Florida is widely known as one of the most favorable places to live in the United States. However, because of its high risk for natural disasters, it also has some of the highest homeowners insurance costs in the country.
Fortunately, there are several ways to lower your home insurance premiums.
This article will explain in detail all the ways to lower your insurance premiums in Florida and start saving money today.
How to Lower Your Home Insurance Premiums
There are at least 12 ways to lower your home insurance premiums in Florida, including:
- Knowing your property’s value
- Reinforcing your home
- A wind mitigation inspection
- Asking for available discounts
- Private insurance
- Maintaining a good credit score
- Going slow on the small claims
- Increasing your deductibles
- Fortifying your roof with hurricane ties
- Improving security
- Staying with the same insurer
- Purchasing flood insurance
1. Know Your Property’s Value
The price of your home includes the land that it sits on. However, your insurance policy doesn’t cover the land because you can’t protect it from catastrophic events such as fire and wind.
Therefore, you need to know the actual value of your home when choosing your insurance policy.
The market value of your home depends on factors such as:
- Location of the home
- Your home’s age
- The strength of the real estate market
When taking up an insurance policy for your home, consider the replacement cost value. You can evaluate this by examining the current Florida building codes and materials.
If your home value exceeds the replacement costs, you’ll be forced to pay higher premiums.
Keep valuing your home at least once every year. If the value of some items covered by the insurance depreciates over the years, you can reduce the value placed on them by the insurance coverage. This depreciation will reduce the amount you pay in insurance costs.
2. Reinforce Your Home
Given that Florida is a hurricane-prone state, you need to reinforce your house against catastrophes such as fire and floods.
Updating your utilities, using more robust roofing systems, and installing storm shutters are just a few ways to reduce your insurance premiums.
Moreover, the Florida state government requires insurance providers to give discounts through wind mitigation strategies.
You’ll get discounts on:
- Roof shape
- Roof bracing of gable end roof deck attachment
- Roof covering
- Roof-to-wall connections
- Secondary water resistance
- Protection of openings (windows and other openings)
The initial cost of making these installations may be high, but down the road, your home insurance costs will be lower than what you’re paying now.
You can contract a third-party vendor to assess the reinforcements in your home every year and always after a disaster strikes. This will help you keep your policy updated on the wind mitigation strategies you use for your home.
3. Get a Wind Mitigation Inspection
After using the wind mitigation strategies your home needs, your insurer will need proof that they’re well-installed and updated. For this, you will need an inspection report from a certified inspector.
With the report, your home insurance costs will drop, and you can enjoy the benefits for many years.
First, however, always ensure that the mitigation measures are repaired whenever necessary. Faulty wind mitigation can reduce the amount you can claim from the insurance provider if you need to rebuild your home.
Scout the local market for the most qualified wind mitigation inspectors and get them to conduct thorough and frequent inspections of your home. Then, constantly update your wind mitigation measures whenever necessary.
4. Ask for Available Discounts
Besides the usual wind mitigation discounts on your homeowner’s insurance, you can ask your provider for other deals. These discounts vary from company to company, so you’ll need to research the right company for you.
Here are some of the discounts you may be eligible to receive:
- Discounts for seniors or retirees
- Gated community discounts
- Accredited builder discounts
- Newer roof discounts
- Companion policy discounts
- Electronic policy distribution discounts
- Paperless policy discounts
- Military personnel and veterans discounts
5. Use Private Insurance
While government insurance may be cheaper, it doesn’t offer as much coverage for your home as private insurance. You’ll also not be getting the many discounts that private insurers offer clients.
If you can afford a private insurance policy for your Florida home, take it. Florida is a disaster-prone state, complete with floods and regular hurricanes. Therefore, you need an insurance provider that will cater to your needs entirely whenever you need them.
6. Maintain a Good Credit Score
You may not know this, but your credit score has a lot to do with the cost of your insurance premiums. Insurance companies often associate people with low credit scores with a high number of claims.
If your credit score is low, your homeowners insurance will be costly because the company limits the discounts they extend to you.
On the other hand, most insurance companies will consider you a good investment if your credit score is good. You’re likely to be offered more discounts and will reduce your home insurance costs.
7. Go Slow on the Small Claims
Your homeowner’s insurance coverage isn’t a home warranty plan. Unfortunately, this means that it’s not there at your disposal to make claims for every broken window and other small claims.
Sure, you can claim such accidents, and they’ll be covered. However, the more claims you make, the more the insurance company becomes convinced that your house is high risk. As a result, they might decide to increase your premium rates or cancel the policy altogether.
If you can cover the small damages to your home, please do so. You’ll be making significant savings on your insurance coverage. You can redeem the insurance when you badly need it, for instance, if your house is damaged by a natural disaster and needs to be rebuilt.
Also, if you contract a third party to do repairs on your house using your insurance coverage, consult with your insurance provider. This step will stop third-party vendors from adding extra costs to your claim sheet.
8. Increase Your Deductibles
Deductibles are the amount of money you’ll pay to your insurance provider before you can make claims on your coverage.
Most insurance providers in Florida offer deductible minimums of $1000. The more deductibles you have with your insurance coverage, the better your claims.
Most homeowners insurance providers have different deductibles to cover various disasters in disaster-prone areas like Florida. Consult your provider for the range of choices they may offer for deductibles.
If you don’t already have an insurance policy, shop around and see what different providers offer. You might be surprised at the multitude of discounts and other offerings that each company provides for similar packages.
9. Fortify Your Roof With Hurricane Ties
Improving your roof’s quality will also help you reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance policy.
A fortified roof is designed to withstand hurricanes, strong winds, heavy rainfall, and even tornadoes. Such roofs meet all the requirements for roofing in hurricane-prone areas like Florida.
Your insurance provider is more likely to charge you less for a policy if you use hurricane straps on your house.
Hurricane straps are made with galvanized metal and link the roof of your house to the walls. The straps are attached to the house’s exterior, so you don’t need to worry about destroying your home’s interior. They offer more stability for your house when hurricanes strike.
A good example is the Simpson Strong-Tie Hurricane Tie. Simpson Strong-Tie manufactures its hurricane ties using 18-gauge steel which is sturdy and long-lasting. These hurricane ties are also galvanized, hence offering extra corrosion resistance.
Using hurricane straps in your home might be an expensive venture initially. However, it’ll save you a lot of money that could’ve gone into extra coverage for your home’s roofing in the insurance policy.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) offers a detailed explanation of fortified roofs in Florida and the most appropriate roof for your home.
It can also guide you on:
- Windows and attached structures
- Roof-to-wall-to-floor-to-foundation connections (acting as one system)
However, installing the fortified roofs can cost you more than $10,000, which is no small bill. You can use any resources to get tax breaks, grants, or look for organizations offering government subsidies. This assistance should help you cut the cost of new roofing for your home.
10. Improve Security
Improving the security detail in your home might earn you good discounts with your insurance provider. Some of the common extra security items include:
- A smoke alarm
- Burglar alarm
- Deadbolts for your doors
If you want extra credits with your insurer, you can install fire and alarm systems, sprinklers, and burglar alarm systems connected to the local police or fire station.
Although these installations may seem like extra costs to you, they’ll help you reduce the cost of your home’s insurance. Furthermore, they offer you better security and response to emergencies.
Installing all these security details in your home doesn’t always guarantee discounts with your insurance provider. So first, consult with the insurance company on which security features will make your insurance cheaper.
Additionally, you should ensure that all the security features you add to your home are functioning well. Insurance providers will look at this before deciding how much you should pay for your policy.
11. Staying With the Same Insurer
Some private insurance providers will give you a discount if you have more than one policy. For example, you can bundle homeowners and auto insurance with the same company and ask them to provide you with a reduced rate.
If you stay with the same insurer for several years, you might get discounts for being a long-term policyholder. For example, some companies will give you a 5% discount on your policy if you stay with them for five years, a 10% discount for staying with them for six years, etc.
Sticking with the same provider might help you save money in the long run. Consider staying with one company long-term as long as it has good plans and is true to its word.
12. Consider Purchasing Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is different from homeowner’s insurance. However, as a Florida resident, you should consider taking up this insurance because your risk of flood is much higher than in many other states.
It is usually government-sponsored and covers your home if a flood destroys it.
Flood insurance comes in two parts:
- Building insurance
- Personal contents insurance
Building insurance will cover your home’s foundation and plumbing and electrical systems.
Personal contents coverage covers your personal property, such as furniture and electronics.
Furthermore, if you plan to relocate your contents before or during a flood, the insurance will cover your items for 45 days, helping to keep them safe and damage-free.
On the downside, flood insurance does not cover lawns, trees, and gardens or money and documents in your house that floods may destroy.
Also, flood insurance only covers your home and property if natural floods destroy them, not damages caused by leaking water pipes causing flooding in your home.
Who Needs Flood Insurance?
Every homeowner in Florida needs flood insurance. But unfortunately, there’s a misconception that people on the mainland don’t need it. Without it, your homeowner’s insurance won’t be enough to cover all the costs of rebuilding your home if floods sweep it down.
In some residential areas of Florida, and depending on who your mortgage lender is, it’s mandatory to have flood insurance for your home.
If you have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender such as the Federal Housing Administration or Veterans Administration, you must have flood insurance. This is also true if you’re a recipient of federal disaster grants such as FEMA.
Remember that the FEMA maps are old and aren’t updated regularly. But, FEMA maps aside, it is highly recommended and beneficial to get flood insurance if you live in Florida.
You can get it via the National Flood Insurance Program through your private insurer. Private insurers are also creating their own personal versions of flood insurance. Shop around and decide which package is best for you and your home.