Is homeowners insurance required in Florida?

Homeowners insurance is not required by law in Florida or any other state. However, all mortgage companies require home insurance in the loan agreement. So, if you have a mortgage, you need home insurance.

If you own your home outright with no loan, there is no requirement for homeowners insurance. However, it’s the best way to protect your investment in your house.

What does homeowners insurance cover in Florida?

Florida home insurance policies follow the same standards as other states for basic coverage, although each company may add additional coverage or offer different endorsements.

A standard policy covers:

Florida homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding, among other common home insurance exclusions.

While a Florida home policy generally covers hurricane damage, you may have a separate deductible for this coverage. In some cases, you may need to add hurricane or windstorm coverage as an option on your policy. If you don’t have a hurricane deductible, it could mean you have no hurricane coverage, so verify with your insurance company.

Do I need flood insurance in Florida?

A homeowners policy does not cover flood damage. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S. and very common in Florida both due to storm surges and heavy rain.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers flood insurance to homeowners through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can also buy it through multiple private flood insurance companies.

In 2024, Florida law will begin requiring those who have homeowners insurance through Citizens to buy flood insurance. The requirement will roll out over three years, with most homes requiring flood insurance by the end of that period.

Do I need hurricane or windstorm insurance in Florida?

Florida homeowners need hurricane or windstorm insurance, which may be a part of your home insurance policy or may require an endorsement. Florida is at significant risk for hurricanes yearly, and the damage can be costly. 

Speaking with your insurance agent or representative is vital to ensure you have the right coverage for a hurricane.

Is wind mitigation required in Florida?

Wind mitigation is not required, but by law, Florida insurers must offer mitigation discounts or credits to homeowners who make their homes less vulnerable to hurricane damage. Wind mitigation can also make your home cheaper and easier to insure.

How does a home insurance deductible work in Florida?

In Florida, you may have two deductibles: a flat dollar amount for most claims and a percentage deductible for hurricanes. Your flat rate deductible applies to every claim you make for damage to the home or personal property.

Insurance companies in Florida must offer a hurricane deductible of either $500, 2%, 5%, or 10% of the policy dwelling or structure limits. In Florida, windstorm deductibles apply per season, not per storm.

Average cost of homeowners insurance in Florida

The average cost of home insurance in Florida is $4,218 a year for $300,000 in dwelling and liability coverage with a $1,000 deductible and a 2% hurricane deductible.

Without the hurricane deductible, the average cost for the same policy is $2,426; however, it’s important to note that in some cases, no hurricane deductible means no hurricane coverage.

The cost of home insurance in Florida varies, with coastal areas seeing some of the highest rates in the country.

What factors affect homeowners insurance rates in Florida?

Many factors influence home insurance prices, including:

  • Your home's square footage
  • Building costs in your area
  • Local crime rates
  • The likelihood of certain types of disasters, such as hurricanes

Hurricanes are a major risk and a large part of why the average home insurance cost in Florida is so high. Another big factor in Florida is the large number of lawsuits filed against insurance companies.

Although Florida home insurance costs can be high, you should still get adequate coverage. You should have enough coverage to:

  • Repair or replace the structure of your home and personal possessions
  • Pay for injuries or damages if you're held liable

You should also choose a deductible you can afford.

How much do Florida homeowners insurance rates increase after a claim?

Your insurance will likely go up after a claim, but it depends on several factors.

“The variables can vary from the type of coverage you have to your deductible level to the type of loss – whether it’s a fire, water-related, or act-of-God loss,” explains Kenneth Gregg, CEO of Orion180 in Melbourne, Florida.

According to Carolyn Rummel, president of Meadowbrook Insurance Agency’s Sarasota office, homeowners policies work differently than auto policies because there aren’t always surcharges for claims as there would be if you were involved in an automobile accident.

Mark Friedlander, director of Corporate Communications for the Insurance Information Institute (III), notes that, while his organization doesn’t track how claims impact the percentage of policy renewals, “it’s very common for a Florida homeowner to have their policy non-renewed if they have filed more than one property claim during the last five years.”

Florida home insurance discounts

Home insurance discounts are a great way to reduce your Florida home insurance costs. Many insurers offer a bundling, or multi-policy, discount for insuring your home and auto (and other policies) with the same company. According to Friedlander, this can reduce your premium by over 20%.

“Consider adding additional safety features to your home, such as window shutters and roof attachments that can reduce windstorm portion premiums,” says Anthony Martin, CEO of Choice Mutual.

Common home insurance discounts include:

  • Bundling discounts. You can bundle home, auto, life, and even specialty policies like boats.
  • Risk reduction. Installing things that reduce the risk of damage, like the shutters or roof attachments mentioned above or a sprinkler system, can reduce rates.
  • Installing smart devices. A smart thermostat or window and door sensors can earn you discounts.
  • Safety and security devices. Installing smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, or deadbolts.
  • Loyalty discounts. Some companies offer a discount for long-term customers.
  • Paperless billing. Get your insurance papers online for a discount.

How to save on a homeowners insurance policy in Florida

There are several easy ways to get cheaper home insurance rates in Florida. Consider the following options:

  • Raise your deductible. The higher your deductible, the lower your insurance rates will be.
  • Mitigate hurricane risk. If you’re in a high-risk zone for hurricane damage, do everything you can to reduce the risk of damage, and your rates will be lower. Check out the My Safe Florida Home program for help.
  • Shop around. Compare rates from companies large and small to find the best deal.

“For a Florida homeowner, (increasing your deducible) means increasing your standard deductible as well as your windstorm deductible for named tropical cyclones. The hurricane deductible typically ranges from 2% to 5% of your dwelling limit,” says Friedlander. “But while you can significantly lower your premium with higher deductibles, you need to make sure you are financially prepared to pay much more out-of-pocket for a covered loss. That could equate to several more thousand dollars for a hurricane wind loss.

How to get a homeowners insurance estimate in Florida

Home insurance quotes in Florida are not difficult to obtain.

To get a home insurance quote in Florida, begin by reviewing our top-rated Florida insurers and our annual best home insurance companies rankings. Once you've narrowed the list to three to five companies, begin requesting the estimates.

Most insurers offer various quoting options, including online forms, via email, by phone and sometimes even in person if the agent is local.

When requesting quotes, be sure to request the same coverage from each insurance company. This will allow you to compare equivalent quotes to determine where to get the best home insurance rates in Florida and the best overall value.

Why is my Florida homeowners insurance being canceled?

If your homeowners insurance was canceled, it could be due to increased claims from hurricanes but also from fraud, according to a Miami Herald report.

"Florida statute Chapter 224 Part III allows insurers to cancel policies when the company would be placed in a hazardous financial situation due to an uptick in claims after hurricane damage or attorney’s fees to defend itself over fraudulent adjuster claims," the news report said.

State legislators passed an anti-fraud bill that limits legal fees and the period in which a property damage lawsuit can be filed.

There are many other reasons why homeowners insurance policies get canceled. Cancellation may be triggered by filing multiple claims, failing a house inspection or because your insurer believes the area you live in is too much of a risk for storm damage. If your homeowner insurance is canceled there are steps you can take to find out why and appeal the decision.

What happens if your insurance company goes out of business

Rest assured that when an insurer is declared insolvent in Florida, the policyholder is protected by the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA), with all outstanding claims paid by FIGA.

“However, you may need to seek new coverage quickly, and you will be provided only 30 days’ written notice of cancellation, per state regulations,” cautions Friedlander.

If you learn that your carrier is going out of business or not writing policies in your state anymore, “the first thing you should do is contact your insurance agent. This will be your primary point of contact to formulate a game plan,” recommends Gregg.

How consumers can protect themselves financially while also protecting their homes

The best way to safeguard your property and financial interests is to choose the right insurer.

“Make sure you are covered by an ‘A’-rated carrier, as determined by its financial ratings assigned by A.M. Best or Demotech,” Friedlander says.

Additionally, ensure that you have the right amount and type of coverage in place before hurricane season approaches.

“Conduct an insurance review with your insurance agent to identify any gaps in coverage. Make sure you have the right amount of dwelling coverage, too, as home replacement costs have increased more than 16% year-over-year – double the US inflation rate – due to escalating costs of construction materials and labor,” says Friedlander.

Also, work to keep your property well-maintained and preserve your credit.

“Those tend to be two key items in securing a financial win for the policyholder,” says Gregg.

Home insurance FAQs

What do I do if I can't get homeowners insurance in Florida?

The Florida Market Assistance Plan allows homeowners who can’t get coverage to locate and purchase a policy from authorized insurers in the private market. The toll-free telephone number is 1-800-524-9023.

Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state’s property insurer of last resort, is another option for homeowners who can't find good Florida home insurance coverage. 

Are sinkholes covered by Florida home insurance?

Florida has more sinkholes than any other U.S. state. Sinkhole coverage might or might not be part of your standard homeowners policy coverage.

According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, state law dictates that all insurance companies licensed in Florida must offer sinkhole coverage. In most cases, this coverage is available as an endorsement on your standard policy and will cost extra.

Is mold covered by Florida home insurance?

Mold that results from a covered peril -- such as a burst pipe -- is covered under a Florida home insurance policy. However, mold remediation coverage is often capped at around $10,000. It might be possible to increase such limits by paying an additional premium amount. It's important to note that some policies do not cover mold damage at all, depending on the insurer.

Where do I get help with a home insurance claim or file a complaint?

If you have concerns about your property claim, call the Florida Department of Financial Services at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236). The department recommends keeping records of all dates, times and names of company representatives when you communicate with your insurer about a claim. Keep copies of written documents and correspondence as well.

You can also file your complaint online with the state’s Division of Consumer Services if you prefer.

If you cannot resolve a claim dispute with your insurer, mediation might be available. In this process, a trained, neutral mediator works with both parties and tries to reach a mutually satisfying agreement. The insurer is required to pay for the service, and neither the insurer nor you are obligated to accept the result. To find out if you are eligible, call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).