What do I need to know about Home owners insurance in Florida

Our area is full of sun and fun and an abundance of things to do.  Southwest Florida boasts beautiful beaches, bustling downtown areas that offer activities from the local farmers market, to art shows and bike nights.  There is truly something for everyone.  Many people love it here so much, that they decide to invest in a secondary property to occupy on a seasonal basis or to use as an investment property. 

When shopping for a home, it is important to think out the costs and criteria involved with respect to insurance.   There are many factors to consider that will impact the cost of insurance:


  • Seasonal – occupied at random times of the year not consecutive months
  • Secondary basis-used for 6 months out of the year
  • Rental Exposures – annual, vacation or seasonal rental

(For rental exposures, it is very important to disclose what type of sites the property will be advertised on such as Air B & B, Home Away or VRBO)

Age of Property

  • New Properties (2002 and Newer) – will be less expensive to insure since they are built to the current stricter Florida Building Codes
  • Older Homes (2001 and older) requires a wind mitigation inspection to get best rate available.  Credits vary by home
  • Homes over 30 years and older - require a 4 point inspection and a wind mitigation inspection

Flood- (A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow)

  • Depending on the location of the home an elevation certificate may be required in order to get a rate
  • The National Flood Insurance Program is no longer the only option available when securing flood insurance
  • Private Flood Options are available and should be compared to what is available through the National Flood Insurance Program for pricing and coverage
  • The National Flood Insurance Program imposes a $250.00 surcharge if the property is not owner occupied for 51% of the year
  • Some carriers now offer a flood endorsement on the hazard or dwelling fire policy

Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall

 Underwriting Red Flags(difficult to insure)

  • Polybutylene Plumbing – most carriers will not insure. Carrier may exclude or limit water coverage.  Homes should be re-plumbed.
  • Pex Plumbing – subject to carrier approval based on year of installation. 
  • Age of Hot Water Heater –limited carrier availability when age exceeds 12 but some carriers will accept up to 20 years old.
  • Electrical Panels – brands that most insurance carriers may not accept      

        Federal Pacific/Stab Lok, Challenger, Sylvania, ITE, Zinsco and Bryant

  • Minimum of 100 amp is required from most carriers
  • Knob& Tube Wiring, aluminum wiring and fuses are also unacceptable
  • Architectural shingle roofs over 15 years or older
  • Composite Shingle Roofs over 12 years of age of older
  • Multi-Layered Roofs
  • Tile/Metal Roofs over 25 years old
  • Flat roofs are difficult to place and will limited carrier availability
  • Roofs that show any damage such as peeling, cracking or missing shingles/tiles
  • A property management company or central station monitoring may be required as part of the underwriting guidelines to insure the property.  The risk of a loss is greater for homes that are not occupied on a regular basis and it is important to take precautions to stop losses from occurring like turning of the water from the main shut off.

The newer the property, the less expensive it will be to insure.  Insurance companies give discounts for the home meeting all the current building codes and impose a surcharge for older homes.  These are all factors to consider when the decision is made to start looking for that secondary property here in Paradise.  For more information about this topic, please call Margaret Galewski at Galezano Insurance LLC.  (239) 202-0233 or visit the website at www.Galezano.com.

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