Homeowners Insurance in Florida

Mon, May 26, 2014

Bankruptcy

Image:  Some rights reserved by Grandpa & Grandma T.You really need to consider homeowners insurance an important part of being a homeowner. Now, does this mean you are required by Florida law to have it? Not always. However, your mortgage company, among other people, would almost definitely require it. If you are lucky enough to own a home free and clear, you might not have to have the insurance—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. What would you do if something major happened to your home? Also, keep in mind that homeowners insurance usually has a liability component to it. This means that the policy can help protect you in case of accident or injury to someone on your property or in other situations. This protection will vary by policy, but shouldn’t be overlooked as an important part of it.

However, getting homeowners insurance in Florida isn’t always easy. That’s because of Florida’s history of hurricanes, particularly after we were hit so hard in the days of Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Charley. Storm concerns have made Florida homes a less than desirable risk for many companies. In fact, many companies stopped writing home insurance in Florida all together at one time or were hit so hard by the losses their companies were financially devastated and their coverage was ended. This created a real problem for Florida homeowners, requiring the state to create insurance availability for Florida’s homeowners.

According to Wikipedia, Almost a million coastal homeowners were unable to find any company willing to insure their homes, so the Florida Legislature authorized the formation of the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA) and the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA) as the insurers of last resort.”

Now, Florida’s insurer of last resort is Citizens. It was the main company for a while, but luckily now more companies are writing homeowners insurance in Florida. This provides more types of policies, coverage, and cost options for Florida residents. This doesn’t mean it is easy to get homeowners insurance in Florida now, though. There are many rules and regulations that Florida homeowners need to follow to get insurance. In addition, the options are not always economical.

Older homes are particularly difficult to insure. Bank owned properties have proliferated too, and they often come with damages or other issues. Both can cause insurability problems, since many of these types of homes are in disrepair or just haven’t been appropriately updated. These situations make it necessary for updates and repairs to be made to get affordable coverage or have coverage continue at all, with many companies. Moreover, these types of homes aren’t always the only difficult ones to insure. Other situations deemed a problem by underwriters could skyrocket premiums or not allow the home to be insured at all.

Luckily, some companies offer wind mitigation credits for certain customers who meet their inspection requirements. This can be helpful for premiums. Citizens offers wind mitigation credits and other discounts. This link to their site discusses these further.

One last thing to note is that flooding can be common in storms and can wreak havoc on your property. Please know that there is a difference between homeowners insurance and flood insurance. You should check with an insurance professional to be sure that you have the coverage you need for your home and personal situation. It’s also not a bad idea to keep abreast of insurance changes to be sure you are getting the best available coverage for your particular needs over time.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941-907-4774 to learn more and to ask about our free consultations.

Image:  Some rights reserved by Grandpa & Grandma T.

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