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Florida is an amazing place to live with the sunshine, beaches, and culture. The Florida lifestyle is a paradise sought-after by many, but there is a price to live in paradise.  Homeowners policy premiums in Florida can be double what they are in other parts of the nation because of its exposure to the ever-changing tropics.  Here is what to consider when thinking on how to save money on your insurance premiums on your new home purchase:

Roof Shape

Different roof shapes can help or hurt your home in the long run. Some of the most common types of roofs in Florida are Hip, Gable, or Flat roofs.

  • Hip roofs tend to withstand the force of the winds better, as they have slanted edges to allow the winds to pass over the home.
  • Gable roofs have a pointed edge on the side of the home allowing for wind resistance on the side walls of the home.
  • Flat roofs tend to puddle, increasing the chances of roof leaks and damage to the interior of the home.

Along with the shape of your roof, it’s important to know the age of your roof and to keep up with its maintenance. A good rule of thumb to determine the life expectancy of a roof is 15 years for a shingle roof and 20-25 years for tile roofs.

Hurricane Shutters

If you’re purchasing a home with existing hurricane shutters, it’s important to know the necessary guidelines should you want to save on your premium. Be sure to ask these questions:

  • Do the current shutters meet the most recent building codes?  – old shutters may offer protection, but they will not qualify for credits on your premium.
  • Are all openings protected? – To receive credit, all openings must have up to code protection, on all windows, doors (including garage door), and skylights.  Partial credit will not be given for hurricane protection on only a portion of the openings.  It is all or nothing here.

There are many different types of opening protection you can install, ask your county building department what the latest code is for your area. Give your insurance agent a call and they can guide you through the process as well.

Home Pools

Having a pool at home in Florida is beneficial during hot summers and hosting fun poolside parties. However, it’s important to know the costs which may come along with owning a pool.

  • Pools add value to the home and as such, higher coverage amounts will be required.
  • If the pool has a screen enclosure, ensure the policy you seek has enough protection to cover this added structure.  Florida Peninsula Insurance Company includes up to $10K coverage for screen enclosures and can be increased up to $50K should your needs require it.

Talk to your agent about the location of the pool to ensure the proper coverage is obtained. Coverages change depending on factors such as how pool decks are attached and additional structures around the pool area. Make sure you understand your options to get the right option for you.

Flood Insurance

Many Florida homeowners neglect to obtain flood coverage. No matter the flood risk in your area, flood coverage is something all Florida homeowners should seriously consider. Important things to understand about flood coverage in Florida are:

  • Flood is simply defined as rising water.  When water from the ground rises this is a flood.  If this type of water enters your home and causes damage, you must have a flood policy to cover these damages.
  • A homeowners insurance policy covers damage due to the covered peril of Wind; it does not cover damage due to the peril of flood.  As such, many hurricane claims are denied because the damage is caused by the water rising from nearby lakes, canals or storm surge, entering the home and causing damage to the structure and the contents.
  • Over 25% of claims are filed by homeowners who did not have flood coverage because they were not located in a flood zone.  When summer rolls around, heavy afternoon storms are a norm in Florida.  Flash flooding has become more of an issue in recent years as climate change continues to affect our weather patterns.

Qualifying homes can obtain flood insurance together with your homeowners policy.