Residents of Florida are very aware that it pays to plan ahead. That’s why they rely on home insurance. Florida sees more than its share of wild weather. Wildfires, tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, sinkholes and many other disasters pop up now and then and change the landscape all around us. It’s not just big, earthshaking events that have an effect, either. Things like a fire on the stove, a burglary, or a lightning strike can also hit us when we’re least expecting it.
You never know when you’re going to need to rely on the peace of mind and security of home insurance. Florida homeowner’s insurance is an indispensable backstop for the value of the largest investment you’re ever likely to make: your home.
Insurance: Not Necessarily Required, But Wise
While the laws of Florida do not require homeowners to carry home insurance, most people understand that it’s common sense to safeguard the largest investment they’re ever likely to make with proper insurance. Homeowner’s insurance can pay to repair, or even entirely rebuild your home in the event of a catastrophic loss.
If you own certain classes of pets, or have a swimming pool in your yard, many cities and towns require that you carry liability coverage to pay damage or injuries to others, or their property, through home insurance. Florida lending institutions usually require full insurance coverage on your home, including fire, liability, and even flood insurance in certain designated zones for homes mortgaged through them. Some Home Owners Associations have similar, or even more stringent requirements.
Know Your Coverage
Homeowner’s insurance from Florida is offered in packages of specific coverage for different dangers and eventualities, broken down into four categories:
- Structure: Your home itself
- Other structures: Things like sheds and fences
- Personal property: All your possessions that you keep in and around your home
- Loss of use: If you lose the ability to use your home, ALE, or additional living expenses are covered to keep you housed until repairs are made to your damaged dwelling
Structures, other structures, and personal property all come under the heading of Property Coverage. Property coverage will pay for loss or damage to covered dangers to the structure of your house plus its furniture and other contents and the belongings of your family members who reside with you. Depending on the coverage, it will pay for damage to outbuilding, sheds, freestanding garages, and even small boats and other similar items that are stored there. Your insurance policy will list these covered items clearly.
Property insurance includes limited coverage for other items you may own, including jewelry, furs, electronics and firearms if they are lost, stolen, or damaged. You can usually add additional coverage if you need it for higher liabilities.
Homeowner’s insurance may also cover your children’s possession when they attend college, whether or not they live on campus or with you. Home insurance policies in Florida do not cover your vehicles, however.
Additional living expense (ALE) coverage is designed to pay some of the added costs of living elsewhere while repairs are being made to a covered home that is made unlivable by an accident or disaster. This coverage is triggered when a civil authority like the police or emergency management require you to evacuate your home for any reason for a period of time.
Personal Liability coverage protects you in the event of a lawsuit or other claim against you for bodily injury or damage to other people’s property. For example, if your next-door neighbor fell down in your driveway and sued you for his injuries, your policy would pay any legal judgment against you, and your lawyer’s fees up to the limit of your policy.