Florida Homeowners Insurance Rating: Premium vs Eligibility


Lisa Barton



Florida Homeowners Insurance Rating: Premium vs Eligibility

Nate Koslowski, Account Executive at Goosehead Insurance, shared his thoughts on homeowners insurance ratings with the team. Here's what he had to say:

Rising insurance premiums and stricter underwriting guidelines have become commonplace in Florida’s homeowners insurance market over the past few years. This has left many current homeowners and prospective homebuyers with a difficult landscape to navigate as they choose between optimal coverage and the cost associated. Now more than ever it is pertinent that we understand what drives these insurance costs and how we can put ourselves in the best position possible.

In order to optimize a homeowners insurance policy, we must first understand the different rating factors insurance carriers use. There are factors that determine the eligibility of a home and there are others that determine the premium you will pay. These will inevitably cross over but, in some instances, they are mutually exclusive. 

We are often asked if upgrading systems such as plumbing or HVAC will lower insurance costs. This is a good example of something that may not directly affect the premium, but will certainly impact eligibility. 

Keep in mind that, as an independent agent, I shop with over 30 different homeowners insurance carriers. If a characteristic of a home results in ineligibility with 15 carriers, we are effectively cutting out half of our options. In a roundabout way, this could result in higher premiums by way of fewer choices in the market.

Listed below are some of the most common and heaviest influences on insurance premiums.

Florida Insurance Premium Factors

Age of Home

Simply put, the newer the home, the lower the premium. New-builds are far and away the easiest and cheapest homes to insure in the market.

Replacement Value

The replacement value of a home is the cost to rebuild it. Which is different from the market value of a home which incorporates things such as land and neighborhood. The higher the replacement value, the higher the premium.

Wind Mitigation Credits

For homes built before 2001, a wind mitigation inspection is a must. This inspection will focus on the roof and the openings of the home and how well they will withstand wind. The inspection does not determine the condition of the roof but, rather, the characteristics that result in insurance credits. Permitted roofs, hip shaped roofs, hurricane clips/wraps, and window opening protection will result in the highest discounts an individual can receive on a policy. Homes built after 2001 will automatically receive credits because these features were incorporated into building practices after 2001.

Insurance Score

An insurance score is a rating given to insureds based on factors like credit score and claims history. When there are multiple people listed on the deed of a home, it’s important to make sure the individual with the best insurance score is listed first on the homeowners insurance policy.

Age of Roof

This is an obvious rating factor in Florida and is one that will also heavily influence eligibility. Most insurance carriers will give a credit for roof age if it is newer. Roofing material is also important. New metal and tile roofs are the most preferred with architectural shingles following closely behind. 


Proximity to the coast will result in higher premiums and fewer insurance options in the market.

Building Material

The structure of a home can result in premium credits. Concrete block and brick veneer structures are considered superior building materials when compared to frame structures.

Secured Community

Homes in gated and single-entry communities will receive a policy discount.


Before adjusting coverages to lower premiums, consider exploring higher deductibles. In a claim scenario, it is important to be fully covered even if the out-of-pocket expense is higher.

Safety Measures

Credits are given for monitored burglar and fire alarms as well as water leak detection systems.

While these rating factors directly affect premiums, there are others that will determine home eligibility. If you currently own a home and are thinking about shopping for a new policy, know that you will open your home up to a new underwriting review if a new policy is written. Underwriting tends to be much stricter today than it was in years past and ineligible criteria are often found even after a policy is bound. Sometimes it is best to remain with your current carrier and adjust the policy to lower the premium. Another risk is that carriers might not renew a policy or might increase the premium to a ludicrous rate with the goal of reducing their exposure to certain risks and locations. 

Remember that we operate in a marketplace. Different carriers are jockeying to be competitive in various pockets of the market at opportune times. For instance, there is a collection of carriers that are hyper-competitive in the new-build portion of the market in the greater Jacksonville area. This collection of carriers was different a year ago and may change next year based on their risk portfolios. If you are surprised with a non-renewal or large premium increase, know that you can leverage the market. Discussing the right time to remain with your carrier or move on is a nuanced conversation to be had with your insurance agent.

With that in mind, below are some common eligibility determining criteria.

Insurance Eligibility Factors

Age and Condition of Home

Age and condition will influence premium and eligibility. The older the home, the fewer carrier options there are. This starts to become most evident for homes built before 1975.

Age and Condition of Roof

The age of a home’s roof is the most asked topic in today’s insurance world. The largest problem is the discrepancy between the actual rated lifespan of a roof and how long a roof will maintain insurability. This is most commonly observed with clay/concrete tile and architectural shingle roofs. Tile roofs are, generally, rated to last up to 50 years but most insurance carriers end eligibility after year 30. Architectural shingle roofs are often rated up to 25 years and eligibility is often only up to year 15 for new policies.

Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC

The age, condition, and material used in these systems are often factored in. Homes older than 30 years old will need a 4-point inspection to be considered for a new policy. Note that these factors often do not have an impact on the premium, they are strictly eligibility related.

CPVC and copper plumbing are the most preferred plumbing materials. Polybutylene pipes are universally ineligible. Most carriers prefer water heaters to be less than 15 years old. Steel braided supply lines to the toilets and sinks are preferred. Corrosion on valves is also being flagged by underwriters as something that must  be remediated. 

Homes with aluminum wiring are ineligible unless fitted with AlumiConn connectors. Cloth wiring is almost universally ineligible. Double tapped breakers in the electrical panel are ineligible.

Central AC and heat are almost universally required. Only a few carriers will accept homes with window units. Twenty years is the typical cutoff age for HVAC systems.

Claims History

Claims history follows the individual, as well as the home itself, and remains on a report for five years. Each carrier will have different guidelines for prior claims, but the most serious include fire and water damage claims. Claims history is one of the most common factors that will limit insurance carrier options. If you are interested in a home, a claims history report can be run before making a decision about purchasing a home.  

Overhanging Tree Limbs and Overgrown Vegetation

Tree limbs that overhang the roofline is one of the most missed criteria that might be costly later. Most insurance carriers will perform their underwriting review of a home post-binding. This means that weeks after closing, the insurance carrier can request further remediation once their underwriting review has concluded. Removing large tree limbs can be a costly endeavor and addressing them before closing can save homebuyers in the long run. 

Understand Your Options and Take Action

As previously stated, it is pertinent to understand that carriers can continue underwriting review of a house even after a home closing occurs. All carriers hold the right to inspect the home themselves post-binding as well. Many have been exercising this right more frequently resulting in more ineligible criteria being discovered. Therefore, clean 4-point inspections are no longer enough to guarantee insurance coverage. Insurance agents and homebuyers must be diligent in addressing any potential problems before a new policy is bound.

Homeowners insurance rates have, unfortunately, become a large part of the homeowning and homebuying equation. As a homeowner, it is important to understand what actions can be taken that will make tangible improvements to your policy and what actions may not be worth pursuing. Homebuyers can use the same knowledge when comparing different new home options. 

Whatever side of homeownership you are on, a good relationship with your insurance agent is more essential than ever. This market is unique and challenging, but leveraging these rating and eligibility factors will help lead you and your agent towards an optimal policy.

Contact Nate:

Goosehead Insurance
Nate Koslowski
Account Executive
(904) 712-4659| direct
(904) 253-4130| mobile
800-474-1377 | Service Team

12627 San Jose Blvd, Suite 904
Jacksonville, FL 32223

Lisa Barton

Lisa Barton

Lisa Barton, the owner of Lisa Barton Team Ponte Vedra Beach - Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners, is a top real estate agent in Ponte Vedra Beach and the surrounding communities. Lisa specializes in luxury real estate sales, including gated communities, waterfront properties, and estate homes. A graduate from the University of Florida and George Mason University, Lisa currently resides in Sawgrass Players Club with her husband.

The Lisa Barton Real Estate Team in Ponte Vedra Beach

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