What Can I do to Make Sure My Loan Process Goes Smoothly?
Unless you're paying cash and are able to create house-sized force-fields upon command, you are going to be required to get homeowner's insurance. This is a pretty significant piece of your monthly payment, especially for Florida residents, so it's important to get things squared away well in advance of closing. Working with a reputable, knowledgeable local insurance agent can go a long way (we can recommend one if you like) in answering questions like the ones that follow:
Why do I Need Homeowner's Insurance?
One of your initial checklist items was providing K&H with the name of your home insurance agent. The policy they put in place not only protects you and your home against losses and damage, but your lender as well. You can’t close without it, so make it a priority to shop for an agent or let us know if you need a recommendation.
Do I Need Flood Insurance? How do I Know if my Home is in a Flood Zone?
It would seem like all of Florida is in a flood zone, but the only homes that are required to have flood insurance are those in lowlands and floodplains that are susceptible to flooding. To determine risk factors for specific properties, insurers will often refer to special maps that show elevations of streets and neighborhoods; these are updated all the time. It is entirely possible that you are in a flood zone while your neighbor is not. The lender checks, we check, and the survey confirms where you stand.
With the sweeping changes that were made to the Flood Insurance program back in October 2013 thanks to the Biggert-Waters Act, it makes a ton of sense to get an updated Elevation Certificate. This can run $125-150 and it's usually done in tandem with your survey. The results of the Elevation Cert can make a HUGE difference in your premium.
Any Tips on Saving Money?
Insurance is expensive, especially in a state with a hurricane season. But there are some things you can do to save money on your policy. Get a wind mitigation inspection. This is a special report done that examines your roof and the support systems of your home and it can save you hundreds of dollars. Other things like centralized alarm systems and hurricane shutters can lower your premium. And of course, the less trampolines and pet alligators you have, the better.