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homeowner's insurance in FL - second home for now
Old 05-13-2016, 07:43 AM   #1
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homeowner's insurance in FL - second home for now

Well, we've taken a big step towards early retirement. We found a second home (townhouse) in the area we want to retire to and have a contract in on it. Yay!

Soooooooo...now begins the search for decent insurance.

I've received several quotes which vary widely in cost and what they cover.

I know the insurance market in FL is crazy with national insurers moving out due to the hurricane history.

Looking for opinions - good and bad - on insurers. We are looking at a quote from People's Trust (low ball - but not too sure about how much I TRUST them after reading online reviews!) and also from Universal Insurance (more expensive, but cover more...haven't seen anything too bad yet in my research).

Also looking for advice about how much insurance (replacement cost) to purchase. We've received wide variation in what the insurers are recommending. I don't want to over nor underinsure. Ugh! I ran some calculations on Building-Cost.net -- free residential building cost calculator which gave me a decent starting point. However I'm still not confident in that number.
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Old 05-13-2016, 08:11 AM   #2
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Crazy is the right word to describe insurance here in Fl. There are dozens of insurers ready to write a policy. Problem is, none of them are rated, and my guess is that a good slice of them won't be around to pay if there's a real disaster. Citizens, the State of Fl insurer of last resort, is trying to move it's business to them.

If your home was built based of the latest code (I think it's after '04), the windows are impact resistant and you aren't too close to the coast you might have a chance to get coverage from an insurer that has a strong financial rating. Your best bet is to call a broker.
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Old 05-13-2016, 08:31 AM   #3
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See if you can find a broker who works with ASI (American Strategic). They are who we have our policy with right now, and they've been decent. Another I'm going to quote with later this year (though they require an inspection) is St. John's in Orlando. I got a cheaper quote from them last year, but ran out of time to deal with it before my policy with ASI was due.
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Old 05-13-2016, 09:16 AM   #4
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Crazy is the right word to describe insurance here in Fl. There are dozens of insurers ready to write a policy. Problem is, none of them are rated, and my guess is that a good slice of them won't be around to pay if there's a real disaster. Citizens, the State of Fl insurer of last resort, is trying to move it's business to them.

If your home was built based of the latest code (I think it's after '04), the windows are impact resistant and you aren't too close to the coast you might have a chance to get coverage from an insurer that has a strong financial rating. Your best bet is to call a broker.
It was built in 2003 and I've been told that qualifies us for wind mitigation discounts. So yay! That is part of why I wanted a newer home.

I do have a broker and have some quotes - just looking for more data before deciding.
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Old 05-13-2016, 09:19 AM   #5
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See if you can find a broker who works with ASI (American Strategic). They are who we have our policy with right now, and they've been decent. Another I'm going to quote with later this year (though they require an inspection) is St. John's in Orlando. I got a cheaper quote from them last year, but ran out of time to deal with it before my policy with ASI was due.
The broker I am using is from Answer Financial, and yes, they do work with ASI, but the quote from ASI was very high compared to the quote from Universal. (it was double the premium, for almost identical coverage)
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Old 05-13-2016, 09:52 AM   #6
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Yep, this is why you'll have to expect to get quotes every few years. At the time we got ASI, they were way cheaper than anyone else, now they've moved up the price chain and other low(ish) cost coastal writers have taken their place.
See if you can get St. Johns to quote. I'll have to check out Universal--they write in SC. They aren't on my broker's list, but I know a guy at another broker who can quote.
Welcome to the revolving door of insurance carriers!
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:08 AM   #7
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I'm getting quotes now for the Sarasota condo we are closing on in June. I'm working with a local agent who was referred to me by my long-time insurance agent from home who, by coincidence, owns a condo in Sarasota too. So far, the best quotes are from American Integrity and Universal.

The quotes are about the same as what I pay for home insurance in New England but with much less coverage than what I have at home. Still it is less than a friend who has the same size condo a few hundred yards away pays and less than what the current owner pays.
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:17 AM   #8
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I have had Tower Hill Insurance on my home in Orlando for nine years and am good with it. I get a permanent $398 credit for windstorm loss mitigation which helps, plus a credit every year that I have no claims.


My agent is in Ormond Beach, FL. PM me if you would like the name and number.
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:21 AM   #9
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Congratulations on getting a townhome under contract! That's so exciting.

As for insurers, here in Louisiana our insurance situation is bizarre, corrupt, and strangely regulated, so to be honest I can't provide any useful information for those living in other states. It's even weirder here in New Orleans than in the rest of Louisiana.
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
Yep, this is why you'll have to expect to get quotes every few years. At the time we got ASI, they were way cheaper than anyone else, now they've moved up the price chain and other low(ish) cost coastal writers have taken their place.
See if you can get St. Johns to quote. I'll have to check out Universal--they write in SC. They aren't on my broker's list, but I know a guy at another broker who can quote.
Welcome to the revolving door of insurance carriers!
Thank you so much Sarah! I will check out St. John's for sure!
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:30 AM   #11
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I'm getting quotes now for the Sarasota condo we are closing on in June. I'm working with a local agent who was referred to me by my long-time insurance agent from home who, by coincidence, owns a condo in Sarasota too. So far, the best quotes are from American Integrity and Universal.

The quotes are about the same as what I pay for home insurance in New England but with much less coverage than what I have at home. Still it is less than a friend who has the same size condo a few hundred yards away pays and less than what the current owner pays.
Ha! Our is in Sarasota, too, and our closing is in June, too!

Hadn't heard of American Integrity. Glad to hear your best quote was from Universal. Sounds like they are being competitive in the market right now, so it makes sense that the best quote from our broker was from them.

Our best quote for price was from People's (whom I contacted directly), but the coverage is much less. And, it is with their "preferred contractor" endorsement. I asked them for a new quote without signing the endorsement and for more coverage - we'll see what I get, if anything.
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Old 05-13-2016, 11:54 AM   #12
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Another thing that I found is that while I need $500k underlying liability for my umbrella the insurers were only willing to write $300k. I have a request into my umbrella carrier (who also are my insurer for home and auto but do not write in FL) to see if they will waive it in our circumstances. Both my home and Florida agents think they will as I guess it is quite common.
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:09 PM   #13
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I also use Tower Hill in Northeast Florida. Rates have been fairly steady for the 7 or 8 years I've used them. Coverage for everything I wanted. No claims, so I can't comment on that. My parents use USAA. For a while they weren't writing new policies in Florida. I'm not sure if they started back up. If anyone in your family is military or retired, they are good to at least try for home and auto.


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Old 05-13-2016, 12:13 PM   #14
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Another thing that I found is that while I need $500k underlying liability for my umbrella the insurers were only willing to write $300k. I have a request into my umbrella carrier (who also are my insurer for home and auto but do not write in FL) to see if they will waive it in our circumstances. Both my home and Florida agents think they will as I guess it is quite common.
Interesting. Our current umbrella carrier only requires $300K, but they also require us to hold it with their company. We are going to have to change umbrella carriers due to not being able to use our current insurance agent for the FL property. I found several other carriers that only require $300K, so I do think it is quite common.

One side benefit...I found out we were being gouged on our rental property insurance (which I got another quote on, too)....to the tune of $800 more for very similar coverage. Geez. Wish I had investigated that earlier, but I felt so tied into the umbrella that I never undertook the task. Oh well, better late than never!
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:24 PM   #15
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Your current umbrella carrier isn't willing to waive the requirement that they carry the underlying coverage since they don't write in Florida?

That is strange... tell them that they'll end up with nothing since you night as well move everything to a more flexible company and perhaps they'll come to their senses. Something is better than nothing.
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:47 PM   #16
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Your current umbrella carrier isn't willing to waive the requirement that they carry the underlying coverage since they don't write in Florida?

That is strange... tell them that they'll end up with nothing since you night as well move everything to a more flexible company and perhaps they'll come to their senses. Something is better than nothing.
I didn't even try, because they are the ones who are way overcharging me for my rental property insurance. So, since I am definitely going to change the rental property insurer, I need to find a new umbrella carrier. I have two good options thus far, so I think it is all going to work out even better for me.

If I didn't want to change the rental prop insurer I would ask them to waive it like you are.

I like the fact that I have found two umbrella carriers who don't require me to use their insurance for home/auto. I may pay a little more for umbrella (not a ton), but it gives me more flexibility to shop different carriers for home/auto and not be so locked into one company.
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:19 PM   #17
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Try personalumbrella.com for another umbrella quote.
I know, that name seems sketchy, but my broker says they are good, as does my nerdy cousin who is a P&C guy for BB&T up in Charlotte.
They didn't mind coverage being all over the place, as you can imagine mine is, lol!
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:20 PM   #18
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Congratulations on your townhouse purchase and welcome to Sarasota !
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:28 PM   #19
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Congratulations on your townhouse purchase and welcome to Sarasota !
Thank you!!! Can't wait til we actually can move down there - shooting for fall!
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:00 PM   #20
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Perhaps we can arrange a southern chapter get-together sometime along.
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