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What is Flood Insurance?

GreatFlorida Insurance can help protect your investment with a Florida flood insurance policy through the NFIP. The NFIP is administered by the U.S. Government. It was designed to lower the rising costs associated with repairing damage to property and belongings caused by flood.Florida has the largest number of participants in the NFIP. While flood insurance is backed by the government, it cannot be purchased directly but must be purchased through an insurance agent.

Who Needs Flood Insurance?

Federal law requires homeowner’s with property in flood zone areas or areas designated as high-risk have flood insurance. Depending on the location of the home, flood insurance could be required as a condition of the mortgagee. Properties in areas considered low or moderate risk are not required by federal law to have flood insurance-however, a lender can still make it a requirement. Flood insurance is available to homeowner’s and renters and is highly recommended to all living in Florida.

GreatFlorida Insurance agents can help you identify your property’s risk to assess your needs for flood insurance.

Many homeowners assume they can collect federal disaster assistance if a flood occurs but it is only offered when the president declares a major disaster which only happens in half of all flooding situations.

Why Flood Insurance is Important

The entire state of Florida lies within FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) highest designation of storm frequency, making Florida a flood zone with varying levels of risk. FEMA charts flood zones on consistently updated government maps. Flooding poses a threat to a high number of Florida homes due to the proximity to water and the high number of properties in coastal areas.

You do not have to live in a high risk flood zone to experience damage, 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from low or medium risk communities.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help you select the right flood insurance whether you want to cover your structure, belongings or both.

Flooding can be caused several different ways. Hurricanes or tropical storms, an overflow of inland or tidal waters, a rapid accumulation of rain or runoff of surface waters from any source, mudflow or collapse of land or erosion can cause flooding as well as a broken water main.

It takes only inches of water in your home to cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Considering the expenses associated with repairing flood damage it makes sense to purchase flood insurance. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) the average flood insurance claim amount between 2010 and 2014 was $42,000.

  • Most flood insurance policies require a 30-day waiting period before the policy goes into effect unless you have a new home purchase and closing is less than 30 days.
  • Flood policies must be paid in full upfront.
  • Policies are purchased for a one year term.
  • Premiums are based on the amount of coverage you desire, your deductible amount selected, your property’s flood zone risk, location and foundation type on your home.
  • Flood insurance covers the home’s foundation and its support systems as well as appliances.
  • Coverage is available for the structure and/or your belongings.
  • GreatFlorida Insurance agents can help you identify what is covered under building property coverage and personal property coverage as well as coverage for lower levels in your home such as basements and crawlspaces.
  • They can walk you through how damages are valued explaining the difference between Replacement Cost Value, RCV or Actual Cash Value, ACV and other special considerations.

Contact your local GreatFlorida Insurance agent for the best Flood Insurance rates in Florida.

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Flood Insurance Florida Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/6/2018

Following the devastation of last year’s hurricane season, lawmakers promised many changes. However, as this year’s storm season begins, only a few changes are on the books.

“After billions in damages, most Floridians were expecting to see more changes this hurricane season,” comments Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

According to the Associated Press, “The Florida House of Representative’s Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness issued 78 recommendations over the past year, with 27 being acted upon, mostly as appropriations in the state budget.”

The few substantial changes made include, ensuring nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a supply of generators and three days of fuel. Also, the creation of a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday occurring now through June 7. Certain storm supplies are tax exempt, such as: flashlights, batteries, candles, reusable ice packs, fuel containers, ratchet straps and portable generators.

Preparedness is essential, but understanding risk is also important. “As we head into hurricane season, know your homeowners insurance deductible and limits. You want to be insured for your home’s replacement costs,” reminds Buck of GreatFlorida Insurance.

Most homeowners insurance cover hurricane wind damage, but not flood damage. Flood insurance is separate from your homeowners coverage. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials advise everyone with a home in Florida to get flood insurance, despite what a flood map might say.

To improve the publics knowledge of risk, the National Hurricane Center is making improvements in forecasting. New public advisories will better help communicate danger, especially those in an evacuation zone. Adjustments are being made to official hurricane track maps. Experimental wind maps will become official. And advisories will include potential impacts further in advance.

Access to fuel and transportation presented a real problem for those trying to evacuate. In order to ease congestion, a promise to identify larger gas stations along evacuation routes and improved fuel delivery to those areas.

Insurance is designed to help people rebuild their lives. GreatFlorida Insurance can help protect your home with a Florida flood insurance policy provided by the National Flood Insurance Program. We also offer homeowners insurance and rental insurance. Check us out online today.

 

 

 

 

The post Changes this hurricane season appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
5/23/2018

A sink hole is growing on the North Lawn of the White House. We will resist the temptation for commentary and jokes.

“Sinkholes are nothing new to Floridians,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowner insurance provider.

However, concerning experts, are the recent heavy rains throughout the state, that may lead to additional sinkholes. Such as the ones in The Villages or the more than a dozen that opened in an Ocala neighborhood earlier this month.

Speaking to a local news agency, Dr. Anthony Randazzo, professor at the University of Florida calls the stretch of land between Tallahassee and I-4 through Central Florida, “sinkhole alley.”

Dr. Randazzo says last year’s Hurricane Irma is responsible for over 400 sinkholes. Recent heavy rainfall is exacerbating the problem.

Sinkholes occur in Florida so often because the peninsula is made up of porous rocks such as limestone or sandstone, which can dissolve over time as they interact with acid naturally occurring in rainwater, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

So, what happens if a sinkhole develops near or on your property? Florida law requires insurance companies to provide coverage for catastrophic ground cover collapse.

“However, sinkhole damage must meet specific criteria and may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance.  “The law defines sinkhole damage differently from catastrophic ground cover collapse. Sinkhole coverage is available to add to a homeowner’s policy for an additional cost.”

Florida homes do not require inspection for the possibility of sinkholes. Also, most builders do not have them inspected, because of the additional expense. It is impossible to predict when and where the exact location of a sinkhole might develop.

Only a licensed, professional geologist with training in identifying sinkholes, might be able to determine the possibility of sinkhole activity. It is important to keep in mind, not all potential sinkhole activity can be identified.

As a protection to buyers, home sellers are required to disclose when a sinkhole claim was made on a piece of property and the amount that was paid to repair the damages.

You can call the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at 850-245-2118, with a sinkhole question.

The post Heavy Rain Responsible for Sinkholes appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
5/16/2018

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. “Current research proves hurricanes are growing stronger and occurring more frequently,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.

Colorado State University predicts a slightly above average Atlantic hurricane season, with 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Whereas, The Weather Channel, is predicting 13 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

While thunderstorms commonly occur in Florida, hail is not as common. It is a type of frozen precipitation that occurs within strong to severe storms any time of the year. Hail causes approximately $1 billion in property damage annually nationwide.

Hail can dent your automobile’s hood, trunk and doors. It can break and crack mirrors and windows and cause damaged or stuck doorjambs.

“It is really tempting to observe the novelty of anything frozen falling from the sky but hail can be dangerous, especially if it is sizable,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.

If you are out driving when a hailstorm hits, don’t panic. Below are tips to stay safe on the road.

Slow down and be aware of other drivers around you who make not know how to react when driving in a hailstorm.

Create distance between you and the driver ahead of you.

Safely, get off the road. The impact of hail is greater on a moving object, so your car is at greater risk of damage when it is moving forward.

Look for coverage close by such as a gas station awning or garage.  Avoid trees, falling branches can cause more damage.

If you stop under a bridge or overpass be sure to pull completely out of traffic lanes and onto the shoulder.

Do not leave your car.

Try and keep your car at an angle so hail hits it from the front. Windshields are reinforced to withstand pelting objects. Side windows and back glass are not, they are much more vulnerable to shatter or break.

If the hail is severe, cover your eyes or the eyes of any passengers with a blanket. Get face down in the backseat or floor, face away from any windows.

Stay clear of culverts or ditches that quickly fill with water.

Most comprehensive auto insurance policies will cover hail damage. Once the hail damage is accessed, work with your insurance agent to file a claim and get your car into an auto body shop to repair any dents or other damage caused by the storm.

The post Protect Your Car from Hail Damage This Storm Season appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
5/9/2018

Hawaiian lawmakers recently passed a bill prohibiting the sale of sunscreen containing chemicals known to harm coral reefs.

“Once signed by governor David Ige, it will be the first law of its kind,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatForida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

The chemicals contributing to the destruction of coral reefs and other ocean wildlife are oxybenzone and octinoxate. These are common ingredients found in over 3,500 popular sunscreens such as Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are chemicals that filter and absorb UV light, blocking out the sun’s radiation and extending the amount of time a person can spend in the sun. However, like most topical products, they wash off in the water causing damage to coral and fish. According to coral reef advocates, Be Reef Safe, 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen end up on coral reefs every year.

A 2015 study conducted by a group of scientists of coral reefs in Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Israel found oxybenzone and octinoxate leach nutrients from coral, bleach it white and reduce its resiliency. The chemicals are known endocrine disrupters, even a tiny amount can damage coral.

“The largest coral reef in the continental U.S. is the Florida Reef, found in the Keys,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatForida Insurance, Florida’s top independent boat insurance agency.

It is the third largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world. It too is being threatened by using these chemicals. In order to protect the future of Florida’s reef tract a similar bill could be passed in Florida. As the public becomes aware of the threat these chemicals pose to coral reef and underwater wildlife, it could prompt action to preserve our beloved reef.

Best thing to do now is read sunscreen labels and avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate. There other ingredients available in sunscreens that can effectively protect your skin. Most importantly, cover up. Sunscreen, should be the last line of defense.

The post Could Florida Ban Sunscreen? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/18/2018

2018 Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22. The theme for this year’s Earth Day focuses on ending plastic pollution. Single-use plastic is believed to be the biggest source of trash in and around water worldwide.

We use plastic everyday- plastic bags, toothbrushes, water bottles, product packaging. It’s hard to go a day without plastic,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent boat insurance agency.

Some alarming statistics about plastic include the following:

2.5 million plastic bottles are used every hour in the U.S. (Recycle Across America)

8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year (Recycle Across America)

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s largest collection of floating trash has grown to 600,000 square miles, twice the size of Texas. (Scientific Reports)

According to the website, Earthday.org, plastic poisons and injures marine life, disrupts human hormones, litters beaches and landscapes and clogs our waste streams and landfills. The movement is hoping to inspire and inform people into changing their attitude about plastics.

So, what can one person do to make a difference? Below is a list of suggestions to help you reduce the use of plastic.

Carry your own reusable shopping bags to the store.

Stop buying bottled water, carry a reusable water bottle.

Use a refillable mug at the coffee shop, you can even get a discount for it.

Say “no” to straws.

Checking your packaging. When possible, choose paper packaging over plastic, such as a box for pasta rather than a plastic bag.

Trade in your disposable razor for one you that you only must switch out the blade.

Change up your food storage. Instead of using plastic baggies or plastic wrap, try mason jars, bento boxes or glass containers.

Recycle

“Doing something is better that do nothing,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

If we all try and make one or two changes to our plastic use, collectively, we can make a difference. Consumer choice speaks loudly.

 

 

 

The post Trashing the ocean appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.