Hurricanes & Florida Home Insurance For Canadians
Even if you know next to nothing about Florida’s history, culture, or demographics, it’s likely there’s a 100 percent guarantee that you’re aware of the devastating hurricane season that impacts Florida every year, and surely, some of the big-name, heavy-hitting storms that have pummelled Florida in the past.
Coming off a heinous hurricane season in 2017 (remember hearing about Harvey and Irma on the news?), it’s important to note that it’s not just the landscape that was affected by the 185-mph winds. With the rain and the destruction came a heavy hit to flood, hurricane, and homeowners’ insurance in Florida, as well. The insurance industry in Florida was hammered with billions of dollars in losses from the 2017 hurricane season, with some news sites reporting up to $65 billion in damage. Though still a significant amount, this was a huge gap in what many insurance companies had predicted – nearly $200 billion.
Still, though, Florida continues to run a risk. With ever-increasing hurricane power, homeowners in Florida can continue to expect higher and higher rates with fewer companies willing to take the risk. Though there are dozens of factors associated with homeowners, flood, and hurricane insurance, it’s important to stay on top of how these things change over time and what you should be aware of if you are a Canadian looking to buy a coastal home in Florida.
While we don’t discourage buying coastal property in Florida – the state has plenty to offer, and who doesn’t love a beachside home? – we do recommend awareness. Check out the top five things we think you should know about insurance and Florida before purchasing the perfect, Coastal home.
Top Five Must-Knows about Coastal Property and Florida Insurance
1. Get Insured Immediately and With a Company You Trust
In Florida, there is no such thing as down-time. If you’re thinking of purchasing a coastal home, you can’t lollygag when it comes to finding insurance. Depending on when you’re buying your home (we’re speaking seasonally), you may have time to spare. However, in Florida, policies require about 30 days to activate, and if you’re planning to purchase something before Hurricane season dawns on you, it’s important to make sure you’re covered well before the rain begins. Another viable piece of information? Insurance providers won’t deign to write a new policy for you if you wait too long and a named storm is active in your area. Get to work! Additionally, it’s important to only work with a company you trust. In other words, don’t just ask your friends who they use and work with them – it’s important to find an insurance agent who’s a straight-shooter. Seek out advice from professionals in your community that are familiar with liability issues
2. A Bargain Isn’t the End All-Be All
We know that shopping around is important, and don’t get us wrong, we don’t hate saving a few bucks when it comes to insurance. However, coastal property in Florida is a different beast altogether. Consider the intensity and damage of the storms in Florida in the past. The severity of these natural disasters wiped out landscape, buildings, and plenty of establishments in Florida, leaving many people homeless or worse. The damage done to thousands of homes in Florida by past hurricanes has almost been described as irreparable. With all that in mind, why would you sign for a bargain that won’t give you the full protection you need? Due to the severity of past storms, rates from insurance companies have climbed, and while that’s unfortunate, it’s important to swallow pride and pay the price to a trustworthy company for the peace of mind that comes with protection – especially with a coastal home.
3. Don’t Forget the Insurance Gaps
When it comes to Canadians getting homeowner’s insurance in Florida, and specifically seaside homes, it’s important to look past the basics. Sure, you have homeowners’ insurance, but what about hurricane insurance? What about flood insurance? Having the appropriate insurance for your property can make the damage that may affect your home during storm season much easier to stomach. For your seaside home, you’ll likely be required to carry up to four policies – think homeowners, flood, excess flood, and even wind coverage. We recommend that when you’re purchasing your coastal home, you run each option by your insurance company, that way they can help you decipher the particulars required for each seaside home you’re looking at.
4. Get Your Bulkheads Inspected
This is quite a specific tip, but one that most coastal homeowners or future coastal homeowners forget to check! If your property butts right up to the water, it’s likely that it will have a bulkhead. A bulkhead is a barrier wall that separates your property from the water. It’s unlikely you’ll have this if you’re situated right on the sand, however, many coastal properties back up to lagoons, bays, or other canals and feature these walls. Check with your insurance company to make sure, but it’s likely your bulkhead will need a separate inspection and insurance policy!
5. Flood Insurance is Not a Joke
We know that you’re likely obligated to acquire flood insurance if you’re living on the coast (or really, in most spots in Florida), but did you know you might be responsible for adding on extra flood insurance or surge insurance. Flood insurance is required and incredibly important, but more than that, it can often be downright expensive. Make sure you’re ready to pay the ever-rising flood insurance fees before you commit fully to purchasing that beautiful, beach side property. Sure, it’s a gorgeous view, but did you consider how much that view could cost you in flood insurance fees alone? Think you’re off the hook if you don’t live in a verified flood zone? Don’t. Flooding in Florida is serious business during the hurricane, and simply because you’re not obligated to purchase it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. However, if you’re planning to purchase waterfront property, it’s more than likely you won’t be able to get out of flood insurance.
To compare and contrast homeowners insurance coverage for different areas of Florida please visit
Cost of Homeowners Insurance in Florida: by County
If you’re interested in the cost of homeowner’s insurance by FL county we’ve gone ahead and included all 67 counties in the table below. They are listed from cheapest (Leon County) to most expensive (Monroe County). The dollar amounts represent the average annual amount paid for homeowners insurance in the area.