What does florida homeowners insurance cover?

What Is Covered by a Florida Homeowners Insurance Policy?
A standard Florida homeowners insurance policy includes four essential types of coverage. They include:

1. Coverage for the structure of your home.
2. Coverage for your personal belongings.
3. Liability protection.
4. Additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a fire or other insured disaster.

1. The structure of your house

This part of your policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disaster listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear. When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, it is important to buy enough to rebuild your home.

Most standard Florida homeowners insurance policies also cover structures that are detached from your home such as a garage, tool shed or gazebo. Generally, these structures are covered for about 10% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. If you need more coverage, talk to your insurance agent about purchasing more insurance.

2. Your personal belongings

Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disaster. Most Florida homeowners insurance companies provide coverage for 50% to 70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. So if you have $100,000 worth of insurance on the structure of your home, you would have between $50,000 to $70,000 worth of coverage for your belongings. The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory.

This part of your policy includes off-premises coverage. This means that your belongings are covered anywhere in the world, unless you have decided against off-premises coverage. Some Florida homeowners insurance companies limit the amount to 10% of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You have up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of your credit cards.

Expensive items like jewelry, furs and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. Generally, you are covered for between $1,000 to $2,000 for all of your jewelry and furs. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for it’s appraised value. Coverage includes “accidental disappearance,” meaning coverage if you simply lose that item. And there is no deductible.

Trees, plants and shrubs are also covered under standard Florida homeowners insurance. Generally you are covered for 5% of the insurance on the house—up to about $500 per item. Perils covered are theft, fire, lightning, explosion, vandalism, riot and even falling aircraft. They are not covered for damage by wind or disease.

3. Liability protection

Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. So, if your son, daughter or dog accidentally ruins your neighbor’s expensive rug, you are covered. However, if they destroy your rug, you are not covered.

The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit of your policy. You are also covered not just in your home, but anywhere in the world.

Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. However, experts recommend that you purchase at least $300,000 worth of protection. Some people feel more comfortable with even more coverage. You can purchase an umbrella or excess liability policy which provides broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander, as well as higher liability limits. Generally, umbrella policies cost between $200 to $350 for $1 million of additional liability protection.

Your Florida homeowners insurance policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. In the event a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses are paid without a liability claim being filed against you. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not, however, pay the medical bills for your family or your pet.

4. Additional living expenses

This pays the additional costs of living away from home if you cannot live there due to damage from a fire, storm or other insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other expenses, over and above your customary living expenses, incurred while your home is being rebuilt.

Keep in mind that the ALE coverage in your Florida homeowners insurance policy has limits, usually a percentage of the amount of coverage you have on your home, and some policies include a time limitation. But the amount of ALE coverage is separate from the amount available to rebuild or repair your home. For example, suppose you have a policy that provides up to $150,000 in rebuilding costs and up to $15,000 (10 percent) for ALE and you use up the entire $15,000, your insurance company will still pay what it costs to rebuild your home up to the policy limit of $150,000.

Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company. Many policies provide coverage for about 20 percent of the insurance on your house. You can increase this coverage, however, for an additional premium. Some companies sell a policy that provides an unlimited amount of loss-of-use coverage, but for a limited amount of time.

If you rent out part of your house, ALE coverage also reimburses you for the rent that you would have collected from your tenant if your home had not been destroyed.

Source: Insurance Information Institute_iii.org


What’s not covered by my Florida homeowners insurance policy?

Discussing what is NOT covered in your Florida homeowners insurance policy isn’t something many insurance companies like to do. But the truth is – it’s a pretty important subject. Your policy can’t cover everything. If it did, insurance companies would have to raise premiums so dramatically to pay for losses you wouldn’t be able to afford the policy. What you can do, is gain a better understanding of what is and is not covered ahead of time.


A Florida homeowners insurance policy is for sudden and accidental losses, events that people cannot prevent. If your loss is something that’s developed slowly over time it is not considered sudden and accidental.


Normal expected wear and tear is inevitable and not covered under your policy. Insurance is designed to protect you from unforeseen losses. If you have a roof that is 25 years old and is already at the end of its useful life because of its age, it is not covered under your Florida homeowners insurance policy. It’s the same concept as car insurance. If you owned an automobile that had old tires and they were going bald, you would need to purchase new ones. It wouldn’t be covered under your car insurance.


If you notice something is wrong and don’t take corrective action to prevent further damage, the loss is not covered by your Florida homeowners insurance policy. For example, if you notice a small water stain developing on your ceiling or wall, you can stop the area of the leak with calk, a waterproof filler and sealant. If you decided to do nothing and the water damage continues, it would not be covered.


Most Florida homeowners insurance companies have sub limits on personal property depending on the peril. It’s important to understand what those limits are. That way, if you have any personal property which exceeds the limit, you can decide how you want to manage that risk. It might be in your best interest to purchase a personal articles floater policy for that specific item.


If a tree falls in your yard as a result of a windstorm but does not hit the house or another covered structure, your Florida homeowners insurance policy will not pay to remove the tree. However, if your tree falls and damages even a portion of a covered structure, there is limited coverage to remove the tree from the property.


If you have a standard Florida homeowners insurance policy, often referred to as a “HO-3”, it is intended for owner occupied homes. If you haven’t moved in yet because you’re still living in a home you’re trying to sell or if you just own the property for investment purposes, you will need to change the policy type. Vacant homes are higher risks. If you file a claim, it will not be covered if your home is vacant and not carrying the correct type of policy.


After heavy rains, some lawns collect or pool water in one location. If too much water accumulates in an area around your home it may seep into the foundation and cause damage to your home. The damage would not be covered under your Florida homeowners insurance policy. So, if you notice your lawn has a tendency to pool in one location, it would be wise to contact a landscaping company for possible solutions.


If you experience a loss and fail to take reasonable actions to prevent further damage, your loss might not be covered. For example, if a tree falling creates a hole in your roof, it would be reasonable to expect you cover the hole with a tarp until it is repaired. If you left the damaged roof exposed it would create a much larger interior loss and your failure to prevent the additional damage may not be covered.


It is important to submit claims in a timely manner. The more time that passes, the more difficult it is for the adjuster to determine the cause of the loss, which is essential in determining if the loss is covered under the policy.


If you provide inaccurate information on your application for insurance, your policy may be voided as soon as the company finds out – which is often while researching a claim. If the misrepresentation is material to the acceptance of the policy, the policy may be voided and any claims denied. This includes not admitting to prior losses, providing the incorrect occupancy type, and not disclosing existing damage to your home.

Source: Amanda Richter/American Integrity Insurance Company of Florida


Florida Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse | Sinkhole Coverage

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What is the difference between Sinkhole Coverage and Catastrophic Ground Collapse Coverage?

  • Florida law defines a sinkhole as “a land form created by subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are dissolved by groundwater. A sinkhole may form by collapse into subterranean voids created by dissolution (the dissolving) of limestone or dolostone or by the subsidence as these strata are dissolved.”
  • “Catastrophic ground cover collapse” is defined as “geological activity that results in all of the following:
    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.”
  • This means that if your home is damaged by sinkhole activity, but does not meet all four criteria for catastrophic ground cover collapse – for instance, you may have foundation cracks, but the home is still livable – your insurance may not pay for the damage if you do not have sinkhole coverage.

Source: www.myfloridacfo.com


Florida Church Insurance

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Churches have many risks that traditional insurance policies do not address. In order to be sure your church is getting the proper insurance coverage, it is best to work with a Florida company that specializes in this type of insurance.

If someone is injured (ie. slip and fall), the liability will respond to protect the church’s interest. Additionally a church needs insurance to protect against unseen liabilities. For example, a church insurance company will typically add coverage for sexual abuse and misconduct. It is important to make sure this option is available on your insurance policy. Another example would be pastoral liability which protects the church’s liability in the event someone in injured because of advice they received from a church pastor.

As I mentioned, a church can find themselves in situations that most commercial businesses do not. Therefore it is important to review your policy with an experienced agent that can advise you on the coverage that would best suit your needs. Be sure to review the amount of coverage you have on your building/s as it is important to insure them for replacement cost including the debris removal. Insure the belongings inside the church at a value that will replace all of the items in the event of a total loss.

You also need to disclose any additional activities the church may be involved in, such as daycare operations, transportation that the church offers, any off premises events or fundraising that the church may be involved in, as well as any outside events or organizations the church may rent their facilities to. All of these factors may not be covered unless they are disclosed to the insurance company up front.

Lastly, it is also important to cover any board members, directors, and officers of the church. This body is relied upon to make decisions for the church and could be held liable for any unforseen shortcomings. With a Director’s and Officer’s policy and proper bonding the financial integrity of the church can also be protected.

Statewide Insurance has recently updated policy offerings to include Florida church insurance. By partnering with the top Florida church insurance companies,Statewide Insurance can offer a one stop resource that will allow you to receive competitive quotes from the best companies available. There is a simple request form that, once completed, will allow carriers to compete for your business.


Citizens Wind Mitigation Inspections

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If you are currently insured with Citizens Property Insurance and lost wind mitigation credits due to a re-inspection by Citizens, you may be eligible for a new inspection by Citizens. Citizens has announced that they will reinspect homes free of charge if you dispute the initial findings of their wind mitigation inspection. It appears they will honor this for those that have had their Citizens inspection completed in the last 12 months.

You may also be eligible for a new inspection if you have upgraded your home against storm damage and may now qualify for wind mitigation credits.

The wind mitigation inspections can substantially decrease your Florida homeowners insurance premiums. In order to get the credits you deserve you must contact your agent to verify the accuracy of your policy premium or give us a call and we will review your policy and wind mitigation inspection for you.