Homeowners Insurance 101

Homeowners insurance is designed to bring your home and possessions back to the same condition they were in before a loss occurred. There are several different types of homeowners policies offered by a wide variety of insurance companies and not all coverages are the same. You should speak directly with an agent at SWFL Insurance Agency about your specific coverage needs.

The most common Policy Form written in Florida is the HO3. The information below applies to the HO3. While reading through the information below, you should keep in mind a couple definitions: (a) Exclusions are situations where your policy does not provide coverage; and (b) Liability is something for which you are legally responsible.

Coverage A – Dwelling

Imagine your house on moving day…empty, waiting to be filled. This is the part referred to as Coverage A: your physical home (walls, fireplaces, tile floors, carpeting, etc.) and the structures attached to it, such as an attached garage.

The current real estate market does not effect the insurance value of your home. Your home should be insured for the Replacement Cost or amount that it would cost to rebuild in full (to current building code) in the event of a total loss. If you aren’t sure your home is adequately insured, you can check with your Independent Agent at SWFL Insurance Agency.

Coverage B – Other structures

Not all structures that exist on your property are actually attached to your house. Therefore, Coverage B offers insurance protection if you have other structures such as a pool, detached garage, gazebo, or storage shed.

Coverage C – Personal property

Your personal possessions such as furniture, clothing and appliances are covered. Certain types of possessions are excluded or have limited coverage. Please see personal property exclusions and limits of coverage for more specific information.

Coverage D – Loss of use

This coverage is also called Additional Living Expense. Essentially, this pays for your increase in housing and other living expenses (like meals and laundry) if a major loss makes your house uninhabitable and you have to move out temporarily while it’s being repaired.

Covered perils

Coverage A & B are insured against risk of direct loss or all risk subject to conditions and exclusions. Sinkhole is excluded.

Coverage C are insured for the specific perils listed below subject to conditions and exclusions.

  • fire or lightning
  • windstorm or hail
  • explosion
  • aircraft
  • vehicles
  • riot or civil commotion
  • smoke
  • theft
  • vandalism/malicious mischief
  • glass breakage

Some policies also provide coverage for:

  • falling objects
  • weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • freezing of plumbing
  • accidental plumbing discharge
  • rupture of steam or hot water heating system, air conditioning systems, or water heaters
  • damage from artificially generated electricity.
  • volcanic eruption
  • catastrophic ground cover collapse (not sinkhole)

A homeowners policy does not provide coverage for the following perils

  • loss due to flood, or water that backs up through sewers
  • loss to building by earthquake, aftershocks and mud slides
  • loss by enforcement law or ordinance regulating construction, repair or demolition, or zoning
  • loss due to power interruption when the interruption takes place off the residence property
  • loss due to neglect of the insured to save and preserve property following a loss
  • war and nuclear perils
  • intentional loss.
  • sinkhole
Limits of liability
  • For basic homeowners policies, a specific minimum amount of coverage is required for each of the major property coverages, based on the primary amount of insurance selected. Some of these excluded coverages may be purchased for an additional premium.
  • Coverage A (Dwelling) = Typically set by Insurance Carrier at 100% of Replacement Cost
  • Coverage B (Other Structures) = 10% of Coverage A limit
  • Coverage C (Personal Property) = 50% of Coverage A limit
  • Coverage D (Loss of use) = 20% of Coverage A limit.

For example, if your home is insured for $100,000 under Coverage A:

  • Coverage B liability limit is $10,000
  • Coverage C is $50,000
  • Coverage D is $20,000.

With a homeowners policy, a deductible applies to the property portion of the policy. A deductible is the amount you would have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Typical deductibles are $500 or higher and some policies have several deductibles.

Florida homeowners policies also have a Calendar-Year Hurricane Deductible. The hurricane deductible will only apply once per calendar year and is stated as a “percentage” of Coverage A. This means if you have one hurricane loss, your Calendar-Year Hurricane Deductible will be applied. However, if you have losses from subsequent hurricanes during the same calendar year, the deductible for the additional hurricane losses will be the greater of:

  • The remaining amount of the “Hurricane Deductible” (if not exhausted by the original loss), or
  • The “All Other Perils Insured Against” Deductible.

Typically the higher the deductible you select, the lower your premium payment is

Optional coverages

There are a number of optional coverages (also called endorsements) which enhance your basic homeowners policy either by adding or removing certain coverages. Some of the more common add-on coverages include:

  • Broadened coverage for contents: provides “all-risk” protection for your possessions. This means that your personal property is covered in most situations, regardless of the cause of loss.
  • Personal Articles Floater: provides specific amounts and worldwide protection for special property such as jewelry, silverware, fine art, furs, cameras, firearms, musical instruments, and home computers for an extended variety of losses
  • Sinkhole: Provides coverage for loss caused by a “sinkhole” as defined by Florida law.
    Personal property exclusions and limits of coverage
  • Water back up of sewers or drains: you’re covered for a specific dollar amount if water backs up through a sewer or drain, or overflows from a sump pump.
  • Contents replacement cost coverage: after a loss, you would be paid based on the cost to buy new…with no deduction for depreciation…subject to your policy limits and deductible. Special limits apply to certain items such as jewelry, watches and furs.
Personal Property exclusions and limits of coverage

Certain classes of property are specifically excluded from coverage because of the nature of what they are or because they are generally covered by other types of policies:

  • Animals, birds or fish
  • motorized vehicles or aircraft, including equipment and accessories
  • radios, CB radios, tape decks, etc., while in or on a motor vehicle
  • articles separately described and specifically insured in any other insurance
  • property of boarders ( renters insurance is available and should be considered by boarders).
  • aircraft or aircraft parts
  • property in an apartment held for rental by the insured
  • property rented to others off the residential premises.

Certain classes of property have specialized limits of coverage:

  • money or related property, coins and precious metals other than tableware – $ 200.
  • securities, manuscripts, and other valuable property – $ 1,000.
  • water craft, including trailers and equipment – $ 1,000.
  • trailers – $ 1,000.
  • jewelry, watches, furs and semi-precious stones – $ 1,000.
  • firearms – $ 2,000.
  • silverware, goldware or pewterware – $ 2,500.
  • property on the residence premises used for business purposes – $ 2500.
  • property away from residence premises used for business purposes. – $ 250.
Personal liability (Coverage E)
NOTE: Most Homeowner Insurance Companies provide only minimal animal liability or totally exclude this coverage. Discuss this in detail with your agent.

Provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage for which you are legally responsible. For example, let’s say your dog bites someone, a guest falls down your front stairs, or your son throws a ball through your neighbor’s window. You are legally responsible for the damaged caused by these actions. Personal Liability helps to cover the associated costs of these related damages.

Most homeowner policies provide a minimum of $100,000 of liability protection. However, you can opt to increase this amount to $300,000 or $ 500,000. Also Umbrella Insurance 101 can help you determine whether the liability limits available on your homeowners policy are sufficient for your needs. Of course, an independent agent at SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. is your greatest resource for this evaluation.

Medical payments (Coverage F)

Pays all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for a period of three years from the date of an accident to a person or persons injured while on your property. This coverage does not apply to the insured or regular residents of the insured’s household.

Bodily injury

Accidents do happen…and sometimes they happen to other people while at your home, or by a member of your household. This coverage helps to pay for the expenses created in the event that a physical injury to others is caused by you, residents of your household, or your pets. Injuries resulting from automobile accidents are not covered under a homeowners policy.

Property damage

If someone’s property is accidentally damaged by you, members of your household, or your pets, your homeowners policy will help to repair or replace it.

Liability coverage exclusions

A homeowners policy does not provide coverage for:

  • bodily injury or property damage resulting from an automobile accident
  • bodily injury or property damage which is expected or intended by the insured
  • bodily injury or property damage arising out of business pursuits
  • bodily injury or property damage arising out of rental of any part of the premises
  • liability arising out of ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of aircraft, motor vehicles or water craft
  • liability arising out of war or insurrection.
  • Additional exclusions to Coverage E only:
  • liability assumed under contract or agreement
  • property damage to property owned by, used by or in the care of the insured
  • bodily injury which is covered under a Workers Compensation policy.

Call 239-265-9577 for a Premium Quote or Request a Quote at www.SWFLAgency.com

SWFL Insurance Agency offers Homeowners Insurance thru the top rated Insurance Companies in Florida.

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