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Home Insurance in Florida.
What You Should Know - Frequently Asked Questions.

After auto insurance, Home and Renters Insurance is one of the types of insurance that most of us will always have to deal with. For this reason, we have put together this F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) so you can be better informed and prepared when finding a good deal, both in terms of protection and price. If you are just looking for homeowners quotes, simply click here.

I don't have a mortgage and I have enough money to pay for my house repairs, why do I need home insurance?

I don't have a mortgage so I only want to have minimum and partial coverage, can I do that?

Why can't I choose the amount of coverage I want?

How is the building coverage calculated?

Home insurance seems so complicated, there are so many components and concepts. What's this all about?

How can I make sure my home is adequately covered?

What's the right deductible to have in my home insurance?

Why is my coverage higher than the market value of the house? this doesn't make any sense...

I am not in a flood zone so I don't need flood insurance, right?

Why has home insurance in Florida gotten so expensive?

Why is so expensive to insure screen enclosures in Florida?

Why are so many people insured with Citizens in the state? isn't this an example of a monopoly?

If I have a claim, how will I get paid for the damage? What should I do?

How come I have never heard of most companies in Florida and most are not even rated under AM Best?

Why are so many companies going out of business or pulling out of Florida?

How can a company know how much I have in personal property when I file a claim?

I live in a condo, so I don't need home insurance since everything is covered by the association, right?

I rent my home, why would I need renters coverage?

Why did I get cancelled? I never even had a claim?

I only stopped paying for a week or so and I got cancelled. If I want my policy back is a lot more money. Why?

Why do companies care about my credit, my prior coverage amount and length and other reports that have nothing to do with my home?

What can I do to get the best price in Home Insurance?

Will my price go up if I have a claim?

What's this stuff about Special Coverage A in condo policies? Do I really need this?

Do you have any useful Florida Insurance Links?




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I don't have a mortgage and I have enough money to pay for my house repairs, why do I need home insurance?

For some people insurance is just an annoying and expensive requirement that banks impose on them they could do without. While it's true that not having a mortgage gives you the choice of not insuring your home and leaving it unprotected, you would be exposing yourself to some major hazards. Home insurance is a combination of coverages, not just insurance for the home physically. It also covers you for injuries and damages to others should you become legally liable for them, protecting your assets and income. In terms of the house itself, even if you have enough money to make partial repairs, a total house loss is something virtually everyone need: it's different to fix a broken pipe out of pocket than rebuild the house if it's burned to the ground. Even just for partial losses, most people need homeowners insurance to protect their savings and avoid unexpected out of pocket expenses. In Florida, your home is exposed to a large number of hazards such as hurricanes, windstorms, fire, theft, vandalism, water damage, flood and more. It just makes sense to insure your most important asset, regardless of having a mortgage or not.

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I don't have a mortgage so I only want to have minimum and partial coverage, can I do that?

Not having a mortgage allows you greater flexibility as to what kind of coverage you can get, although there are some common misconceptions about this you should be aware of. Since your home is all yours and you don't share its ownership with the bank, you can choose to protect it or not. However, if you do decide to protect it, you still have to keep in mind certain insurance regulations that won't change regardless of having a mortgage or not. Here's the most common issues people without a mortgage encounter you should know about:

-Can I just have more or less coverage than what's required to rebuild the house? The answer is no. You have to purchase insurance for the amount of money needed to reconstruct the house, no more and no less regardless of market value and mortgage status. This is the point of insurance, having enough money to replace your house, and under or over insuring it is not something carriers allow.

-Since I don't have a mortgage, can I exclude coverage I don't want such as flood and hurricane? Yes, you can. although is obviously not recommended. These are catastrophic hazards that can cause you a big financial impact. There are other exclusions you can choose, but in general, the less amount of exclusions the better off you will be.

-Since I don't have a mortgage, can I choose any deductible I want? Sure you can. Just make sure you get one that is adequate to your budget and needs. See more on deductible lower on this page.

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Why can't I choose the amount of coverage I want?

People often think they can just choose how much they can insure their home for, without having any professional expertise as to how much money it takes to rebuild a house. This is not something insurance companies take lightly, and they will always require that you insure your home for the amount needed to rebuild it, not less and no more. Agents are usually capable of accessing replacement cost estimator tools, which allow them to approximate how much coverage is needed based on your house features. Also, you want to be specially careful about under or over insuring your home, as there are some negative consequences to both:

-Underinsuring your home: In addition to the obvious (can cause you to obviously receive less money than what you actually need to replace your house in case of a total loss), most carriers will penalize you even if you just have partial damage using a "coinsurance penalty" formula. In a lot of cases you could end up receiving half of the amount hoped to get due to underinsuring your home, even if it was just a partial loss like fixing the roof after a hail storm.

-Overinsuring your home: This is certainly not as bad as underinsuring it, but the problem is that most companies will only give you what you need, and no more. So you can insure your home for 500K but if you only needed 300K to rebuild it that's all you are going to get, and you paid a higher insurance premium without any need for it.

Call your agent and work with him/her on the replacement cost of your house. Beware of suspiciously low replacement cost amounts and don't overpay for something you don't need either. A good number of agents will work on a replacement cost estimate for you when you request a quote from them and you are considering purchasing the policy. Take advantage of that and request a quote.

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How is the building coverage calculated?


Agents normally use a replacement cost estimator tool provided by the insurance company they work with, or one they independently subscribe to. These tools are similar to appraisals that calculate an approximation of how much coverage you need to rebuild the house, based on its features such as: square footage, type of construction (masonry, frame, etc.), design style (economy, standard, custom, luxury), materials, interior construction, added structures, etc.

A good number of agents will work on a replacement cost estimate for you when you request a quote from them and you are considering purchasing the policy. Take advantage of that and request a quote.

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Home insurance seems so complicated, there are so many components and concepts. What's this all about?

You are right! Insurance is so complicated that the local governments requires a license for people who service and sell insurance! If it were so easy even a Cro-Magnon could do it, there would be no licensed insurance professionals. For better or worse, the industry has seen a tendency lately to oversimplify insurance and make it more another "transaction" kind of business, alike to buying a chair or a pencil when it really shouldn't be. We now hear things like "name your own price", "get minimum state required coverage only" or "so easy a caveman can do it" and of course save, save and save everywhere. What happen to protect, protect and conserve? It seems that the some in the insurance industry are actually forgetting what insurance is all about: protecting with quality service, more than just getting cheap and fast coverage without any care or discussions of what you should have and why.

That's why you should always try to get both, quality and a fair price. Shooting always for the lowest can backfire in many ways, so to be safe, talk to your agent, exploit his or her knowledge and when you get a quote or a policy, always know what you are getting:

What can you cover?

Building or Dwelling Coverage:
This is protection for the house, its main construction (or structure), permanently attached components and all attached elements. This includes the garage, the main construction portion of the house, and attached pool, attached screen enclosures, pavers, etc, etc.

Other Structures:
Similar as above, but for anything that is detached, such as a detached garage, a storage building, a detached pool, a barbecue, etc, etc.

Personal Property or Contents:
This is for everything that is movable and not permanently and typically originally attached to the main construction (or structure) such as your television and electronics, jewelry, collectibles, china, clothing, etc, etc. It typically pays for losses that occur in your home, although some may extend this liability protection outside the home too, check with your agent for details when you get a quote.

Loss of use or Fair Rental:
This is similar to rental reimbursement coverage in car insurance, except that it's for your house. In other words, if you can't live in your own place because it's flooded, burned, damaged or otherwise unlivable, this coverage typically provides money so you can live elsewhere while repairs are made.

Medical Payments:
This is not for you, but for your guests should they become injured, so you can access money to pay for any medical expenses for them.

Liability, Family Liability or Personal Liability:
This protects your assets should you become liable for injuries or damages to others, whether to your neighbors, a guest or a third party. Some people call it lawsuits protection. It typically pays for losses that occur in your home, although some may extend this liability protection outside the home too, check with your agent for details when you get a quote.

Against what perils?

The list is long, but you can insure the above items for things such as fire, theft, vandalism, water damage, flood (almost always under a separate policy), collapse, sinkhole, windstorm and hurricane, and more. Although policies usually have a standard package and most perils, you should be aware they can also exclude any number of perils from this list or other not mentioned here. Always check with your agent so you know what you are and are not getting.

There's also some valuable coverages and endorsements you can access such as:
-Replacement Cost on Contents: This allows you to obtain coverage for "as new" value, as opposed to regular insurance which is always "cash value" which accounts for aging and depreciation.
-Sump overflow and water backup
-Identity Theft
-Equipment Breakdown
-Scheduled Personal Property: usually the policy covers your personal property but only up to a certain limit per category ($1000 for jewelry, $1000 for collectibles, etc.) this allows you to insure your specially valuable items for their full value.

And much more that your agent can tell you more about.

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How can I make sure my home is adequately covered?

Your agent is the best resource you have for this. That being said, the topic is large, and you want to make sure you cover everything without overwhelming yourself with information. In general, asking the following questions will help you maximize your protection:

How can I protect my livelihood, income and assets?
Your agent should point out the liability coverage and its limits available in the homeowners policy. As a general rule, you should carry enough liability coverage to cover a large chunk of your income for years to come, everything that you own and your cash or savings. In addition to this, your agent can point out how coverages such as loss of use can help you continue on with your life, even if while your home is under repairs.

How can I protect my house?
Your agent should point out the different coverages available (some of them have been outlined on prior section above) and proceed to ask you different questions to determine the correct coverage amount for the house or condominium unit. This is usually when the replacement cost estimator is made and the discussions about the different hazards should occur (fire, water damage, flood, wind, etc.)

How can I protect my belongings?
Your agent should point out the different coverages available (some of them have been outlined on prior section above) and explain how personal property can be covered on home or condominium policy. Depending on the amount and type of personal property you have, your agent should be able to suggest what you should get in terms of both amount and type of coverage.

Another important part is to know what is NOT covered. This would include obviously all the standard exclusions or ones that you may have selected, but also things that are not normally covered by insurance, such as ageing, breakdown, seepage and construction defects. A common misconception is to think that if something is wrong with the house because is getting old, the insurance will pay for it, however, home insurance is just like care insurance: if your car is getting old you don't call your agent to get a new car, you either go to the mechanic to fix it or to a dealer to buy another one. Same with home insurance, it protects you against sudden and accidental damage, but it is not designed to replace your house when it gets old or needs updating.

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What's the right deductible to have in my home insurance?

The lower your deductible, the lower your expenses out of pocket are in case of a claim, which is obviously better for you. However, because the insurance company will have to pay more money, the price you pay for your insurance goes up. So what's better? it depends on your budget and preference. In most cases is definitely best to have a low deductible, however, if the expense is too great to have a low deductible, and you can afford to pay a higher expense out of pocket in an accident, the choice to have a higher deductible is not so bad, and very popular too. Again, it depends on your budget and your preference.

In Florida, it would not be inn a curate to say that deductibles are generally higher than in most states, due to the special risk of hurricane catastrophic damage and other factors that make insurance more expensive than usual. For this reason, higher deductibles have been widely implemented to reduce the cost of insurance, while also increasing out of pocket expenses of Floridians in general.

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Why is my coverage higher than the market value of the house? this doesn't make any sense...

If you have been reading the sections above, you should know the answer to this question by now. However, in summary, home insurance is just that: HOME insurance, not LOAN insurance for the bank or MARKET VALUE Insurance for price of the house in the market. The purpose of home insurance is to protect the house itself, in case of damage, and rebuild or repair it so you can have it back as it was. It's not intended to give you cash for its market value (which among others includes land) or repay a loan or mortgage.

Unfortunately in some markets, specially with today's real estate market, it is sometimes more expensive to rebuild a house than to buy one already built. Therefore it is not unheard or even uncommon these days to have a higher amount of money designated on your insurance to rebuild your house (your coverage) than the market value of the home including land or market values.

With a changing market, and being hopeful, this could change over time, and you should consult with your agent if a coverage revision should be made, since construction costs also change depending on the housing market.

A good place to start would be to get a quote.

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I am not in a flood zone so I don't need flood insurance, right?

Wrong. You live in Florida, in a PENINSULA where there are tropical storms and hurricanes almost every year. You most likely need flood insurance. Unfortunately, there are common misconceptions about this, and most of them seem to arise when people obtain a mortgage, and their bank does not require them to purchase flood insurance because the home is not located in what's considered by FEMA a high risk flood zone; what this means is not that there is no risk of flooding, it merely means the risk is considered to be lower but not nonexistent, and you can obtain flood insurance for a discounted price since the risk is supposed to be lower.

About 25% of claims come out of special flood (high risk) zones. Unfortunately, because floods don't happen all the time like fires, storms and hurricanes do, it doesn't mean the never do. Even if they only occur every 20, 30 or even 100 years, they can't be predicted, and when they happen they are catastrophic and devastating.

Think about it this way: you pay thousands of dollars for your regular not-flood-included home insurance every year, and how much are you going to get from it if there is a flood? NOTHING. Unless you have flood insurance which in non special flood zones is very inexpensive (100-300 a year).

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Why has home insurance in Florida gotten so expensive?

In Florida, and lately across the nation as well, the industry has been seeing record levels of claims activity. This, in simple words means, people are using their insurance more and more. In some cases this is directly related to an increased amount of losses as is the case in Florida and its hurricanes, but unfortunately, it also has a lot to do with uncontested fraudulent claims, insurance abuse and inflation. In Florida, the industry has not only had to deal with hurricanes and the catastrophes they carry, but also with an out of pattern claim activity never seen before or practically elsewhere in the country. This became specially marked at the beginning of the year 2009 when the economy took a bad turn, and employment went on the rise dramatically, causing insurance rates to peak during 2011.

Insurance is similar to a obtaining a loan that you never have to pay back, and the only way to fund this money loaned to you in case of an emergency is through payment of premiums (the cost of policies) made by all policyholders. When cost to pay claims increase, the cost of insurance increases so companies can remain solvent and profitable. Insurance fraud and abuse is a big problem that all Floridians pay for. It should not be taken lightly, as with the increased cost of paying claims and inflation, they become the largest reason why Florida insurance rates continue to go up so much as of late.

Hurricanes and the risk management model of the state is also to blame for. Insurance companies competition helps price remain low; but unfortunately, competition in Florida for home insurance is very limited, as only a very few amount of companies are willing to take the risk in its greatly unprofitable market. Insurers most deal with outdated legislation, insurance fraud and abuse and top it off, hurricanes which cause catastrophic damage in large areas of homes. In many cases there have been several companies that have gone out of business since they became underfunded to pay for all claims. Others have simply decided to close their books not not take additional risk, as it's extremely risky and potentially unprofitable to do so.

Some people argue that insurance premiums should go down in Florida since hurricanes have not hit us as bad in the last few years as in Wilma in 2005. However, this doesn't mean they will not happen again, and insurance companies need to collect the correct amount of premium so they can have enough money to pay for claims.

Will this ever change? It's hard to tell. This needs major work in all areas of risk management: legislation, insurers regulation, and of course both the natural and economic environment in the state. If regulation is relaxed, more providers can come into play, but it also gives the private carriers more power to control rates, on the other hand if the state continues to utilize a heavy hand approach and insure most of the states, market competition will remain virtually nonexistent and prices will remain high. It's a challenge for sure. In the meantime, be sure to get a quote so you can maximize your chances of obtaining a good rate.

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Why is so expensive to insure screen enclosures in Florida?

When you think about it, it not difficult to realize that a screen is probably one of the most fragile parts of your house when it comes to hurricanes and strong winds. If a storm or hurricane comes, the chances of the screen getting damaged is extremely high. For this reason, insurance providers need to collect additional money to be able to pay claims out.

Insurance rates for screen enclosures vary from carrier to carrier, so be sure to get a quote so you can compare prices and get an idea of the cost involved.

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Why are so many people insured with Citizens in the state? isn't this an example of a monopoly?

In 2002, the Florida Legislature passed a law that combined the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA) and the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA). This resulted in the creation of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, which more efficiently and effectively provides insurance to, and serves the needs of, homeowners in high-risk areas and others who cannot find coverage in the open, private insurance market.

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is the state government homeowners insurance company. They were originally created to help consumers in Florida obtain coverage whenever there was no other option in the private carrier. Some argue this has resulted in high house insurance rates, although hurricanes are the primary cause that originally gave Citizens its prominence when a large amount of private insurers left the state.

Citizens is in a strict definition a monopoly, although It is an unintended monopoly. Since the majority of the other property insurance companies have pulled out of the Florida property insurance market, many Floridians are finding that Citizens Insurance Company is not the Florida home insurer of last resort, but of only resort and that any insurance quote that they get is going to be from Citizens Insurance no matter who the agent is.

To protect and encourage existing homeowner's insurance companies, Citizens is not supposed to charge less for a premium than the top insurance companies in the state. Smaller companies can and are charging more than Citizens. So whenever some insurance company applies for an increase in its rates then Citizens premiums must also follow those charges up if the state approves the application. Citizens Insurance is currently the largest Florida homeowner's insurance company.

Some fear that privatization won't work here, because it was the private companies been scared off by hurricanes that led to the creation of Citizens in the first place. possible consequences if Citizens were to close are that since there are not any admitted carriers (meaning Florida state regulated carriers) writing in a large number of Florida areas agents would have to write through non admitted carriers not regulated by Florida. The foreclosures would triple as the forced place insurance would once again increase mortgage payments in most instances doubling or tripling them. On the other hand, some argue that a more business friendly state and legislation can benefit consumers by allowing healthy market competition, protecting insurers from fraud and losses while passing the savings to consumers.

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If I have a claim, how will I get paid for the damage?

One thing is for sure, the moment you have a claim is not the right time to become familiarized with your coverage. Make sure you know what you have, and plan ahead. In Florida, deductibles are higher for hurricane and wind losses in average, so be prepared to pay a large amount of repairs out of pocket.

Follow as close as possible all the recommendations of the National Hurricane Center here. Really. It makes a big difference. Once you have done all that, keep reading...

If a loss occurs (fire, theft, water, wind, etc.) make sure to do whatever is possible to keep the house from getting further damage. Document everything with photos if possible, and keep all receipts of expenses out pocket you may have, as these can count towards your claim settlement. Also, make sure you don't expose yourself or others to injury, as this is something that commonly occurs after major losses such as fire or hurricanes, people constantly become injured not because of the storm, fire or direct cause of damage, but due to lack of preparation and caution.

The process of having a homeowners claim typically involves you calling your agent or insurance claims department, and an adjuster (claims inspector and assessor) schedules a visit to see the damages. They are basically experts on looking up your policy jacket to see what's covered and what's not. The policy jacket is the thick booklet you get in the mail when you purchase a policy that is very boring to read and says in details all the terms of the policy. The adjuster makes a determination of what's covered and what's not based on your testimony, the evidence of the damage and in general all the information he or she gathered. Once this determination is made, they calculate the amount of the loss based on either the cash value (depreciated) or replacement value (new) of the damaged goods, subtracts the deductible from the total, and give you a check for that amount.

Often times, this amount of loss can't be determined by the adjuster alone, so a third party vendor (contractor, electrician, roofer, etc.) is hired to come up with an estimate and your company may pay him or her directly. In cases where the cost of repair is higher than the already paid out amount, the company usually supplies this additional amount of money, as long as no bad faith is involved.

There may be other aspects of the claim process and how claims are paid. Your policy jacket and agent are your best source of advice.

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How come I have never heard of most companies in Florida and most are not even rated under AM Best

If you have been reading the posts above, you probably have a good idea why this is. However, in a nutshell, here 's why: Florida is not necessarily an insurance company friendly state. Why? well, hurricanes for starters, and add to that fraud, insurance abuse and outdated legislation and regulation.

So how can this explain why most companies are not rated or particularly nation wide popular ones? In brutal terms, the hurricanes and the factors above scared them off and they chose not to do business here, or very limited business. Does that mean that all the remaining companies are a bunch of good for-nothing Mickey Mouse providers that won't do the job? Not necessarily. A more accurate statement would be to say that the Florida market requires a unique and more specialized type of carrier than the rest of the country. For this reason, you should not be particularly alarmed to find out that some of the most solid companies writing new business in the state are not rated in the popular insurance site AM Best. So how can you make sure you are going trust the carrier to pay your claims? Well, the answer has many parts.

First, you should find out if the company is an "admitted" carrier. This means the company has a "certificate of authority" and can do business in the state of Florida and complies with its regulations. This generally means that the Florida Insurance Guarantee Association (FIGA) is behind the company in case it becomes insolvent. Reputation is certainly important, and it's a little more difficult to measure than financial strength. A good to place to get started is to look and compare customer complaints among companies here. Some agencies also employ good practices of only broker with financially solid carriers which also have a good reputation. in Florida, since AM Best only rates a handful of the relatively new group of Florida insurance companies, Demotech is the most widely used source for financial stability, although should not be taken as the only and 100% reliable indicator of financial strength. An insurance company needs to have enough reserves, reinsurance, liquidity and capacity to be consider financially strong, and history has proved that even previously A-Exceptional rated companies in Florida have gone out of business and into receivership just a couple of years after having such rating.

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How can a company know how much I have in personal property when I file a claim?

In a nutshell, they don't unless you tell them. A great idea is to keep an inventory of your contents along with receipts, and appraisals for specially valuable items such as artwork, collectibles and jewelry. Your insurance is going to cover only a standard amount per category (1000 for jewelry, 500 for cash, etc, etc) and you can only get paid for higher values if you increase them or schedule personal property that has higher value than such standards. Be sure to discuss this with your agent so you can obtain adequate coverage for your personal property.

Now, do you have to painstakingly create a detailed inventory of all your personal property so you can claim losses? No you don't. It's just recommended, to make both your and the adjuster's life easier. If you don't have it, the adjuster will still take your testimony, police report and inspection of the damage to process your claim.

One of the most commonly discovered insurance frauds involve staged burglaries. These are fake thefts where the insured tells the insurance company he or she was robbed in order to fraudulently obtain cash. Insurance companies are very good at discovering this, and they get better every day, so even though they do not require that you share with them a full schedule of everything you own, they will inspect for signs of forcible entry and become involved with law enforcement when fraud is suspected.

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I live in a condo, so I don't need home insurance since everything is covered by the association, right?

Wrong. You do, for many reasons. Most condominiums insure the structure of the building and the common areas, leaving the interior completely uninsured and up to you to protect. Not only this, but what about liability coverages? What if you get sued for injuries and damages to neighbors or guests?

The interior of your condominium that a condominium owners policy covers usually encompasses anything that is not part of the concrete structure of the building, such as doors, fixtures, cabinets, flooring, ceiling coverings, drapes and in some cases even windows, not to mention all of your belongings.

For all these reasons, it's a really bad idea to live in a Condominium and not carry insurance for it.

Start by getting a quote now.

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I rent my home, why would I need renters coverage?

Usually people who rent don't think about getting renters coverage, because the law or bank didn't require them to do so when they own a car or a mortgage. Although renter's insurance is usually not required, it is just as necessary to have. Renter's insurance typically protects your personal items, and also gives you help with temporary housing and liability protection such as medical expenses for people on your property or a lawyer if you are liable for injuries or damages to others. As always with all insurance, know your options by getting a quote first.

Items to consider:
Amount of Coverage: What if you lost everything you owned in a fire, storm or hurricane? How much would you need to replace it all? Clothing, china, electronics, jewelry, etc, etc?

Start by getting a quote now.

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Why did I get cancelled? I never even had a claim?

Insurance companies have to remain solvent so they can pay all the potential amount of claims they may have to. For this reason, sometimes they have to "free up" capacity so they can remain having the financial stability required to do so. Usually they do this eliminating what's considered to be the highest risks in their book of clients, however sometimes this process is done at random too.

What you can do is simply get a quote to obtain replacement coverage now.

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I only stopped paying for a week or so and I got cancelled. If I want my policy back is a lot more money. Why?

Insurance providers consider different factors when evaluating the risk they insure us for. One of those factors are the behaviors and habits of clients, since they have a direct impact in risk statistically speaking. When a policy is lapsed, this is considered to be a considerable indicator of greater risk, since a person who is not responsible enough to ensure their own property is continuously covered constitutes a higher risk than a careful one that always makes sure things are protected and in good order.

When a policy holder whose policy has lapses re-applies, he or she is often considered for a different kind of policy, since his or her qualifications have changed due to the lapse.

What you can do is simply get a quote to obtain replacement coverage now and make sure you are getting a fair deal.

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Why do companies care about my credit, my prior coverage amount and length and other reports that have nothing to do with my home?

Insurance providers consider different factors when evaluating the risk they insure us for. One of those factors are the behaviors and habits of clients, since they have a direct impact in risk statistically speaking. Credit, the continuous length of coverage of a potential customer and their limits of coverage say a lot about the risk the insurance company assumes.

People may think even though they have low to average credit, they are very safe homeowners and this should not be held against them, but statistical correlations exist and that is the reason why companies often use credit and other consumer reports to determine rates.

What you can do is simply get a quote to make sure you are getting a fair deal.

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What can I do to get the best price in Home Insurance?

Home insurance price is driven by a number of factors. As you probably already know, credit and the length of time you have had insurance for make a difference, but in reality, these factors are really limited in determining rates when compared to:
- Age of the home: Newer homes often have much better rates due to improvements on the building code.
- Distance to the coast: Flood and Winds of high velocity will make your insurance be much higher if you are closer to the coast line.
- Home upgrades and Hurricane protection: The State of Florida has a program called "Mitigation Verification", which allows you to obtain large discounts if you upgrade your home with hurricane protective devices or improve your home to make it more resistant to hurricanes in general. The way the roof is connected to the walls, the type of opening protection, the roof covering and the roof geometrical shape are some of the factors that considerably change your home premium.
- Get a Fire and Burglar monitored alarm discount. This considerably lowers your non-hurricane portion of premium.
- Never let your policy lapse. This changes the way companies look at you in terms of risk.

What you can do is simply get a quote to make sure you are getting a good deal.

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Will my price go up if I have a claim?

While homeowners insurance in Florida does not penalize insureds in terms of claims frequency as much as auto insurance does, having an excessive amount of claims (usually 2+ in a 3 year term excluding acts of God claims) may get you cancelled.

Getting cancelled is pretty much the equivalent of getting a higher rate, since most likely you will not be able to qualify for the same rate you had on the prior carrier.

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What's this stuff about Special Coverage A for condo insurance? Do I really need this?

If you live in a Condo, the "Special Coverage A" optional endorsement is essential coverage you should not pass on.

This optional add-on, in addition to be extremely inexpensive (usually around $15 to $20 a year), it converts your coverage for the building interior of your home into an "All-Perils" coverage. This means, that with the exception of the typical exclusions of the policy, everything else not specifically mentioned in the policy contract is covered.

If you understood the above paragraph correctly, you should be realizing by now it's simply silly not to have this. What are the consequences of not having this coverage on your condo policy?

Say you have damage or any kind of loss that deviates in the slightest from the policy contract language, for instance, say your policy covers you for water damage caused by a pipe breakage; however, you suffer a loss from a fish tank breakage (or any other source of water except "a pipe") the insurance company will simply not pay the claim. It's not in the contract. It's that simple.

Lots of claims are denied in a yearly basis just because policy holders rejected this valuable coverage, or simply asked for "basic coverage only". Be sure to call your agent and add this right away to you condo policy. It's not worth paying such high premiums for insurance and not have this.

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