Return to the Florida Homeowners Insurance Site

Ways to Save on Your
Homeowners Insurance Policy

A replacement cost appraisal can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Citizens Insurance Corp., as well as other insurance companies accept appraisals (see below) and they must have been done within the last 12 months. Also, make sure the appraiser is Florida Certified. HAC has a few appraisers listed below that are charging reduced rates due to the insurance crisis.

"Replacement cost" is the amount needed to repair the damage or to rebuild the home to its pre-loss condition. For insurance purposes, the replacement cost of a home is NOT the market value of the home, its purchase price or the outstanding amount of any mortgage loan. It does not include the value of the land, but is the cost of rebuilding your home. 

Insurance agents use a what is called a “Replacement Cost Estimator” along with county tax records to determine your quote and if not done correctly can cost you thousands. HAC went to 14 different insurance agents for quotes for
2 different homes, a single story block home and an elevated 2-story home, and found that most agents gave accurate quotes for a typical Florida block home, but there were some discrepancies with screen rooms and/or porches that could add more to the dwellings final replacement cost. With the elevated 2-story home the different quotes were dramatic, ranging from $130,600 to $234,000. But by having an Replacement Cost Appraisal the agent must use that appraisal figure.


The following savings are based on a Dwelling coverage of $156,500 and a Personal Property coverage (contents) of $78,250 (50%) with Citizens homeowners insurance:

You could choose “No” for Replacement Cost Contents (then you will only get the depreciated amount for your contents). A savings of $440.

You could increase your Deductibles on All Other Perils and Hurricane (if your mortgage company will let you).

  By increasing All Other Perils from $1000 to $2500, save $469. 

  By increasing Hurricane from 2% to 5%, save $264. (You can now increase    your deductible to 10%)

  Total savings on the above: $1173.

As of September 1, 2007 for new policies, and October 1, 2007 for renewing polices you will be able to "Opt-out" of Sinkhole Coverage (if your mortgage company will let you). Savings will vary from county to county. Pasco and Hernando are the only counties that you must "Opt-in" to have sinkhole coverage. To not have Sinkhole Coverage is very risky in certain areas of Florida, especially Pasco and Hernando counties. However, every homeowners policy will still be covered for "Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse". This means that if your home becomes "Uninhabitable" (meaning you must move out) by county standards you will be covered. See HAC's Sinkhole page for more details.


Reduce Personal Property (contents) coverage to 25% of your Dwelling coverage (Citizens allows you to do this but some agents are not aware that you can), you will then not be eligible to get full replacement cost. The saving on your policy's premium would be very minimal by choosing this, only a $39 savings.


On your policy you will see coverage for Other Structures, which is always 10% of the Dwelling coverage. Many homeowners are confused about this coverage when they have no "other structures" on their property. This coverage is automatically applied to the policy. It provides coverage for structures not attached to the dwelling, such a garage or fence. You can choose to increase this coverage if needed. You may be able to drop this coverage in the future. Savings yet to be determined.



Having a hip roof can save you hundreds on your policy under Windstorm
A gable roof is more susceptible to wind damage, thus no savings. 
     A Hip Roof       A Gable Roof

Having a new roof or newer roof, and you have proof that it was done by a licensed contractor, may give you a discount.

If you have a bathroom that has a sink, toilet and shower without a tub that is a 3/4 bath, not a full bathroom, and could save you over $25 on your policy's premium.


Make sure an Agent doesn’t add a Surcharge for No Prior Coverage if you already have an insurance policy (whether it’s Citizens or another insurance company).

Ways to Save Flyer (PDF)



Here are the two most often used appraisals for determining replacement cost (Total Estimate of Cost New) for homeowners insurance.   

The 1004 Full/URAR Uniform Residential Appraisal Report,
(Fannie Mae Form 1004
view form), cost can range from $325 to $400. In this type of appraisal the appraiser takes interior photos of the home, and can document any extra features such as a Jacuzzi tub or granite countertops. County records are used for square footage and other details.

The Exterior-Only Inspection Residential Appraisal Report, (Fannie Mae Form 2055 view form), cost can range from $150 to $275. In this type of appraisal the appraiser speaks with the homeowner, usually over the phone, about the interior features of the home. Questions about types of flooring, if there is a dishwasher, garbage disposal, etc. Exterior photos of the home are taken. County records are used for square footage and other details. This is the appraisal type that State Farm, Allstate, and many other insurance companies accept. Even Fannie Mae accepts this type of appraisal (see below).

To all insurance agents: Citizens accepts the Exterior-Only appraisal which is much more affordable. In fact, the Exterior-Only appraisal is even more detailed then the "Replacement Cost Estimator" that Citizens uses to determine replacement cost.


03/15/07, From Andrew Martinez, Director of Public Outreach and Education at Citizens Property Insurance Corporation,
Phone - (850) 513-3711
Cell - (850) 528-2779
Fax - (850) 513-0375

"We will accept any appraisal from a Florida certified appraiser as long as the appraisal reflects the cost of replacing the building. We have issued and posted to our web site several bulletins, (view bulletin) to help our 8,300 agents better understand the four ways we allow for determining the the amount that should be used for replacement cost. Once more we will accept any appraisal for replacement cost from a Florida certified (licensed) appraiser."





Here are a few appraisers in the West Pasco area that were recommended to HAC and are giving discounted rates (as low as $150) for appraisals due to the insurance crisis. (Rates for appraisals can run as high as $400 or more). When you call tell them you need a replacement cost appraisal for homeowners insurance. And remember to make sure the appraiser is Florida certified. (Don't forget to mention HAC)



(352) 585-0432

Spring Hill, Fl 34608


ARPL Appraisal Services
(727) 869-7819

Port Richey, Fl 34668


Cote Appraisals Inc.

(727) 863-1400

Hudson, Fl 34667


Jay Appraisals Inc.

(727) 846-1869

Port Richey, Fl 34668 


Check the Yellow Pages for your local Appraisers.


(HAC does not indorse any one appraiser and suggests everyone to shop around)


Appraisal Flyer (PDF)   

Fannie Mae's Revised Appraisal and Property Report Forms
(Forms Dated March 2005 for Appraisals Performed On/After 11/1/05)

Frequently Asked Questions: 

12. How can appraisers assist lenders in determining an appropriate level of hazard insurance coverage for loans to be delivered to Fannie Mae? 

Fannie Mae requires property insurance for first mortgages that protects against loss or damage from fire and other hazards. The hazard insurance coverage should provide for claims to be settled on a replacement cost basis. We prefer lenders to rely on a replacement cost estimate for the property that is made by the insurer. However, we are generally hearing from insurers that although they may provide some guidance about what the replacement cost should be, they consider it to be the responsibility of the consumer to determine their level of coverage. The fact that insurers appear to be reluctant to determine the replacement cost for a dwelling has become even more significant due to the general lack of guaranteed replacement cost policy endorsements. In addition, some states prohibit lenders from requiring levels of hazard insurance that exceeds replacement cost for the property. 

Lenders that choose to rely on the appraiser to provide a replacement cost estimate to determine the level of hazard insurance coverage required for a one-unit property should request that the appraiser provide the information in the “Cost Approach To Value” part of either the revised Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (Fannie Mae Form 1004 dated March 2005) or the Exterior-Only Inspection Residential Appraisal Report (Fannie Mae Form 2055 dated March 2005) or to report the information as an attachment to the appraisal report form. In such cases, lenders should rely on the appraiser’s estimate of the replacement cost of the improvements, which is reported as the “Total Estimate of Cost New” on the revised forms.  

This estimate does not include any form of depreciation or obsolescence. It is not appropriate for the lender simply to subtract the reported site or land value from the appraised value of the property to make that determination because that result is an estimate of the depreciated value of the improvements, not an estimate of their replacement cost.