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Old 01-08-2010, 07:34 PM
 
145 posts, read 316,831 times
Reputation: 82

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My wife and I are considering buying a retirement home in either Pinellas or Pasco. I understand that homeowners insurance is prohibitively expensive due to sinkholes (Pasco) and wind (Pinellas).
I have attempted to educate myself on these hazards. I understand that homes built after 2002 (?) qualify for reductions in wind insurance called wind mitigation. It appears that most homes that are in our price range of $125K to $200K were built in either the 1950's-60's. Could it be that the owners are selling because they can't afford the insurance premiums?
How would I be able to find out how much does it cost to insure a particular home before putting a bid on it?
As for Pasco I understand that a home owner can opt out of purchasing sinkhole insurance. If I have to purchase sinkhole insurance just how much cheaper is it to use the State of Florida Citzens Insurance? Just how bad is the sinkhole problem there? Is it county wide or are only certain areas affected?
Thank you in advance for any information.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:54 AM
 
41 posts, read 107,229 times
Reputation: 19
Older homes do usually mean a higher, premium, however there are a few things you can do to combat the higher premiums. The first is to check to see if the roof on the home has been replaced within the last 8 years. If it has you may still be eligbile for mitigation credits on the home. The only difference would be that you will need to get an inspector to certify the roof. The cost to get this certification done usually runs about $100. The savings usually range anywhere from $300 to $1,000. Sometimes the prior owner may have had this inspection done and can give you a copy of the form. Another suggestion would be to consider purchasing a home that is concrete block construciton versus frame. Concrete block homes tend to have a much lower insurance rate than frame homes. You will also want to confirm if the home is in a flood zone. If it is you will also be required (if you have a loan) to purchase flood coverage which will be an extra expense over and above the homeowners insurance.
Overall Pasco and Pinellas counties are more difficult to purchase coverage in due to the exposures that you mentioned above, however it is not impossible and is not totally unreasonable as long as you have a home where the roof has been updated. A suggestion....if you are able to go a little south (Sarasota, Manatee, or Charlotte Counties) I think you will find the rates to be a lot more reasonable and that you will have more options available.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:02 AM
 
26,799 posts, read 41,535,661 times
Reputation: 14979
We get a lot of discount for the homes build after 2002 or 2003. We just took the sinkholecoverage off since most are in West Pasco and not where we are, but you never know for sure. Right now Polk County has sinkhole after sinkhole.

We just switched to Citizens from Lloyds and saved hundreds of dollars. For another home we have First Home Ins. but they only cover our primary home they don't do rentals. they are so far the cheapest with the same coverage and do cover Pasco, I'm not sure about Pinellas.

Be sure before signing a contract in Pinellas or any part close to the beaches that you can get coverage and that you can afford it or make it a contigency on the contract.

Last night that was a Tornado that took the roof of a home in Hillsborough County...


It sounds all bad but we love it here and like the weather...
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:02 AM
 
Location: East Tennessee
3,927 posts, read 10,645,049 times
Reputation: 5235
Good info from the previous poster. The only other thing I can think of is to make your offer contingent on obtaining an affordable (to you) homeowner insurance policy. There's a standard real estate contract addendum...I've used it quite a bit. Additionally, it is common for a seller/agent to hear these questions. Unless a seller is hiding the inevitable, that information can be provided to you or at a minimum, the contact information for the seller's current insurance company/agent. Hope this makes sense...
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:24 AM
 
15,850 posts, read 33,211,637 times
Reputation: 20058
Quote:
Originally Posted by melannewis View Post
Older homes do usually mean a higher, premium, however there are a few things you can do to combat the higher premiums. The first is to check to see if the roof on the home has been replaced within the last 8 years. If it has you may still be eligbile for mitigation credits on the home. The only difference would be that you will need to get an inspector to certify the roof. The cost to get this certification done usually runs about $100. The savings usually range anywhere from $300 to $1,000. Sometimes the prior owner may have had this inspection done and can give you a copy of the form. Another suggestion would be to consider purchasing a home that is concrete block construciton versus frame. Concrete block homes tend to have a much lower insurance rate than frame homes. You will also want to confirm if the home is in a flood zone. If it is you will also be required (if you have a loan) to purchase flood coverage which will be an extra expense over and above the homeowners insurance.
Overall Pasco and Pinellas counties are more difficult to purchase coverage in due to the exposures that you mentioned above, however it is not impossible and is not totally unreasonable as long as you have a home where the roof has been updated. A suggestion....if you are able to go a little south (Sarasota, Manatee, or Charlotte Counties) I think you will find the rates to be a lot more reasonable and that you will have more options available.
Good info. I will add that on those older homes you will usually need to pass a 4-point inspection, and it is quite possible some things will have to be replaced or brought up to code. I had an EXTREMELY difficult time getting even Citizen's (my only choice) on my little 1954 rancher here in Manatee, even though it had had a lot of updating. I had to put new roof, re-do electric, get new water heater and some plumbing repair. Make sure any contract you have to purchase includes the home passing inspection! In my case, I got the home for a great price and had planned to do work on it anyway.
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Lincoln County Road or Armageddon
4,329 posts, read 6,023,155 times
Reputation: 5954
Sinkholes seem to be a roll of the dice. Even parts of Pinellas( Dunedin) get them. Don't buy anywhere near vegetable farms-the freeze we just had caused the farmers to pump so much water that the aquifer dropped by 60 feet. This in turn caused a bunch of sink holes and dried up wells. The farmers are only responsible for fixing the problem if the affected property was owned BEFORE the farm was in operation. Getting decent insurance has made buying a home in Florida quite a dog and pony show. It's really a shame it's come to this.
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