Hurricane Insurance in Florida: Requirements, Cost, Deductibles

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  • Hurricane Insurance in Florida: Requirements, Cost, Deductibles

If you’re a Floridian, or just have a vacation home in the Sunshine State, you’re probably well aware of the annual hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th. During this time, you’re on high alert for potential storms, getting ready to gear up your home against the fierce hurricane-force winds, pack a bag and evacuate to safety.

But whether you leave your home or hunker down, what about the protection for it? Hurricane shutters will certainly help, but they’ll only defer the brunt of the storm away from the windows. The rest of your home needs protection. And that comes in the form of Florida hurricane insurance. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Is Hurricane Insurance Required in Florida?

In Florida, hurricane insurance is required for people who own and carry a mortgage on houses or condos, including landlords, in the form of a windstorm insurance policy. The Florida legislature began requiring this policy, which is bundled into Florida homeowners, condo and landlord insurance policies at the time of purchase.

Since many insurance companies bundle windstorm insurance into the policies when they’re purchased, you likely won’t have to do anything extra when buying your policy because hurricane insurance coverage will already be included.

The only exception is with renters. Although all renters insurance policies in Florida do cover hurricane damage to the tenant’s belongings, renters insurance isn’t required by the law. However, some landlords can require tenants to purchase renters insurance, which benefits both parties.

Florida Hurricane Insurance Requirements

Since Florida law requires insurers to provide coverage for windstorms in homeowners, condo, renters and landlord insurance, there aren’t many requirements that you, as the policy, have to worry about.

However, you may exclude hurricane coverage in your policy by submitting a written request to your insurer. Even though this may lower your rates slightly, we don’t recommend doing so because you wouldn’t have any coverage for hurricanes should you need it.

The only thing that you as the policyholder need to worry about is how much your hurricane deductible will be should you need to file a claim for hurricane damage. Again, this doesn’t apply to renters. Let’s take a look.

Hurricane Deductible Florida

If you own a house or condo in Florida, you’ll have a hurricane deductible that’s separate from the regular deductible on your policy. If you sustain wind damage from a hurricane, tropical storm or tornado, you’ll have to pay your hurricane deductible before your insurer steps in to pay for the remaining damage, if the claim is deemed to have been caused by one of those three common wind perils.

Your hurricane deductible is based on a percentage of your policy’s dwelling coverage, which is what protects the structure of your home and is typically the equivalent value of your home. Insurers are required by law to offer an average hurricane deductible in Florida of $500, 2%, 5% and 10% of your policy’s dwelling limit.

Dwelling coverage works a bit differently for houses and condos, since condo owners don’t actually own the building in which they live.

If you own a house, whether you’re living in it or renting it out, your dwelling coverage needs to match the value of your house. So a $250,000 house will need $250,000 worth of dwelling coverage. If you choose a 5% hurricane deductible with that coverage, you’d need to pay $12,500 ($250,000 x 0.05 = $12,500) toward any wind-related claim before your insurer steps in to pick up the remaining costs for hurricane damage.

On the flipside, condo owners can have either an all-in policy or a walls-in policy. An all-in policy means the master policy usually takes care of the interior and exterior of your unit, leaving you to only worry about getting coverage for your personal belongings and some appliances. A walls-in policy means you’re responsible for covering the damages to everything from the walls to the inside of your unit.

Depending on your mortgage lender’s requirements, they may require you to maintain dwelling coverage that’s equal to 20% of your condo’s value. So condo owners with a $250,000 condo and a 5% hurricane deductible will only be required to pay $2,500 ($250,000 x 0.20 = $50,000 and $50,000 x 0.05 = $2,500) toward a windstorm claim before their insurer picks up the rest.

What Does Hurricane Insurance Cover in Florida?

Hurricane insurance in Florida covers your home, belongings and additional living expenses that are associated with any wind-related claims up to your policy’s maximum limits. So you’ll need to ensure you have enough coverage to completely rebuild and replace everything before hurricane season begins.

Dwelling: For homeowners and landlords, dwelling coverage is the main piece of your policy that protects you against hurricanes and other windstorms. This coverage pays to repair or rebuild your house, so coverage applies to things like the foundation, floors, walls, roof and built-in appliances like the air conditioning and water heater.

Homeowners and landlords can choose between replacement cost coverage and market value coverage as well. But you’ll need to make sure you have sufficient coverage to rebuild your home.

Since condo owners don’t own the building, they don’t need coverage for things like the roof or garage. So dwelling coverage helps pay for things like built-in appliances, walls and flooring. That’s also why condo owners don’t need as much dwelling coverage as homeowners.

Other Structures: Other structures coverage only applies to homeowners and landlords since they own the property. This coverage is designed to pay for structures on the property that aren’t attached to the house, such as fences, carports, sheds and pools.

Personal Belongings: Coverage for your personal belongings is included in every type of home insurance policy, including renters. It helps pay to replace items that were damaged or destroyed by hurricanes, extending coverage to things like your furniture, electronics and clothes.

Additional Living Expenses: Included in homeowners, condo and available as an add-on in renters insurance, additional living expenses coverage is designed to pay for expenses you wouldn’t have incurred if a hurricane damages your home and you’re unexpectedly forced to move out while it’s being repaired or rebuilt. These expenses can be a home of equivalent value, extra gas money from longer commutes and storage units to house belongings.

And an additional coverage you have for hurricane damage lies in your auto insurance policy. Yup, in Florida and hurricane-impacted states, auto insurance covers damage caused by hurricanes as long as your policy contains comprehensive coverage.

How Much Is Hurricane Insurance in Florida?

Since hurricane insurance is included in home insurance policies in Florida, the average cost of hurricane insurance in Florida is already calculated into your premiums. Homeowners pay an average of $2,043 per year for a $150,000 house, while landlords pay around $2,340 per year and condo owners pay about $600 per year for a similarly priced home. Renters in Florida only pay about $180 per year.

However, those prices are statewide averages. Depending on where you live in Florida and how much your home costs, you can either pay more or less. For instance, a homeowner in South Florida cities like Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach or Key West will pay much more than a homeowner living inland in cities like Orlando, Gainesville and Ocala because they’re much more likely to sustain more severe hurricane damage.

The Best Hurricane Insurance Companies in Florida

Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company is a leader in providing Floridians with the best hurricane coverage in Florida at affordable prices. Since we partner with them and the best insurers in the Sunshine State, our online quoting tool allows you to get quotes from all of them at once.

Simply enter some information about your home, we’ll run some data on the back end and we’ll provide you with a few policies from providers that meet your coverage needs — and your budget. The best part is it only takes a few minutes, so you can get back to the better things in life while having the peace of mind of proper Florida hurricane insurance.

Home Protection Is Just a Click Away

We partner with the nation's top home insurance companies so you can get an excellent policy at an affordable price.

The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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