Don’t Get Swamped by Florida Insurance
The topic of Florida insurance is a perplexing one, to say the least. In fact, wading through the laws, regulations, and unique considerations that go into acquiring reasonable Florida insurance quotes is a daunting enough task that even the most determined Floridians can find themselves feeling as out of sorts as an Atlantic Sailfish in Lake Okeechobee. Add to that the fact that Floridians pay out some of the highest insurance premiums in the nation (Florida ranks 5th in auto insurance premiums and 3rd in homeowners insurance premiums according to studies by the Insurance Information Institute (III) and HomeInsurance.com, respectively), and it can be tempting to throw in the towel where managing your insurance needs are concerned. On the contrary, it’s precisely because of the reasons mentioned above that you need to be proactive in understanding the ins and outs of home, auto, health, life and business insurance in Florida if you’re on the hunt for a new policy.
Understanding Florida Insurance
Why is it that understanding insurance needs in Florida can be such a trial for those who call the Sunshine State Home? The answer lies in what makes Florida such a popular and unique state to begin with. Florida’s size, unique weather and geography, and diverse demographics, all play a role in determining the going rate for insurance in FLA. But when you boil it down to the very basics, the largest determining factor in Florida is the same as everywhere else in the United States: risk.
How Risk Influences Insurance Rates in the State of Florida
If you’re curious how insurance companies make money, it’s by weighing the risks they take in providing insurance to a customer against the probability that they’ll have to make good on the policies they sell. Unfortunately for Floridians, that formula usually doesn’t work to their benefit. Whether you’re looking at highway safety statistics, crime rates, or the frequency of natural disasters in Florida, living in the Sunshine State from an insurance provider’s perspective is risky business. Take the two most popular insurance needs, auto and home, as an example:
- Auto Insurance in Florida — Let’s start with the most common need for Floridians searching for Florida insurance quotes: car insurance. With an average cost of $1,043 per year, Florida car insurance premiums rank 5th in the nation, far above the national average of $795. Why so high? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most recent annual report, Florida’s 2,978 traffic fatalities in 2007 ranked 3rd in the nation, while the Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates Florida’s uninsured motorist rate at 19%, or 8th in country – the kind of statistics that make insurance providers cringe. They are also the kind of statistics that convince most drivers in the Sunshine State to carry higher than required insurance policies. For example, despite Florida’s relatively low state required auto coverage amounts of $10,000/$30,000 in Bodily Liability, and $10,000 for Property Liability, insurance giant Allstate suggests a starting point for drivers in Florida of $100,000/$300,000 for Bodily Liability and $50,000 for Property Liability, and that doesn’t include their other recommendations like Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage at $10,000/$20,000, and extra Medical Payments Coverage of $5,000. In other words, it pays to play it safe with auto insurance in FLA.
- Florida Insurance Quotes for Homeowners Insurance — Unfortunately, the high rates for insurance in Florida don’t end with auto. In addition to owning the bragging rights for the 5th most expensive auto insurance in the nation, Florida also lays claim to the 3rd most expensive average annual rates for home insurance according to HomeInsurance.com, at $980 per year as of December, 2009. And while there are a number of factors that come into play when calculating that number, Florida’s propensity for natural disaster ranks at the top of the list. Florida has the highest density of lightning strikes in the United States, more tornadoes per square mile than any other state in the Union, and more than 80% of the population lives in flood-prone areas. Add to that the fact that Florida gets hit by more hurricanes than any other state (nearly 500 recorded tropical and subtropical cyclones have hit Florida to date, and hurricanes or tropical storms have landed in Florida in all but 18 of the last 159 years), and it’s fairly obvious why insurance providers ask for a little bit more to offset their losses when it comes to covering residents of the “Sunshine” State.
How to Combat High Insurance Rates in Florida
Let’s face it, when a single weather event like 1992’s Hurricane Andrew can account for $26.5 billion in losses all by itself, insurance companies are not going to drop their rates in Florida any time soon. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re helpless in finding reasonable rates if you’re willing to put forth the effort. All national averages aside, your best strategy for finding the best rates is to start by knowing the exact types and amounts of insurance coverages you’re looking for, and then to follow that up by getting a host of Florida insurance quotes to compare and contrast. Whether you take that challenge on all by yourself, or reach out for the helping hand of a service like NetQuote.com to go on the hunt for you, casting a wide net is far and away the most reliable strategy for getting the best deals for you and yours in the state of Florida.
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