TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – July 26, 2011 – A new homebuyer needs property insurance and wants advice. Which company is cheapest? Which one is most expensive?
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced the re-launch of an interactive program designed to assist Florida’s homeowners to shop for homeowners’ rates. The new system, called the Consumer HomeOwners Insurance Comparison Electronic System (CHOICES), is a revamp of an earlier system developed in 2007.
CHOICES doesn’t offer quotes on a specific home; instead, it offers two home examples and generates, county-by-county, a range of costs to insure that house. While a homebuyer doesn’t get an actual quote – there’s no way to key in a specific home’s details – he’ll see a range of costs from lowest to highest as they would apply to that sample home. Those rates can be used as a yardstick to compare carriers before calling directly for a quote.
Someone seeking rock-bottom rates, for example, could choose to call the five least expensive carriers on the list. Or if a low price scares him, perhaps fearing that a company won’t be around to pay claims after a major disaster, he could decide to simply avoid the five most-expensive carriers.
Insurers base their quotes on different factors, and the most expensive carrier in one county could be the least expensive carrier elsewhere. In Miami-Dade County, for example, United Property & Casualty Insurance Company Inc. has the most expensive coverage at $9,873 per year without wind mitigation coverage, according to CHOICES. However, that same insurer ranks as the least expensive carrier in Seminole County, charging only $969 without wind mitigation.
The two sample coverage homes are a $150,000 property built before 2001 and a $300,000 property built in 2005.
“The system ranks companies’ rates in a given county, along with company contact information, to encourage Floridians to shop for a better rate,” says Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. “The system also illustrates the competitiveness of the homeowners’ insurance market in Florida and the benefits of shopping for insurance.”
CHOICES was originally released in 2007 as shopandcomparerates.com; at its peak, the website received nearly 10,000 hits a month. The rate quotes reflect the most recent rate filings accepted by the Florida Insurance Commission.
The Commission notes that the listing of an insurance company does not constitute an endorsement, and the rates don’t reflect surcharges or discounts. Consumers must still call carriers directly for an official premium quote.
Consumers can find the information at: https://www.floir.com/choices
© 2011 Florida Realtors®
Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.