40% of the US population lives on the 10% of land closes to the coast, making it five times more crowded than the national population density average. After all the storms and dangers that come from living close to the water, you'd think we would have learned our lesson by now. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing where to live and how to get the best insurance quote on your home in Fort Walton, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, or 30A.
This ties in closely with elevation but hey, it floods on mountains too. Did you know according to www.floodsmart.gov, 20% of NFIP flood claims come from homes NOT in a high risk area? This can happen due to flash flooding or microcosms such as a neighbor's house being higher than yours. The average flood claim, and therefore the average dollar amount of flood damage, was $42,580 in 2018. Know your zone but also your local risks, there isn't a lot you can do to prevent a flood claim once the house has been built. Most areas of the country dont worry about flooding at all, but with an average elevation of only 6 feet, Floridians should always be on the lookout.
Tip #1: X is the lowest risk zone and anything else is considered a flood zone that your lender may require a separate flood policy.
Distance to Coast
The dream of waking up to the serene sound of the ocean is what draws people here but while few actually get that benefit, the rest of us violently fight for open beachfront parking spaces. A lot of insurance companies have guidelines about how close your property can be to the coast. Being closer to the water doesn't always mean your insurance will be more expensive, it just means you have fewer options. If you are moving here from Georgia or Tennessee, odds are you will not have the same insurance company in Florida and have probably never even heard of it.
Tip #2: common insurance company thresholds are "under 2 miles" and "under 1000 feet" from the coast. It's a combination of distance to coast and the next topic, construction quality.
Distance to coast isn't a big factor if the house is built really well. A lot of higher-end homes are being built with poured concrete exterior walls and impact glass rated for 150mph winds, or better. If they had windows like that in the 12th century, every castle in Europe would have them. A house like that will do well in any storm, so it will get the best rate regardless. Other homes are built of wood frame, which are usually the ones featured as heaps of wood and personal items when the news people arrive after a hurricane. Even several miles from the coast, these homes get poorer rates.
Tip #3: wind mitigation credits can save many thousands, so ask your insurance agent about it
Many Florida insurance companies consider homes older than 30 to be "old". If a home is older than they like, they look at recent improvements in 4 areas:
Tip #4: Updates in the last 20 years will give you the most insurance quote options. Aluminum wiring usually has to be replaced, along with fuse boxes and certain kinds of plumbing.
The mighty Britton Hill is the highest point in Florida, standing at a towering 345 feet above sea level in Walton County. It's about a one hour drive north from Seaside, less than a half-mile from the Alabama border. No tidal surge would likely reach that elevation but hurricane winds could easily carry that far inland, Hurricane Michael was still a Cat 1 when it crossed into Georgia.
If you are afraid of heights, Florida has 1,350 miles of coastline at sea level. 58 of those miles are from Okaloosa Island to St Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach. In that stretch of sand, less than 15 miles of beach front property is NOT in a flood zone, mostly between Seaside and Inlet Beach. In a global context, a difference of 10 feet can seem insignificant, but along the coast it can the difference between losing everything and losing nothing.
Tip #5: as a reference point, Hwy 98 is built along some of the highest land in the area
Plenty goes into the price you pay for homeowners insurance and much of it is outside your control. Prices often go up because of large-scale damage hundreds or thousands of miles from where you live. One thing you can control is what insurance agent you want to use and the insurance company that protects your home. Cheapest isn't always best, so find an agent you can rely on and ask questions to. We hope you will choose Norton Insurance!
5 Tips for getting the best home insurance rate in Florida
- X is the lowest risk zone and anything else is considered a flood zone that your lender may require a separate flood policy.
- Common insurance company thresholds are "under 2 miles" and "under 1000 feet" from the coast. It's a combination of distance to coast and the next topic, construction quality.
- Wind mitigation credits can save many thousands, so ask your insurance agent about it
- Updates in the last 20 years will give you the most insurance quote options. Aluminum wiring usually has to be replaced, along with fuse boxes and certain kinds of plumbing.
- Use Hwy 98 as a reference point. It is built along some of the highest land in the area