Homeowners in Florida know that insurance policies can be complicated. A homeowners’ insurance policy usually contains vocabulary specific to the insurance provider. Understanding policies in-depth can be confusing and frustrating, but there are some essential items to understand to make the most of every policy. Here are some of the most important things that we think Florida homeowners should know about their insurance.

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Florida homeowners insurance policies don’t usually cover flood damage.

For a state that gets as much rain as Florida and sits at such a low sea level, having protection against flood damage is essential. However, most Florida homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage because insurance companies typically offer it as a separate option. We recommend that you look into your current homeowners’ insurance policy to see if you are covered, and if not, find an option that will protect you in the event of a flood.

Increases in Florida home prices lead to increases in insurance policies as well.

Houses and condos in Florida are at an all-time high right now. With the real estate market flooded with people looking for properties in the Sunshine State, homeowners insurance rates have skyrocketed alongside home prices. Houses and condos, especially along the coast of Florida, are more likely to be considered luxury properties, leading to higher prices. 

Another reason homeowners insurance prices have gone up is because of an increase in Florida insurance fraud — many contractors are committing Assignment of Benefits fraud or AOB fraud.

  • AOB Fraud Explained: Typically, a fraudulent contractor will target a homeowner after a storm, promising low rates on repairs if they sign an Assignment of Benefits form. They promise the homeowner a way to save money by avoiding the payment of their deductible. However, once the homeowner signs the form, the contractor is legally able to inflate their prices and even use an attorney to sue the insurance company if claims of fabricated costs are made. Essentially, by signing an AOB form with a contractor, a homeowner is signing away their rights.

If your roof has been damaged, you might be able to have it replaced for free.

Many homeowners don’t know that if the roof of their home is damaged, there are several options for them to check that may help them get it replaced entirely for free. Depending on the extent of the damage and the type of homeowners’ insurance policy they have, they may be able to use one of the following options to replace their roof:

  • Florida’s Matching Rule: This rule, written by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, was created to protect Florida homeowners from shoddy work from contractors while providing clear guidelines for insurance companies on what they must cover. The homeowner is not required to pay for any part of the repair or replacement. Read the passage below:
    • “When a loss requires replacement of items and the replaces items do not match in quality, color, or size, the insurer shall replace all items in the area so as to conform to a reasonably uniform appearance. This applies to interior and exterior losses. The insured shall not bear any cost over the applicable deduction, if any.” 
    • Learn more about Florida’s Matching Rule here: All About the Matching Rule for Roofs in Florida
  • Florida’s 25% Rule: The 25% rule in Florida, also known as the Build Code Law, helps homeowners get their roofs replaced in a fast, affordable manner. In short, if 25% or more of a roof has been damaged in 12 months, it must be replaced. The Florida Building Code states the details below:
    • “not more than 25 percent of the total roof area or roof section of any existing building or structure shall be repaired, replaced or recovered in any 12-month period unless the entire roofing system or roof section conforms to requirements of this code.”
    • Learn more about Florida’s 25% Rule here: Florida’s 25% Rule

If you have a dog, check if your homeowner’s insurance covers dog bites.

Homeowners with dogs or who are planning to get one should check their homeowners’ insurance. Sometimes, homeowners’ insurance will cover dog bites, so it is essential to know if you are covered if your pup does nip at someone. Even the most well-behaved dogs can become frightened or startled, so being prepared for anything is always a good idea. However, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Check to see if your insurance covers your dog’s breed. The coverage may deny some dog breeds.
  • Some insurance companies may have an Animal Liability Exclusion, meaning that they are not liable for any injuries caused by dog bites.
  • They could also limit the amount of coverage available for animal liability.

Make sure you choose the best type of coverage for your home.

Deciphering what is covered in an insurance policy can be difficult. Insurance companies sometimes seem to be working in mysterious ways, often confusing homeowners. Most insurance policies will have different coverage options, including RC and ACV.

  • RC: Replacement Cost coverage is more expensive but covers the cost of a brand new item with something of similar quality. If your roof is destroyed, RC would completely replace the roof.
  • ACV: Actual Cost Value, on the other hand, is cheaper and a little more complicated. ACV gives homeowners a payout based on age, wear, market value, and more of the item that needs to be replaced. Typically, this means that the homeowner will receive less in return. If your roof were destroyed, ACV would give you a payout based on your roof materials’ age, wear, and market value.

Have a Question? Let’s Talk.

At Res Reps, we want to help homeowners and policyholders understand the best way to save money and make the most of their insurance claims. To do this, we perform all of our services for free for our clients because we believe that homeowners should not have to struggle further just to live in their homes while insurance companies hold out. If you have any questions about your homeowners’ insurance policy, our services, or anything else, we would love to help. Please give us a call at (321) 537-9991 or send us an email to shoe@resreps.com. Let’s get started today.

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