Whether you know this city as the First Coast or Jax, one thing is certain about Jacksonville, Florida: it’s a great place to live. Maybe that’s why 58 percent of all housing units in the city are owner-occupied and it’s the 12th fastest-growing city in America. As Florida’s largest city and the largest city by area in the continental United States, Jacksonville is home to many people, from entrepreneurs and history buffs to families who enjoy the scenery and activities the waterfront has to offer.
Unfortunately, the same characteristics that make Jacksonville such an appealing place to live can also cause some headaches when shopping for home insurance. Homeowners have to contend with tricky exposures like flooding, hurricanes, and sinkholes. Plus, insurance for these risks has been historically cost prohibitive for many homeowners.
So what coverage is and isn’t necessary for Jacksonville homes? This homeowners insurance guide can help you understand what your policy should ideally include, the cost of Jacksonville home insurance, and how much insurance you might need to protect your home.
Homeowners Insurance for Jacksonville, FL Homes
For starters, you want to make sure your homeowners insurance (also called an HO3 policy) includes these basics:
- Replacement cost coverage for both the dwelling and your belongings, which can pay to repair or replace your items with brand-new items of a similar kind and quality.
- Other structures coverage to protect your garage, fence, sheds, etc.
- Loss of use coverage to pay for additional living expenses if a covered incident makes your home uninhabitable.
- Personal liability coverage to help pay your legal bills if you’re held responsible for another person’s bodily injuries or property damage.
- Medical payments coverage to help pay for someone’s immediate medical bills if they are injured on your property.
Pay special attention to the replacement cost for your dwelling and belongings. This is usually the most commonly used coverage. Some insurance providers sell actual cash value coverage, which pays out the depreciated value of an item and usually leaves homeowners underinsured when they need to rebuild the home and replace their belongings. That’s why Kin only sells replacement cost insurance.
Your area’s crime rate may influence how much coverage you want for your personal belongings. For reference, Jacksonville is rated safer than 9 percent of all other cities in the US, meaning homeowners here are at a higher risk of becoming a victim of property crime than the national average. Last year, Jacksonville had 32,000 property crimes.
Your personal property coverage can help you replace stolen belongings.
In addition to standard coverage, homeowners in Jacksonville often need a little extra protection to address the property risks unique to the area. Let’s take a look at those considerations below.
The biggest struggle in Jacksonville is finding a home resilient to the city’s massive flooding problem, thanks to its coastal proximity. Storm surges, even after a weak hurricane, can keep the city flooded for days.
In fact, the White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert said the storm surge after Irma caused one of the worst floods Jacksonville has seen in 100 years. Worth noting: Irma’s eye missed Jacksonville by more than 70 miles.
“[Jacksonville] is dangerously flood-prone, making a hit from even a weaker hurricane potentially catastrophic.” – Tampa Bay Times
That’s why flood insurance is so important for homeowners in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville’s flooding is often localized and caused by its active rainy thunderstorm season, but hurricane season can be especially devastating, as Irma illustrated. In fact, FEMA recently determined more of Jacksonville is at risk for flooding than before. You can use Find My Flood Zone to determine your individual risk.
Jacksonville, like much of Florida, is susceptible to sinkholes. Because of the natural fluctuation of seasonal downpours and dry periods, Florida’s limestone foundation faces more risk of sinkholes than other states.
Sinkholes cause problems for both Florida’s infrastructure – like the sinkhole on the NAS Jacksonville runway – and homes alike. More than 17 sinkholes are reported throughout Florida on a daily basis.
Sinkhole insurance is a wise investment if your area is prone to sinkhole damage. This protection isn’t included in standard home insurance but can be added to your policy. This protection costs more, but in Florida, the average sinkhole insurance claim is more than $140,000. That’s an expense few homeowners could afford out of pocket.
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, and neither is Jacksonville. The one that left the biggest impression on the state was, of course, Hurricane Andrew. This 1992 storm destroyed nearly 30,000 Florida residences and changed the way Floridians build homes altogether.
Homes built after 1994 have stricter building codes to help decrease the damage incurred by hurricanes. Homes built after 2001, when another building code update took place, are stronger yet. Some changes include reinforced roofs, impact-resistant windows, and better wind protection.
However, no home is completely hurricane-proof. That’s why your Kin home insurance policy includes a hurricane deductible. This protection kicks in when your home is damaged by hurricane winds.
When to Get Homeowners Insurance in Jacksonville
According to Florida law, if you have a mortgage, you are required to have homeowners insurance. Ideally, you should start pricing coverage as soon as you begin your house hunt so you can budget for your premium.
If you don’t have a mortgage, it may be tempting to self insure and pay for damage to your home and belongings out of pocket. However, this can put you in a real financial bind if your home experiences a flood, hurricane, or fire. These types of damage can completely destroy a home.
If you are considering homeowners insurance, be aware that you should purchase it before the start of hurricane season. Many insurers suspend selling home insurance right after a hurricane watch or warning has been issued for Florida.
How Much Is Homeowners Insurance in Jacksonville?
The cost of Jacksonville homeowners insurance depends on:
- The exact location of your home
- The home’s condition and construction
- The amount of coverage you choose
- Your background (e.g., your credit-based insurance score and claims history)
That said, the median cost of homeowners insurance in Jacksonville, FL is $1,191, according to our data.
Take a look at our median premiums for the following Jacksonville ZIP codes to get an idea of what your neighbors might be paying for their coverage:
Jacksonville ZIP Code
How Much Home Insurance Do Jacksonville, FL Homeowners Need?
The answer to this question is different for everyone. What’s most important to consider is how much you can actually afford to pay if your home is completely destroyed and what individual risks your home could realistically face.
Homeowners often make the mistake of exclusively considering the purchase price of the home in determining how much insurance coverage they need. But what you paid for the house may not be what it costs to rebuild from the ground up after a fire or hurricane. This cost will include the construction materials and labor costs, which may be higher after an area-wide disaster.
Insuring your home for the cost of rebuilding it at the current market rate is a responsible plan. This number may be higher than your purchase price because of stricter building codes, especially if your home was built before Hurricane Andrew. To estimate this, look up local building cost per square foot in your area. Multiply that number by your home’s square footage. The result is about how much dwelling insurance you’ll want for the home.
Ready to check out your options? Get a quote from Kin and work with folks who understand Jacksonville’s unique home insurance needs.