Three Documents Crucial to Homeowners Insurance in Florida
April 15, 2022
It’s no secret that the Florida homeowners’ insurance market is in crisis. The collapse of buildings, hurricanes, deceptive contractors, sinkholes and floods have made securing and the renewal of insurance challenging.
But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With the right documentation, you can make your insurance application more attractive to carriers.
Wind Mitigation Certificate
Wind mitigation certificates indicate the protective features of a home against risks like windstorms. Before completing the certificate, a licensed surveyor examines home features such as the type of windows and doors in place, the last replacement of the roof and its attachment to walls, and the construction materials.
Homeowners can improve the chances of receiving a certificate through a few investments, including installing hurricane-rated glass for windows and hurricane-rated garage and entry doors. These simple changes can significantly increase the credits, and therefore decrease a homeowner’s policy premium, helping insurability in the long run.
Similar to wind mitigate certificates, elevation certificates are completed by a licensed surveyor. These certificates indicate how high above base flood elevation a home sits, as well as any flood-proofing measures in place. According to FEMA, base flood elevation is the elevation of surface water from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year. In other words, the base flood elevation is a baseline of a consolidation of various data, including historic weather data and local topography.
Though national flood insurance no longer requires elevation certificates for properties in high hazard zones, many insurance carriers and homeowners’ insurance companies do. Favorable results may reduce the insurance premium.
Though elevating your home above base flood elevation is expensive and time consuming, there are simple methods that may help, including moving machinery [I’m not sure about this: HVAC and electrical systems and appliances?] above first flood level and professionally installing flood-proof vents.
A four-point inspection shows the condition of four major systems in a house—the roof, plumbing, electrical and HVAC. Typically, these reports identify the age of the systems, along with any concerns or issues that might arise and should be proactively addressed. The reports may show problems such as leaks under a sink, damage to the water heater or problems with the roof.
After the delivery of the report, homeowner insurance companies require proof of updates or solutions to the issues in the report. Many companies even require replacement of items of a certain age, such as a water heater. For example, many companies are not insuring homes with roofs older than 15 years and water heaters older than 12 years.
Altering your home inside or out could have significant effects on how these documents read. It is important to communicate these changes to your agent to ensure you will continue to have proper coverage.