What Coverage is Included in Your Homeowner’s Insurance Florida Policy?

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Homeowners Insurance Florida: Policy Coverage Areas

If you already own a home in South Florida more than likely you already have homeowner’s insurance, as it is the only way to safeguard your home in case of an accident or weather related damages.  In Palm Beach County, our area is notorious for hurricanes and flash flooding.  That being said, it is important that you know what coverage is included in a basic home insurance policy because you should know if there are any exclusion’s that apply to you.  All home insurance policies are tailored to cover the property itself and the contents inside.  Although policies may differ between insurance companies there are 5 important coverage areas that are common among all Florida insurance companies.

1. Homeowners Insurance covers the Structure/Home/Dwelling

Naturally, covering the principal dwelling is common in all homeowner’s insurance policies in Florida or any state for that matter.  This is the coverage area of your policy that will compensate you in case your home require repairs or if it is destroyed in a fire, flood, hurricane or other disaster.  It is important for you as a homeowner to check exactly what is covered in your insurance policy so you know whether you are fully protected.  All policies, for example, protect against fire, but not all of them will protect against damage due to a flood, tornado, or earthquake.  There are some companies that allow homeowners to pay a little more if they want protection from additional natural events.  You should note that this part of your policy will not protect you from wear and tear.  These expenses you’ll have to pay for out-of-pocket.

This part of the policy also covers against other structures that are close to your home such as gazebos, garages, tool sheds and other structures.  The company usually values these at about 10% of the home.

2. Home Insurance covers Personal Property

Your Florida homeowners policy also covers anything that you may have inside the home, usually valuing it between 40% and 60% of the entire policy.  You should check out your policy to see how much coverage you are getting for personal property.  Any possessions that are located in structures close to your home such as garages are also covered.  Some insurance companies allow for a certain percentage of a secondary residence such as a vacation house.  You will get refunded if your property is destroyed by fire, wind, lightning and other natural phenomena.  You are also covered in the event that your property is destroyed in a riot.

It is important to note that many Florida insurance companies do not cover all pieces of content in ones home.  In the greater Palm Beach area with the large affluent population, there are many insurance carriers will not cover expensive items kept in the home such as jewelry or pieces of art.  Those companies that do provide protection for these assets usually charge higher premiums as a result.  As a homeowner who wants to save money, you should find alternative ways to keep your expensive items safe.

3. Protects you from Personal Liability

This protects you in case there are lawsuits filed against you by someone who has been injured on your South Florida property.  Property damage resulting from the use of your home and any acts committed by family members or pets that result in injury to another person or another property.  What does this mean?  It means that should your son kick a ball that destroys the neighbors window you are covered.  If, however, he breaks your window then you are not covered.  You should look into your policy to see exactly what it covers.  There are some, for instance, that cover medical bills for anyone who may be injured while they are on your property and some that do not.  You should be very careful about personal liability in your home because in many cases, the amount that is provided by insurance is smaller than the amount that is demanded by the injured party.  In addition to that, this is the portion of your policy that pays lawyers to defend you in court should you ever be sued.  Hospital bills and attorney fees in Palm Beach County are high which means that it is unlikely to cover all other expenses.  Make sure you are covered properly as you could end up paying thousands of dollars of your own money covering the difference.

4. Home Insurance covers Loss of Use

In the event that your Florida property is so badly damaged that you cannot live in it your expenses for this period are covered.  If your house burns down, for instance, you will be compensated for hotel expenses. What is covered varies from carrier to carrier so you should look at your policy to find out what expenses you will be compensated for.  There are some policies, for instance, which cover all meals, but there are some that cover only some of the meals.  There are also some insurance carriers that compensate you for a limited duration.  If you have rented out your property you will receive compensation for the amount of rent that you lose.

5.  Additional Expenses covered

Should the insurance company make requests that result in expenses you are covered.  They will also compensate you if their request led to loss of rent.

What is not included in a typical homeowners insurance policy?

We have discussed what is included in your policy, but it is also important to talk about what is not included so that you don’t have any false expectations.  A typical Florida home insurance policy will not include the following:

1.) Coverage against earthquakes but you can be if you add to you pay more in premiums.

2.) Coverage against floods but you can be if you pay me.

3.) Coverage against nuclear hazards.

Intentional loss is not covered.  If you destroy a part of your South Florida property or something within it you will have to pay for it yourself.  Most likely your basic homeowners insurance Florida policy does not cover for upgrades you may have made to your home.

Additional Advice to Consider

As you can see, your homeowner’s insurance policy covers most imaginable losses.  That said, you have to be a smart shopper when searching for a new insurance policy.  Remember, the devil is always in the details and when it comes to insurance policies there are usually a lot of details.  Check your policy carefully to see what is covered and what isn’t.  If there are things that you would like covered but are missing from your policy you should ask your insurance company whether they can included them for an added premium.  Most companies have no problem with this.  However, if they say that they cannot amend your policy then you should consider switching home insurance providers.

In addition to that, you should look for a company that:

1.) Has a good reputation for settling claims fast.  The last thing you want is chasing down your Florida insurance company when you have incurred losses.

2.) Choose an insurance carrier with a physical location.  There are many insurance companies popping up online and you may be tempted to go with them because they often offer lower premiums.  Many of these supposed insurance companies are scams and you may end up losing money.  Instead, choose a local South Florida independent agent, like myself, to ensure you are choosing a quality carrier and get the best possible price.

It makes more sense to use the same insurance company for all your insurance because you can get a discount.  Get your insurance agent to provide a quote for car insurance, medical insurance, life insurance and any other insurance you may require.

Most Insurance companies that write policies in Florida usually look at how secure your home is against risk before they give you a quote.  You should install an alarm, make sure that your smoke detectors are working, have a fence and do anything else that makes your home a low risk to insure.

You should also make sure that you get rid of any risks around the home.  Leaving your car in the yard at night, for instance, is likely to attract unwanted attention.  The area of town where your home is located in South Florida also matters.  People who live in parts of Florida where crime is low tend to pay lower in premiums than those who live in areas with high crime statistics.

Make sure that the company that you choose is registered with Florida’s guaranty fund.  This is the company that pays out claims in the event that an insurance company defaults.  Also, check the complaint record against the company.  This tells you how likely they are to pay you in the event that you require compensation.  You can find this information on the website for National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Your agent should give you a written policy once you pay the first premium.  This is proof that your home is insured.  If they fail to do this within 60 days of your first payment you should contact the company.

Check online to see what kinds of reviews they have received from their customers.  These should be reviews from real customers and not the manufactured version that is used to promote the company.

Buying homeowner’s insurance in South Florida is like buying anything else, you have to shop around to find out the best deal.  Compare several quotes to find out which one is offering the best deal.  Compare how much you have to pay in premiums compared to what you are covered for.  It is important to stress that you should resist premiums that look too cheap.  You may have a hard time getting compensation should you ever require it.

Conclusion

Use these insurance tips the next time you are looking to purchase homeowners insurance in South Florida.  By following this advice you can have peace of mind your home is protected from as many different losses as possible.  Should you have questions on your Florida home insurance policy, please visit our Contact Us page and call us today!

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A Blog offering Tips and helpful navigation to better Insurance coverage in the State of Florida

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