Here is what you need to know if you purchase homeowners insurance. Florida residents face some of the highest homeowners insurance rates in the nation, and the hardest underwriting when it comes to policy acceptance. Almost all homeowners insurance companies that Florida residents have access to will complete an onsite inspection within the first 90 days after the policy effective date. For central Florida homeowners insurance policies, the rigorous underwriting process will apply as well. Read on to discover the Top Five reasons your policy may be cancelled within the first 90 days after your insurance agent binds coverage.
#5 Property is in generally poor condition.
Inspectors will look for how well you maintain the home. If the home needs paint, the lawn needs to be mowed and the trees are overhanging the roof or other structures, this is a red flag to the insurance company underwriter. Poor condition may lead an insurer to think you are in financial trouble. This increases the chance of damage to the home. Insurance company underwriters want to feel warm and fuzzy about signing off on the issuance of a new policy. Keeping up the property curb appeal will help insure your Florida homeowners insurance policy will not be set to cancel.
#4 Home is Under Construction of Heavy Renovation
Most homeowners insurance companies Florida buyers have to choose from understand there are things you will want to do to improve your home after you close. You may want to paint the walls, change out fixtures and maybe even put in new cabinets. Most underwriters understand this, but what they do not want to see is major renovation taking place including but not limited to structural changes, major plumbing or electrical alterations and any other type of renovation that may require permitting or require you to leave the home unoccupied while the project is being completed. There are special builder’s risk / vacant home policies that do allow major renovation with underwriter approval, but not the standard HO-3 policy. If you don’t want your Florida homeowners insurance policy to cancel after moving in, be very careful about what you do with the home after you close.
#3 Pool Slide, Trampoline, Skateboard Ramp or other Unusual Liability Hazard
While loads of fun, hundreds of Floridians-mostly children, are hurt and even killed using trampolines, skateboard ramps and pool slides every year. If it is your child, you will probably just end up in the local ER. If it is someone else’s, you will end up in court. Since most all Florida homeowners Insurance company policies include coverage for liability, they want to limit any potential risk to their pocket book. There are a few companies that will offer you a policy even with a trampoline or pool slide, but make sure you understand if liability extends to the equipment or if they exclude coverage. Either way, if you can’t say no to little Johnny and choose to have one on your property, don’t be surprised if you get a cancellation letter after the underwriter finds out.
#2 Mean Dogs or too Many Dogs.
This one is obvious but will certainly cause cancellation of your Florida homeowners insurance. Florida residents need to understand that almost all policies exclude coverage for animals, unless you specifically buy the coverage. Even then it is a limited coverage. If the insurance inspector finds a pit bull, rottweiler, doberman, wolf hybrid, akita, chow, presa canario or staffordshire terrier or any dog with a bite history on your property, the policy will be cancelled with no questions asked. If you have one of these dogs, you will want to disclose this to your agent up front, so you do not have your policy taken out from under your feet a couple months later. Most companies also limit the number of dogs to two while a few companies allow a total of three. There are a select few companies who will allow some of the previously mentioned dog breeds but make sure you advise your agent you need a company who will accept your specific breed.
#1 How old is your Roof?
You’ve probably heard it said that the roof is the most important part of your home. It withstands the sun, rain, wind and other weather conditions. Most Florida roofing contractors will tell you that a shingle roof will last anywhere between 15-20 years. Because Florida has so many days of sun and rain, the weather takes an extra special toll on our roofs. Because water damage is such a costly claim, Florida homeowners insurance underwriters are extra careful to make sure your roof is up to the job. It they see curling, worn, damaged or missing shingles, they will either cancel the policy or send you a notice that the roof needs to be replaced before the next renewal. If you are purchasing a home, pay extra special attention to the roof and make sure you have at least 5 years left with none of the above conditions. This will not only help you keep the policy in effect, but keep your home dry when the big one hits.
If you have questions about a Florida homeowners insurance quote, or if you would like more information about homeowners insurance Tampa & FL residents qualify for, please call us today to receive coverage from the strongest companies with the best rates. We look forward to speaking with you. 813.920.8181 and TF at 1.877.277.2715.
Joshua Butts | Founder/Agent at Cornerstone Insurance, Inc.