Florida is known for its white-sand beaches and endless blue sky. The Sunshine State also has its fair share of natural hazards. Floods, hurricanes, severe storms, tornadoes, and wildfires are common.
Hazard insurance in Florida is an important consideration to protect your home. But it doesn’t cover every type of hazard. Here’s what to look for in your policy to make sure you have the coverage you need.
Hazard Insurance Florida: An Overview
You’ve likely come across many terms when buying a house or shopping for homeowners insurance in Florida. One term that comes up frequently is hazard insurance. Before you close on a home loan, your lender will require you to have a hazard insurance policy.
Hazard insurance is part of standard homeowners insurance. It’s the language in your policy that covers the structures of your home.
You might think of it as “dwelling coverage” because it covers your dwelling. It can also cover other structures on your property, such as a garage, shed, or carport.
It doesn’t cover your personal belongings. However, other components of your homeowners policy cover your furniture, clothing, electronics, and additional items.
How Hazard Insurance Protects Your Home
Homeowners policies pay for damages caused by covered perils up to the policy limit. Perils are hazards and events, such as fire and theft. There are two types of perils coverage, and you may see one or both in your insurance contract.
- Named perils: covers only the hazards that are specifically named in the terms of the contract
- Open perils: covers most risks except for those the contract explicitly excludes
The most common homeowners insurance policies have open-perils coverage. That means your policy will cover all dangers unless your contract specifically excludes them.
Home Insurance Policy Protections
When you buy homeowners insurance, your policy includes hazard coverage. Hazard insurance typically refers to only the dwelling coverage portion of your policy. Your policy also has contents insurance, liability protection, and other benefits.
- Dwelling coverage protects your home and attached structures, such as an attached garage.
- Other structures coverage protects other buildings on your property. It can include a detached garage, shed, or fence.
- Contents coverage covers your personal property and belongings.
- Loss of use pays for hotels, restaurant meals, and other additional living expenses if you can’t live in your home while it’s being repaired after a disaster.
- Personal liability coverage protects you financially if someone files a lawsuit after being injured on your property.
Your policy may not cover high-value items. You may need additional coverage through an insurance endorsement if you own expensive jewelry, fine art, or antiques. Insurers offer endorsements to provide coverage for items or events that would otherwise be excluded.
Types of Hazard Coverage
You have many options to choose from when buying hazard insurance. You can typically choose your coverage limits, deductible amount, and policy endorsements.
Another consideration is the type of coverage. Typically, insurers have three types of coverage:
- Actual cash value pays for the cost to rebuild your house and replace your belongings after deducting depreciation. The payout is capped at the policy limit.
- Replacement cost pays to rebuild or replace the house and contents at current market prices. The payout is capped at the policy limit.
- Guaranteed replacement value pays for the cost to rebuild the home and replace the contents even if the price is more than the policy limit.
Actual cash value (ACV) coverage is usually the cheapest type of policy to purchase. It can also cover the least amount if you file a claim. Replacement coverage can generally cover the cost to rebuild or replace your belongings with new versions.
Guaranteed replacement value, sometimes called extended replacement cost, is the most comprehensive coverage option. If a hazard devastates your neighborhood or town, the cost of building materials and home furnishings can skyrocket. With guaranteed replacement coverage, the home insurance company can pay more than the policy limit.
What does hazard insurance cover?
Every insurance company has a list of what’s covered and what isn’t. Hazard insurance generally includes some of the most common hazards. For a covered loss, the insurance company will pay to rebuild your home.
What your policy covers can vary, but it typically includes coverage for fire, lightning, windstorms, hail, smoke, vandalism, and theft.
Hazard insurance in Florida also covers hurricanes. Florida law requires property insurers to include hurricane coverage in homeowners, mobile homeowners, renters, and condo owners insurance.
There’s just one catch: it only applies to wind damage, and only if the National Hurricane Center declares the storm to be a hurricane.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list. Read your insurance declaration page to find out what your policy covers. If you have questions, reach out to your insurance agent for clarification.
What isn’t covered?
Every homeowners policy includes hazard insurance. But not all policies are created equal, and some hazards are specifically excluded.
Standard home insurance coverage doesn’t include flood damage. You need a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home and belongings from flooding.
It also does not cover termites and insect damage, bird and rodent damage, rust, rot, mold, or general wear and tear.
How much does home insurance cost?
According to a report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average homeowners insurance policy in Florida costs $1,960 per year.
Insurance premiums vary greatly from city to city. The price you pay depends on many factors:
- Your home type
- Your claims history
- Your location
- The types and values of your belongings
Finding the best and cheapest home insurance in Florida is important to protect your house and budget.
Installing wind mitigation features can lower your insurance rates. Your insurer should notify you of wind-resistant fixtures or construction techniques that can qualify you for a discount. The savings could be significant—up to 42 percent off the hurricane windstorm portion of your policy.
You could also lower your insurance costs by bundling your home and auto insurance. Explore the average cost of car insurance in Florida to get an affordable insurance quote and see how much you could save.
Flood Insurance in Florida
The World Health Organization recognizes floods as the most common and most frequent type of natural disaster. Florida is no exception, and flooding can happen at any time.
You can’t control flood damage, but you can control the amount of protection you have against it. Hazard insurance in Florida doesn’t cover flooding. You must purchase a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home and family from flood damage.
Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Flood policies can take up to 30 days to take effect.
Tornado Insurance in Florida
You might think tornadoes aren’t common in Florida because it’s outside of Tornado Alley. But the high number of thunderstorms causes several tornadoes each year. Tropical storms and hurricanes can also cause tornadoes when the storms move ashore.
Luckily, most homeowners insurance covers tornado damage to your home and personal property. It’s best to read your policy to understand what’s covered. If your policy includes windstorm damage, it probably will cover tornado damage.
Hurricane Insurance in Florida
Hazard insurance doesn’t cover hurricanes in every state. Under Florida law, insurers must include coverage of hurricane damage in property insurance policies.
You can get Florida hurricane insurance when you buy a homeowners, mobile homeowners, renters, or condo owners insurance policy.
Florida Hazard Insurance – FAQs
Does hazard insurance in Florida cover flooding?
No. Hazard insurance does not cover flooding. You must purchase a separate flood insurance policy to have flood coverage. Florida insurance does include hurricane damage. However, if a hurricane causes a flood, hazard insurance won’t cover water damage from floods. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) encourages residents to purchase flood insurance.
If I’m a renter, do I need Florida hazard insurance?
Florida hazard insurance is included in renters insurance. Although a policy isn’t required in most cases, it’s a smart move. A landlord’s policy doesn’t protect your personal belongings. If you buy renters insurance, your personal property is protected.
How much hazard coverage do I need?
The amount of hazard coverage you need depends on your home’s features and location. Think about how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it was completely destroyed. Your insurance agent can calculate your home’s rebuild cost and help make sure you have enough protection.
Hazard Insurance Florida: The Bottom Line
Hazard insurance isn’t a separate coverage type you can buy. It’s included in your homeowners insurance coverage. Most of the major insurance companies offer hazard insurance. That includes Nationwide, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, and more.
And remember: no policy covers all types of hazards. Become familiar with the threats in your area, and read your policy carefully to make sure you have the coverage you need.
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