Finding wind insurance in Florida has become more challenging because of the burden of storm-related losses to insurers. In the first half of 2016 alone, catastrophes striking the United States caused $13.5 billion in insured property losses, the Insurance Services Office reported in October. Because of the threat of hurricanes, only about 40 Florida home insurance companies still write new policies in Florida, and that number is even smaller near the coast.
Since most lenders require a homeowner’s policy that includes coverage for wind before they will approve a home loan, new residents seeking wind insurance in Florida should first become familiar with the “Wind Pool,” the coastal area with enhanced weather risk. A new resident can check online if a potential home is in this area.
Not all insurers provide wind insurance coverage for homes in the Wind Pool area, so a separate policy from a private insurer may be needed. Another option (although one with assessment fees and higher deductibles) is Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state-run insurance safety net for wind-insurance policies.
New residents should not only compare quotes from insurers, but also evaluate their experience. Insurers who have already insured clients in major hurricanes can be reassuring to work with in case the worst does happen.
Understanding their options for wind insurance will help new Florida residents have a smooth home-buying process—the first step in a happy transition to a new home!