coastal area, is surrounded by water and has some of the most beautiful waterfront homes. You may need flood insurance.  

Flood insurance is common for homeowners in this area.  

Flood insurance has also experienced rising rates and Flood insurance premiums could rise up to 121% for some owners living in moderate to high-risk zones in Pinellas County and up to 125% for owners in Hillsborough County.  

This is a result of the new 2.0 Risk Rating system implemented by FEMA in October of 2022.   Oddly, Florida will not experience the worst increases, other coastal states such Maine will incur the highest increases up to 183%.

As a result, homeowners are looking for ways to cut insurance costs and some owners have even stopped having home insurance, which is not recommended.

Despite rising insurance rates, it has not stopped people from moving to Florida from all over the U.S. and increasing Florida’s population by 1.9%.  Waterfront living in the best climate is a draw…

How to save on Florida Homeowners Insurance

4 Ways to Save on Florida Homeowners Insurance

Four crafty ways to reduce Florida homeowners insurance. Every item you implement will save a little and collectively could save you much more.

1. Buy a Home with Insurance Friendly Features

  • Age of the home.  Newer is always better for insurance. The most recently  built homes offer the lowest Florida homeowners insurance premiums around. Newer homes typically have newer features with the latest technology.   

Homes built after 2003 are built with the latest hurricane codes 

Buying an older home is just the opposite. Insurance quotes automatically tack on several $$ hundred dollars extra premium for an older home, and several more $$ hundred dollars for homes built prior to the year 1940. There is also more scrutiny given to older homes.

Homes that are 30 years old or more will require a 4 point inspection which further scrutinizes the roof, the A/C, plumbing and electrical.

  • Location of the home.  Many homebuyers move to Florida for the gorgeous waterfront.  But to save money on insurance, consider going away from the bay and beach.  

The more “inland” you go, the less you will probably pay for insurance due to the reduced wind speeds. That means lower premiums. 

Alternatively, if you buy a home on the coast, expect to pay the highest premiums. Certain areas may require that you also purchase wind shear insurance. Yes, a beautiful waterfront comes with an extra cost.

  • Buy a Home in an “X” or low risk Flood Zone.  If you do not want to pay top dollar for Flood insurance, then look for a home with the lowest flood risk.  

Skip the “moderate” to “high-risk” flood zones. Buy in a lowest risk zone such as “X” zone. 

  • Property features can also offer discounts for favorable home insurance pricing. Insurance companies like gated communities, concrete block homes, a monitored security system, a sprinkler system in the home (mostly condos) to name a few.

2. Get a Wind Mitigation Report…What's that?

A wind mitigation report is the single least expensive option that could save several hundreds of dollars to reduce Florida insurance premium.  

The reported cost varies from $75 to $200 depending on if it is done at the same time as the home inspection or if a company completes it in a separate visit. 

Following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Florida started to tighten up on building codes and focused on wind mitigation features.  In 2002, Florida passed a law requiring insurance companies to offer insurance discounts to homes that offer certain wind mitigation features.  These features are documented in the Wind Mitigation Report. You can get a Wind Mitigation report at any time and it’s good for 5 years.

The purpose of the report is to evaluate how the home will withstand wind damage, in particular hurricanes.  

With certain features, the insurance companies are required to offer insurance savings. However, the amount of savings can vary from insurance carrier to insurance carrier.  

It is important to work closely with a good Florida-based insurance agent familiar with this process to determine how much it will reduce Florida homeowners insurance.

The Wind Mitigation Report assesses the following:

Roof Shape:  Certain roof shapes, like hip roofs, are more wind-resistant and the home could be eligible for higher discounts.

Roof Coverage:  The age and type of roofing covering can offer discounts, especially on a newer roof.

Roof Deck Attachment:  This demonstrates the method and strength of roof attachment to underlying structure.

Roof to Wall Attachment:  This demonstrates features such as clips, single wraps, double wraps that secure the roof to the walls.

Secondary Water Resistance:    This involves a barrier if the primary roof fails.  An example of this would be the peel and stick product.  Since it’s under the roof covering and it can be readily verified, it has to be documented during installation or provide documented proof to get credit.

Opening Protection:  This would document the presence of hurricane shutters, impact resistant windows and doors. 

Whether you are purchasing a home or you are an existing owner, it is a great idea to contact your insurance agent to determine if the Wind Mitigation Report will work to reduce Florida homeowners insurance.How to Reduce Florida Homeowners Insurance

3. My Safe Florida Home Program

In 2022, a State sponsored initiative started to offer Florida homeowners who own a single-family home grant money toward making wind mitigation improvements to their home.   

This was the State’s short term solution as they work through legislative improvements.

The State will pay $2 for every $1 the homeowner pays up to a $10,000 maximum.

The good news is the program will restart effective January 1, 2024 when funding is available.  Any Florida homeowner will start the process by requesting a free Wind Mitigation Report through the program.  

This report will accompany recommendations for home improvement that can save you money on home insurance in Florida.  

These home improvement items can be items associated with your roof, such as, reinforcing roof to wall connections, installing a secondary water resistance barrier, upgrading roof covering, or improving deck strength.  In addition, upgrading windows, doors, and garage doors.

The purpose of these upgrades is to improve wind resistance and be eligible for insurance discounts.

During the first year approximately 4,200 homeowners completed the program and only about half experienced a reduction in insurance premium.  The other half experienced no change or increase in premiums.  It’s best to consult your insurance agent before embarking on the program to see if home improvements will offer you insurance savings.

4. More Ways to Save on Homeowners Insurance

Taking a look at your current policy to see if modifications can be made to reduce Florida homeowners insurance premiums.    The following are some examples.

  • Raise your deductible.
  • Reduce personal contents coverage. 
  • Bundle your homeowners with car insurance for discount.
  • Shop for a new policy each year. 
  • Work with a Florida based insurance agent that knows how to save you money. 

Do you Need a Florida Based Insurance Agent?

Yes, you do need an agent experienced with Florida insurance.

Brian Hodgers with Complete Choice Insurance is an independent insurance agency that offers a wide range of comprehensive insurance services from homeowners insurance, flood insurance, auto insurance, motorcycle insurance, boat, life and health insurance.  

They are dedicated to finding solid insurance protections within the client’s budget and understand FLORIDA needs.  

They have two offices and serve the entire State of Florida.  See CompleteChoiceInsurance.com for more information.

Buyers Broker of Florida is a unique family owned business that will be a breath of fresh air to your home buying needs!  If you are in the market to purchase a home, please contact 727-202-9130.

 

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