Posts Tagged ‘Florida older home insurance’

You Can Find Insurance Coverage for an Old Florida Home

January 3, 2010

If you own an older Florida homes you face a special challenge as the Florida insurance crisis continues.  Depending on the building codes in effect when your home was built, older homes can be subject to more damage in Florida hurricanes.  Your older home could have outdated electrical, plumbing, and heating systems that makes it more susceptible to fire, water damage, and other perils.  Finally, the age, condition, and construction materials of the roof can result in larger claims for these older homes after a Florida hurricane.

With all of that said, it is still possible for many owners of older Florida homes to find private homeowners insurance in Florida – and at an affordable price.

As Florida home insurance companies consider the age of a home, they generally group homes into the following categories:

Built 2004 and prior

Built 1994 and prior

20, 30, or 40 years old or newer

Up to 75 years old

The first two categories take into consideration the Florida Building Code modifications of the early 2000’s and the mid 1990’s.  Homes built after each of the building code updates are considered to be more resistant to damage, especially from hurricanes.

The third group above varies by insurance company, but the main theme is this:  As homes reach 20, 30, or 40 years old, a 4 point inspection is generally required by home insurance companies prior to issuing coverage.  These inspections look at the age and condition of the roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.  Depending on the results of these inspections, you may be required to update one or more of these areas.

Finally, 75 years of age is the cutoff beyond which Florida home insurance companies rarely agree to offer coverage – regardless of the outcome of the inspections and home upgrades that are present.

Before taking into consideration how close your Florida home is to the coast, the following statements are generally accurate regarding how insurance companies look at the age of your home:

Homes built 1995 and later will be the easiest to find insurance coverage for and you will have more company options to consider.

As your home reaches 20, 30, and 40 year old, there will be fewer insurance company options for you to consider as each of these levels is achieved.

If you home is over 75 years old, it is very unlikely that your home will be covered by a private Florida home insurance company.

Here are some actions you can take to have the best chance at obtaining low cost Florida insurance on your older Florida home:

Get a Florida wind mitigation inspection on your home at your own expense.

Immediately address the deficiencies identified in the wind inspection report.  There might be certain improvements that can be made to things like wall to roof connectors that don’t require a new roof or there might be other low coast mitigation steps that you can take.

Find out the age of your roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.  Find out how much it will cost to address each of these items and make the improvements that you can afford to make now.

Some of the upgrades that you need might qualify for Federal energy tax credits of utility company credits for improved efficiency.  Find out if either of these sources are willing to give you some financial assistance.

Let your local Florida legislators know about your situation and encourage them to extend the My Safe Florida Home program – and to increase the number of homes that are eligible for matching grants to harden Florida homes.

Finally, when it comes to shopping for Florida home insurance, it is essential that you work with more than one independent insurance agent – not just one.  Why?  Because at this point in time, there are about 40 Florida home insurance companies still writing new business.  However, as the age of your home increases, many of these companies won’t cover your home.  Working with more than one agent will give you the best chance to get quotes from all of the Florida insurance companies that are still covering older homes.  If you are unaware of even one of these companies, you could overpay for Florida home insurance by thousands of dollars.

Don’t rely on misinformation or word of mouth when it comes to finding affordable Florida home insurance on an older home.  Follow these steps to give you the most options for insuring your older Florida home.

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Michael Letcher is a former Fortune 500 executive and a licensed Certified Public Accountant.  His on-line guide can help you find low cost insurance Florida for your older home.  Learn the secrets to affordable Florida insurance in his free newsletter at =>
http://www.homeinsurancebuyers.org

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