If you read through the fine print of a homeowners policy you’re sure to find exclusions and limitations to your insurance coverage. To keep premiums low, most insurance companies only offer the standard coverages that all homeowners are in need of. However, if you are looking for more “bells and whistles” you’ll have to purchase additional homeowners endorsements (aka extra coverages). These homeowners endorsements allow homeowners to tailor their homeowners insurance policies to fit their individual needs.
Below we have listed 13 of the most important homeowners endorsements available:
Replacement Cost on Contents
Whenever possible, our agents always offer replacement cost on contents. This homeowners endorsement changes the loss settlement valuation on your contents (i.e. electronics, furniture, clothes, etc.) from the default actual cash value loss settlement to replacement cost loss settlement. This means that the insurance company will pay you the cost to replace your items with like kind or quality, not just their depreciated value.
Dog/Animal Liability Coverage
Most homeowners policies exclude liability that arises as a result of your furry friends. Liability can arise from not just biting, but also jumping and tripping. As long as your dog is not considered a “bad dog” most insurance companies are willing to offer $25k or $50k in liability coverage.
Personal Injury Coverage
All homeowners policies cover your personal liability for bodily injury or property damage that you cause. However, liability for defamation, libel, slander, wrongful eviction, and false arrest are excluded from most every homeowners insurance policy. By adding this homeowners endorsement, you add these important coverages back. This homeowners endorsement is especially important for individuals that serve on board or who spend a lot of time on social media
Increased Dwelling Replacement Cost Coverage
When we write homeowners policies, we always run through a replacement cost estimator tool that the insurance company provides. This tool allows us to come up with an estimated cost to replace your dwelling. However, these tools use standard building costs that do not take into effect supply and demand. They are also very basic. If you add this endorsement the policy will extend the dwelling coverage up to 20% or 25% above its limit. This homeowners endorsement is very important in Florida since after hurricanes labor and product costs usually spike. Please note this endorsement requires that the dwelling be insured at its true replacement cost determined from the replacement cost estimator.
Water Backup Coverage
Homeowners policies typically exclude loss resulting from water or waterborne material which backs up through sewers or drains (i.e. toilet overflow) or which overflows/discharges from a sump pump or related equipment. However, most carriers allow you to purchase a small amount of coverage back. This homeowners endorsement allows you to purchase typically $5k or $10k of coverage, but the deductible is typically less than your normal deductible.
Hurricane Screened Enclosure Coverage
Most Florida homeowners policies exclude loss to screened enclosures and aluminum-framed carports or awnings as a result of hurricane damage. However, for an additional premium you can add coverage back typically with limit options from $10k to $50k. It’s important to note that the endorsement wording varies greatly based on your insurance company. Some companies will pay only actual cash value, while others will pay out replacement cost. Also, some insurance companies, will pay for screens, while others will only pay for the aluminum framing. If you have any questions on what coverage your company provides, please ask our agents to send you a copy of the endorsement form.
Equipment Breakdown Coverage
This optional endorsement will pay for sudden, electrical, mechanical, or pressure system breakdown (including power surge) to your home’s electronics and appliances. This type of loss is typically excluded from most insurance policies. The endorsement can cover damage to washing machines, dryers, computer equipment, dishwashers, refrigerators, garbage disposals, heat pumps, central AC systems, home security systems, ovens, sump pumps, surround sound system, swimming pool equipment, TVs, water heaters, and more! This can be a great cost saving option to an extended warranty.
Ordinance or Law
Ordinance or Law provides coverage for increases in cost of reconstruction, repair, or demolition of property that result from local laws or ordinances regulating. You see most policies only state that they will bring your dwelling back to like kind and quality. But new building codes that have been released since your home was built may make it more expensive to build. For example, building codes may require you install hurricane windows, increased your building elevation, or install hard-wired smoke detectors. This homeowners endorsement which is actually additional dwelling coverage helps to pay for these increases. By Florida Statute 627.7011(b), every homeowners insurance company in the state is required to offer additional coverage 25% or 50% of the dwelling’s limit. If the insured does not desire the coverage, they must sign a form stating their rejection.
This homeowners endorsement removes the exclusions for flood loss. This allows your policy to pay for such things as storm surge and street flooding. Only a limited amount of companies, such as Cabrillo, Florida Peninsula, Security First, and Southern Oak offer this coverage in Florida. If offered, the endorsement is typically only offered in areas outside of the special flood hazard area. However, when available this private market flood option is typically less expensive than purchasing a stand-alone policy through the NFIP.
Golf Cart Coverage
This endorsement extends liability coverage to a golf cart that you own. However, the golf cart must only be used in a gated/limited access community or golf community. This homeowners endorsement is NOT for golf carts that are used on public roads. Those type of golf carts (or low speed vehicles) are better insured on an auto insurance policy.
Special Personal Property Coverage
This homeowners endorsement broadens the covered perils of your contents. It does so by changing the contents coverage from “named perils” to all perils unless specifically excluded. Some examples of losses that would be covered are spillage & animal damage (as long as not an animal owned by the insured or birds, vermin, rodents, or insects).
This homeowners endorsements pays for assessments charged against you by an association of property owners (such as a condominium association or HOA). The HO3 policy automatically provides $1k in coverage, and by statute the condo HO6 policy automatically provides $2k in coverage. For an additional charge your insurance company may allow you to increase this limit to $5k, $10k, or higher. This is a very important coverage to all condo & HOA unit owners, and we recommend all association owners read our blog, Condo Unit Owner’s Guide to Loss Assessment Coverage.
Limited Fungi, Mold, Wet or Dry Rot, or Bacteria
Most homeowners policies in the state come standard with $10k in mold property damage and $50k in mold liability coverage. Most companies include fungi, wet rot, dry rot, yeast, and bacteria in the definition of mold. For an additional charge your insurance company may allow you to extend the mold property damage coverage up to $50k, and a few insurance companies will allow you to extend the liability coverage to $100k.
Please note that these homeowners endorsements may not be available from your insurance company (especially Citizens). However, we do have some low premium individual policy options that will allow you to get most of these coverage options.
If you have any questions about your homeowners policy or the endorsement options that may be available, please contact your agent directly buy calling our insurance agency at or 727-345-0242 or email Brian Ford at [email protected]