The Best Florida Homeowners Insurance Companies
Florida has some of the highest insurance rates in the country, and for good reason. Of the 10 most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history, 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.
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. Although Florida fell out of the top 10 for both of these extreme weather categories in 2017, it’s important to know the Sunshine State isn’t always sunny — 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 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 an HO-3 policy pay an average of $1,993 per year, compared to the national average of $1,173.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Florida
We found that you’ll need to get to know some insurance companies you might not recognize — 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 review of the Best Homeowners Insurance. 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.
The 5 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Florida
- Tower Hill Insurance Group
- State Farm
- Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
- Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc.
- Federated National Insurance Company
Florida Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Tower Hill Insurance Group
Tower Hill is the second-largest insurance provider in Florida, but it provides some of the most extensive services, including coverage for water, sewer, valuables, and even identity theft. 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.
We found Tower Hill to be affordable when we compared insurance rates, especially given the comprehensive nature of coverage offered. Tower Hill’s Emerald Endorsement offers a package that can cover additional items, and its Imperial Shield program is designed to meet the needs of high-value homeowners. Not only is it affordable — it’s reliable: Tower Hill received an A- rating from A.M. Best, which means it is very likely to meet its financial commitments (i.e. pay your claims).
If you’re new to insurance, Tower Hill has a trove of resources available on its website to kickstart your research process. The willingness to help doesn’t stop there — Tower Hill’s customer service reputation is solid as well. It offers live chat, which is a great option for people who want questions answered in real time and don’t want to sit on hold. However, 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-acclaimed reputation. It received an A++ rating from the 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. One of the biggest differences between State Farm and Tower Hill is the gap in rates. Upon comparing rates through the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, we noticed State Farm’s were, on average, more expensive than Tower Hill’s. It’s also important to note that, like many homeowners insurance policies, State Farm does not provide flood insurance — so you might have to look to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for coverage. Our suggestion: Compare State Farm and Tower Hill for yourself by speaking to an agent or asking for quotes from both, as rates will vary.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
The state-backed insurance program is often called the “insurer of the 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 and installing wind-mitigation features in your home.
We were impressed with Citizens Property’s Learning Center — like Tower Hill, Citizens offers educational materials in both text and video form to help you better understand how to dissect policies. Unlike Tower Hill, Citizens Property caters to Spanish speakers. However, there is no online form to request a quote — you have to speak directly to an agent to do this or request any specific information.
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 (subsidiary: Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company) 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 give much information about additional coverages or discount options — the only discount mentioned concerned wind mitigation — and we couldn’t get any more detail by calling customer service.
Overall, Universal Property and Casualty has a sound reputation with an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau’s site. This means the majority of people are pleased with the company as a whole, however, the majority of complaints deal with products and less-than-stellar customer service.
Universal does offer an online quote tool (and live chat) that can actually be pretty helpful when trying to gauge the annual price of your policy. The more information you fill in about your home, the more accurate the estimate appears on the right hand side of the page. The tool even has a guide to help you explain each step of the process. You can fill in as much information as you want, gauge a price, and continue with the process or leave, conduct a quick comparison evaluation and come back later. This is more interactive and results-oriented than most of our other contenders, with online quote tools that end up directing you to an agent for more information. Granted, speaking to an agent will probably help you get you the most personalized and specific information possible.
FedNat Insurance Company
FedNat isn’t very forthcoming with information on its website (and neither is its 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. However, you can fill out a quote request online, and like Citizens Property, FedNat also caters to Spanish speakers.
You can also buy umbrella liability insurance and flood insurance through FedNat, 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.
Although the lack of information on FedNat’s website likely won’t satisfy an initial search, even with the online quote request tool, it certainly isn’t uncommon among local insurance providers. The trend isn’t going unnoticed, though. Insurance companies have historically favored human interaction for sales purposes, and this has caused a lag in their reach to millennials, especially. However, as more people look to the web for quick answers, there is a significant amount of pressure for insurance companies to adapt.
Guide to Homeowners Insurance in Florida
How much is homeowners insurance in Florida?
Make good use of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s online rate comparison tool to make informed decisions about insurance in your area, especially if a provider’s website urges you to pick up the phone in order to gain any inkling as to the policy’s specifics. 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.
For example, when we looked at potential rates for a $300,000 new construction home in Polk county, we learned that Tower Hill offered the best rates, starting at $1,725. Meanwhile State Farm offered the most expensive rates at $4,690. You’ll want to get a quote of your own, but this tool can help you decide which insurers offer the lowest rates for your property and in your area.
|Tower Hill Prime||$1,725|
|Tower Hill Select||$1,943|
|Tower Hill Preferred||$1,980|
|Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company||$2,011|
|Citizens Property Insurance Corporation||$2,128|
|Tower Hill Signature||$2,347|
|FedNat Insurance Company||$2,370|
|State Farm Florida Insurance Company||$4,690|
Look for flood insurance
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 (NFIP), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiative to ensure that homeowners in areas affected by floods have the opportunity to purchase coverage.
Prepare to pay for a hurricane deductible
Florida is among 19 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
Florida Homeowners Insurance FAQ
Why are Florida rates increasing?
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. In some cases, homeowners are unaware that they are even signing over their benefits. The Tampa Bay Times reported that “assign over the benefits (AOB)” claims have gone up by nearly 7,000 percent in the last decade — and the more insurance companies have to deal with AOB claims and lawsuits, the more they have to raise their rates to compensate.
What is an AOB claim?
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 — essentially seeking payment from the insurance company. 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.
The Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Florida: Summed Up
|A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating||A-||A++||Not rated||Not rated||Not rated|
|J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Score||N/A||4/5||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Online Quote Tool||✔||✔||✘||✔||✔|