You don’t need us to tell you that Tampa, Florida, is one of the best places to live. From the bustling business district in downtown Tampa to the scenic waterfront of Bayshore Boulevard to the boutiques and restaurants in Ybor City, Tampa has plenty to offer the 377,165 folks who call this city home. Maybe that’s why Tampa was rated the best market in the United States for first-time homebuyers in 2018.
But the charms that make Tampa so alluring also bring unique risks for the homes located here. Let’s review when you need homeowners insurance in Tampa and the home coverage that keeps you protected.
Are You Required to Have Homeowners Insurance in Tampa, FL?
Yes, if you have a mortgage, your lender will usually require you to have homeowners insurance in Florida.
If you’re shopping for homes during hurricane season or thinking about switching providers, it’s important to understand most insurers will not sell home insurance once a potential storm watch or warning has been issued anywhere in Florida. The duration of that suspension is dependent on the company. That's something to keep if you are working within a time-sensitive framework, like closing on a house. Exceptions can be made for previously scheduled closings, but it's still smart to plan ahead.
What Home Insurance Should Tampa Homeowners Consider?
Now that you know you need home insurance, let’s consider what kind of home protection makes sense.
A quality homeowners insurance policy will offer:
- Replacement-cost coverage for both the dwelling and your personal belongings.
- Protection for other structures, such as garages, fences, sheds, and more.
- Coverage for additional living expenses if you can’t use your home after a covered event.
- Personal liability coverage in case your dog bites someone or a visitor is injured in your home.
- Medical expenses coverage to pay for an injured visitor’s immediate medical expenses (and hopefully avoid a lawsuit!).
These are basic protections for any home. But owning a house in Tampa means you may need to consider other coverages to address floods and sinkholes. Plus, you may want to take certain precautions to take advantage of wind mitigation insurance discounts, which insurance companies are legally required to offer. Let’s look at these in more detail.
Flood Insurance & Tampa’s Coastal Proximity
Tampa’s proximity water leaves its inhabitants naturally vulnerable to hurricanes and coast-related flooding. Even tidal flooding can be a considerable issue in Tampa, which already suffers from drainage problems. In the 2017, some areas of Tampa saw as much as four feet of water because of tidal flooding. Tampa’s lack of topographic relief exacerbates its draining issues, especially during the rainy season – the water simply has nowhere to go.
Storm surges are also a concern for Tampa residents. These were a major threat during Hurricane Irma and the rising sea levels around the bay only contribute to this problem. In the last 20 years, sea levels have increased from one inch per decade to several inches. By 2050, predictions state the bay will rise between six inches and two feet.
“[Tampa] has little in the way of coastal defenses to block waters from sweeping up and covering the city.” – Vox
Considering these factors, it’s easy to see why, according to the Washington Post, Tampa Bay is the most vulnerable area in the United States to flood and hurricane damage.
In other words, it’s extremely risky for Tampa homeowners to forgo flood insurance. A Kin representative can help you get the appropriate coverage.
Because of its susceptibility to flooding, Tampa is also at risk for sinkholes.
The majority of Florida rests on limestone, which soaks up water during the rainy season. Water wears down this bedrock, and as the climate gets drier, the pocket formed is filled with water and no other means of support. Just like that, a sinkhole is formed.
Sinkholes are extremely expensive for homeowners, usually hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single incident. The bad news? They are also increasingly common. Florida alone experiences more than 17 sinkholes per day.
Catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage is included in your policy and can help cover total losses caused by sinkholes. Ask a Kin agent for more details.
Hurricane Deductibles & Wind Mitigation Discounts
Your typical Tampa, FL home insurance policy will include two separate deductibles: your usual home insurance deductible and a separate hurricane deductible. You don’t have to purchase hurricane wind coverage separately – it’s in your standard homeowners policy if it has this deductible. This coverage kicks in when your home experiences wind damage during a hurricane.
The year your home was built and the wind mitigation improvements you make to your home can have a real impact on what you pay for your homeowners insurance. Florida requires home insurance providers to offer discounts to homeowners with wind-protected homes.
If your home was built prior to 2001 (i.e., before stronger post-Hurricane Andrew building codes took effect), you may want to do some upgrades to protect your home from hurricane winds and to save money on your insurance.
Homes built after the statewide 2002 building codes were in force are built with stronger materials for roof reinforcement and impact-resistant windows. These homes often qualify for wind mitigation credits.
Median Cost of Homeowners Insurance in Tampa
The median cost of homeowners insurance in Tampa is $2,107, according to our data. Take a look at the table below to get an idea of what insurance may cost in your neighborhood.
Tampa ZIP Code
Median Home Insurance Premium
How Much Homeowners Insurance Is Enough?
How much home coverage you need depends on a variety of variables, including:
- Your taste for risk.
- The replacement cost of your home (i.e., how much it would cost to rebuild your home from the ground up).
- Renovations you’ve made.
- The worth of your personal belongings.
- The location of your home.
- And more.
Many homeowners make the mistake of using their home’s purchase price to determine how much coverage they need. While this can give you a general idea, it’s not the only consideration. In fact, the cost of rebuilding your home from scratch may exceed what you paid for the home, depending on the cost of construction materials and the square footage of your home.
Ask a Kin agent for guidance on the appropriate amount of coverage for your unique situation.
How to Choose a Home Insurance Company in Tampa, FL
The home insurance company you choose will determine the types of coverage you have available, what you will pay for coverage, and how stress-free (or stressful) the claims process is. So instead of selecting a home insurance provider based on the premium alone, also consider whether the carrier has the following:
- Transparent pricing.
- Fast customer response times.
- Premium discounts for home protection measures.
- Good reviews from existing customers.
These are strong indications that you will work with a company that can handle claims with ease and offer robust but affordable coverage.