Homeowner's Academy

This is your guide to interesting facts, tips and general homeowner information. We hope you find the information useful - and feel free to share with friends!

7 Questions to Ask When Buying Florida Home Insurance

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Aug 03, 2015

7Questions_WebImagine this: You just signed up with a new Florida home insurance company. Shortly after, a heavy storm sweeps through your neighborhood. To your dismay, you come home to find a gaping hole in the middle of your roof with a large tree branch protruding through it.

You frantically contact your insurance provider to file a claim, only to find out that the damage isn’t covered under your policy. Not only are you left bearing the hefty repair bill, but you also have to find a company to come and fix your roof. What a nightmare!

When it comes to finding the right home insurance company for your needs, there are several factors to take into consideration before you make a final decision. Here are seven important questions to ask yourself when selecting your next home insurance company.

1. What is my home’s value?

Your home is one of your largest investments, so you want to be confident that it’s properly insured. Before you begin researching home insurance companies, you need to determine the value of your home. Online appraisal tools are useful for estimating home values, but they are not 100% accurate. For a precise calculation, you should contact a certified appraiser to evaluate your home’s value.

Your insurance coverage should be large enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your home if it’s destroyed. Some Florida home insurance companies offer flexible insurance options to meet a variety of your home ownership needs, with different policy options designed to fit a range of budgetary and protection needs.

2. What is the value of the assets in my home?

How much is the “stuff” in your home worth? The best way to record the value of your assets is to conduct a home inventory. This step will also help you identify any valuables that require additional coverage or equipment that could impact your coverage. Here are some tips on photographing your home’s valuables.

3. Am I paying for coverage I don’t need?

When was the last time you reviewed your homeowner’s insurance policy? If you have made improvements to your home, built new structures on your property or completed any other major renovations, then the value of your home may have changed.

If you are in this situation, you will want to either increase coverage under your current policy or shop around for a new policy with coverage that meets your needs.

4. How available is my insurance company if I have questions?

Providing quality service is not only about responding when disaster strikes. It’s equally important that your insurance company is there for you whenever you need them, no matter how big or small the problem.

Is it easy to get in touch with a customer service representative? Is your insurance company active on social media? If so, how quickly do they respond to your questions? These are all important indicators of how available your insurance company is when it comes to answering policyholders’ questions.

Check your insurance company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating – which provides customers with a simple and straightforward rating based on a company’s adherence to the BBB’s Standards for Trust, a comprehensive set of best practices for how businesses should treat the public in a fair and honest manner.

5. How quickly will they respond if I have a claim?

When disaster strikes, time is of the essence. Can your insurance company provide rapid recovery after a loss? Do they have the resources available to make emergency repairs and restore policyholders to pre-loss condition 24/7?

From simplified claims and priority repair service to quality workmanship and materials, you should be able to count on your insurance company to save you time, hassle and money in the event of a loss.

6. What will my insurance company do after a hurricane?

Is your home insurance company prepared if a hurricane hits Florida? After a major storm, a shortage of available construction materials can stifle the recovery process, resulting in price surges and leaving homeowners stranded.

Make sure your insurance company has the physical and fiscal resources ready to respond to extensive loss and help restore a sense of normalcy and peace of mind. They should invest in preparedness by stocking millions of dollars worth of quality recovery supplies, including plywood, tarps, tools, generators and other items that are in demand after a storm.

7. How financially stable is my insurance provider?

You deserve peace of mind knowing that your home insurance company is financially stable enough to protect your home and belongings when a widespread disaster strikes.

Review your insurance company’s Demotech rating – which measures an insurer’s financial performance and its ability to pay claims. Only consider Florida insurance companies with a Financial Stability Rating of A, Exceptional

Also verify that your insurance company maintains a strong balance sheet, sizable surplus, and solid reinsurance program. These are signs that, in the event of a big 100-year storm, they will be capable of restoring policyholders to pre-loss condition.