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Cheaper Florida Homeowners Insurance Premiums

Are you over insured?

The insurance company may sometimes overvalue a home which forces up your premium. You may be able to use an appraisal to demonstrate to them the appropriate value and thus reduce your homeowner's quote and thus your insurance premium. Remember that an appraisal will include land value so subtract that out in order to come up with the figure that you are going to use to persuade the insurance company how much your building is worth.


Accucoverage is now offering replacement cost reports to consumers for insurance purposes for $7.95. If you can get a full appraisal for less than that, do it, but that seems the cheapest option.

Check with your insurance agent to ensure they accept the reports.

Most appraisers obtain their replacement cost figures from Marshall & Swift (click on 'building cost data'). I heard that they had reports similar to Accucoverage, but I could find nothing like it on their web site. It has been said that Citizens will accept a replacement cost certificate from Marshall & Swift. Valuator from RS Means is another product.

Insurance and Mortgages

Some waterfront property owners are finding that the majority of the value of their home is in the land, and that their lenders are content for them to drop insurance totally.

Insurance companies are usually happy to accept inflated premiums on your coverage, but are then reluctant to pay out the amount insured in the event of a claim. Why pay high premiums for no gain?

Many homeowners try insuring their homes for the amount of their mortgage balance. Some lenders encourage this by telling their borrowers that this is fine.

The result is often "overinsurance". This overinsurance usually occurs when land value is included in replacement-cost insurance.

The Florida Administrative Code 4-167.009 states "no mortgage lender shall, in connection with any application for a mortgage loan in this state which is secured by a mortgage on residential real estate located in this state require any prospective mortgagor to obtain by purchase or otherise a fire insurance policy in excess of the replacement value of the covered premises as a condition for granting such a mortgage" In brief a mortgage company cannot require you to insure for more than the replacement value of your home.

Some homeowners are underinsured because they carry insurance for only their low mortgage balances. This exposes them to having to take a big loss in the event of total destruction of the insured property.

Some insurers may view underinsurance as a way that they have to reduce the amount they pay you in the event of a partial claim. The rationale is that if you were only paying a premium for a portion of the risk, why should they pay out the full amount of any claim.

From Bob Bruss, a well-known real estate investment columnist:

RAISE YOUR UMBRELLA, LOWER YOUR LIABILITY INSURANCE. A few years ago my insurance agent made a wise and profitable suggestion. He said I should cut my liability coverage on each of my properties to $300,000 and take out a $2 million "umbrella policy" to give me better coverage at lower cost. Don't tell the insurer, but my $700 annual premium for $2 million excess liability coverage is a genuine bargain.

If you have net worth over $1 million, you can probably save money by following the same strategy. Check with your current insurance agent, plus one or two others, to see if a similar tactic can save you insurance premium dollars and obtain better protection.

Incidentally, my umbrella liability insurance policy not only provides excess coverage for insured property liability, but it also provides automobile liability coverage if I should be at fault in an auto accident. Another feature I like with my present insurer is guaranteed renewability no matter how many claims I might have (although my annual premiums will probably increase)."

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