How to buy home insurance in Florida (July 2024)

Using an insurance marketplace like Policygenius, reaching out to E&S insurers, or applying for coverage with Citizens are all ways to buy home insurance in Florida.

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Jennifer GimbelSenior Managing Editor & Home Insurance ExpertJennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor at Policygenius, where she oversees all of our insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

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Tips for shopping for home insurance in Florida

In addition to looking at the cost of home insurance in Florida for different coverage levels and risks, you should also be aware of what your policy does and doesn’t cover.

When buying homeowners insurance in Florida, there are two additional insurance options you may need to consider to protect against the state’s frequent hurricanes and flooding.

Ask about windstorm insurance

Homeowners insurance generally covers the cost of repairs if your home is damaged by wind or hail. However, since Florida sees frequent hurricanes, tropical storms, and tornadoes, policies often exclude coverage for wind and hail in high-risk areas.

If that’s the case, you’ll need windstorm insurance — a special type of property insurance that specifically covers your home and belongings from wind or hail damage. Windstorm insurance is sometimes available as an add-on to your homeowners insurance, though it can also be purchased as a separate wind-only policy.

Learn more >> Windstorm insurance: How it works

Consider purchasing flood insurance

Most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flood damage, so Florida residents in at-risk areas will want to consider flood insurance on top of their coastal home insurance policy.

In addition to comparing home insurance quotes, Florida homeowners can also compare private flood insurance rates with Policygenius, or choose a policy through a government entity like the National Flood Insurance Program.

Learn more >> Flood insurance in Florida: Coverage & costs

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How to buy homeowners insurance in Florida

Follow these seven steps to purchase a home insurance policy in Florida:

1. Reach out to a licensed Policygenius insurance agent.

Our team of licensed insurance experts is at the ready to help you figure out how much coverage you need and what company offers it at the best price — all for free with no impact to your credit score. Before you do this, you can also take a look at our best home insurance companies in Florida and cheapest home insurance companies in Florida lists to give you an idea of what insurer might work best for you.

2. If you’re unable to find homeowners insurance on the private market, ask about E&S insurers.

Also known as excess & surplus (E&S) insurance, surplus lines insurance covers risks that are too high for standard home insurance providers to cover because they’re backed by carriers that aren’t required to be licensed in your state.

While these policies are riskier since insurers aren’t backed by the state’s guaranty fund in the event of bankruptcy, they may be a good option if you’ve been unable to find coverage elsewhere, as they offer higher coverage limits than state FAIR Plan policies.

3. If you’re still struggling to find coverage, ask about Citizens — your state’s FAIR Plan.

 If you’re struggling to qualify for insurance from a traditional provider due to your home’s high risk, ask your Policygenius agent if a policy through Florida’s FAIR Plan (AKA Citizens) makes more sense.

Because they don’t offer as much coverage as traditional policies, they’re best used in tandem with a difference in conditions (DIC) policy. DIC policies offer liability insurance and additional living expenses protection, broaden what perils or disasters are covered, and fill in other coverage gaps left by the FAIR Plan policy

4. Figure out how low of a deductible you can afford.

 Since homeowners in Florida have a separate hurricane deductible that you can choose — $500 or 2%, 5%, or 10% of your dwelling coverage limit — you’ll want to figure out how much you’ll be able to afford to pay out of pocket every time you file a claim due to hurricane damage.

5. Compare quotes from a Policygenius agent.

 Once you’ve nailed down your coverage needs, limits, and deductibles, a Policygenius agent will walk you through quotes from a few different companies to help you find the best policy for your needs.

6. Choose your policy, sign it, and pay your first premium.

After you’ve chosen the policy you want, your Policygenius agent will complete all of the paperwork for you. The only thing left to do is sign the policy and pay your first premium. They’ll even cancel your old policy.

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Why is it so hard to find homeowners insurance in Florida?

It’s so difficult to find homeowners insurance in Florida due to several reasons, including:

Severe weather that’s caused billions of dollars in losses for insurers

The increase in claims filed by Florida homeowners due to extreme weather has caused many home insurance companies to develop stricter underwriting criteria in order to limit the number of claims they have to pay out each year. This has made it harder for homeowners with older roofs, who live near the coast, or have maintenance issues in their homes to find a traditional home insurance company willing to insure them.

Regional insurance companies going bankrupt leaves fewer insurers writing policies in the state

Eleven home insurance companies in Florida have gone bankrupt since 2017. And many of those that were able to withstand the heavy losses caused by hurricanes and other severe weather stopped writing new policies or limited areas where they’ll write new policies to avoid even more costly claims, including Farmers, AAA, Progressive, and Nationwide. 

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What if I can’t find home insurance coverage in Florida?

You have a few options to consider if you can’t find coverage in Florida:

  1. Use an insurance marketplace. Insurance marketplaces like Policygenius partner with dozens of home insurance companies, including E&S insurers that specialize in offering coverage to homeowners who were denied coverage on the private market. One of our licensed agents can help you compare quotes from different insurers to find one who is willing to offer you coverage.

  2. Ask if you can make home renovations to mitigate risk. If your insurance company is still writing policies in your area, but their underwriting requirements are stricter, ask if there are improvements you can make to your home that will make you more insurable. This might mean installing fire-resistant roofing or wind-resistant storm shutters to better protect your home against extreme weather. 

  3. Talk to your neighbors. If you live in an area at high risk of storm damage, odds are your neighbors are also having trouble finding coverage. Ask around to see if anyone had success with a specific insurance company.

  4. Apply for home insurance through Citizens. As a last resort, you’ll likely be able to get a policy through Citizens — Florida’s version of the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan. While it offers less coverage and is more expensive than traditional policies, it’s a good stop-gap until you’re able to find coverage on the traditional market.

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How to find a reputable home insurance company during Florida's insurance crisis

Even with the volatile home insurance market, it’s possible to find a reputable home insurance company in Florida if you do your homework. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you compare home insurance companies in Florida.

Research every company's claims satisfaction scores

With the news that Florida Peninsula Insurance and Heritage Property Insurance were slashing claim payouts to homeowners after Hurricane Ian, now it’s more important than ever to find a company with high claims satisfaction. You can check J.D. Power’s 2023 Claims Satisfaction Study or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Complaint Index for a look at what companies fare well when it comes to claims and customer service.

Research the financial strength rating of any company you're considering

With more than 10 Florida home insurance companies going bankrupt over the last year, it’s vital to research the financial strength of any home insurance company you’re considering to ensure they have the funds to pay out claims in the wake of a disastrous hurricane or tropical storm. The best way to do this is by checking the company’s financial strength rating with AM Best, Standard & Poor's, Moody’s, or Demotech. You can find this information on our home insurance company reviews.

Take advantage of the My Safe Florida Home program

The My Safe Florida Home program is designed to help homeowners mitigate hurricane risk by providing free home inspections that identify and recommend improvements that can be done to your home. Eligible homeowners who live in participating areas of Florida can then apply for grants to get their homes retrofitted with these improvements to lessen the risk of hurricane damage.

Stay up to date on the latest Insurer Accountability bill in the works

A new bill was submitted to the Florida Senate in March 2023 that would increase fines for insurance companies practicing bad behavior, require insurers to report their claims-handling policies to the state, and give insurance regulators more oversight to examine insurer conduct.

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