Buying a home in Sarasota, FL? Need hazard & flood insurance? Want a better value for your auto insurance? Have questions about your condo or renters insurance?
You’ve come to the right place. When it comes to insuring your home, condo, car, or belongings, we’ve got you covered! Simply choose from the selection below to learn more and get a free quote.
If you’re searching for insurance in Sarasota, even though your address says “Sarasota”, you may be surprised to know that your property might not fall within the official city limits. Like most cities, Sarasota’s city limits aren’t a perfect square. It’s limits encompass all of 34236, and parts of 34231, 34232, 34237, 34239, and 34243.
Why does this matter? Because if your property resides in any of the following unincorporated communities it’s considered part of the city of Sarasota.
So if you’re looking for an insurance agency serving Sarasota that you can trust, you’ve landed on the right page. Even though we’ve grown over the years, we’ve never lost that “treat our customers like family” mentality. At Regency Insurance Group, we believe that there’s very little traffic in the extra mile which is why we’re very willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help you protect your assets.
Historic home in sarasota. Credit ebyabe on Wikimedia
If you’re purchasing a home for the first time, CONGRATULATIONS! Welcome to a whole new world of excitement and uncertainty. There is a lot to learn! For example, did your lender or mortgage broker tell you that you need to get wind & hazard insurance? If so, all (s)he means is that you need homeowner’s insurance.
Why do you need home insurance? If you’re a cash buyer or if you don’t have a mortgage on your home, technically you don’t. But if you have a mortgage and/or you’re financing a home, then your lender requires that you have it because they have an interest in your home as much as you do.
The purpose of having a hazard insurance policy is to protect yours and your lender’s assets in case of a lawsuit that arises from a “hazard” that occurred on your property, theft, damage, or complete destruction.
Examples of hazards:
The neighbor’s kid falls off the trampoline in your backyard and breaks his tibia.
Your Great Dane sunk his teeth in the mailman’s calf.
An uninsured contractor injures himself on your property.
At your pool party, someone slips and breaks a hip.
A child drowns in your pool.
Causes of damage or complete destruction:
A drunk driver plows through your front door.
Neighborhood delinquents vandalize your home on Halloween.
Other “acts of God.” Don’t laugh. We’re serious.
This is also called wind and hail insurance. Hurricane insurance basically covers the same thing as your homeowner’s / hazard policy covers above.
IT DEPENDS! It depends on multiple factors. Here are 10 risk factors that affect the cost of home insurance policies in Sarasota.
Claims. The more claims you file, the more your insurer raises your rates. If you have a lot of claims, you probably won’t qualify with many carriers because they’ll consider your policy too “high-risk.”
Lack of maintenance. People who don’t maintain their homes tend to file more claims due to damage from a leaky roof, for example. See factor #1.
Aggressive dogs. More on that here.
Location. Expect to pay more for living in coastal Sarasota. The closer you are to a body of water, the more intense the winds are, which drives up the cost of your premium.
Trampolines. It’s all fun & games ’til someone breaks a funny bone.
Pools. Fences and screen enclosures add value to a pool but also have a high risk of being damaged in a storm.
Low insurance score. Less favorable credit could cause a premium increase.
Exterior construction type. Owners of frame homes pay more than concrete block homeowners do.
Fire. You’ll pay more the further away you live from a fire hall or hydrant.
Weather prep. The more prepared your home is to withstand high winds, the better. It pays to get a wind mitigation inspection.
Now that you know the factors that drive the cost of hazard insurance in Heaven’s Waiting Room you’re probably wondering:
That’s the question on everyone’s mind. You want the best value for your premium and you want to be sure that your insurance carrier will help you when you need it most. We work with some of the top insurance carriers with some of the best ratings to give you peace of mind.
We have lots of great partners. However when it comes to insuring homes in Sarasota, we have found the following five companies provide very competitive rates, to ensure you get a great deal.
Florida Statute 626.0629 requires insurance companies to offer Florida homeowners discounts, credits, or other rate differentials for construction techniques that reduce damage and loss in windstorms. Fortunately for you, there are many ways to save on your homeowner’s insurance in Florida. So many in fact, that we had to create it’s own separate page. Visit the Florida home insurance discounts page to learn creative ways that you may not have otherwise considered. For even more detailed information on saving, be sure to avoid these 5 myths.
If you want to get the best deal on your homeowner’s insurance in Sarasota, then we highly recommend getting your home inspected! A home inspection will give your insurance company a clear report of all the components in your house. Insurance companies pay special attention to the age and condition of your roof, plumbing, HVAC system, and electrical wiring. In most cases, the better condition they are in, the lower your premium will be! Need a local home inspector? We recommend Anchor Bay Inspections. They offer the following services.
The purpose of a Wind Mitigation Inspection is to determine the existence of certain features of a home’s construction that will help strengthen it, in the event of strong winds such as those of a Hurricane. The Wind Loss Mitigation Verification Inspection will determine if you are qualified for a discount off your homeowner’s insurance policy. The inspector will evaluate all of the typical construction features that reduce wind damage and loss, including roof-deck attachment, secondary water resistance, roof shape, bracing of gable ends, protection of openings, roof-to-wall connection, roof covering, doors and windows.
A four point inspection is simply a condensed version of a standard full home inspection. Full home inspections are usually 60 pages whereas a four point inspection is usually on one page. It highlights a house’s 4 major systems (roof, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing), hence it’s name. Truthfully, that’s what insurance companies care about. They don’t care if your home is painted hot pink, the decor hasn’t been updated in 20 years, or if your puppies did a number on your carpet. You might think that stuff matters, but home insurance companies could care less. 🙂
Combo Wind Mit. and Four-Point
Contact Shawn Staggs at Anchor Bay Inspections for current pricing. He can be reached at (941) 676-2375 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is fair, honest, and reliable, which is why we recommend him. But feel free to choose any home inspector you like.
Most standard home insurance policies come with liability. Liability protection on a home insurance plan extends to cover the named insureds and resident relatives in the event they were to be found negligent. But some people want coverage for liability only on their house. At Regency, we have the option to write “liability only” policies for homeowners. This is one of the ways in which we’re set apart from our competitors because the majority of them won’t offer this type of insurance.
In addition, if you’re a handyman, farmer, electrician, or landscape guy, we can write general liability coverage and cover those business exposures, too.
Regency Insurance Group completely understands the value of having a dog protect your home, especially if you’ve ever been a victim of theft or a violent crime. We also understand that your dog may be the sweetest dog on the planet. And we respect the fact that your dog is probably like a family member.
But as you probably know by now, getting home insurance in Sarasota while owning a dog that’s considered an “aggressive breed” is difficult. The reason why is because most insurers believe that legal and medical bills arising from the bite of a dog is too much of a risk to insure your home. They consider the following breeds to be dangerous or “bully breeds.”
Or a mix of any of the above
When others tell you “Sorry we can’t insure you. Your dog is too dangerous”, request a quote from us. One of the benefits of working with Regency Insurance Group is that we can still get your home insured even with multiple dogs considered to be aggressive.
Homes in Florida that are built after March 1, 2002 are all subject to getting automatic discounts so they get the credits for wind mitigation. Pricing on those homes is going to be significantly less expensive than a home built in 2001. Insurance companies are so motivated to earn the business of new construction that in addition to those wind mitigation credits, they also give discounts for it being brand new. Many national builders have an “accredited builders discount”. They have the latest and greatest Florida building code credits. Many of the new homes are built with hurricane shutters (coastal areas). Some insurers actually give a discount if the original year of construction is less than 3 years old. New homes typically are very well maintained and have less claims.
Hey there newbie! Welcome to the wonderful world of homeownership! We’ve been where you are now and we know how daunting it can be to absorb all the information that’s being thrown at you. Take heart, you’ll get through this and we’re happy to help. So here’s what you need to know in terms of insuring your home in Heaven’s Waiting Room.
1. If you’re buying a home, it’s important to consider what your insurance costs are going to be. You can always get a quick quote on the property to get some preliminary numbers and whether or not you’ll need flood insurance. Don’t worry, we won’t charge you! 🙂
2. As mentioned above, a home inspection can be your best friend for saving money on home insurance. The condition of your home’s roof, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems are the biggest driving factor toward the cost of your premium. That’s what insurance companies look at the most. So if those systems are new and in good shape, you’re sitting pretty. Be aware that if the home you’re purchasing is over 30 years old, insurance companies will want to ensure it can pass a 4 point inspection.
3. Rebuild value and Purchase Price are very different. If you’re buying a home with a lot of square footage, be prepared to insure for at least $110 per square foot. If you’re buying a 3,600 square foot home for $200,000, your insurance value is going to be a lot higher than what your purchase price is going to be.
WARNING: Most people would prefer to be tortured than get force placed lender insurance, (aka lender placed home insurance).
When you finance a home in the Sarasota area, you have to sign a lot of disclosures and agreements. One of those agreements authorizes your lender to “force place” flood and home insurance on your property if at any time your policy lapses for non payment or gets cancelled. In this event, your lender is notified and they have the ability to purchase on your behalf at whatever rate they want, with no discounts. In essence, it’s a “no frills” kind of coverage. Typically the cost on those policies are 2 to 3 times higher than what you can find on your own.
The lender will only cover what you owe on the home. So if you have a $200,000 home and you owe $20,000 they usually only cover the interest in the loan. They don’t cover water damage, theft, vandalism…it’s the most basic fire & hurricane policy that you can buy & it’s expensive.
If you forget, your bank will purchase one for you and it’s not pretty! In fact we saw one case in which a man accidentally let his insurance policy lapse. He also didn’t realize that his lender force placed a $15,000 policy on his home. Even though he secured his own insurance 45 days later, they charged him $41 per day from the date his previous policy ended, to the date he secured a new policy. The lender added the $1,845.00 onto his mortgage and forced him to pay it.
So please don’t forget to pay for your homeowner’s insurance. If you have forced placed home insurance, call us now 941.893.4353!
Thinking about leasing your property? Just like any home or condo, you’ll want to protect it from mayhem. There is a difference between standard homeowner’s policies (HO3) and a landlord policy. A lot of standard home insurance policies don’t allow tenant exposure. So if you have a standard home insurance policy and you’re leasing your property to others, that could be a big problem in the event you need to file a claim. Instead, what you should have is either a DP1 or DP3 policy.
DP1 insurance policy – A basic policy available for rental properties in Sarasota, often referred to as Dwelling Fire Form 1, or DP-1 insurance. It provides very basic insurance coverage for your rental property.
DP3 insurance policy – Considered the best insurance policy for rentals and is often referred to as the Dwelling Fire Form 3 or DP-3 insurance. It provides excellent coverage for Landlords.
But what if you bought a duplex and your plan is to live on one side while renting the other? What kind of insurance do you need, then? Generally insurance companies consider this situation the same as if you were purchasing a town home or a villa which falls under the HO3 Home Insurance Category. But if you’re planning to purchase a tri-plex or any multi family home larger than a duplex, then you’ll want a commercial insurance policy.
Well, if you don’t rent a property from someone else…GOOD NEWS…you don’t need it. But if you are a tenant and you’re still wondering why you might need renters insurance, ask yourself these questions:
Do any of my possessions hold a significant dollar value?
If any of my possessions are lost, damaged, or stolen, would I like to be compensated for their lost value?
If you answered yes to one or both, renters insurance makes sense. It’s a great way to protect your furniture, high ticket items like your 80 inch LED TV, and other personal items of value in the event of a hurricane, fire, or theft. However, it’s important to note that renters insurance will not protect you in the case of a flood. For that, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy.
Most landlords and rental agencies in Sarasota allow you the choice of purchasing renters insurance or not. But many are now starting to require tenants to have liability coverage and content coverage. This helps to protect the landlord in the event of litigation.
If you’re looking into buying condo insurance in Sarasota (also known as HO6), the first thing you should do is understand the condo’s master policy, what’s covered and what’s not. Typically, condo owners are responsible for the interior while the association is responsible for the exterior.
BankRate has a helpful article that points out two types of master policies.
Bare walls-in – Covers all real property from the exterior framing inward, but does not cover the fixtures and installations within the condo unit. So, things like granite countertops, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and the flooring are not covered by the master policy. This condo owner will probably have the greatest coverage need.
All-in. Covers fixtures, installations or additions within the interior surfaces of the perimeter walls, floors and ceilings of individual units. This condo owner will probably have a more limited coverage need.
The article also suggests that when insuring your condo, make sure you have coverage for contents and structural items. Not sure which is which? Imagine turning your condo upside down. Everything that falls is a content. Everything that stays is interior structure.
Examples of content:
Examples of structure:
Yes, partially. It works the same way as a homeowners insurance policy works. Since your belongings aren’t in your condo, an insurance company considers your belongings “offsite.” When you store personal property offsite, your insurance company will insure 10% of its value.
If my condo is located in a special hazard flood zone, do I need flood insurance too?
It depends. If you own your condo free and clear (and have no other liens), the answer is no. But if you have a mortgage, the answer is yes. It doesn’t matter whether your condo is on the ground floor or the 20th floor…your lender is going to require that a flood insurance policy is in place. Of course the risk level decreases the higher up your condo is located.
Here’s some good news: typically the condo association purchases a flood policy so you wouldn’t need to have the extra policy. If for some reason the association does not have a flood policy (which is highly unlikely) and you have a mortgage, your lender is going to require you to purchase a flood policy to protect their interest in your condo.
Are there occasions when you should purchase it? Sure. There is always a chance that mold can climb up through exterior walls especially when the power has gone out and flood waters are high, damaging your condo. Also, if you’re the “cautious type” and want an added layer of protection over your assets, purchasing a flood policy is a good idea.
What if my neighbor’s pipe breaks and floods into my condo? Will my assets be protected?
In condo living situations, this happens frequently. The answer is yes, if you have your own condo insurance. Insurance companies typically treat this situation as follows: It doesn’t really matter who’s pipe it is, your insurance pays for damage to your place, and his/her insurance pays for damage to his/her place. If you or your neighbor do not have your own condo policies, the situation will probably go to litigation, depending on the depth of damage.
A flood insurance policy will not cover damages from a pipe that burst. Flood insurance covers damages from heavy rains, when rivers overflow, when ocean waves come onshore, when snow melts too fast, or when dams and levees break.
Like homeowner’s insurance, condo insurance companies offer discounts that you can take advantage of, most notably for gated communities, manned security guards, and newer construction in Sarasota.
Condo master policies can be difficult to understand so choose a knowledgeable insurance agent who can clearly explain it to you.
According to FloodSmart.gov (the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program), a flood is a general and temporary condition where 2 or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow. Your flood risk isn’t just based on history: it’s based on many factors that include current weather patterns, natural changes in the environment, and recent development in your community.
By now you’ve probably gathered that insurance for homeowners, renters, and condo-owners will not reimburse you for your losses in the event of a flood. A separate policy specifically for floods is needed.
Technically, you don’t have to purchase flood insurance if you own a home “free an clear.” You also don’t have to purchase flood insurance if you rent. However, there are times when other entities require that you purchase flood insurance as part of an agreement with them. For example:
If you’re financing a home or currently have a mortgage and your home or condo is located in zones VE, AE, and A, your lender will mandate that you purchase flood insurance because they have an interest in your home, since they’re lending you money to eventually own it.
To find out your flood risk, visit scgov.net (Sarasota County’s website) and search for “flood maps.”
Do not use this map as the sole reason for purchasing or not purchasing flood insurance. Consult with an agent first.
Some condo associations in Sarasota located in flood zones VE, AE, and A may mandate that you purchase flood insurance as a prerequisite to live there.
While many landlords are requiring their tenants to purchase renters insurance, some landlords in flood zones VE, AE, and A take it a step further and require tenants to purchase flood insurance.
Even if your home, condo, or rental is located in Zone X (an area less likely to be flooded than zones VE, AE, and A, still you should strongly consider purchasing flood insurance. Here’s why:
Facts about Floods and Associated Risks
In the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods.
Everyone lives in a flood zone.
Homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damage.
If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high-risk area and have a federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance. (To find your flood risk, fill out the Flood Risk Profile.)
Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
Flash floods often bring walls of water 10 to 15 feet high.
A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of rushing water.
New land development can increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural runoff paths. The development of Sarasota and other cities in South Florida changed the natural runoff paths of the Everglades and are more susceptible to flooding.
In a high-risk area, your home is more likely to be damaged by flood than by fire.
Facts about Flood Insurance Policies & Claims
Even though flood insurance isn’t federally required, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file over 20-percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding.
From 2005 to 2014, total flood insurance claims averaged more than $3.5 billion per year.
When Sarasota participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), you can qualify for an insurance premium reduction discount of up to 45% if you live in a high-risk area and up to 10% in moderate- to low-risk areas.
Since 1978, The NFIP has paid nearly $50 billion for flood insurance claims and related costs (as of 2/17/15).
There are currently more than 5.3 million flood policies in force across more than 22,000 communities in the U.S.
The two most common reimbursement methods for flood claims are: Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and Actual Cash Value (ACV). The RCV is the cost to replace damaged property. It is reimbursable to owners of single-family, primary residences insured to at least 80% of the building’s replacement cost.
Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to a $100,000 flood insurance premium, which is about $400 a year ($33 a month).
A Preferred Risk Policy provides both building and contents coverage for properties in moderate- to low-risk areas for one low-price.
In most cases, it takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before the storm approaches and the floodwaters start to rise.
If inland flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from the coast, think about how “at risk” your property in Sarasota is, with Sarasota Bay (and the Gulf of Mexico if you live on Lido Key) to the west, and other nearby bodies of water like Phillippi Creek, Hudson Bayou, and Roberts Bay!
Private Market Flood Insurance – An Alternative to FEMA Flood Insurance
If you’re finding that your FEMA flood insurance policy doesn’t provide you with enough value, then ask for private market flood insurance (PMFI). PMFI is a simple alternative to FEMA flood insurance. Up until 2015, no one was really offering PMFI except on high value homes. But today, FEMA has some competition which is great if you’re stuck paying 5 or 6 thousand dollars for a FEMA flood policy. Sometimes PMFI companies can quote a premium that’s significantly less and save the day. Here are some of the benefits of private market flood insurance:
Lower premiums for most older homes and businesses
No surcharges for seasonal homes
Identical coverage as FEMA policies
Same claims adjusters as FEMA policies
Quote your own premium instantly
Same day policies available
No elevation certificates required
Wait…what’s an elevation certificate? We’re glad you asked!
Structures built in a Special Flood Hazard Area – including A, AE, and AH zones – or a Coastal High Hazard Area – including VE zones – must have a FEMA Elevation Certificate to prove that the structure meets the required Base Flood Elevation. A FEMA Elevation Certificate is required during construction before the first permanent horizontal member is placed. A final construction Elevation Certificate is also required. The Elevation Certificate is also required for new flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program. Elevation Certificates can be prepared by local, licensed surveyors.
Many homes, especially in the Downtown Sarasota & Laurel Park Historic Districts, were built prior to the FEMA map creation date, so you may be eligible for a “grandfathered” rate. Across the state of Florida, 1978 is typically when FEMA began creating their flood maps. Check to see when your map was created or contact us. We may be able to help.
Probably the second-most common type of insurance we quote for residents of Sarasota is auto insurance. Home insurance being the first. But it’s not just for residents. Business owners in Heaven’s Waiting Room can also count on us for a competitive commercial auto insurance quote. Either way, EVERYONE wants to know how they can save on auto insurance.
One thing you should know first and foremost is that the “call, click, and save” era of car insurance may be hurting you in the long run. Shopping online and naming your own price could get you a low rate but eventually it may hurt you if you drop your coverage levels. One of our team leaders, Kagen Cooksley will teach you how to save money on auto insurance.
1. Keep coverage at appropriate levels. Insurance companies will start to see you as someone that does not value a product if you keep very low coverage levels, so over time keeping coverage levels higher will net you better discounts.
2. Don’t jump ship between carriers. Staying with the same company for at least one or two years is favorable to your rate.
3. Pay premiums off in full.
4. Use auto pay or an electronic draft if you make monthly payments.
5. Do not call make frivolous claims. If the damage is on $700 and your deductible is $500 it’s probably not a good idea to call in that claim.