This article is part of "The Patrick AFB Online Relocation Package".
There are many myths about buying homeowners insurance in Florida. I've had many clients tell me that they have heard that it is very expensive and that you might not even be able to get insurance.
First, I can equivocally state that if you decide to purchase a home in the area you will be able to get it insured.
Now, is homeowners insurance expensive on the Space Coast? Well that's a relative question. Compared to other areas of the country it is, but due to various legislative actions and other factors, rates have fallen over the past few years.
There are many factors that go into how the insurance companies come up with local rates, but here are some of the highlights:
Age of home - Newer the better (updated building codes)
Type of construction - Concrete block is better than Frame construction
Distance from the water (Ocean and River)- Further the better (due those pesky hurricanes: BTW we don't get that many)
Pool or no pool - Pool home will be more expensive
Other various wind mitigation factors are a plus - hurricane shutters, shape of the roof (a hip roof (pyramid) is best), how the roof is strapped to the walls, etc.
Buying home insurance is just like everything else, you need to shop around. I know many in the military have great trust in USAA and they should. One thing I suggest is to get a quote from USAA and check into a few local companies to see where you can get the most reliable and best deal. In my experience sometimes USAA has the better deal and sometime they don't. So I can't stress enough; you need to shop. I have seen new homes on the mainland with rates as low as $600-$700.
One thing I suggest you have done is a wind inspection. The inspection will cost around $100 and the inspector will check various items, roof, window coverings, etc. After you receive the report you can give it to the insurance company, and if certain factors are met, many insurance companies will reduce your rate. The home inspection company that I like to use, includes this service in their regular home inspection at no extra charge.
Finally, I also suggest purchasing flood insurance. Flood insurance is a separate policy from your homeowners, but can be obtained from the company where you purchased your insurance. You are required to have flood insurance if your home is in a high risk area. There are some areas in Brevard County that are considered high risk and others are not. But if it is not required, I still suggest purchasing it anyway, just for piece of mind and it is only a few hundred dollars a year for non-high risk. It doesn't matter where you purchase your flood policy, because it will cost the same since the rates are set by the government (FEMA -National Flood Insurance Program).
Rest assured you will be able to get insurance for your new Florida home and it is not as costly as you might have heard. Just remember to SHOP AROUND.