Florida homeowners pay nearly triple the national average for insurance—over $4,000 per year per policy. This is because the risk of disaster—and the scale of the disaster—is greater in Florida than in some states such as Nebraska due to weather phenomena such as hurricanes.
Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming that they are fully covered without reviewing the particulars of their policy. Florida homeowners should take time to review their policies and ensure that they are fully covered and protected. This article discusses losses that are commonly covered by homeowner’s insurance policies, as well as what sorts of things are typically excluded.
Common Covered Damage Causes
You should review your policy or consider having an attorney help you review your policy to see what causes of damage are covered. Here are a few common covered causes:
Whether the fire was caused by an accident in the kitchen or lightning, a fire that occurs as a result of an accident or a natural event is oftentimes covered. However, if the fire is set intentionally, this will likely not be covered.
Water damage can result from burst pipes, rainfall, and melting ice. Homeowners’ policies may not cover water damage resulting from every cause (such as if it results from a flood).
Wind can cause profound damage to siding, shingles, and the roof of the home. Wind damage is generally covered. But, if the loss is found to be solely caused by an excluded cause, then it will not be covered.
Sometimes, damage is caused as a result of breaking and entering. Many homeowners’ insurance policies will also cover vandalism to the property.
Typical property covered will include the dwelling (that is, the home) and other structures. It is important to verify which structures are covered and under what circumstances. For instance, is a shed on the property, or a detached garage, covered? What if the detached garage is used for a business?
Personal property is also typically covered. This refers to the items that are inside the house. Coverage depends on whether the insurance provider is going to pay the replacement cost or the actual cash value. Replacement cost policies generally will give the insured the amount of money it would take to replace the item at the time of the claim. An actual cash value policy will generally give an estimated value of what the item is worth, taking into consideration depreciation. There will generally be upper limits established by the insurance company.
Other Things that Can Be Covered
Here are a couple of things that generally can be covered.
Loss of Use
Loss of use coverage is a unique concept. This coverage, which is typically part of homeowner’s insurance policies, may issue payment resulting from not being able to use your home in the event that it is uninhabitable.
A hotel or longer-term rental stay may be covered by your policy in the event of the home being uninhabitable. In addition to having shelter, a displaced homeowner may have a number of other expenses.
Homeowners may now be faced with increased transportation costs. Temporary housing may be farther away from employment or a child’s school. You could be reimbursed for the difference between what you typically spend filling up the tank and what you pay as a result of the alternative housing.
Other common expenses that may be reimbursed are storage or boarding expenses. If a hurricane destroys most of the home, possessions cannot be left out. They could face damage from the elements or be stolen. Those items will need to be placed at a storage unit, which costs money. Similarly, pets may need to be boarded. Many hotels do not accept pets.
An exclusion to a homeowner’s insurance policy refers to specific types of damages that the insurance provider will not cover. While this is not an exhaustive list, these are some examples of things that may be excluded.
Oftentimes, flood insurance is sold separately. Some natural disaster events are accompanied by flooding. Flood insurance generally can be purchased in addition to the general homeowner’s insurance policy through a private insurer or through a federal program.
Dog Bite Coverage
Some homeowner insurance policies will exclude coverage for injuries stemming from dog bites. With that said, there are policies that do cover dog bites. Sometimes there are breed exclusions, so this is something to consider as well. Be sure to review the policy and disclose what type of dog you have when purchasing a policy.
Mold can be excluded unless it is proved that the mold came about due to a covered peril. Each case is different, and it is important to review your policy or consult with an attorney if you believe you need one to help with your claim. For example, if a hurricane causes roof damage, which then causes mold to grow, then the mold mitigation could be found to be covered.
Insurance policies can be confusing, and sometimes homeowners do understand their coverage. If ever in doubt, consult with a qualified Florida insurance attorney. They can help review your particular situation and make sure you have the best coverage before an accident happens.
If you have found yourself with a homeowner’s insurance claim denied, this may also the time to reach out to a seasoned Florida insurance attorney and see if the damage was covered under the policy. Help is available by contacting us online or calling us at 321-283-5888.