Florida mobile home insurance

For all of us, home is where our heart is. It harbors the people we love and the things we possess. We trust our homes to shelter us and provide us with a safe haven in all weathers. Since it is one of the most important assets, needing protection from any damage but is susceptible to various dangers and ills like theft, fire, burglary, vandalism and other natural calamities.

Mobile home insurance policies protect the mobile home in a variety of ways, as listed below:

Protection covering damages and repairs Protection for Improvements

Personal Property Protection for special items like valuable jewelry, electronic items, business property etc.

Guest Medical Protection, for any accidents to your visitors

Loss of use of Mobile Home

Family Liability protection

Emergency Removal from location in case of hazards

Fire Department Service Charges (In case the mobile home is not in an area serviced by the Fire Department)

Protection for Additional Dwelling rented to other people

Increased coverage on Radio or TV antennas

A Mobile home Insurance Policy includes flood coverage in Florida (and eight other states: Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas)

Additional insurance to persons

Protection of Business Pursuits

Reimbursement of additional living expenses (when you may have to leave elsewhere while your home is being repaired)

(Look carefully at the exclusions - and see if you need to put in special safeguards against them, in your case)

What to look for:

When seeking insurance, it is important to insure the home, the family and the possessions. Look for an Insurer with a good reputation, financial stability and high standards, with a positive report on its claim paying ability. Make sure that the company is accessible and is present on the Web also, where you can check your policy and/or lodge a claim also. Look for knowledgeable agents who can provide information to you on safety and disaster information with specific reference to you. You must make sure that the policy you acquire will cover your needs for the present and your future plans for additions of any kind. Check out any possible discount options and buy a policy for the protection it provides, and do not compromise on protection you need, just to save a few bucks. Take an inventory of the contents of your home and create an album of their photographs for your record.

The cost of insuring a mobile home in Florida can come really high. The background to this situation is explained here. Florida, a beach country, is prone to flooding and hurricanes and tornadoes all of which wreak havoc with the homes in the area and cause destruction to properties and putting pressure on the insurers.

Insurance in Florida:

In the recent past Florida has seen such destruction, which has wreaked havoc and made the cost of insurance in the area go up for Home Insurers. When a series of tornadoes, with winds blowing at more than 120 mph, ripped through Florida during December 2006, it resulted in damages to properties especially the mobile homes - across Columbia, Pasco, Lake and Volusia Counties.

Due to the excessive burden on the insurance companies with all the claims against the damaged homes in the region, the insurance cost of mobile homes has gone up substantially making it hard for the mobile home owners to insure their properties. This is resulting in people moving out of the region to places, which are not so expensive.

To ease the situation, the State of Florida introduced a package shifting more of the catastrophic risk to the State from the private insurers. The state-run Citizens Property Insurance insures the bulk of homes and businesses in Florida along with State Farm Florida. Citizens is the largest insurer of mobile homes in the state, however, its agents are supposed to insure only those who are unable to buy insurance from a private insurer. Thus, Citizens is the state-run insurer of last resort. But for many homeowners, like people who own mobile homes, older houses or condos in coastal areas, Citizens is the only insurer. With nearly 1.3 million policies -- nearly half of those in South Florida -- it's the largest insurer in the state.

Citizens is running with huge deficits, with an exposure of $400 billion and is forced to hike its rates so as to buy re-insurance for itself. A hike in mobile home insurance towards the end of2006 was a steep 103.7%.

All the residents find the increasing insurance costs a huge burden. The prevailing low property prices make it difficult for them to sell and relocate. Some of them have lived in the state for years and are loathe leaving it.

The ensuing outcry saw a reduction in rates, a reversal in the policy that Citizens is to carry the highest rates in Florida and a rebate plan for policyholders who made no claims. To remove the burden on the exchequer for the costs of providing insurance to million dollar homes abutting the Florida beaches, Citizens has also introduced a surcharge of 25%on their policies till 2011.

A bill is passed forbidding private insurers from selling other kinds of insurance in the state while refusing to write property policies in Florida even though they provide it in other states. The bill also forces insurers to pay claims within 90 days of their filing and allows consumers a choice of deductibles, which can have a big effect on lowering costs to homeowners in parts of Florida that are not really susceptible to the storms.

Meanwhile, the residents of Florida are agitating bitterly against the high costs of insurance, which is affecting the quality of the lives, choking their personal finances and leaving them with practically no savings to speak of. This growing consumer action has resulted in a petition seeking relief in insurance rates, tougher statewide building codes, and request for a national catastrophe fund.

Think again:

Since mobile homes are proved to be unable to withstand the coasts strong winds and hurricanes, Citizens is forced to provide insurance cover for them. The bill enjoins part-time mobile home owners without homestead exemptions to soften the losses of Citizens by paying more. The surcharge of 25% applied by Citizens to these customers using non-homestead property, which is not their principal residence.

The state of Florida is determined to encourage people to live in strong homes and not mobile homes, most of which failed to survive the previous storms. It is to be noted that all of Floridas homeowners are paying a 6.8% assessment on their insurance to bail out Citizens, which is laboring under a 1.7 billion deficit from its losses in 2005 and an exposure of a whopping $400 billion.

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