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About Security First
Former U.S. Senator Locke Burt founded Security First Insurance in 2005 to create an insurance option for residents that was prepared to handle the annual risk of severe hurricane damage. Burt drew on his family’s history in the insurance business, going back to his grandfather’s insurance agency founded in Des Moines, Iowa in 1918.
The company became one of several growing in the Florida market as other major insurance companies were pulling back in response to the high cost of hurricane devastation. The late 2000s saw more small local insurers stepping into that void, and Security First was among the earlier entrants.
Security First writes only home insurance, including variants like renter’s and condo insurance, as well as flood insurance. Products are sold through independent agents, and the company’s headquarters is located in Ormond Beach, Florida.
Security First Home Insurance Products
Homeowners is the company’s main product, but they have several policies for different types of homes available.
This policy is available with a dwelling coverage range from $100,000 up to $1,000,000, with the minimum raised to $125,000 in coastal counties.
It is a standard package policy with base coverage for structures, personal property, personal liability, and loss of use. Security First includes replacement cost coverage on the contents of the home as a standard part of the base policy.
There is a list of common endorsements available, including increased replacement cost for the dwelling, animal liability, scheduled personal property, water backup and sump overflow, and equipment breakdown.
There are several discounts offered for homeowners as well, most of which are common. These include security features, the age of the home, wind resistant features and roof shape, and a senior’s discount.
Condo insurance coverage provides from $25,000 up to $250,000 in coverage for parts of the structure that are the owner’s responsibility, as well as personal property coverage, liability, and loss of use. Like the homeowner’s policy, replacement cost coverage for personal property is standard.
Most of the same endorsements and discounts that are offered on the homeowner’s policy are also available to condo owners.
Renter’s insurance offers coverage mainly for personal property, with limits between $15,000 and $100,000 and replacement cost coverage standard on all policies. The policy also includes liability and loss of use coverage.
The list of options is a little different due to the nature of the policy and includes an endorsement to cover a roommate as an additional insured on the same policy.
The dwelling fire policy is available for both owner-occupied and rental dwellings. This type of policy may be written for homes that do not qualify for the homeowner’s package due to condition or age. It is available for both single-family homes as well as condos.
The landlord version of the policy includes coverage that is specific to the needs of a landlord, such as coverage for loss of rent during repairs for a covered loss that make the home uninhabitable,
Flood & Water Backup
Security First offers a flood and water backup policy that differs from the standard flood policy offered through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Rather than a separate policy, this coverage is added on to the home insurance policy and in the event of a claim, all damage would be handled by the same adjuster. It also offers higher limits than a flood insurance policy and coverage that is not available through the flood insurance program coverage, such as replacement cost on personal property.
The policy also covers water backup, which is not covered under a standard flood insurance policy.
Security First has an online quoting system, but the system looks up the details on a specific home to calculate quotes, so we are unable to obtain rates using sample information. The system does not ask for contact information, which is surprising, and promises the company will not contact you unless you request it. This should be a relief to those not wanting to deal with ongoing solicitation attempts after getting a quote.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation does offer rate samples for this company. We looked at rates for a $300,000 new construction home and returned a list of sample rates across 67 counties. These range from $1,503 in Madison County up to $6,156 in Dade County. That wide range represents the varied risk presented by different parts of Florida and their exposure to severe weather. Coastal counties are usually more expensive. Dade County, located on the southern tip of the state, is very exposed to hurricanes and as such has some of the highest home insurance rates.
The Security First website has a comprehensive claims center section on the website that provides most of the information a policyholder could need in the event of a claim.
Claims can be filed online, over the phone via a 24/7 toll-free number, or through the company’s mobile app.
There are separate phone numbers for identity theft claims and for flood claims, and the site also includes specific instructions to follow if the claim involves water damage.
While the company does not appear to have a true preferred contractor network with guaranteed work, they do provide a list of contractors they consider to be reputable and trustworthy.
The claims process follows that of most home insurance companies; an adjuster will be assigned, the damage evaluated, and benefits applied in accordance with the policy limits and exclusions. The website has a step-by-step overview of the process available.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Security First has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where they have been accredited since 2012. There are 25 complaints on file in the past three years. 46 reviews have been left on the BBB page, most of which are negative in nature. The complaints are mainly in regards to problems with claims, and the company does appear to respond to most of the comments and attempt to resolve the problem. The reviews here are long and detailed and describe similar problems, although some of them appear to be due to poor service from contractors.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s complaints database has a complaint ratio of 1:2396 for Security First, reflecting the most recent data for the third quarter of 2018. This places the company in the middle of the two other comparison companies listed the database, both of which have a similar market share to Security First.
We do not see any red flags for this company, but we would like to see a complaint ratio a little on the lower side than they are currently showing. The effort to respond to the reviews does put the company in a more positive light.
The Bottom Line
Security First has a pretty solid home insurance program with plenty of options, and may be a good choice for anyone looking for a local company. Their reputation is about average and complaints are similar to other such companies, so the choice for Florida homeowners may come down to rates and the quality of the local agent.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.