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Homeowners Insurance Overview

Homeowners insurance protects your financial interests if your home is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. A peril is something that causes or may cause injury, loss, or destruction, such as a fire, tornado, or hurricane.

Although we have tried to give you a brief overview of the coverage found in your homeowners policy, insurance policies vary between insurers so you should always take the time to review the coverage included in your own policy to make sure you have the coverage you need. It’s too late to obtain additional coverage after a loss has occurred.

Types of Policies

There are many different types of homeowners insurance policies available. Normally, the type of policy coincides with the type of structure to be insured and how the structure is occupied. The type of policy also correlates to the coverage available as well.

Owner-Occupied: The main difference between policies which cover an owner-occupied, single family home is the perils covered. Basic or Broad Form policies (HO-1, HO-2) cover the structure for specified perils shown in the policy. Special form policies (HO-3) cover the structure for all perils except those specifically excluded in the policy.

Condo unit owners need a Condominium Unit-Owners Form (HO-6) which provides some coverage for the structure but primarily covers the personal property and liability of the insured. Condo unit owners policies normally cover named perils listed in the policy. However, a special endorsement can be purchased to broaden the policy to cover all perils except what is excluded in the contract.

The condo unit owners policy also provides Loss Assessment Coverage. It pays for your share of expenses for a covered loss to common property shared by all unit owners, up to the coverage limit. Policies must include at least $2,000 of loss assessment coverage with a deductible no greater than $250.

Renters: If you rent or lease your home, you need a renters policy (HO-4) to cover your personal property and liability.

Modified Coverage Form: Currently, in Florida, there are many insurers offering a Modified Coverage Form, (HO-8). The (HO-8) offers less coverage than the (HO-2). However, due to the company’s underwriting criteria, this may be the only coverage form offered by the insurer.

Dwelling Form: There are other property policies available for risks that may not qualify for a Homeowners policy. They are called Dwelling Forms. A Dwelling Form may be used instead of a Homeowner’s Form in the case of an older home, a home that is rented to others, or for other underwriting reasons.

Mobile Home: Many insurers have discontinued the sale of mobile home policies that duplicate Homeowners’ policies. Some insurers issue a dwelling form (discussed below) to cover a mobile home. .

Coverage

Homeowners insurance typically covers the dwelling including attached structures, certain unattached structures and your personal property. Additional Living Expense (ALE) and coverage for Liability is also normally included. All coverage is subject to the limits specified in the policy.

ALE provides indemnity for “additional” expenses of an insured that must live elsewhere due to a covered loss to the insured residence. ALE pays only reasonable ”excess” expenses until the property is habitable.

There are special limits on certain items such as jewelry, guns, furs, money, cameras, art or antiques, etc. You should review this list found in your policy and speak to your agent about additional coverage if needed.

Flood damage is not covered by your Homeowner's insurance policy. If you need flood coverage you must purchase a flood insurance policy.

Replacement Cost vs Actual Cash Value
There is a very clear distinction between these terms. Actual cash value (ACV) refers to a policy that covers items for their value at the time they are lost or stolen. This means depreciation will be deducted from the current value. Replacement cost refers to the cost to replace the item, regardless of how old or outdated it may be.

Most replacement cost policies require you to carry limits to meet a certain percentage of the replacement value (normally 80%) at all times. If you fail to carry the correct amount of insurance coverage, you may be responsible for a percentage of a partial loss.

Both types of contracts are available in Florida. You should refer to your own contract to determine how your loss may be settled.

Inflation Guard
Many insurance companies include a provision known as inflation guard in homeowners insurance policies so values increase on a yearly basis. However, this does not guarantee the values increase sufficiently to keep up with the cost of construction. This provision helps prevent problems of homes being underinsured. It is still the responsibility of the insured to evaluate their coverage each year to determine if the amount on the policy is sufficient. If an insured has concerns about the amount of coverage, they should speak with their agent about completing a new replacement cost estimate for their home.

Inspections

There are many types of property inspections. The most common are listed below. If the insurer requests a 4-point or specialized inspection and it is not provided, it can refuse to provide certain coverage or may refuse to insure the property at all.

Underwriting Inspection (Insurer Pays Cost): An insurer may require a visual inspection prior to writing a policy. This inspection is done to verify information given on the application about the home and property. The insurer may verify the construction of the home and whether there are potential hazards on the property such as unacceptable animals, pools, trampolines, unrepaired steps, steps without handrails, etc. The insurer may use the inspection to determine the presence of certain types of wiring or electrical panel boxes they believe increases the risk of a fire.

The inspection may also verify the maintenance of the home such as whether the property has any unrepaired damage. The insurer considers whether the home is properly maintained, such as, overgrown grass and weeds, trees with dead limbs near the home, non-operating vehicles on the property, etc. The insurer decides what risks to assume or avoid. If the insurer finds any of the risks listed above (this is not an all inclusive list), they may refuse coverage.

Insurers hire their own inspectors or inspection firms to inspect the condition of a property prior to the original issuance or renewal of a policy. This is part of the underwriting process. These inspectors are hired and paid by the insurance company so they decide who to use and what qualifications they must meet. Florida law does not address who an insurance company can hire for their underwriting process. The Department of Financial Services would not have authority to intercede on an inspector’s behalf if they were denied employment/contracts with an insurer.

4-Point Inspection: If you are insuring an older home, the insurer may require an inspection of the following items: The roof (to determine its life expectancy), the plumbing, electrical wiring, or heating and air. The insured/applicant pays for this inspection.

Specialized Inspection: Sometimes, an insurer may request an inspection of only one item, such as the roof. The determination of the life expectancy of a roof is one of the most common inspections requested today. Another common inspection requested in certain areas is sinkholes. The insured/applicant pays for this inspection.

Mitigation Inspection: Policyholders may elect to have an inspection to determine what wind mitigation credits they are entitled to receive on their homeowner’s windstorm premium. These inspectors complete the OIR-B1-1802 inspection form for the insured to submit to their insurance company. Insurers have the right to reinspect your home to verify your entitlement to these credits. The consumer normally pays for this type of inspection. However, if the insurer elects to reinspect a property, the insurer pays for the inspection.

Rates

Property Insurance Premium Base Rates are developed using several factors

  • The location of the property: The city, county, zip code can be used to establish the territory.

  • The amount of coverage on the dwelling.

  • The fire protection class: The rating of the fire department in that territory. The ratings range from 1-10 established by the Insurance Services Office. A rating of Class 1 represents exemplary fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire-suppression program does not meet minimum criteria.

  • Mitigation Credits given for certain items that help reduce hurricane/windstorm losses.

  • The construction of the dwelling such as wood frame, concrete block, brick, etc. Companies charge different premiums based on the fire resistance of the construction material.

  • Some insurance companies charge a higher premium according to the age of the home.

  • Some insurance companies charge a higher premium if you didn’t consistently maintain prior homeowners coverage.

After the base rate is determined, other rating factors are applied to determine individual surcharges and credits. Also, assessments currently due are added to the base rate to determine the final rate.

In most instances, an insurer must charge the rates filed with the Office of Insurance Regulation. However, with written consent of the insured signed prior to the policy inception date, the insurance company may use a rate in excess of the otherwise applicable filed rate on any specific risk. This is also referred to as A Rating or Excess Rates. An insurance company may not use a consent to rate form for more than 5 percent of its personal lines policies written or renewed in each calendar.

Underwriting

Underwriting guidelines vary between insurers. However, below are a few of the most common things an insurer reviews when determining whether to insure a new property or how much to charge. They also use this same underwriting to determine whether or not to offer a renewal policy.

The insurer may consider the age of the home, roof, plumbing, electrical wiring or the heat and air. They consider the condition and location of the home and who occupies it. They may refuse to insure an individual that owns certain animals. Most insurers believe the presence of certain animals on the premises increases liability risk. The credit and loss history of the applicant is also considered. If the insurer does make an underwriting decision based on adverse information contained on a credit report, they must furnish the insured with a copy of the report or provide the name, address, and telephone number of the reporting agency.

If an insurer refuses to insure an applicant or if it decides to non-renew or cancel an existing homeowners policy, it must provide advance notice to the insured and provide the specific reason for their decision. This is discussed further in the nonrenewal – cancellation information.

Cancellation

Cancellation means the termination of an insurance policy before its normal expiration date (in other words, mid-term). If the company sent you a non-renewal notice, the requirements are discussed under the Nonrenewal Tab.

Insurers must provide a specific reason for cancellation in their notice to the insured. Depending on the situation, the following advance notices must be provided to the insured:

  • Binders, 5 days unless it was issued for more than 60 day period;

  • During the first 90 days of contract, insurers must provide 20-day advance notice with certain exceptions;

  • A 10-day advance notice if the premium is not paid;

  • After the first 90 days of contract, the insurer may only cancel for misrepresentation, non-payment of premium, failure to comply with underwriting requirements, a substantial change in the risk, or if all policies in a given class of insureds are being cancelled.

  • Exception: Insurers may cancel policies with 45-days advance notice if the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) determines that the early cancellation of the policies is necessary to protect the best interests of the public or policyholders. The OIR must also approve the insurer’s plan for early cancellation or nonrenewal.

Cancellation Limitations

Act of God Claims: Only under certain circumstances is it permissible for claims on property insurance policies that are the result of an "Act of God", to be cited as the reason for cancellation. The insurer must demonstrate, by claims frequency or otherwise, that the insured has failed to take action reasonably necessary, as requested by the insurer, to prevent recurrence of damage to the insured property. However, the insurer may raise a deductible at renewal.

Daycare on Premises: With exceptions, Florida law prevents an insurer from canceling a homeowners' insurance policy solely on the basis of operating a daycare business at the residence. The insurer can cancel a policy if one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • The insured does not carry a separate liability policy or endorsement at all times that provides liability coverage for the daycare home operations;

  • The insured fails to comply with the daycare licensure and registration requirement; or

  • The insurer discovers any willful or grossly negligent acts or omissions, or any violations of state laws or regulations establishing safety standards for daycare homes by the insured, or by his/her representatives which materially increase any of the risks insured.

  • The insured cares for more children than allowed by law;

During a Hurricane: If a cancellation is scheduled to take place during a hurricane, the insurer is required to extend coverage until the end of the duration of the hurricane. However, the insurer may charge the “current” premium rate (the rate then in effect) for the extended coverage.

Mortgage Company failed to pay premium from escrow: If funds were available in escrow and the mortgage company failed to pay the premium in a timely manner resulting in cancellation of the policy, the insurance company should reinstate coverage with no lapse if the premium is received within 90 days of the renewal date. The lender should reimburse the property owner for any penalty or fees imposed by the insurer and paid by the property owner for purposes of reinstating the policy

If the lender pays the premium more than 90 days after the effective date, and the insurer refuses to reinstate the insurance policy, the lender shall pay the difference between the cost of the previous insurance policy and a new, comparable insurance policy for a period of 2 years. However, this law is not included in the Insurance Code. Therefore, complaints regarding the lender should be referred to the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) at (850) 487-9687.

Pending/Open Claim or Existing Damage: Currently, there are no laws that prohibit an insurer from cancelling a property policy if the insured has a pending claim except upon a declaration of an emergency and the filing of an order by the Commissioner of Insurance Regulation.

Premium Refund Timeframe: When a Property Policy is cancelled by the insurer or the insured, any unearned premium must be returned to the insured within 15 working days after the effective date of the cancellation. (Unless the policy is subject to an audit) If the premium is financed with a Premium Finance Company, the unearned premium must be returned to the Premium Finance Company.

Sinkhole Claim: Florida law states an insurer may not cancel any property policy on the basis of a claim for a partial loss caused by a sinkhole, as long as the total of the claim payments do not exceed the current policy limit and provided the insured has repaired the structure in accordance with the engineering recommendations. If the policy limits are paid, the policy can be non-renewed by the insurer.

Water Damage Claim: A single claim on a property insurance policy which is the result of water damage may not be used as the sole reason for cancellation unless the insurer can demonstrate that the insured failed to take action reasonably requested by the insurer to prevent a future similar occurrence of damage to the insured property.

Nonrenewal

A nonrenewal is the termination of an insurance policy at its normal expiration date.

Insurers must provide a specific reason in their notice to the insured if it nonrenews a policy. They must also provide advance notice to the first named insured listed on the policy.

Advance notice must be provided as follows:

  • Other company assumes Citizens Policy: Citizens Property Insurance Corporation must give a 45-day advance written notice for policies being assumed by an authorized insurer.

  • Home and motor vehicle policy combined: 90-days advance notice of nonrenewal for policies that cover both a home and motor vehicle. The policy can be nonrenewed for any reason applicable to either the property or motor vehicle insurance.

  • Insured less than 5 years, not effective during hurricane season: 100-days advance notice (if not effective during hurricane season), if insured with the insurer less than 5 years. (Citizens’ has an exception located under 45-days advance notice above.)

  • Insured less than 5 years, effective during hurricane season: 100-days notice or by June 1st, whichever is earlier, if the nonrenewal is to be effective during hurricane season, if insured with the insurer less than 5 years. (The requirement for providing written notice by June 1 of a nonrenewal effective between June 1 and November 30 does not apply to a policy being nonrenewed due to a revision in the coverage for sinkhole losses and catastrophic ground cover collapse.) If the nonrenewal is scheduled to take place during a hurricane, the insurer is required to extend coverage until the end of the duration of the hurricane. However, the insurer may charge the “current” premium rate for the extended coverage.

  • Insured 5 or more years: 120-days advance notice if the policy has been in effect for at least 5 years with the insurer or its affiliate. (Citizens’ has an exception located under 45-days advance notice above.)

Nonrenewal Limitations

Act of God Claims: Only under certain circumstances is it permissible for claims on property insurance policies that are the result of an "Act of God", to be cited as the reason for nonrenewal. The insurer must demonstrate, by claims frequency or otherwise, that the insured has failed to take action reasonably necessary, as requested by the insurer, to prevent recurrence of damage to the insured property. However, the insurer may increase a deductible at renewal due to act of God claims.

Credit Report/Score: Insurers cannot non-renew a homeowners policy solely based on information from a credit report, for having no credit history, or for having an adverse credit history due to medical bills. Also, if the insurer refuses to insure or non-renews a policy due to adverse information contained on a credit report, they must furnish the insured with a copy of the report or provide the name, address, and telephone number of the reporting agency.

Daycare on Premises: With exceptions, Florida law prevents an insurer from nonrenewing a homeowners' insurance policy solely on the basis of operating a daycare business at the residence. The insurer can nonrenew a policy if one or more of the following conditions occur:

  • The insured cares for more children than allowed by law;

  • The insured does not carry a separate liability policy or endorsement at all times that provides liability coverage for the daycare home operations;

  • The insured fails to comply with the daycare licensure and registration requirements; or

  • The insurer discovers any willful or grossly negligent acts or omissions, or any violations of state laws or regulations establishing safety standards for daycare homes by the insured, or by his/her representatives which materially increase any of the risks insured.

During a Hurricane: If a nonrenewal is scheduled to take place during a hurricane, the insurer is required to extend coverage until the end of the duration of the hurricane. However, the insurer may charge the “current” premium rate (the rate then in effect) for the extended coverage.

Nonrenewal of more than 10,000 policies: An insurer planning to nonrenew more than 10,000 residential property insurance policies within a 12-month period must advise the Office of Insurance Regulation 90 days before the issuance of any notices of nonrenewal. The notice to OIR must disclose the reason for the nonrenewal, the effective dates, and any arrangements made for other insurers to offer coverage to affected policyholders. This requirement does not apply to the policies being nonrenewed to exclude Sinkhole coverage.

Pending/Open Claim or Existing Damage: Currently, there are no laws that prohibit an insurer from cancelling a property policy if the insured has a pending claim except upon a declaration of an emergency and the filing of an order by the Commissioner of Insurance Regulation.

Single Water Damage Claim: A single claim on a property insurance policy which is the result of water damage may not be used as the sole reason for non-renewal unless the insurer can demonstrate that the insured failed to take action reasonably requested by the insurer to prevent a future similar occurrence of damage to the insured property.

Sinkhole Claim: Florida law states an insurer may not non-renew any property policy on the basis of a claim for a partial loss caused by a sinkhole, as long as the total of the claim payments do not exceed the current policy limit and provided the insured has repaired the structure in accordance with the engineering recommendations. If the policy limits are paid, the policy can be non-renewed by the insurer. (The policyholder can also request cancellation of the policy once the policy limits are paid and should receive a refund of any unearned premium that may apply.)

Sinkhole Coverage Elimination: An insurer may non-renew a property policy that provides Sinkhole Coverage. However, the insurer must offer the policyholder a policy that provides coverage for Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse instead. The policyholder must be notified the non-renewal is for the purpose of removing sinkhole coverage, and that the policyholder is being offered a policy that provides catastrophic ground cover collapse. Subject to the insurers approved underwriting and insurability guidelines, the insurer must provide the policyholder with the opportunity to purchase an endorsement which provides sinkhole coverage. The insurer may require an inspection of the property before issuing the endorsement.

Wind coverage elimination: If a residential structure is currently covered with a policy which includes wind, but the property is eligible for wind-only coverage with Citizens, the insurer may elect to offer a renewal policy with wind excluded. In some instances the insurer may discontinue the existing policy and issue a replacement without wind coverage.

Common Claim Concerns

Non-matching replacement materials: When a loss requires replacement of items and the replaced items do not match in quality, color or size, the insurer should make reasonable repairs or replace the items in adjoining areas. The insurer may take into consideration such things as the cost of repairing or replacing the items in the adjoining areas, the degree of uniformity that can be achieved without the cost, the remaining useful life of the undamaged portion, and other relevant factors.

Debris and Tree Removal: Most insurance policies cover debris & tree removal if the downed tree damaged insured property regardless of who owns the tree. However, there are usually limits that the company will pay. There is usually no debris removal coverage if the trees fell on the ground and did not damage covered property. Some policies provide debris & tree removal if the downed tree blocks the main entrance to the property. Since insurance policies vary between insurers, you should always refer to your own personal contract.

Insurer’s duty to acknowledge claim communications: An insurance company must respond to any communication with respect to a claim within 14 calendar days, unless payment is made within that period of time or unless the failure to acknowledge is caused by factors beyond the company’s control. A communication made by an agent or another employee of a company shall constitute communication to or by the company. The communication can be made in writing, verbally, or any other form.

Within 10 working days after the company receives proof of loss statements, the company must begin its investigation of a claim unless the failure to investigate is caused by factors beyond the control of the company.

Please note: “Beyond the control” was intended to include physical incapability caused by natural disasters. This could be very broad though including delays due to lack of adjusters or engineering firms needed to analyze damages. Whether a factor was beyond the control of the insurer will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Insured’s duties after a loss: When a loss occurs, the insured should promptly notify their agent or insurance company, and review the Conditions, Duties after a Loss Section of their policy. There are separate conditions for Section 1 (Property Coverage) and Section 2 (Liability Coverage) of the contract. If more than one insurance policy covers the occurrence, all insurers should be notified.

The insured has a responsibility to mitigate damages to their property, or protect the property from further damage. The insured should make reasonable temporary repairs and keep accurate records and receipts of those repairs. It is always a good idea to take photos of the damage prior to making temporary repairs, if possible.

The insured should also compile an inventory of all damaged personal property. The inventory should include the date of purchase, quantity, description, value, and the amount paid for each item. The insured may be asked to provide receipts, bills, and any other related documents to justify the amounts provided.

The insured must cooperate with the company in the investigation of the claim. The insured and/or others parties may be asked to provide a recorded statement or an examination under oath.

If the occurrence is related to a liability issue, the insured should forward all notices, demands, summons, or other process documents relating to the “occurrence” to the insurer immediately upon receipt.

Notice of Windstorm or Hurricane Claim: The time period an initial, supplemental or reopened claim can be presented to an insurer under a property insurance policy providing coverage for windstorm or hurricane is limited. Under current Florida law, these claims are barred unless notice was given to the insurer in accordance with the terms of the policy within 3 years after the hurricane first made landfall or the windstorm caused the covered damage.

Sinkhole Claim Investigation & Payment after May 17, 2011: Florida law requires insurance companies, upon receipt of a claim for a sinkhole loss to a covered building, to inspect the premises to determine if there is structural damage that may be the result of sinkhole activity.

Following the initial inspection, the insurer must provide written notice to the policyholder disclosing the following information:

  1. The insurers determination of the cause of damage if a determination was made;

  2. A statement of the circumstances an insurer is required to engage a professional engineer or a professional geologist to verify or eliminate sinkhole loss and to make recommendations regarding land and building stabilization and foundation repair;

  3. A statement regarding the right of the policyholder to request testing by a professional engineer or professional geologist, the circumstances under which the policyholder may demand testing and the circumstances under which the policyholder may incur costs associated with testing.

If the insurer discovers structural damage which is consistent with a sinkhole loss, or if the insurer is unable to identify a valid cause of damage, the insurer must use a professional engineer or geologist to conduct testing to determine the cause of the loss within a reasonable professional probability, if the policy provides sinkhole coverage. The insurer will pay for the testing provided by the professional engineer or geologist unless the claim fits one of the situations listed below that requires the policyholder to share in the cost.

If the insurer determines there is no sinkhole loss, the insurer may deny the claim. However, if the claim is denied without performing testing, the policyholder may demand testing by the insurer. The demand must be communicated to the insurer in writing within 60 days after receipt of the denial.

  • The policyholder must pay 50 percent of the actual costs of the analyses and services or $2,500, whichever is less.

  • The insurer must reimburse the policyholder for the costs if the insurer’s engineer or geologist provides written certification there is a sinkhole loss.

If the insurer obtains written certification there is no sinkhole loss and if the policyholder has submitted the sinkhole claim without good faith grounds for doing so, the policyholder must reimburse the insurer for 50 percent of the actual costs of the analyses and services up to a maximum of $2,500. This amount is required from the policyholder only if the policyholder requested the analysis and services provided and the insurer, before ordering the analysis, informs the policyholder in writing of the potential liability for reimbursement and gives the policyholder the opportunity to withdraw the claim.

If a sinkhole loss is verified, the insurer must pay to stabilize the land and building and repair the foundation in accordance with the recommendations of the professional engineer, with notice to the policyholder, subject to the coverage and terms of the policy. If the professional engineer determines the repairs cannot be completed within policy limits, the insurer must pay to complete the recommended repairs or pay the policy limits to the policyholder.

The insurer may limit its total claims payment to the actual cash value of the sinkhole loss, which does not include underpinning or grouting or any other repair technique performed below the existing foundation of the building, until the policyholder enters into a contract for the performance of building stabilization or foundation repairs in accordance with the insurer’s report.

In order to prevent additional damage to the building or structure, the policyholder must enter into a contract for the performance of building stabilization and foundation repairs within 90 days after the insurance company confirms coverage for a sinkhole loss. This time period is tolled if either party invokes the neutral evaluation process and begins again 10 days after conclusion of the neutral evaluation process.

After the policyholder enters into a contract for the performance of building stabilization and foundation repair, the insurer will pay the amounts necessary to begin and perform the repairs as the work is performed and the expenses are incurred. The insurer may not require the policyholder to pay these repairs in advance.

If a covered repair has begun and the professional engineer selected or approved by the insurer determines that the repair cannot be completed within the policy limits, the insurer must complete the recommended repair or tender the policy limits to the policyholder without a reduction for the repair expenses already incurred.

The stabilization and all other repairs to the structure and contents must be completed within 12 months after entering into a contract for the repair. Unless:

  • There is a mutual agreement between the insurer and the policyholder;

  • The claim is involved with the neutral evaluation process;

  • The claim is in litigation; or

  • The cliam is under appraisal or mediation.

Timeframe for Payment of Claim: Within 90 days after a company receives notice of a new, reopened or supplement property insurance claim, the company must pay or deny the claim. If the settlement amount is contested, the company should pay all uncontested amounts within the 90-day timeframe unless the failure to pay the claim or the uncontested amount is caused by factors beyond the control of the company. Any payment (portion or entire claim) paid more than 90 days after the company receives notice of the claim, or paid more than 15 days after there are no longer factors beyond the control of the company, whichever is later, will bear interest according to Section 55.03, Florida Statutes.

Please note: “Beyond the control” was meant to include physical incapability caused by natural disasters. This could be very broad though including delays due to lack of adjusters or engineering firms needed to analyze damages. Whether a factor was beyond the control of the insurer will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Valued Policy Law: In the event of the total loss of any building, structure, or mobile home, the insurer’s liability under the policy for the loss is the face amount of the policy, if such loss was caused by a covered peril.

Homeowner Tips

Verify before you buy!!!! Contact us to verify the license of the agent and the insurance company before you sign the application for a policy.

Prepare a Home Inventory Checklist! A home inventory – along with photos and proof of ownership - will make it easier to file an accurate, detailed insurance claim in case your home is damaged or destroyed. When you have a loss, it is your responsibility to know what property you have, when it was purchased, how much you paid for it, and how much it will cost to replace it. You should also keep receipts for large purchases, or keep your credit card statements. You may be asked to prove that you ever owned the item in question. It is always a good idea to take pictures or videos of your property as well.

Homeowners' Insurance Toolkit! This toolkit provides more detailed information regarding homeowners insurance. It includes a sample policy and a home inventory that you may use.

Better Building Codes Mean Lower Rates! The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) assesses the building codes in effect in a particular community and how the community enforces its building codes, with special emphasis on mitigation of losses from natural hazards.

Make sure your home is insured properly! If you have a replacement cost policy and fail to maintain the proper amount of insurance, you may be penalized when filing a claim. Although most homeowner policies include an inflation guard endorsement to automatically increase your coverage annually, you should check with your insurance agent once a year to make sure you have adequate coverage.

Read your policy carefully! Insurance policies differ between insurance companies so you must review your own contract. Insurance policies do not cover everything, read the exclusions. Also, there are limitations on certain types of personal property, such as but not limited to antiques, firearms, jewelry, furs and electronics, including computers and their equipment. In most instances, additional coverage may be purchased. Talk to your agent about additional coverage.

Keep a copy of your important documents in another location! In the event your home is totally destroyed, you would have copies of all your important documents including receipts you may need to settle a claim with your insurance company.

Contact Us or File a Complaint

Should you need additional information, you may speak with an insurance specialist between the hours of 8am–5:00pm at one of the telephone numbers listed below:

1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236)

Out of State Callers: (850) 413-3089

You can also contact us for assistance anytime by email at Consumer.Services@MyFloridaCFO.com. or file a complaint through our “Consumer Help Online” website.