Florida’s warm climate, relatively low living costs, and year-round outdoor activities attract new residents worldwide. Being a homeowner in the Sunshine State comes with unique considerations when looking at homeowners insurance, from home age and structural issues to location and previous insurance claims.
Insurance providers use many elements to assess risk. Given the global pandemic impacting so much when it comes to our standard costs of living, many homeowners may wonder, why is homeowners insurance going up so much?
It probably has more to do with the general criteria insurance companies look at these days than anything. If you’ve found your premiums are increasing more than you expected each year, look at some of the elements below to see if some are affecting your homeowners policy costs.
Structural Issues and Appliances
In general, insurers want to see homes protected from potential hazards. For example, replacing an older roof with more durable materials, such as metal or slate, can decrease your premium by as much as 25% if you have a professional complete the installation. Additionally, flat roofs are generally more expensive to insure in Florida because the water can remain on them for longer, increasing the risk of damage. Hip roofs are the most amenable to Florida weather because they allow easy airflow from every direction and prevent water pooling.
Water heaters and other appliances can also impact insurance rates. Some policies disclose that water heaters and tanks over ten years old will not fall under coverage. Older tanks also increase the risk of leaks or bursts, causing flooding and damage, but some insurers will cover tanks older than ten years at a higher rate. Investing in a replacement is not a bad idea – and keep that warranty handy if you’re putting your home on the market, as new appliances are a great selling point!
Protecting your home from potential risks can also significantly impact insurance costs. Standard protective devices include:
- Home security systems
- Sprinkler systems
- Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
Installing safety features is an investment, but look at it this way: these features help prevent potential theft and extensive damage in addition to lowering insurance rates.
Location impacts every aspect of home ownership, starting with your search for a new home and trickling down to insurance costs. Florida weather, proximity to emergency services, and the average cost to rebuild after damage all impact the financial risk for insurers.
What Are the Neighborhood Desirabilities?
When assessing your home for coverage, insurance adjustors may ask questions about your neighborhood:
- How close are you to a fire station?
- Does your area fall under regular police patrol?
- Are you near the beach?
- Is your community near tourist attractions?
Proximity to a fire station lessens the risk of substantial damage in a fire, and how close you are to a beach may impact the risk for other potential types of damage, such as flooding during hurricane season.
What Weather-Related Events in Florida Impact Insurance?
In recent years, severe weather began to take a toll on insurance companies nationwide. Florida is unique because it is a large piece of land surrounded by water on three sides and in the middle of an area prone to hurricanes.
While you cannot do anything about the potential for hurricanes, you can take steps to protect your home from extensive damage. Typical adjustments for weather safety in Florida include:
- Talk to a roofing company about the straps used to tie down your roof for additional security.
- Install hurricane clips on the roof.
- Install impact-resistant windows, especially on windows near a corner of the house, and hurricane shutters.
- Ensure your external doors swing outward, as doors that open into the home are less resistant to the force of high winds.
- Trim back your trees and clean out your gutters regularly.
Garage doors are a commonly overlooked feature when it comes to storm readiness. However, this can be the most vulnerable part of a home. Florida requires homeowners to use wind-rated garage doors and locks for extra security. Installing hurricane clips alone can save as much as 20-50% on your insurance premiums.
Most home insurance covers wind-related damages associated with hurricanes and tropical storms. However, Floridians should purchase flood insurance to protect them if water damage occurs. You can also get a wind mitigation inspection to assess how well your home can withstand a hurricane and save on insurance premiums by submitting the report to your insurer.
What Is the Average Cost of Construction in Your Area?
Most homeowners insurance policies have a portion called dwelling coverage. Insurance companies will use valuation techniques to determine what it may cost to rebuild your home. This includes assessing the market value for materials, the size of your house, and specific architectural characteristics that influence building costs.
You can get a rough estimate of how these expenses may impact your insurance by using an insurance company’s online quoting tool.
Previous Homeowners Insurance Claims
Some insurance companies will assess your history of filing homeowners insurance claims to inform premium rates. This is true of nearly all types of insurance. Your monthly rate may increase when you file a claim because the insurer assumes you are more likely to file more claims. However, many insurers offer claim forgiveness for preferred customers and people filing claims for the first time. Additionally, if you filed claims on a previous property, they are only visible to insurance agencies for five to seven years.
Home Age and Condition
In general, newer homes have lower insurance rates because you are less likely to need repairs. For most insurers, the cost increases when homes reach ten years old. However, insurers also consider the home’s condition along with age. For example, you may purchase an older home and make substantial renovations, improving the condition and reducing the risk for your insurer.
When you make improvements, always contact your insurance company! They will likely increase your dwelling coverage, reducing your rates.
Need Help Buying or Selling Your Home? Call Me!
Tampa and Florida have remained super hot in the real estate market for a very long time. Hence, navigating homeowners insurance is just one factor in buying or selling a home. As long as you have a good policy on your new home or do your upkeep on your existing property, you should be fine!
Have more questions? I’d love to help you with anything related to buying or selling in this market! Having spent the better part of my life in the Tampa real estate market, I know Tampa and the surrounding areas like the back of my hand, so I can provide some guidance on which neighborhoods to look at when it comes to possible insurance risks and what to look for to know if homes are turnkey (or might need some sprucing up) as far as insurance goes.
Give me a call today. I love living here, and I’d be happy to share my wealth of knowledge about this area and what it has to offer.