The best way to get old Florida home insurance for you
Owners of older Florida homes face a special challenge as the Florida home insurance crisis continues. Depending on the building codes when they were constructed older homes can be subject to more damage in Florida hurricanes. They may also have outdated electrical, plumbing, and heating systems that make them more susceptible to fire water damage and other perils.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 home 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 the home 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 take into consideration the roof age and condition, along with the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. Depending on what these inspections uncover, you might be required to update or improve one or more of these items.
Finally, once your home reaches 75 years of age, homeowners’ home insurance companies in Florida will rarely agree to offer coverage for it – regardless of the outcome of the inspections and home upgrades that are present.
Ignoring for a moment the distance your Florida home is from the coast, here is how home insurance companies generally look at the age of your home:
Homes built in 1995 and later will be the easiest to find home insurance coverage for and you will have more company options to consider.
As your home reaches 20, 30, and 40 years old, there will be fewer home insurance company options for you to consider as each of these levels is achieved.
If your home is 75 years old or older, the chances that it will be covered by a private Florida home insurance company are slim.
Here are some actions you can take to have the best chance at obtaining low-cost Florida home insurance on your older Florida home:
Get a Florida wind mitigation inspection on your home at your own expense.
Take immediate corrective action on 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 how old your roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems are. 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 or utility company credits for improved efficiency. Find out if either of these sources is 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 expand the pool of homes that qualify 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 home 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 home insurance companies that are still covering older homes.