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Property insurance in Florida

The 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons changed the homeowner insurance environment in Florida.  Most national, multiline insurance companies have undergone significant nonrenewal programs, leaving many consumers scrambling for coverage, and feeling abandoned by companies that have provided coverage for years.  If you've been notified by your current company that your policy will not be renewed, or you've seen an increase in the annual premium being charged, Encompass IFS can help!  We've teamed up with an exceptional list of well-rated regional companies offering comprehensive coverage at competitive rates.

Protect your most valuable asset

Your home is more than just a piece of property; it's part of who you are.  At Encompass Insurance and
Financial Solutions, we understand the importance of your protecting your home and your possessions.  You can count on us to help you get an affordable policy to protect your most valuable asset.

What is a standard homeowner insurance policy?

A standard homeowners policy includes a number of standard types of coverage.  They include:
  •         residence coverage - covers the main structure
  •         additional structures - structures not attached to the main main (fences, sheds, etc.) 
  •         personal belongings - basically everything inside your home not permanently attached, subject to certain limitations
  •         additional living expenses - pays for living expenses when you home is deemed unliveable, and/or while repairs are done
  •         liability protection - protection against covered losses caused to others while on your property and elsewhere

It's important to understand the coverage that you're paying for.  Let Encompass IFS help you make sense of your homeowner's insurance policy, and get the policy you can afford with the coverage you need.

Does my homeowner's policy cover flood damage?

Water damage caused by flood is not covered under a standard homeowner policy.  In most cases, flood insurance is available at very affordable rates from the Federal Flood Insurance Program, which is overseen by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).  If you're in a flood zone, your mortgage company will require you to maintain a flood insurance policy.  But it's important to understand that your property doesn't have to be in a flood zone to experience flood damage.  See our "flood" section for further information.

What discounts are available?

There are a number of things that can help lower a premium for many home insurance policies.  Newer homes can qualify for building code credits that older homes may not.  Wind mitigation discounts are now available in Florida which can lower a policy premium based on the construction quality of a home, particularly the roof and windows.  A separate roof inspection may be necessary to receive discounts. Storm shutters can also qualify most homes for a discount.  In addition, many companies offer a discount for homes with monitored security systems.  Many companies use credit in determining rates, and discounts vary by company.

Why does my premium keep going up?

Without any significant storms affecting Florida since 2005, many consumer wonder why premiums keep increasing.  Two main issues continue to raise rates for property insurance in Florida.  First, the cost of reinsurance, very simply insurance for insurance companies, has increased significantly in the past five years.  Secondly, sink hole claims have been on the rise in Florida, and continue to be a strain on insurance companies because of the cost of investigating the claims.  It's important for consumers to know that there are two distinct coverages in a homeowner's insurance policy - 1) catastrophic ground collapse, and 2) sinkhole coverage.  It's important to understand the difference, so speak with your insurance agent, or call us for further information.

Payment Options

In most cases, a home mortgage will include an escrow account to pay property insurance and property taxes annually.  The insurance company bills the mortgage company for each annual renewal.  Without an escrow account included in a mortgage, the annual premium for home insurance is billed to the homeowner.  Most property insurance companies offer multiple payment options.

I own a condominium.  Do I need a homeowner policy?

Many condominium or townhome developments insure the main structures and common areas under a "master policy."   These policies cover common areas you share with other owners such as the roof and outside walls, as well as walkways and other shared areas.  In this case, you'll need a condominium policy to protect your personal belongings, and also the inside structure (walls, doors, etc.) in order to properly insure your home.  In other cases, even with multi-unit buildings, developments require their homeowners to insure their properties with a standard homeowner policy.  If you have questions, talk to your condominium or townhome development office.  It's important that you understand how to properly insure these homes.

Can my condominium development require me to have a condo policy?

A new Florida law applies to all condominium policies issued or renewed after January 1, 2009.  Your condo association has the right to require coverage, and even buy a "force placed" policy for you if you don't provide proof of insurance, much like a lienholder can for your car if you don't maintain insurance coverage.  A personal policy will be less expensive. 

The new law requires that your condo policy provide special "loss assessment" coverage of at least $2,000.  The law also allows a condo association to be listed on your policy as a "named insured/loss payee," similar to a lienholder being listed on your auto insurance policy.  The condo association would be listed on any loss payments on your policy.  In addition, the new law requires condominium unit owners to provide proof of hazard and liability insurance to the association on an annual basis. 

It's important that you understand laws that affect condominium  ownership.  Encompass IFS can help, so call us today!

What is renter's insurance?

As a renter, you need to protect your personal property against damage and theft.  Many people aren't aware that renter's insurance is reasonable priced, and can give you peace of mind for your valuable items and electronics.  Renter's insurance also includes personal liability protection, which can property your if you are held responsible for injury to another person, or damage to another person's property.

Do I need renter's insurance?

Many people don't consider renter's insurance as a necessary expense.  But with apartment buildings not having multiple floors with many units per floor, it's especially important to protect yourself.  Whether you're renting an apartment, condominium, or home, you can get a renter's insurance policy to protect your personal belongings very affordably.  Let Encompass IFS help you with this very important coverage.

Let Encompass IFS help you find the best coverage available at competitive rates.  We'll ensure that the transition with home insurance will be a smooth one. Call us today! 
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