Narrowing the Insurance Field
According to a quick search on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, there are 875 property and casualty insurers in the state. What does that mean? That means a whole lot of homeowner insurance companies in Florida.
It also means a whole lot of digging through ratings, reviews, policies, riders, agencies, and complaints to get an idea of which one you want to rely on in your time of need.
First things first, what do you need? Do you just need a simple homeowner policy, or do you need special riders? How close to the coast are you? Are you in the direct path many hurricanes come through? These are questions you need to ask and get answered before you even think of picking a company.
If you have a mortgage on your home, which many people do, your bank or mortgage company will more than likely have specific coverage levels you need to have. This is a great starting point for deciding on a policy, or at least minimum coverage levels.
Second, look at your budget. See how high of a monthly, quarterly, or annual premium you can afford. Keep in mind, if you pay your premium annually, you may qualify for a discount. Also, don’t be put off by a high deductible: the higher the deductible, the lower the premium and the better the coverage.
Make sure though, when you are choosing a high deductible, you realize that one day, should the worst happen, you are responsible for paying that amount. Your insurance company will pay the claim minus the deductible amount. Start planning now for how you will pay that. If the deductible isn’t high enough, you’ll be paying a high premium; if it’s too high, when you need your home fixed, you may not be able to afford it.
Word of Mouth
Third, talk to people. Find out which of your neighbors use which insurance company. Ask them why they chose the company. Did their mortgage company or bank recommend it? How long have they been with their insurer? Have they filed any claims? How quickly were the claims processed and were there issues with them?
You’d be surprised what type of information jogs a memory for someone. And you want to know exactly what they think of their insurance company so you can make an informed decision.
Track ‘em Down
Last, but not least, trust your research. Make sure you check online reviews and ratings, the Better Business Bureau, and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Not only do they list 875 homeowner insurance companies in Florida, they keep track of complaints.
Choosing one of quite literally hundreds of homeowner insurance companies in Florida can seem like scaling Mount Everest, but keeping your priorities in line and asking questions will make it much easier. Jumping to a quick decision might put you at risk should the worst happen, so make sure you take your time and get as much information as you can. That way, you can rest assured that when it’s time to make a claim, you won’t have trouble getting it paid.