Owners of older Florida homes face a special challenge as the Florida 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 They may also have outdated electrical, plumbing, and heating systems that make them more susceptible to fire, water damage, and other perils.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 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 insurance company, but the main theme is this: As homes reach 20, 30, or 40 years of age, home insurance companies generally require 4 point inspections prior to agreeing to issue coverage. These inspections look at the age and condition of the roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. Depending on the results of these inspections, you may be required to update one or more of these areas.
Finally, 75 years of age is the cutoff beyond which Florida home insurance companies rarely agree to offer coverage – regardless of the outcome of the inspections and home upgrades that are present.
Before taking into consideration how close your Florida home is to the coast, the following statements are generally accurate regarding how insurance companies look at the age of your home:
Homes built 1995 and later are among the easiest to insure and you will have more companies to choose from.
As your home hits the age of 20, 30, and 40 years old, you will have fewer company options to choose from as each of these milestones is reached.
If you home is over 75 years old, it is very unlikely that your home will be covered by a private Florida home insurance company.
Here are some things you can do to give your older Florida home the best chance at affordable Florida home insurance:
Get a wind mitigation inspection done at your own expense.
Take immediate corrective action on the deficiencies identified in the wind inspection report. There might be improvements that can be made wall roof connectors that don’t require a new roof or other lower cost steps that you can take.
Find out the age of your roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. Get estimates for updating each of these items and move forward with the improvements that you can afford to make now.
Some improvements might be eligible for Federal energy tax credits or credits from the utility companies for improved efficiency. See if either of these sources might offer 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 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 insurance companies that are still covering older homes. If you miss even one of these companies you could end up paying thousands more for Florida home insurance.
Don’t rely on misinformation or word of mouth when it comes to finding affordable Florida home insurance on an older home. Follow these steps to give you the most options for insuring your older Florida home.