Florida Homebuyer’s Guide

Florida Homebuyer’s Guide

There are a few key factors that impact homeowners insurance premium in Florida and most have to do with features of the home.

As you view different homes, keep this information in mind to clearly understand the value and home insurance savings of each home.

Construction Features

Masonry vs. Frame Construction

Homes built with masonry (cement block walls) construction offer significant value. Your home is better protected against hurricane damage, and as a result, homeowners insurance is less than the cost of insurance for a home of the same size, built in the same location with frame construction. You could save hundreds on your homeowners insurance by purchasing a home built with masonry construction.

Roof Condition

Check the condition and age of the roof before you make the decision to purchase the home. If it’s nearing time for replacement, you will need to consider the cost of replacing the roof or work with the current homeowner to replace the roof before you make the purchase. During storm events, a roof is expected to perform many functions—from preventing water intrusion to acting as a structural cover. Roofs serve to protect the building. Homes with older roofs are more susceptible to damage and it is difficult to obtain homeowners insurance for property with roofs that are 15 years and older in age.

Location, Location, Location

Living in Paradise

Florida’s coastline is beautiful – and more susceptible to natural disasters. Hurricanes often lose power over land resulting in coastal property being more severely damaged by wind and flood. As a result, home insurance rates are higher for homes located near or on the beach. Consider purchasing a home inland to avoid paying a higher premium.

Proximity to Fire Stations and Hydrants

You could pay less for insurance if you buy a home or rent property within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and 5 miles of the responding fire station. Ask your real estate agent about fire station and hydrant locations.

Wind-Resistant Home Features

The state requires insurance companies to offer discounts for protecting your home against damage caused by hurricane winds.

Securing your roof so it doesn’t blow off and protecting your windows from flying debris are the two most cost-effective measures you can take to safeguard your home and reduce your insurance premium. The state has developed a standard form (1802 Form) that qualified, licensed inspectors use to identify if a home qualifies for a wind mitigation discount. If you’re unsure if the home qualifies, hire an inspector to verify for you and make sure you receive the 1802 form showing the results of the inspection.

Roof Shape

The shape of your home’s roof has a lot to do with its ability to better withstand strong winds

There are three main shapes of roofs: hip, gable, and flat.

A hip-shaped roof, which is sloped on all sides like a pyramid, can potentially qualify you for premium discounts. Hip roofs generally perform better in extreme winds than other roof designs because they have fewer sharp corners, a shallower slope, and a more stable structure. A hip roof can reduce your premium nearly 32%.

Discount Features

Not all homeowners insurance companies offer the same discounts or use the same criteria to evaluate whether or not a home is eligible for discounts.