YOU ASK:

What should I look for when buying Florida home owners insurance?

WE ANSWER:

Florida home owners insurance is typically very expensive, when compared to other states. According to data provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average annual Florida home insurance rates are around $1400. This is almost double the national average which ranges between $700 and $800 a year.

Characteristics of Florida Home Owner Insurance

Floridians are exposed to the risk of natural disasters - especially during the hurricane season - which explains the high cost of Florida home owner insurance. To minimize their losses, some insurance providers have pulled out of the state, while others specifically exclude flood from the policies they offer.

Florida's coastal areas are usually more prone to the devastating force of hurricanes and tidal waves, therefore home owners in counties, such as Monroe, Miami-Dade, Collier and Palm Beach sometimes have to pay exorbitant home owner insurance amounts. Insurance providers offer significant discounts to people who have installed wind mitigation features in their homes.

For example, home owners in Palm Beach can pay up to $7,500 a year but if they install wind-prevention elements, their premiums can go down to $2,400, or even lower. Home owners who live in low-risk flood zones, such as Gilchrist, Lake and Polk, can pay premiums closer to the national average.

One very important thing to consider is that home owner insurance does not cover flood. For Floridians, however, having such protection is of utmost significance. Otherwise, they risk suffering property losses amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For only $450 a year home owners can purchase a special flood insurance coverage of up to $250,000 available from the National Flood Insurance Program. Business owners can get a maximum of $500,000 for protecting their commercial venues. Flood insurance policies need to be renewed every year, and there is a 30-day waiting period from the purchase date until the policy comes into force.

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