When you call the Sunshine State home and the location for your real estate investment portfolio, you're not just dealing with sunny days and beach trips—you're also navigating the potential risks that come with the territory, from daily afternoon thunderstorms to full-blown hurricanes and tropical cyclones in the summer.
The best way to protect your investment (as is often required if you have a mortgage anyway) is by adopting a homeowners insurance policy.
There's a plethora of homeowners insurance providers in Florida, however, so determining which is best and has the most reasonable insurance premiums for you can be difficult.
That's why we created this guide.
We researched some of the best homeowners insurance companies in Florida to facilitate your search for an insurance policy.
This guide includes some key tips for choosing homeowners insurance. Florida has unique hazards to keep in mind, but we have you covered!
We'll then go into an analysis of information we've gathered on each of the homeowners insurance companies.
Understanding Florida Homeowners Insurance
When it comes to safeguarding your investment as a landlord, property manager, or homeowner in Florida, a clear understanding of homeowners insurance is your first line of defense.
This essential coverage acts as a safety net against the unforeseen, ensuring that your property and valuable assets remain protected, even in the face of the most unexpected challenges.
Average Home Insurance Costs in Florida
What is the average cost of homeowners insurance in Florida? It's complicated.
The cost of Florida homeowners insurance policies is influenced by a range of factors, with the state's unique climate and geography playing a significant role.
Given the susceptibility to weather-related incidents, Florida homeowners tend to face higher insurance premiums compared to many other regions.
Florida home insurance rates have actually been skyrocketing recently as well, making it all the more important to shop around for home insurance coverage and research home insurance companies carefully.
As of 2023, Florida average homeowners insurance rates cost, on average, more than $4,000.
However, the exact Florida home insurance rates you'll encounter hinges on various elements:
- Property value
- Construction time
- Age of the home
- Condition of the property
- Security features
- Claims history
- Coverage limits
- Personal liability coverage
- Flood coverage
- Dwelling coverage
- Personal property coverage amount
- Other specific coverage options
Sometimes you can also get discounts and save money by bundling with other types of insurance you may have, such as auto insurance.
It's important to do thorough research on your property and the policies offered by different homeowners insurance policies so that you have the most informed grasp of your financial commitment and the value of the coverage you're considering.
Make sure to ask your insurance agent lots of questions when shopping around the Florida home insurance market and checking out a new insurance company.
Homeowners Insurance vs. Landlord Insurance
For landlords and property managers, distinguishing between homeowners insurance and landlord insurance is crucial.
Homeowners insurance predominantly caters to the structure of the home and personal belongings, which might not be comprehensive enough for properties that are rented out.
Meanwhile, landlord insurance is a specialized coverage tailored to the needs of property owners who are landlords. It extends protection to encompass the structure of the property, potential loss of rental income, and liability arising from incidents involving tenants.
As you navigate the complexities of property management, opting for the right insurance type ensures that you're adequately fortified against the unique risks inherent to your role.
That said, remember that insurance policies can have specific terms and conditions, and misrepresenting the use of your property to your insurance company could lead to denied claims or even policy cancellation.
Be transparent with your insurer about your intentions and seek their advice on the appropriate coverage. In some cases, they might recommend an endorsement or a separate policy to ensure that you have the right protection for your situation.
Here are a few scenarios where a landlord might use homeowners insurance instead of landlord insurance:
If you own a property that is currently vacant and not being rented out to tenants, you might choose to maintain homeowners insurance. This coverage would protect the property and your personal belongings while you're not living there.
However, it's important to communicate with your insurance provider about the vacancy, as extended vacancies might affect your coverage.
If you plan to temporarily move out of your property and rent it for a short period of time, such as for travel or work purposes, and intend to return later, homeowners insurance might be appropriate during your absence.
However, again, you should discuss this with your insurer to ensure you have the right coverage during your absence.
If you're planning to rent out a property on a long-term basis, it's advisable to switch to landlord insurance.
Sometimes, property owners might live in a property themselves for a period before renting it out. During this transition period, homeowners insurance could be in place until the property is officially converted to a rental property.
Some homeowners insurance policies may offer coverage for "home sharing" situations, where you are renting out a portion of your primary residence. This might apply if you're renting out a single bedroom to a roommate or a tenant.
However, this coverage can vary from one insurance company to another, and it's important to verify the specifics with your insurer.
If you're in this situation, you should thoroughly look into liability coverage to cover incidents involving not only guests but also tenants. However, if you're regularly renting out a room, you might want to confirm that the liability coverage adequately addresses potential tenant-related risks.
Additionally, if you're generating rental income from the rented bedroom, homeowners insurance might not cover the loss of that income in case of a covered event. Landlord insurance typically includes coverage for loss of rental income.
How to Choose a Florida Homeowners Insurance Company
Once you've decided that homeowners insurance is indeed what you need for your property, it's time to choose policy.
Here are some tips for doing so.
Unique Policy Needs for Florida Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners insurance in Florida is a somewhat complex subject because of the unique hazards that exist in the state, which create a need for additional coverage for things like flood insurance.
Florida's vibrant landscapes and coastal beauty come with a unique set of challenges that homeowners must be prepared to face.
From the threat of hurricanes to the potential for flooding, the Sunshine State requires homeowners to consider specialized coverage options that may not be as prevalent in other regions.
Here's a closer look at the unique needs of homeowners insurance in Florida.
Floods are a significant concern in Florida due to the state's coastal geography and frequent heavy rains.
While standard homeowners insurance typically covers water damage from leaks or plumbing issues, it usually excludes damage caused by floods.
This is where flood insurance steps in.
Whether you live near the coast or inland, having flood insurance can be essential to safeguarding your home, investment, and belongings against the devastating effects of flooding.
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms, which can cause extensive damage to homes and property.
While homeowners insurance generally covers wind-related damage, additional coverage might be necessary for full protection against hurricanes.
Consider whether your policy includes hurricane deductibles, and review the extent of wind damage coverage provided.
Certain parts of Florida are prone to sinkholes, which can lead to significant structural damage to homes.
Some homeowners insurance policies include coverage for sinkhole-related damage, while others may offer it as an optional endorsement.
If you live in an area with a history of sinkholes, carefully review your policy's coverage and assess whether additional protection is needed.
Mold and Water Damage
Florida's humid climate creates an environment conducive to mold growth.
While homeowners insurance generally covers sudden and accidental water damage, it might not cover gradual issues like mold that develops over time.
Understanding your policy's limitations regarding mold and water damage is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment for yourself and for your tenants.
Evacuation and Additional Living Expenses
In the event of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, you might need to evacuate your home.
Additional living expenses coverage can help cover the costs of temporary lodging, meals, and other essentials while you're unable to stay.
Other Factors to Consider When Assessing Florida Home Insurance Companies
With the Florida-specific issues covered, we'll now give you a step-by-step guide on making an informed choice about the Florida insurance companies themselves:
- Assess your needs: Consider the value of your property, the level of coverage required, any unique risks associated with your location, and whether you need additional coverage such as flood insurance in flood-prone areas.
- Research homeowners insurance companies: Explore their websites, read customer reviews, and learn about their reputation in the industry. Look for companies that have a track record of prompt claims processing, excellent customer service, and positive feedback from policyholders.
- Compare coverage options: Does their standard policy cover the risks you're concerned about? Do they offer additional endorsements or riders for specific needs? Carefully review what each policy includes and excludes to ensure it aligns with your requirements.
- Consider costs: Request quotes from multiple insurance companies for the coverage you need. Remember that the cheapest option might not provide the level of protection you require. Balance cost with coverage and reputation.
- Evaluate financial stability: Ratings from independent rating agencies such as A.M. Best can provide insight into an insurer's financial strength and ability to meet claims obligations.
- Assess customer service: Look for insurers with a reputation for responsiveness, clear communication, and efficient claims processing. A supportive customer service team can make a significant difference during stressful situations.
- Inquire about discounts: Many insurance companies offer discounts that can help reduce your premium. Inquire about discounts for bundling policies, having safety features in your home, maintaining a claims-free history, and more.
- Seek recommendations: Don't hesitate to seek recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have experience with homeowners insurance in Florida. Their insights can provide valuable firsthand information about different companies and their performance.
- Review the policy: Before making a final decision, carefully review the policy terms and conditions. Ensure you understand the coverage, deductibles, exclusions, and any limitations. If there are terms you're uncertain about, reach out to the home insurance company for clarification.
Choosing a homeowners insurance company in Florida requires due diligence and consideration of multiple factors.
By following these steps and taking the time to research and compare your options, you'll be better equipped to select a reliable insurer that offers the right coverage for your unique needs and circumstances.
Your investment and peace of mind deserve nothing less than the best protection.
Best Home Insurance Companies in Florida
Finally, let's go ahead and talk about some of the top Florida homeowners insurance companies!
1) Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company
Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company has been in the business for almost 30 years and currently provides coverage across 19 states, including Florida.
It offers not only homeowners insurance policies but also those for renters, condos, and landlords.
Coverage and Features
The company's homeowners insurance policies include dwelling coverage, other structures, personal property coverage, loss of use, personal liability, and medical payments.
In addition to these, however, University Property and Casualty Insurance Company offers some optional coverage beyond the standard homeowners insurance policy.
Here are some of its offerings, some of which are particularly good for a Florida homeowners insurance policy:
- Personal property replacement cost
- Limited animal liability
- Utility service line
- Personal injury
- Debris removal
- Loss assessment
- Higher coverage limits for personal liability
- Mechanical breakdown
The company also offers the University Property App for its users. Track your claims, manage your policies, and enjoy secure and confidential payment processing within the insurance company's mobile application for iOS and Android.
Here are some discounts that Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company offers online. Be sure to ask about these when asking for a quote for your homeowners insurance policy:
- Prior insurance
- Claims free
- Burglar and fire alarm
- New roof
- Sprinkler system
- Auto companion
- Fortified for safer living
- Windstorm protective devices
- Senior citizens
2) Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
The Florida Legislature founded the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation in 2002 as a nonprofit, tax-exempt, government entity.
Citizens Insurance is intended for Florida property owners who cannot obtain policies from private insurers.
Its policies include homeowners insurance for single-family homes, duplexes, condos, mobile homes, and more. The company also offers renters insurance.
Coverage and Features
Citizens Insurance has policies that include standard coverage for things like dwelling coverage (including replacement cost and actual cash value), personal property coverage, other structures (e.g., storage sheds and detached garages), loss of use, personal liability, and medical payments.
Certain policy types can also include additional coverages, such as the following:
- Debris removal
- Fire department service charge
- Fungi, wet or dry rot, yeast, or bacteria
- Catastrophic ground cover collapse
- Trees, shrubs, and other plants
- Loss assessment
- Landlord's furnishings
- Ordinance or law
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has a website and mobile-friendly self-service tool called myPolicy. There, you can submit insurance claims, view insurance policy information, view your homeowners insurance claim, and make payments.
You can find myPolicy login information here.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation offers many discount options for people and properties who meet certain criteria:
- Wind mitigation
- Florida Building Code compliance
- Roof construction (i.e., wind mitigation)
- Centrally monitored fire alarms
- Centrally monitored burglar alarms
3) Security First Insurance Company
Security First Insurance Company is one of the largest homeowners insurance providers in Florida.
The founders come from a family with over 100 years of experience in the industry. They created Security First Insurance Company in response to Hurricane Andrew's devastation in 1992.
The company offers homeowners insurance as well as renters and condo insurance.
Coverage and Features
Security First Insurance Company offers two types of homeowners insurance: signature homeowners insurance and premium homeowners insurance. The latter is intended for high-value homes ($500,000-$2,500,000) and requires a high credit rating.
Which you choose depends on the type of coverage and limits you're looking for, but generally speaking, they cover the basics like personal property coverage, dwelling coverage, home replacement cost, liability coverage, medical payments, and additional living expenses you may incur if the home becomes uninhabitable due to a loss that's covered.
Below are some of the optional coverages you can get with Security First Insurance Company as well:
- Roof deductible endorsement
- Personal injury liability
- Dog liability
- Screened enclosure/carport coverage
- Computer equipment
- Special personal property
- Increased coverage limits for replacement cost on dwelling
Security First Insurance Company does also offer its own mobile app for customers, where they can manage their home insurance policies 24/7, pay their invoices, and view any information they need related to their coverage.
If you're on the hunt for discounts, ask your insurance agent at Security First Insurance Company about any of these that may apply to you:
- Water leak detection
- Senior citizens
- Secured community
- Actual cash value roof loss settlement
- Burglar alarm
- Fire alarm
- Windstorm loss mitigation
4) American Integrity Insurance Company of Florida
The American Integrity Insurance Company offers homeowners insurance policy plans for Florida and South Carolina. The company was created in response to the market-disrupting 2004-2005 hurricane season and has since excellently served its communities.
It also boasts a policyholder surplus of over $100 million and has consistently ranked among Tampa's top workplaces, making it a very safe choice.
American Integrity Insurance Company offers policies for homeowners and renters in a property types ranging from single-family homes and condos to manufactured homes. It also offers policies for watercrafts, golf carts, and other vehicles many Floridians enjoy!
Coverage and Features
American Integrity Insurance Company competes well against other insurance providers with its expansive coverage for different situations like newly constructed homes, old homes, vacant homes, and more.
Beyond the standard comprehensive coverage that comes with the best homeowners insurance companies, American Integrity Insurance Company offers additional coverage depending on your plan.
For example, if you have an older home, the company's Integrity Select plan covers the following:
- Worldwide liability
- Home computer and electronic equipment
- Theft coverage
- Living expenses coverage for displacement due to a covered event
- Limited water coverage
Notably, American Integrity Insurance Company's Private Flood Endorsement has much lower rates than coverage options available through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Additionally, the company offers a free home maintenance app to its customers to help them proactively maintain their investment.
If you're looking to save money on your insurance coverage, ask your insurance agent about these discounts:
- Windstorm loss mitigation
- Accredited builders
- Favorable insurance score and credit score
- Military members
- Multiple policies
- Protective devices
- Secured community
- Senior citizens
- Water loss prevention
Other Notable Florida Home Insurance Companies
Of course, there are numerous other Florida homeowners insurance companies to choose from. The ones mentioned above are our top picks, but if you want to look into others, here are some other private insurers worth checking out (many of which you may have seen commercials for on your TV):
- USAA Insurance
- Allstate Insurance Company
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm Insurance
Like with any of the other Florida homeowners insurance companies mentioned, be sure to ask your insurance providers about their flood insurance policy (see how it comes to National Flood Insurance Program rates as well), dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, replacement cost coverage, and homeowners insurance rates.
Look into insurance ratings and consider bundling, such as with your home and auto insurance, for savings.
In the picturesque realm of Florida's real estate, protecting your home goes beyond the ordinary.
Choosing the right Florida homeowners insurance company is a crucial step in ensuring your investment's security and your peace of mind.
As you navigate the world of the best homeowners insurance in Florida, remember to tailor your choices to your specific needs and see what you need beyond standard homeowners insurance policies, especially if you're a landlord or property manager.
Assess your risks, explore your options, and seek reliable insurers with a proven track record so that you can safeguard your investment over the long term.