The following is a list of general conditions that may make it difficult to secure homeowners insurance for a dwelling in and around St Augustine and St Johns County Florida. As a minimum, these factors will likely lead to an increase in insurance premiums. The criteria outlined below are subject to change depending on weather and insurance company discretion.
Age – Homes built prior to 2002 may not be eligible for placement with a private insurer that has a good financial rating.
Location – Structures located within 2 miles of any tidal water or more than 5 miles from a fire department may be subject to premium surcharges and restricted insurance availability.
Occupancy – Rental, seasonal or vacant dwelling are difficult to place with any insurance company.
Housekeeping – Dwelling should be well maintained and have good “curb appeal” Tree limbs trimmed away from house, roof in good condition and no apparent interior or exterior damage. Older dwellings may require an inspection of roof, plumbing, electrical system and air conditioning by a licensed building contractor, electrician and/or home inspector.
Prior Claims/Insurance Scoring – Dwellings or insured with prior claims, policy cancellations, poor credit history or other personal factors may be subject to premium surcharges or additional underwriting requirements.
Key points in securing a homeowners policy in Florida:
- Contact the present insurance agent to determine continued availability of insurance after the sale. The current agent is in the best position to provide an early indication that coverage will be available.If in doubt, check with other Florida licensed insurance agents about securing a homeowners policy with them.
- Don’t be surprised if an agent is unable to provide a firm proposal or bind coverage more than 30 days prior to the closing date. Insurance companies will not bind coverage when a tropical storm or hurricane is located near the US mainland.
- A long-term relationship with a company or agent is no guarantee that a policy will be issued or renewed. Homeowners should use due diligence in attempting to secure coverage well in advance of closing date.
- Offer the agent supporting business to help him place the account (auto, boat, business insurance etc).
- Purchase Flood Insurance. 80% of all flood claims are filed on homes located outside special flood hazard areas where flood insurance is not required by the mortgagee. Excess flood insurance policies can be purchased for homes valued at more than the $250,000 basic flood policy limit. There is a 30-day waiting period for flood coverage except for mortgage closings.
- Determine if the mortgagee has any special insurance company financial rating requirements. Your agent can provide financial rating information. Best’s is the most widely recognized authority on insurance company financial stability. A Best’s rating of A- (Superior) or better is most desirable.
The above information is a general summary of homeowners insurance underwriting rules as of July 14, 2006 as compiled by Herbie Wiles Insurance. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all insurance company underwriting requirements, but is provide to assist home buyers and prospective home buyers in St Johns County Florida with securing insurance coverage. Specific questions should be directed to a licensed Florida insurance agent.