For years, Floridians have had to deal with some of the highest insurance rates in the country. The main cause? The Sunshine State is a prime target for hurricanes and storm damage.
Unfortunately, Florida homeowners insurance rates are increasing to even higher levels this year. There are many reasons for this, including:
- Excessive litigation.
- Rising reinsurance costs.
Nobody’s happy when prices go up. Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce your costs and lower your homeowners insurance premium in Florida.
1. Get a wind mitigation inspection
All Florida home insurers are required to offer credits to homeowners who take measures to make their homes more wind resistant. Your wind mitigation report can make the biggest impact in what you pay for home insurance (aside from your home’s location, value, and age). Bonus: your windstorm mitigation inspection will let you know what further improvements you can make to your home to both increase its disaster preparedness and decrease your insurance bill.
2. Raise your deductible
Generally, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Florida homeowners can adjust both their AOP (standard) deductible and their hurricane deductible to trim their premium. Just remember: it doesn’t make sense to pay for insurance that you can’t reasonably use when you need to. Make sure you take on a deductible that won’t leave you financially overwhelmed when you need to make a major claim.
3. Opt for private insurance whenever possible
Government-run insurance programs are insurance options of last resort – and they are priced accordingly. You can save considerably if you are eligible for coverage from a private home insurer. That goes for flood insurance, too – if you’re in Florida, you now have an affordable, private market alternative to coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program through Kin.
4. Ask about discounts
Most homeowners are eligible for a fair amount of easy home insurance discounts. For example, you get a discount from Kin automatically for having an electronic policy. You can save even more when you choose to retain your benefits during a claim instead of signing them over to a contractor. Learn more about our available discounts.
5. Fortify your roof
If you are a current Florida homeowner, check out the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and acclimate yourself to their FORTIFIED Home program . It’s designed to exceed industry standards on various levels, including:
- Windows and attached structures.
- Roof to wall to floor to foundation connections so it acts as one system.
The IBHS FORTIFIED system protects homes from hail, high winds, and hurricanes.
New roof installations can exceed $10,000, which is no small bill! Financial barriers tend to be the biggest constraint on getting a new roof, so it’s important to be savvy and look for whatever resources are available to get tax breaks, grants, or work with organizations offering governmental subsidies.
6. Be strategic if you move
If you are looking to move to one of Florida’s best places to live, you might consider property further from the coast – it could potentially save you thousands annually on your Florida homeowners insurance. Inland dwellings face less severe hurricane risk than those closest to the coast.
The home’s build date also has a substantial impact on Florida premiums. Homes built prior to 2001 may not be constructed according to the latest Florida building codes that were designed to optimize a structure’s wind resistance. Older homes aren’t generally equipped with as much hurricane protection as newer homes.
7. Lower your personal property coverage
While we encourage everyone to maximize their coverage so they are fully protected in the event of a loss, you may want to lower your personal property insurance to cover just the essentials. Reducing how much personal property coverage you carry means you won’t get as much in a total loss scenario, so you need to determine what items you will absolutely have to have replaced if you experience a catastrophe.
A good way to identify how much personal property insurance you actually need is to conduct a home inventory. This helps you determine the value of your stuff, then you can work backwards to determine what’s essential. For instance, you might budget for some clothing but not for every item in the closet. In the same manner, you might budget to replace a television but not the extra televisions you had in the bedrooms.
8. Upgrade to hurricane clips
Older homes may have hurricane truss straps that are only connected with two nails rather than three. This minor difference has dramatic effects on your insurance costs because it moves the straps from being categorized as toenails to hurricane clips. Having clips can save you up to 50 percent on your home insurance. That’s a lot of savings for just a few nails but it makes your home better prepared to deal with hurricane winds.
And lastly, if you are new to Florida, calculate your homeowners insurance cost before you close so you know what to expect.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2017. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.