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Best Homeowners Insurance in Florida

Living in Florida has the virtue of being one of the most beautiful states to live in. Beautiful shorelines and state parks are strewn from the panhandle to the keys. You visit it on vacation one year, fall in love with the state, and have a desire to live there. However, there is one drawback to living in Florida, the cost of homeowner’s insurance. The cost of owning a home is higher here than anywhere in the country. Homeowner’s insurance is nearly double that of the national average. One would have to ask themselves, is it worth the added cost?

Home Insurance Providers in Florida
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Quick Look: Best Home Insurance in Florida

Average Annual Premium in Florida

According to a national study done by the Insurance Information Institute, the national average for a standard home insurance policy is $1034 per year. The average for the state of Florida is $2312 per year. That is over double the national average. Taking it at face value, it seems outrageous, but when you consider the type of climate Florida is in it begins to make sense.

How Weather Plays a Role

After a 12-year reprieve, Florida finally made its way into the path of another catastrophic hurricane. Irma was its name. It did an estimated $58 billion in damage Not since Andrew in 1992 has Florida seen such damage.

  • Michael (2018) – Estimated $25 Billion in damage
  • Irma (2017) – Estimated to $58-100 Billion in damage.
  • Wilma (2005) – Estimated $20 Billion in damage.
  • Andrew (1992) – Estimated $25 Billion in damage.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are somewhat common to Florida. The Florida peninsula dips deep into the tropical zone. Its subtropical climate opens the door to numerous thunderstorms per year. Florida is reported to be the state that has the most thunderstorm activity. With storms come rain, with rain, comes flooding and being surrounded by water and lakes, it doesn’t take much for an area to flood.

Living in such a damaging weather environment, it is no surprise that Floridians pay the highest homeowner insurance rates in the nation.

Flood insurance

While many disasters are covered under a homeowner’s policy, flooding is not one of them. So, when you look at homeowners insurance in Florida you must consider the cost of flood insurance. This would be a separate policy to be added to your basic policy to give you the coverage you would need should one of the described weather events occur to your home.

While the standard rates for flood insurance are regulated by the government, the premiums themselves will vary depending on where you live in relation to the flood zone for your area. According to FEMA, the average premium for flood insurance is $700. This amount would be above and beyond your premium on your basic home insurance policy.

Finding the Best Premium For Your Home

The right time to consider your homeowner’s insurance is before you move. When you are shopping for a home, you need to consider many factors that will ultimately be weighed into how much you will pay for homeowner’s insurance.

  • Do you live in a flood zone? – One of the first things you should look at is where the home sits within the flood zone in that area. The deeper into the flood zone, the higher your premium will be for your insurance. Weather, in general, can also play a factor. If you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters, the cost to insure your home will be higher.
  • What type of home do you live in? -Your home’s value is dependent upon how much it will cost to be rebuilt, not the market value. There are premium differences for foundation types and building materials of a home. For instance, wood frame homes are considered greater risk and cost will be greater. The age of the home plays an important factor as well. All of these will contribute to the overall premium you will pay. Getting a quote for your specific home is the only way to know how much your premium will be.
  • What do you own? -How much your policy will cover for your possessions is based on a percentage of what the home is worth. Your insurer will generally payout 50% of the cost of items like furniture, appliances, electronics and other items throughout your home. This, however, does not completely cover specialty items like jewelry, artwork, or collectibles. It is recommended to have additional coverage to cover these items.
  • Where you live: Not only is flood zone taken into account, but the neighborhood you live in could also determine if you would pay a higher rate. An area that has a higher population density, or increased crime could warrant a higher insurance rate while living in a smaller gated community could help you have a lower premium. Other factors can be the proximity you home is to a fire hydrant and the overall claims history of the neighborhood.
  • Do you own pets? -In some cases, it could be beneficial to obtain an increased level of protection for your home. If you own a dangerous breed of dog or exotic pets, these could also increase your premium. Purchasing additional pet insurance that goes above the limits of the basic policy would be wise. The average cost of supplemental pet insurance is about $20-$50 a month.
  • How much risk do you want to assume? -Your deductible is the biggest area of wiggle room you have that will determine how much premium you will pay. If you want to assume more of the risk with a higher deductible, then you will pay a lower premium.

What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

There are five components of a basic insurance policy:

Dwelling -This covers the home itself and structures attached to your home such as an attached garage. You set the limit for coverage based on how much it would cost to rebuild your home. You also set your deductible limit. This will go hand in hand with your premium amount. The lower your deductible, the higher your premium will be, just as a higher deductible will lower your premium.

Other Structures -This will cover structures on your property such as a detached garage, shed, gazebo, and fencing. Coverage is typically 10% of the dwelling coverage limit.

Personal Property -This covers your belongings. Coverage is usually around 50% of what the dwelling coverage limit is. There are, however, limits on certain items like jewelry, collectibles, and forms of currency. An Add-on can protect you further for the high dollar items you own.

Additional Living Expenses for Loss of Use -This is the portion that would cover expenses you incur should your home become damaged or destroyed by a covered event, and you need to relocate temporarily. It is also subject to limits. Typically, 20% of the dwelling coverage limit.

Liability -This coverage is designed to cover you if someone injures themselves on your property. It will cover their damages and medical expenses. It will also cover you should you need to be defended a lawsuit filed against you.

What Does Homeowner’s Insurance NOT Cover?

What is not covered will vary from company to company. Some offer added coverage as part of their basic policy, while most offer added coverage as an Add-on for an increased cost. These are the common events not covered by a basic home policy.

  • Flooding event -Any type of flood water is not covered under a basic home policy.
    • Flood Insurance can be purchased to help cover any losses from a flooding event up to the policy’s stated limits.
  • Ground shifting -Earthquakes and landslides are not covered under a basic home policy.
    • Earthquake Insurance can be purchased to help cover any losses from a ground-shifting event up to the policy’s stated limits.
  • Water Backup -Sewage lines from the house to the main line are not covered under a basic home policy. If you should have a backup into your home, you would not be covered.
    • Water Backup and Sump Overflow can be purchased to help cover any losses from a water backup, even up to the policy’s stated limits.
  • High Dollar Possessions -A basic home policy has limits on high dollar possessions.
    • Scheduled Personal Property can be purchased to help cover any losses from loss or theft of your high dollar possessions such as jewelry, collectibles, and currency.

Our Top Home Insurance Choices: Florida

The following five companies are all highly rated companies, and all offer basic homeowner’s policies. They differ slightly in their additional coverages and extras that are ancillary to insurance.

We are providing a brief overview of the company, how they are viewed in customer service, and how they differ from a standard insurance company.

Amica

Amica was established in 1907. They have an A+ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best and have been awarded, “Highest Customer Satisfaction Among National Homeowner Insurers,” by J.D. Power for 16 years straight.

If you decide to go with Amica, a representative of Amica will walk you through every step of the process, from purchasing a policy to filing your claim. Their 24/7 service is available to every policyholder.

Amica differs from other companies because:

  • Amica offers additional dwelling coverage that adds an increase of 30% when the cost to replace your home goes above its coverage limit.
  • As part of their basic policy, they offer credit card loss as a result of unauthorized use. Most offer this as an add-on to a basic policy.

USAA

USAA was established in 1922. They hold an A++ (Superior) rating by A.M. Best. Forresters Research Inc. has them Top-ranked from 2013-2015 in their Customer Experience Index.

USAA is unique in that they only provide policies to members and former members of the armed forces and their families. They are consistently receiving recognition for their outstanding customer service.

USAA differs from other companies because:

  • They are offered only to active and former military members and their families.
  • As part of their basic policy, they offer flood and earthquake insurance. Other companies only offer these two as an add-on and at an increased cost.
  • They offer replacement cost coverage as part of their basic policy. Your claim will not have a depreciation factor on the items you are seeking to replace up to the limits of your policy.

State Farm

Established in1922, they have an A++ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best. They rank 33 on the list of Fortune 500 companies and is the largest provider of home insurance in the U.S.

They have always had the motto of “like a good neighbor.” They boast that they will always allow their clients need to direct the company and they envision being the customers first and the best choice.

State Farm differs from other companies because:

  • They offer options for home security. Plans from ADT and Canary are available, and you will receive a discount on your policy if you choose this option.

MetLife

Established in 1868, MetLife has a rating of A+ with A.M. Best. They are one of the largest insurers in the U.S. They boast of world class customer service. They have over 100 million policies in 40 different countries.

They want to help educate their customers. Their site is filled with Q&A to help you decide how much insurance you will need for your time of loss.

MetLife differs from other companies because:

  • The offer identity protection as part of their basic policy. Other companies offer it as an added feature at an additional cost.
  • MetLife offers replacement cost coverage instead of actual cash value. Depreciation will not be a factor when you file a claim against your personal property coverage. Of course, this will be up to the limits specified in your policy.

Nationwide

Nationwide was established in 1925. They have a rating of A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best. As a Fortune 100 company that is still owned by its shareholders, they boast of offering the most diverse range of products for the customer

With consistent involvement with United Way and Red Cross, they have a strong presence in local communities. They also give tips at the bottom of each page of their website to help you find the best coverage for you.

Nationwide differs from other companies because:

  • Nationwide is an exclusive insurance partner with Plenti. Plenti is a rewards program. You earn points using your Plenti card at many locations. As you earn points, you can use them to make purchases at other businesses.
Additional Home Insurance Providers in Florida
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Average Insurance Rates by County: Florida

Your insurance rate depends on many factors. One of them is where you live. If you live in a county that is more prone to flooding or has a higher rate of rainfall per year, then your insurance rates will be much higher than a county that is on higher ground.

When you are considering home insurance in the state of Florida, you should count on purchasing a flood policy to add to your basic policy. Flood insurance will run you from 420 to 700 per year, based on the deductible you choose. This is in addition to the cost of your base policy. These two coverages go hand in hand when you choose to live in an area that has a high rate of rainfall and is susceptible to hurricanes and flooding.

 

County by Population

Average Rate

Miami-Dade

$5,209

Broward

$4,056

Palm Beach

$4,316

Hillsborough

$2,942

Orange County

$2,200

Pinellas

$2,854

Duval

$1,806

Lee

$3,318

Polk

$2,689

Brevard

$3,039

Next Steps

Take action. Florida has the highest premiums in the country for homeowners insurance. You will want to shop around before picking a company that provides the best coverage at the best rate. Getting quotes from at least 3 companies is advised.

Be aware that the size of your home, proximity to bodies of water, county, and the type of home you own will

Remember that a lower annual premium could leave you in a bind if an emergency does occur. Having your home assessed and making necessary upgrades and taking safety precautions against Florida’s frequent hurricanes and flooding will help your insurance costs overall.

Want to learn more about getting affordable insurance coverage? Check our Benzinga’s guides to the best vision insurance companies in Florida, the best hurricane insurance and the best cheap car insurance.