The Best Florida Homeowners Insurance Companies
Florida’s annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the higher side — on average $1,993 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to the nationwide average of $1,173. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your home’s size, your assets, and your address. Use our tool to find your best rates:
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Florida has some of the highest insurance rates in the country, and for good reason. Of the ten most devastating hurricanes in the United States, seven hit Florida — and six occurred in 2004 and 2005. The state is still dealing with the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which caused so much damage that one insurer recruited and trained real estate agents to help them handle the flood of insurance claims.
But, hurricanes aren’t the only natural disasters to affect Florida; in 2016, the state ranked sixth in the nation for wildfires and seventh for tornadoes. The Sunshine State isn’t always sunny, and living in Florida means being ready to take on dangerous weather.
There are a lot of factors that go into homeowners insurance rates, and you’re going to want to shop around to determine which provider can offer the best deal — but if you want to own a home in Florida, you need to be prepared to pay high premiums. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports that Florida homeowners with a H03 policy pay an average of $1,993 per year, compared to the national average of $1,173.
You also need to get to know some insurance companies you might not have heard of; many of the big insurance providers avoid Florida, and the state’s top five providers include a few local insurers, one government option, and one good neighbor who stuck around.
We took a look at those top five providers and compared them using the same methodology and metrics we developed for our nationwide homeowners insurance review. We checked provider ratings with agencies like J.D. Power and A.M. Best, compared lists of policy options and discounts, and even called customer service to see what type of experience a client might get. Here’s how the five candidates stacked up.
Florida Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Tower Hill Group
Tower Hill is the second-largest insurance provider in Florida, but it provides some of the most extensive services, including options to purchase additional insurance coverage for water, sewer, valuables, and even identity theft. Tower Hill’s Emerald Endorsement offers a package of additional coverages, and its Imperial Shield program is designed to meet the needs of high-value homeowners.
Tower Hill also offers its own flood insurance. Although Floridians can purchase flood insurance through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program, Tower Hill’s flood insurance provides coverage for up to $5 million in building replacement costs and $2.5 million in your home’s contents.
Tower Hill is also affordable; when we compared insurance rates, Tower Hill consistently came in with some of the lowest rate options. It received an A- rating from A.M. Best, which means it is very likely to meet its financial commitments (i.e. pay your claims).
We were very impressed with Tower Hill’s website, which includes an extensive learning section with both articles and video. Tower Hill is also the only insurer on this list to offer Live Chat customer service, which is a great option for people who don’t want to sit on hold — although when we called Tower Hill’s customer service, we were able to connect with a representative in under a minute.
State Farm is the only national insurer on our list, and it comes with a nationally known reputation. It received an A++ rating from A.M. Best — the highest possible ranking — and it offers a variety of coverages, including umbrella liability coverage, personal property coverage, and identity theft coverage. State Farm also includes a long list of discounts: if you’re looking for a multi-line discount for both auto and home insurance, for example, you might want to start with State Farm.
We appreciated State Farm’s easy-to-navigate website, its educational articles, and its customer service. (As with Tower Hill, we were able to speak to a representative in under a minute.) What kept State Farm from taking the top spot on our list? When we compared rates at the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, State Farm rates were consistently higher than Tower Hill’s — although State Farm occasionally beat Tower Hill if the property was a lower-value home with no wind mitigation.
We suggest you get quotes from both Tower Hill and State Farm, so you can compare your options for yourself. Keep in mind that State Farm does not offer flood insurance, so you’ll need to get separate coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
This state-backed insurance program is often called “the insurer of last resort” because it’s available to people who don’t have other insurance opportunities — but that doesn’t mean we need to put it last on our list. Citizens doesn’t offer as many coverage packages as Tower Hill or as many discounts as State Farm, but it does include options like personal property coverage and sinkhole damage coverage. You can also get discounts for installing fire or burglar alarms or by installing wind-mitigation features in your home.
We were very impressed by Citizens Property’s Learning Center; like Tower Hill, Citizens offers educational materials in both text and video form; unlike Tower Hill, it offers Spanish language options.
We were less impressed with Citizens Property’s customer service. Although the representative we spoke with was able to answer our questions, we had to navigate through multiple phone trees with lengthy menu options just to get the opportunity to talk to a person.
Universal Insurance Holdings
Universal Insurance Holdings is the largest insurance provider in Florida, but we weren’t hugely impressed with the company. Although basic coverages, like homeowners insurance and personal property insurance, were clearly listed and explained, the provider doesn’t provide much information about additional coverages or discount options — the only discount mentioned was a wind mitigation discount — and we couldn’t get any more detail by calling customer service.
We get it — Universal wants you to contact them for a quote so they can start the sales process. But when you’re comparing a number of insurance providers, it’s nice to know what you’re likely to get before you put in that quote request.
Federated Insurance Group
As with Universal, Federated Insurance Group doesn’t provide much information (and neither does customer service). Its website provides a single generic paragraph about the benefits of homeowner insurance before urging you to contact an agent for a quote. You can also buy umbrella liability insurance and flood insurance through Federated, but you aren’t going to learn much about these policies until you talk to an agent. There isn’t even a learning center to help you understand what types of insurance you might need as a homeowner.
With this lack of information, it’s going to be difficult to determine whether Federated is the right provider for you before you call. If you want to compare all of your options, you can always contact an agent.
The state makes it easy to compare insurance rates.
Use the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s online rate comparison tool to make smart choices about insurance in your area. Although this tool doesn’t give you a personalized quote, it does let you select from a few different sample homes and view typical insurance rates for that type of home in your county.
When we looked at potential rates for a $300,000 new construction home in Polk County, for example, we learned that Tower Hill offered the best rates, with an annual estimated payment of around $1,554. State Farm, meanwhile, offered some of the most expensive rates at $3,995. You’ll still want to get a quote of your own, but this tool can help you decide which insurers might offer the lowest rates for your property.
|Tower Hill Select||$1,554|
|Tower Hill Preferred||$1,696|
|Tower Hill Prime||$1,725|
|Universal Insurance Holdings||$2,011|
|Citizens Property Insurance Corporation||$2,128|
|Tower Hill Signature||$2,253|
|Federated National Insurance Company||$2,370|
If your insurer doesn’t offer flood insurance, you can get it from the government.
Flood insurance is a must in most Florida counties — but it won’t be included in a standard homeowners insurance policy. If your insurer doesn’t offer a separate flood insurance policy, you can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiative to ensure that homeowners in areas affected by floods have the opportunity to purchase coverage.
Be prepared to pay a hurricane deductible as well as a standard deductible.
Florida is one of nineteen states (plus the District of Columbia) that require homeowners to have hurricane deductibles in addition to their standard insurance deductible. Hurricane deductibles are calculated as a percentage of your total home value, and in Florida these deductibles can be as high as 10 percent.
This means that if a hurricane damages your home, you’re responsible for paying the cost of the deductible — which can be up to 10 percent of your home value, depending on your policy — before you receive any payment from your insurance company.
AOB claims are causing Florida insurance rates to skyrocket.
Florida has high insurance rates to begin with, and they’re only getting higher — especially because Florida contractors are filing more and more assignment of benefits claims. Here’s how an AOB claim works: A contractor offers to fix a common household problem, such as a burst water pipe, while also asking homeowners to sign over their insurance benefits. In some cases the homeowners are unaware that they are signing over their benefits. Always read your contracts, and avoid signing anything mentioning “assignment of benefits” or “AOB”. After the homeowners sign, the contractors can go after the claims themselves, and sue the insurance companies if the claims are denied.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that AOB claims have gone up by nearly 7000 percent in the past decade — and the more insurance companies have to deal with AOB claims and lawsuits, the more they have to raise their rates to compensate.
If a contractor independently approaches you about damage to your home, they might be trying to get an AOB claim out of you — so tell them you’re not interested. You can always hire your own contractor if you need one.