Ensure you are Properly Protected when Purchasing a Property in the Sunshine State!

Florida Insurance TODAY with Kandie Landers

Listen, we all want a piece of paradise, including myself.  That was one of the main attractions for me to move from my home state of Colorado, was to escape the cold winters and not have to bundle up in three layers when I wanted to go out for a run during the winter months.  Florida is stunning, but with the beauty of the ocean in our backyard, there come certain risks that you need to be prepared for.   

We will have another hurricane in Florida and there will again be flooding in Florida, so that is why it is imperative that you work with an insurance brokerage that are true experts in the industry and go above and beyond to educate and protect their clients.  Clients should be educated and your most important assets should be protected such as your home, your family, your vehicles, your future income, etc. 

With Hurricane Ian and now Hurricane Nicole fresh on our minds, flood risk is top of mind. The wind obviously caused major damage, especially during Hurricane Ian, but the largest and most devastating (and deadly) risk, is the risk of storm surge…rising water. Rising water, whether from a pond, lake, waterway, drainage system, ocean, etc. is not covered under a homeowner’s policy or hurricane policy. It is only covered under flood insurance.  Now, that being said, FEMA went through some major changes when they rolled out FEMA 2.0 in October of 2021.  Now flood rates with FEMA are based upon the proximity to a source of flooding, so in the state of Florida that is almost everywhere, so their rates are much higher than they were in the past, even in X flood zones. Make sure you’re connected to an agency that not only reviews what FEMA can offer, but also what the private flood markets offer as well.  The Private Flood markets have in many cases been thousands or dollars less and provided better coverage with full replacement cost on dwelling and contents, pay for you to live elsewhere if your home was damaged by flood waters and not livable, pool damage, other structures damage, etc.  Yes, there is a flood risk to live right by the ocean, but you can be protected if that would occur at a reasonable cost.  

Condo policies, which in our industry are called HO6 policies are basically a “walls in” policy because the HOA covers the structure itself and the roof. You are responsible for your interior buildout, personal belongings, liability, etc.  You would still want your insurance policy to include hurricane coverage and also flood coverage if you are on the first floor and near a source of rising water, but it would still be at a fraction of the cost of homeowners insurance.  If you are looking for lower insurance costs and do not want to deal with the maintenance of a home, this could be a great option for you!   

For single family dwellings/multifamily dwellings, when speaking to your insurance agent about how to properly protect yourself, be up front with what the property usage will be.   Insurance companies need to know if this will be your primary (the tax benefits in FL are fabulous), secondary, annual rental, short term rental, will it be undergoing renovations, etc.  This is extremely important, because if it is not classified correctly when preparing the insurance policy, in the event of a claim, it could be denied due to the misclassification.   

Writing an insurance policy on property in Florida is like piecing together a puzzle and finding the best carrier possible to fit the characteristics of your home, age of your home, location of your home, and usage of your home. There are pre-purchase inspections that we utilize to do just that.  The two inspections are the four-point inspection and the wind mitigation inspection. The four point provides update information to the main systems that operate the home, i.e., roof, electrical system, plumbing, A/C, and water heater. This is used for eligibility.  The wind mitigation basically shows how hurricane resistant your home is.  How old is the roof?  Do you have hurricane straps connecting the roof to the beams on your home?  Do you have impact rated windows & doors or shutters?  These items provide thousands of dollars of discounts on your insurance policies. Newly built properties are going to have stricter building codes, so for example, a home built after 2002 in Broward County, will automatically receive the maximum credits for the wind mitigation inspection, because homes built in Broward County after 2002 were required to have impact windows/doors, hurricane straps, and qualify for the higher standard roof credit as well. It should also provide peace of mind knowing that the properties that were built up to code during Hurricane Ian, didn’t budge from their foundation even when they had feet of water flowing around/through them.  Did they have damage?  Yes, but the structure itself was safe and sound!   

With interest rates rising and the level of inflation we are dealing with, having an insurance brokerage on your side that can ensure the lowest cost possible at the highest levels of protection, is more important now than ever.  If you already live in FL, enjoy your slice of paradise, but please ensure you have the protection you need! 


Blog written by our affiliate, Kandie LandersOwner of Brightway Insurance, The Landers Agency | kandie.landers@brightway.com | www.BrightwayLandersAgency.com