March 15th, 2007 categories: Real Estate News
Can I get insurance in Florida? How much does it cost?
Yes, you CAN still get insurance in Florida. There are 3 types of property insurance that may be needed on a home in the St. Petersburg area:
- property insurance (general hazard and liability insurance)
- flood insurance
- wind insurance
Property Insurance: Many insurance companies no longer offer property insurance in Florida; other insurance companies have formed Florida subsidiaries to limit their exposure; still others are cancelling existing policies. There are still some private companies offering insurance, but the primary source of insurance is Citizens Property Insurance, which is subsidized by the State of Florida. It is difficult to estimate costs, because this varies with the specifics of the property, its location, and the credit and insurance history of the property owner. Florida has seen tremendous increases in the cost of this insurance, and our legislators are currently addressing potential solutions.
Flood Insurance: If your home is in a coastal area or a low-lying area, and you are in a flood zone, you will be required to have flood insurance if there is a lender involved. Even if there is no lender, it’s advisable to have flood insurance, even in a non-flood zone. Currently flood insurance in Pinellas County is subsidized by the U.S. Government , so rates have remained relatively low and stable, as long as the home was built and is maintained in compliance with zoning and codes.
Wind Insurance: In certain areas, particularly on the beaches and in areas with exposure to high winds, wind damage is excluded from the general property insurance and requires a separate policy.
Your real estate agent should be able to advise you on specific insurance agents to contact.
I just got a notice that my insurance company is not renewing my policy. What can I do?
All is not lost – you need to get a new insurance company and perhaps a new agent. We can give you some direction and recommendations.
Choosing a policy: The coverage amount may vary by insurance company, and may also be adjusted by a current appraisal. Discuss this with your insurance agent. The amount of your deductible will also affect the rate. Most of our clients are choosing a high deductible and using insurance for catastrophies rather than ordinary events. Discuss options and addendums with your agent: full replacement coverage vs depreciated coverage; Codes and Zoning coverage (you probably can’t build just to the standards of your existing home – this addendum provides for the additional costs to meet today’s building codes); Monitored security alarm system; Hurricane protection features, such as storm shutters and impact glass.
Choosing an insurance agent: Be sure to choose an agent who will take the time to Advise and Counsel – someone who will listen to you, answer your questions, and ask their own questions – someone who cares about keeping your premiums as low as possible while providing adequate coverage – someone who will give you options.
If you are in the process of buying a property, you should arrange for insurance as soon as possible after you have a contract to purchase. Ask if you will also need a flood elevation certificate as it is faster and less expensive to have that done the same time as the surveyor is out at the property doing the survey.