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Homeowners2020-06-27T16:57:44-04:00

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE IN FLORIDA

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE PRODUCTS

All homeowners insurance products are not created equally.  Policies vary depending on the type of dwelling, occupancy, and coverage.  It is important to know exactly what type of policy you have.  In the event of a loss, the policy will be used to determine exactly what is covered and the valuation process for losses.  Most importantly, not all insurance companies offer the same products.  Keep your options open by working with an insurance agent that represents multiple insurance providers.

  • HO3 – this is the most common policy for a single family residence dwellings.  Typically coverage is provided for named perils at replacement cost for the dwelling and personal property.
  • HO5 – also known the “comprehensive form”  it provides much broader coverage than other homeowners insurance policies.  It is written on an open peril basis, meaning the insurer covers loss from any peril that is not specifically excluded.
  • HO8  – also known as “modified coverage form” is generally used to insure older or historic homes where the replacement cost greatly exceeds the market value.  The property is insured at actual cash value with a limited perils covered.
  • DP3 – also, known as dwelling fire or a landlord policy, this is used by owners to insure dwellings that they do not occupy, but rent
  • DP2 and DP1
  • HO6 – condo
  • HO4 – renters

Multifamily – depends on occupancy

Townhome – written on an HO3 if it is not condo form of ownership and homeowner is responsible for structure including roof

Builders Risk – for property this is undergoing significant renovation and is usually unoccupied

Vacant – for property that is unoccupied, generally written as a DP1 with limited coverage

Lenders Single Interest Policy – also known as “force placed insurance”, this is when the lender insures the property in lieu of the owner, but the dwelling is only insured up to the value of the lender’s interest (usually the outstanding loan amount) in the property.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVERAGE

The following is a general list of homeowners insurance coverages and endorsements that may be available depending on the insurer’s product offering and your individual policy type.   It is recommended that you review and inquire about coverages that ideally suit your needs and resources.

BASIC HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVERAGES 

Dwelling (Coverage A) – This covers the dwelling and attached structures such as an attached garage or deck.  This may also include an attached pool and/or screened enclosure.  Most insurers exclude coverage for hurricane damage to aluminum screened enclosures, carports, and pool cages.  Dwelling coverage is generally based on an estimated replacement cost.

Other Structures (Coverage B) – This covers unattached structures on your property such as a driveway, fence, mailbox, detached garage, guest house, gazebo, shed, barn, and possibly a pool or dock.  Unattached in-ground pools are normally covered under other structures, but above-ground pools are covered as personal property (Coverage C).  Many insurers exclude coverage for docks or may exclude damage to docks from wind, water, or wave.  Detached structures that are used for business purposes would also be excluded unless specifically added with an endorsement.  Detached buildings may be covered at replacement cost value, but other structures that are not buildings are covered at actual cash value basis.

Personal Property (Coverage C) – This covers damage to or loss of personal property.  Personal property includes household contents and personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, and non built-in appliances.  It also includes personal property that may be located outdoors, such as patio furniture, but does not cover motorized vehicles and watercraft.  Certain items such as jewelry, furs, silverware, guns, collectibles, and cash, have sublimits that are lower, but may be increased with a scheduled personal property endorsement. Business property is usually excluded unless specifically added with an endorsement.  Typically, contents are valued at replacement cost for a standard homeowners policy (HO3, .  If contents coverage is provided for a dwelling policy (DP1 or DP3), it is usually at actual cash value.

Loss of Use/Additional Living Expenses (Coverage D) – This covers the additional expense of staying in a hotel or other location if your home is damaged and you are unable to live there while repairs are being made.

Personal Liability (Coverage E) – This covers you if a claim is made or a suit is filed against you for damages due to bodily injury or property damage.

Medical Expenses (Coverage F) – This covers medical payments to others when you are not legally liable for their injury or damages. 

OPTIONAL HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE ENDORSEMENTS

Wind/Hail (Hurricane) Coverage – Windstorms are generally among the perils covered by most home insurance policies.  However, it may be excluded by some carriers due to the location of the home or other factors.  Policies can be purchased without wind coverage and in some cases with only wind coverage.  Windstorm usually includes damage caused by hurricanes and tornadoes and a separate deductible typically applies.  Additionally, some carriers offer supplement hurricane coverage, which provides quick payment without a deductible or adjuster in the event of a hurricane if certain conditions are met.  Typically, homeowners can purchase up to the amount of their primary hurricane deductible.  The coverage can be used for a variety of hurricane-related expenses, including food spoilage, generators, gasoline, damaged fencing, downed trees, flood damage from storm surge, damaged car ports, and evacuation expenses.

Water Damage Water damage coverage provides protection against sudden and accidental water damage. It does not cover damage resulting from a homeowner’s negligence or failure to maintain the home in good repair. Depending on the age of the home, water damage may be excluded or have a sublimit.  Moreover, water damage caused by sewer backup or flooding usually require a separate policy or endorsement if available.  Water damage coverage typically extends to damage caused by the weight of ice, snow or sleet, discharge and overflow of water, the tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, and freezing of plumbing and pipes.  In Florida, many carriers exclude or limit water damage coverage for homes older than certain age.  For example, a 40 year old home may have water damage excluded, but select an optional endorsement for limited water damage coverage with a $10,000 limit.  Water damage does not include ground water, which is water that accumulates in the ground due to over saturation and can seep through the walls of your house, especially in the basement.  Ground water is normally not a covered peril.

Flood – A separate flood insurance policy is needed for flood coverage.   For insurance purposes, a flood is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property) from one of the following: overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, mudflow, collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.  If you purchase flood insurance in conjunction with a loan transaction, then the effective date is immediate.  If you purchase it at a later time, there may be a  30 day waiting period from the purchase date of the flood policy to its effective date.

Sewer or Drain Backup – Covers damage to your home caused by water backup from a blocked drain pipe or failure of a sump pump.

Ordinance and Law  – Provides a specified coverage amount (as a percent of home value) related to any increased costs to comply with local building codes or laws that require repairing, demolishing, or replacing the damaged part of a home or the entire home after a loss.

Loss Assessment Pays for certain types of assessments to an individual property owner in the event of a claim against an homeowners/condo association, where the money for the loss would exceed policy limits

Fungi and Mold Standard homeowners policies cover mold damage under certain circumstances. If the mold in your home is a result of a covered peril its removal and remediation will likely be covered by your insurance provider, but most likely is subject to limits of $10,000 for property damage and $50,000 for liability. 

Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse (RECOMMENDED) – Florida law requires that admitted home insurance carriers include this coverage in policies issued.  ALL of the following conditions must be satisfied for catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage: geological activity that results in (1) The abrupt collapse of the ground cover, (2) A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye, (3) Structural damage to the building including the foundation, and (4) The insured structure being condemned and ordered to be vacated by the government agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure.  

Sinkhole –  Sinkhole coverage is optional, but broader than catastrophic ground cover collapse. A sinkhole loss means structural damage to the covered building, including the foundation, caused by sinkhole activity.  Damage may consist of settling or cracking of a foundation or structure.  Sinkhole activity is normally considered ground movement due to shift or collapse, but not landslide or mudslide.  Most carriers require an approved sinkhole inspection prior to issuing coverage.

Earthquake –  This covers damages caused by an earthquake, a sudden and violent shaking of the ground resulting from movement of the earth’s crust. More specifically, earthquake insurance covers damages to your house, personal belongings inside your home, and additional living expenses or loss of use, which are the costs to live somewhere else while a policyholder’s area is evacuated or their home is repaired.

Scheduled Personal Property – Coverage limits for specific items of personal property may be increased for an additional premium.  This includes jewelry, silver, furs, art and antiques, stamp and coin collections, firearms, etc.

Extended (Additional) Replacement Cost Dwelling  This pays up to a specified percentage over an insured’s policy limit in order to fully replace a damaged home.   This coverage can become very important when there is a sudden spike in construction costs that could push rebuilding costs higher than expected.

Animal Liability This covers bodily injury or property damage caused by your pets for people who aren’t residents of your home.  Some policies include animal liability as part of personal liability, but with a sublimit.  Animal liability may also be excluded due to certain ineligible breeds or bite history.

Screen Enclosure/Carport – This covers hurricane losses to aluminum framing for screen enclosures and aluminum framed carports permanently attached to the main dwelling.

Equipment Breakdown This coverage may help pay to repair or replace damaged or broken-down equipment after a covered incident.  Coverage does not apply to wear and tear.

Service Line  This coverage protects homeowners in the event that pipes or wiring coming into their properties are damaged. It will help to cover the costs of repairing the damaged service lines and pipes you are legally responsible for such as sewer, water, electrical wiring, power lines, gas, and communication or data-transmission wiring.

Identity Fraud Covers some of the costs related to identity theft. It reimburses victims for money spent on reclaiming their financial identities and repairing their credit reports. Those costs can range from phone bills to legal help. Policies often provide specialists who can help guide victims through the identity restoration process.

Personal Injury Coverage includes damage to someone’s character, violation of their rights, or invasion of their personal space.  For example, false arrest, wrongful eviction or entry, invasion of privacy, slander and defamation.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE QUESTIONS

Why does the foundation matter?2019-07-22T21:45:28-04:00
How long do most things last?2019-07-22T21:48:35-04:00

Roofs

Slate, copper and tile roofs can last more than 50 years. Homeowners with wood shake roofs should expect them to last about 30 years, while fiber cement shingles last about 25 years and asphalt shingle/composition roofs last about 20 years, the NAHB found. Climate and weather conditions, such as snow, hail and hurricanes, can cut the life span of all types of roofs.

Air Conditioning System

Central air conditioning systems typically last 10 to 15 years. For a window air conditioner, InterNACHI suggests five to seven years. Having your unit serviced every year or two, keeping filters clean and trimming bushes around the outdoor unit can keep it working longer, but eventually the components wear out. Before you buy an air conditioning system, water heater or any other costly appliance, keep energy efficiency in mind to prevent your utility bill from soaring. You may also want to check with your utility provider to inquire if rebates or incentives for buying certain appliances are available, or consult EnergyStar.gov for additional tools and information.

Water Heater

A conventional electric or gas water heater typically lasts about 10 years. If you have a tankless water heater, expect it to stick around for about 20 years.

Why does the shape and composition of my roof matter?2019-07-22T21:44:52-04:00
What type of home construction is the best?2019-07-22T21:45:54-04:00
What type of electrical issues are unacceptable?2019-07-22T21:46:02-04:00
What type of plumbing is unacceptable?2019-07-22T21:46:11-04:00
Will a wind loss mitigation report reduce my premium?2019-07-22T21:46:20-04:00
What is on a 4-point inspection?2019-07-22T21:46:26-04:00
What is the difference in an admitted and non-admitted carrier?2019-07-22T21:37:24-04:00
Why does the foundation matter?2019-07-22T21:45:28-04:00
How long do most things last?2019-07-22T21:48:35-04:00

Roofs

Slate, copper and tile roofs can last more than 50 years. Homeowners with wood shake roofs should expect them to last about 30 years, while fiber cement shingles last about 25 years and asphalt shingle/composition roofs last about 20 years, the NAHB found. Climate and weather conditions, such as snow, hail and hurricanes, can cut the life span of all types of roofs.

Air Conditioning System

Central air conditioning systems typically last 10 to 15 years. For a window air conditioner, InterNACHI suggests five to seven years. Having your unit serviced every year or two, keeping filters clean and trimming bushes around the outdoor unit can keep it working longer, but eventually the components wear out. Before you buy an air conditioning system, water heater or any other costly appliance, keep energy efficiency in mind to prevent your utility bill from soaring. You may also want to check with your utility provider to inquire if rebates or incentives for buying certain appliances are available, or consult EnergyStar.gov for additional tools and information.

Water Heater

A conventional electric or gas water heater typically lasts about 10 years. If you have a tankless water heater, expect it to stick around for about 20 years.

Why does the shape and composition of my roof matter?2019-07-22T21:44:52-04:00
What type of home construction is the best?2019-07-22T21:45:54-04:00
What type of electrical issues are unacceptable?2019-07-22T21:46:02-04:00
What type of plumbing is unacceptable?2019-07-22T21:46:11-04:00
Will a wind loss mitigation report reduce my premium?2019-07-22T21:46:20-04:00
What is on a 4-point inspection?2019-07-22T21:46:26-04:00
What is the difference in an admitted and non-admitted carrier?2019-07-22T21:37:24-04:00