Yes, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance can cover hurricane damage in Florida, but the
availability and amount of coverage will depend on several different factors. These two types of insurance protect different items. You cannot have both homeowner’s and tenant’s insurance, but a landlord can have homeowner’s coverage for the building, and the renter can have a tenant’s insurance policy for their items inside the structure.
The Type of Loss Can Make a Difference
If you are renting your home, you do not have homeowner’s insurance. Only the person or company that owns the house can buy homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, many tenants do not purchase renter’s insurance. As a result, when there is massive storm damage, uninsured renters can lose all of the personal property in the rented unit, like their furniture, clothing, electronics, dishes, and more.
What Renter’s Insurance Covers
Renter’s insurance usually only covers your contents in the apartment or rental house and possibly your items that you keep in designated storage. Tenant insurance does not pay for damage to the building or your vehicles.
Think of your apartment or rental home as a box. Renter’s insurance only covers what is inside the box. This coverage does not protect the box itself or things outside of the box. Depending on your insurer, your tenant’s insurance might provide a limited amount of funds for medical bills, but this type of benefit is not the norm.
What Homeowner’s Insurance Covers
Homeowner’s insurance typically covers the structure, contents, and outbuildings, if listed on the policy. Usually, your homeowner’s policy does not cover damage to your vehicles.
If the damage comes from flooding, your homeowner’s policy might not cover the losses. You would have to file a claim under your separate flood insurance, if you carry that type of coverage.
You usually have to look to your health insurance for payment of medical bills if you get hurt during a hurricane, but some policies provide a limited benefit for these expenses.
If you are renting out the property to a tenant, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover the renter’s personal property. Your policy will protect the structure and outbuildings and any specific contents that you own and the policy identifies, like appliances. If you rent the unit as a furnished property, your homeowner’s insurance might cover your contents within the home or apartment.
Market Value Versus Replacement or Rebuild Value
Even if your homeowner’s insurance covers the damage to the property, the coverage might not be enough to rebuild the structure or replace the destroyed items. The language in your insurance policy will govern how much money the insurer has to pay for your loss.
If your policy covers your contents inside the home at market value, you will not be able to go out and buy replacement items with the money from the insurance company. The market value of the contents of a home is pretty much equal to their yard sale value.
From the moment you take an item home from the store, it is considered “used.” The value depreciates substantially from the price you paid for the item or what it would cost to buy a replacement. The insurer only has to pay you the amount that a disinterested buyer would pay for the item.
On the other hand, if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers the contents of your home at replacement value, you will get much more money than you would for market value. Replacement value gives you enough funds to go out and buy new items to replace the damaged or destroyed ones.
Cost to Rebuild
Sometimes the cost to rebuild a house or other structure is more than the market value of the home. Particularly with older homes, it can cost a great deal more to build a new house that complies with the current building code than you would get if you sold the house before it got damaged.
Again, the language in your insurance policy will control whether you get enough money to rebuild a similar structure. Sometimes people have to accept a smaller home or one with fewer upgrades when they rebuild, depending on their coverage. Another option is to finance the difference in cost with a new mortgage.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Insurance Problems
It can be challenging to make sense of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. We can review your policy and explain its terms to you. We can analyze whether the insurance company is following the policy or wrongfully denying or devaluing your claim. We can take on the insurer for you so that you can devote your attention to rebuilding your home and replacing your damaged items.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we care about our clients. We will work hard to get you the best result possible in your situation. We go the extra mile for our clients. Call us today at 1-800-747-3733 for legal help with your insurance problems.