On October 1, 2018, Sawgrass Mutual Insurance Company (“SMIC”) was ordered liquidated by the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County, Florida. The Florida Department of Financial Services (“Department”) is the court appointed Receiver of SMIC.  Please continue to report all new claims in accordance with the company’s normal claims filling procedures until instructed differently. More information is available on the Department’s website here.


6 Common Myths About Homeowner's Insurance In Florida

With so many amazing and unique properties on the market in Florida, many new homeowners arrive each year unaware of the differences of insuring a property in the Sunshine State. Educate yourself about the most common myths that abound about Florida insurance requirements. Knowing the facts will help you choose the right plan and only pay what's necessary for the ideal amount of protection.

Myth 1: Flooding is Automatically Covered

Since hurricanes and other flooding events are so common in coastal states like Florida, many people purchasing their first homes or vacation condos assume that flooding damage is included in every home insurance policy. However, flooding is insured separately. Every property owner in the state chooses a separate flooding and hurricane insurance plan, offered by the National Flood Insurance Program or a private company, with the amount of coverage they want. Failing to do so won't trigger any kind of warning, so you could potentially overlook this important fact for years or decades and only discover your mistake after a flood damages your home.

Myth 2: All Flooding Insurance is Essentially the Same

Once they know about the need to get flooding insurance, some homeowners still don't realize the variations in policies when shopping for such a specific rider to add to their insurance portfolio. Some policies only cover the contents inside a structure, while others will reimburse you for the cost of repairs to the structure as well. Choosing contents-only flooding insurance could leave you unable to pay for your home, but it is the best option for people who rent because the landlord should be insuring the structure.

Myth 3: Termite Damage is Easy to Treat

Termites are common in warm and humid environments throughout the South, and Florida is no exception. Unfortunately, the damage done by these insects is often underestimated by people new to an area with no experience of how the lifecycles of insects work in areas with no winter freezes. Since freezing temperatures occur so rarely in most of the state, termites do damage and spread year round. An infestation that might only cause limited damage in a colder area could lead to a condemned home in the same amount of time. Insect and termite damage is often excluded from basic home insurance plans as well, so double-check that you're covered.

Myth 4: You Need to Insure to the Purchase Price

Since it takes quite an investment to purchase your own piece of coastal heaven, it's common to find homeowners insuring to the purchase price of a property. However, the land itself that the house is sitting on is not usually damaged by even the worst hurricanes. Check out the assessed value of the house separately from the property to find a more reasonable amount to insure against.

Myth 5: There's Only One Deductible

Since Florida insurance laws allow for flooding and general home insurance to be split into two policies, there are two deductibles to deal with as well. Flooding and hurricane insurance deductibles tend to be much higher than you might expect and generally are set higher than the amounts designated in other forms of home insurance. If you expect to only have a few hundred dollars on hand to start immediate recovery and repairs after a flood, make sure you pick a matching deductible on your flood plan.

Myth 6: All Improvements are Equal

It is possible to improve your Florida home and therefore trim down your premium costs for insurance. Security upgrades are often chosen first, but in hurricane territory it's wind and water resistance that truly lowers your insurance costs. A stronger roof, new shingles, or storm windows are a better choice for a renovation that pays off in the long run.