Posted June 26th, 2019 by Amy Danise
Florida is a hotbed of natural disasters that generally aren’t covered by home insurance, including sinkholes and flood damage from hurricanes. It’s important for Florida homeowners to know the insurance options available so you're not stuck with huge bills for home repair.
What does homeowners insurance in Florida cover?
A typical Florida homeowners insurance policy has six main components:
- Dwelling coverage for the structure of the house.
- Personal property coverage for items you own, such as furniture, clothes and kitchen items.
- Other structures coverage for buildings not attached to the house, such as garages, storage sheds and fences.
- Loss of use coverage for situations where you can’t live at home due to damage covered by the policy. Additional living expenses can include hotel, food, laundry and other costs.
- Personal liability coverage for injuries to others, including medical bills and lost wages for others. Liability coverage also pays for property damage to others. And it pays court costs if you’re sued because of an accident covered under the home insurance.
- Medical payments coverage in case people are hurt on your property. It can also pay for injuries you accidentally cause to others that happen away from home.
Is flood insurance required in Florida?
Flood insurance is crucial coverage for many Floridians who live under the threat of hurricanes. Hurricane-related water damage won’t be covered by a homeowners insurance policy -- you need a flood insurance policy.
Florida law does not require flood insurance, but mortgage lenders require it for houses in certain locations.
Who sells Florida flood insurance?
Most flood policies in Florida are sold through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program. There are also companies that sell private flood insurance that’s not part of the NFIP. These companies offer primary flood insurance (meaning a main flood policy) and excess flood insurance (meaning coverage that would be additional to NFIP coverage).
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation notes that some of the companies sell only a limited number of policies or target certain customers, such as those with high value homes. See a list of flood insurance providers from the Florida insurance department.
Does Florida home insurance cover wind damage?
Wind is a particular concern in Florida during hurricane season. Wind damage -- including wind from hurricanes -- is covered for Florida homeowners in the most common type of homeowners policy, called an HO-3.
Florida policyholders can also opt in to buy a separate policy just for windstorm damage.
To be properly covered for hurricanes, Floridians should have both wind and flood insurance.
Does Florida homeowners insurance cover sinkholes?
Florida law says that property insurers must cover “catastrophic ground cover collapse” and must offer optional sinkhole insurance that covers sinkhole damage to houses and personal property. The deductibles for Florida sinkhole insurance are 1%, 2%, 5% and 10% of the amount of dwelling coverage.
The majority of sinkhole claims in the state come from three counties: Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough.
Florida homeowner claims bill of rights
Florida has a bill of rights for homeowners who need to make insurance claims. It addresses acknowledgement of your claim by the insurer, a settlement timeline of 90 days, mediation and more.25 largest Florida homeowners insurance companies
|Rank in Florida||Company||Group||Market share % in Florida|
|1||Universal P&C Insurance Co.||Universal Insurance Holdings Inc.||
|2||State Farm Florida Insurance Co.||State Farm||
|3||Citizens Property Insurance Corp.||n/a||
|4||FedNat Insurance Co.||FEDNAT||
|5||Heritage P&C Insurance Co.||Heritage Insurance||
|6||Security First Insurance Co.||n/a||
|7||First Protective Insurance Co.||n/a||
|8||Homeowners Choice P&C Insurance Co.||HCI Group Inc.||
|9||St. Johns Insurance Co.||n/a||
|10||Amer Integrity Insurance Co. of Florida||na||
|11||United P&C Insurance Co.||UPC Insurance||
|12||United Services Automobile Assn.||USAA||
|13||Florida Peninsula Insurance Co.||Florida Peninsula Holdings LLC||
|14||Tower Hill Prime Insurance Co.||Tower Hill||
|15||Federal Insurance Co.||Chubb||
|16||People's Trust Insurance Co.||n/a||
|17||AIG Property Casualty Co.||AIG||
|18||ASI Preferred Insurance Corp.||Progressive||
|19||Olympus Insurance Co.||n/a||
|20||Family Security Insurance Co.||UPC Insurance||
|21||USAA Casualty Insurance Co.||USAA||
|22||Lexington Insurance Co.||AIG||
|23||Auto Club Insurance Co. of Florida||Auto Club Insurance Association||
|24||Tower Hill Signature Insurance Co.||Tower Hill||
|25||American Traditions Insurance Co.||n/a||
|Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence, bases on homeowners multi-peril insurance market share in 2018.|
Best homeowners insurance companies in Florida
We looked at complaints against the largest 25 homeowners insurance companies in Florida (listed above) to find the best. Our analysis of complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners revealed that most of the largest home insurance companies in Florida have levels of complaints that are above the national median.
For the top 5, we’ve ranked only the five companies that have complaint levels below the national median.
|1||AIG Property Casualty Co.||AIG|
|2||United Services Automobile Assn.||USAA|
|3||Federal Insurance Co.||Chubb|
|4||USAA Casualty Insurance Co.||USAA|
|5||Lexington Insurance Co.||AIG|
|Complaint data source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners, based on homeowners multi-peril complaints nationwide in 2018.|
Only active and retired military members are eligible for USAA insurance.
Florida homeowners insurance rates
The average Florida homeowners insurance premium is $1,918 a year for a typical policy. That’s much higher than the nationwide average of $1,192 a year.
What if I can’t find someone to sell me home insurance?
In some areas of Florida, where the risk for claims is high, you may have trouble finding home insurance. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is the state’s “insurer of last resort.” Any Florida home insurance agent can help you get a policy from Citizens.
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