Home insurance is a non-negotiable for buyers in Florida. Though hurricanes are a rare occurrence – the Sunshine State was on an 11-year hurricane-free streak until September 2016 – a bit of foresight will help keep your property safe.
Your home is a valuable asset that must be protected from risk. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right insurance policy for your Florida home.
A quick background
Florida laws don’t require homeowners to have their properties insured, but the majority of buyers do end up getting a home insurance policy. Depending on the property type and insurer, there are several packages that offer coverage for specified disasters, perils, and circumstances. These include:
Home insurance policies typically provide coverage for the following:
- Structure, or the home itself
- Other structures, such as fences and sheds
- Personal property, or the contents of your home
- Loss of use, or Additional Living Expense (ALE)
The first three are considered “property”. Property coverage can help pay for any damage sustained by covered perils. This includes damage to the home, other structures on your property, your personal belongings, and the personal belongings of those who live with you.
With most policies, coverage extends to personal property, such as jewelry, cash, furs, antiques, and firearms. You may add additional coverage for these items in your insurance policy, but at an additional premium.
Check with your insurer regarding coverage for children who live away from home. You may require a separate policy for them if their personal belongings are with you.
Types of coverage
- Minimum hazard insurance – Nearly all lenders require buyers to purchase base level coverage for their homes. This covers damage from fire, wind, theft, and similar causes.
- Multiple lines of coverage – A basic homeowners’ insurance may cover damage to your home, but it doesn’t necessarily cover other structures within the premises, furnishings and personal effects inside the home, or any injuries sustained by individuals on your property.
- Liability insurance – Most policies cover personal liability for injuries to persons that occur on the property. This line of coverage can help protect you from a claim or lawsuit that may arise from bodily harm.
For instance, if a worker gets attacked by your dog or hurt by a loose window shutter, the liability line of your insurance will cover his hospital bills and damages for lost wages.
- Personal property insurance – Lender insurance requirements typically don’t cover personal property, even though personal property account for most of the value of a home. When purchasing a personal property policy, you must take a full inventory of your personal property.
It’s also worth looking into policies beyond the average personal property coverage if you have a valuable art or jewelry collection.
Homeowners insurance is a vast industry, and you’re bound to find a package that meets all your needs. The trick is to not rush into purchasing one – it’s worth taking the time to do your research and comparing options.