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Flood Insurance Quotes in Lutz, FL

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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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Florida Flood  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.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/11/2018

Spring is an ideal time to list your home for sale. But before it is listed on the market, be sure it is attractive to buyers. According to survey by the National Association of REALTORS, most real estate professionals estimate staging increases the sale price of a home anywhere from 1 to 15 percent.

“It doesn’t always take much to make your house more appealing,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Staging your home does not require hiring a company. It can be as simple and inexpensive as some sweat equity from the homeowner. Setting aside some time to make small improvements will pay off in the long run.

Boost curb appeal– The exterior of your home is the first impression, make sure it is a good one. Real Estate website Zillow, has some recommendations on making a warm welcome.

  • Trim shrubs, bushes and trees.
  • Repair broken downspouts and gutters.
  • If it’s appropriate for your yard, apply new mulch, river rock and/ or pea gravel.
  • Clean and repair concrete areas such as driveways and walkways. Be sure to eliminate any oil or grease stains and remove any weeds coming through the cracks.
  • Spruce up the front with some new flower pots with bright colored flowers and a welcome mat.
  • Make sure the house numbers are easy to see an in a style that complements your home.
  • While listed, keep the yard mowed, weeds pulled and the front of your home and the porch, patio and deck swept.

Clean– This requires more than the weekly cleaning. Clean all surfaces, dust fan blades and window trim and blinds as well as floor trim. Clean the windows and make appliances sparkle.

Declutter and Organize– Less is more. Get rid of any piles of stuff as well as bulky furniture. Don’t forget the closets, the less you have in them, the more spacious they appear. Clutter makes a home look messy. Put away personal items, such as family pictures so buyers can see themselves in your space.

“Walk through your home with the eyes of a buyer and notice what improvements need to be made,” suggests Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency.

DIY improvements-This includes touch up paint on scuff marks, fixing loose door or cabinet handles and knobs, replacing burned out lightbulbs or fixing a running toilet. You might consider replacing outdated fixtures as well.

Spruce up décor-Keep décor simple. Repaint a bold wall color, a neutral. Remove unusual artwork from the walls, this helps potential buyers visualize better. Buy new towels, bath rugs and candles for the bathroom and close the toilet lid.

Smell– Bad smells can be a deal breaker. Remove lingering smells from last night’s taco dinner or Fluffy’s litter box. Try burning a vanilla candle.

The post Preparing your house to sale appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/14/2018

This year’s legislative session was unique. The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School prompted action from lawmakers, shifting the agenda toward the end. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s Legislature passed the fewest bills in two decades. The lack of progress could be due to the unexpected gun debate that took place. In response, legislators passed gun-control measures for the first time in 20 years.

Many of the same issues, along with some new debates were brought up again among lawmakers. Let’s look at what passed and what fell short.

FAILED

A bill to repeal the no-fault auto insurance system, requiring drivers to carry personal injury or PIP Coverage.

“Florida lawmakers have argued over eliminating PIP and replacing it with a fault-based system for years. It seems to never gain enough momentum to become law,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance company.

An effort to ban fracking, the controversial oil- and natural- gas drilling process.

A ban to red-light cameras.

A proposal allowing law enforcement officers to pull people over for texting while driving. A practice, the National Safety Council reports causes 1,600,000 accidents a year.

Creation of new specialty license tags.

Guns at church.

PASSED

Tax cuts by $168.6 million- including a property tax break for homeowners displaced by hurricane Irma and nursing homes that purchase electrical generators. It also includes back-to-school holiday exempting sales tax on clothing and school supplies and reduces sales tax on business rents.

“It adds an 18 percent reduction in penalties for non-criminal traffic infractions for drivers who attend driving school,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance company.

Permanent daylight saving time.

Permits trained school employees to carry concealed weapons in school, raises the age requirement for gun purchases from 18 to 21, imposes a three-day waiting period for rifles and other long guns, allows police to seize weapons from those who pose a danger to themselves and others, and bans the sale of bump stocks.

A bill to make threats of mass shooting and terrorist attacks a second-degree felony.

Expansion of mental health services in public school.

K-12 -Creates voucher-like scholarships to pay for students who are bullied in public schools so they can attend private schools. Requires all schools to visibly display the Florida state motto, “In God We Trust,” and allows tenants of commercial property to direct tax revenue of up to $57.5 million in rent into the account of two scholarship programs.

More money for the state’s Bright Future’s merit scholarship program.

A homeowners’ insurance policy must visibly state that hurricane insurance does not include flood insurance.

Creation of the first Florida Slavery Memorial built on Capitol grounds.

Prescription limits on opioids and money for addiction treatment.

A resolution declaring pornography a health risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Winners and Losers from the 2018 Florida Legislature appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/7/2018

Self-storage is a $38 billion a year industry. According to Sparefoot, an online source for self-storage information, over nine percent of households rent a self-storage unit. While Floridians spend an average of $88.68 a month on storage unit rent.

The Self-Storage Association reports half of all units are rented for a year. Many people find storage units a temporary solution during a move or while in transition. “A lack of attics and basements in Florida homes might leave you short on storage space,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

However, not all storage rentals are temporary. 30 percent rent for two years or more. Of longer term renters, fifty percent are simply storing what does not fit in their home.  And others have sentimental items they emotionally cannot deal with. While some are storing items they no longer need or even want. Often, long term self-storage renters forget what is in the storage unit.

Whether you appreciate your self-storage unit or loathe it, make sure your items are insured. Before renting a storage unit, contact your insurance agent or review your homeowners insurance or renters insurance. Your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy may protect your items in storage.

“When you sign up to rent a storage unit, the self-storage company may try to sell you insurance, but chances are you already covered,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency.

Check if your policy covers items that are stored at an alternate location other than your home. While a renters insurance policy or homeowners policy will cover your belongings, it might not cover them as fully as the ones kept in your home.

Stored belongings might only be covered by a small percentage. A homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy usually protects personal property up to 10 percent of the amount of coverage in your policy.

Exclusions your homeowners or renters policy might not cover include flood or water damage, mold and mildew as well as losses incurred from the failure to maintain the unit properly, which is the responsibility of the storage company.

If you are storing a valuable collection, you might require a personal liability or umbrella policy for additional coverage and peace of mind.  If you plan to keep a vehicle, motorcycle or ATV, you will most likely require separate auto insurance.

To properly safeguard your things selecting a storage facility to suit you and your belongings. Make sure to look for the following when shopping for a unit.

Gated facilities

24/7 security camera

Keypad access or a lock with short arms resistant to bolt cutters

Inspect the unit for pests or leaks before renting.

Choose a climate controlled unit that will protect against mold and mildew.

Do an inventory of what you have in storage along with the estimated value of each item and a picture.

The post Self-storage, a blessing or a curse? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/21/2018

Across the country hearts are heavy, grieving the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. “These tragedies impact our communities-our parents, our children, our school professionals, our first responders-the mental health of our whole country,” reminds the professionals with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Even if someone is not involved directly traumatic events, especially within our state, burden our hearts and minds,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance provider.

Many people experience sadness, anxiety or anger. Some have trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating. Their minds are dominated by the details of the event. These symptoms typically decrease over time.

Effective and healthy ways to cope during this time include:

Talking to your children about the incident, discuss how it makes them feel.

Limit news and social media exposure. Continuous exposure causes a person to relive the trauma. Also, descriptions and images in the media can cause fear in kids going to school.

Maintain your normal routine.

Connect with people in positive ways. Talk with people and take the time to listen to others. Tell people you care about that you love them.

“Doing something for others can help you channel stressful feelings,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance provider.

However, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), points out that in some cases the anxiety will continue and interfere with everyday life. For people who continue to experience the effects of trauma, it is important to get professional help. Signs to look for include the following:

  • Worrying a lot or feeling very anxious, sad or fearful
  • Crying often
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Having frightening thoughts
  • Feeling angry
  • Having nightmares or difficulty sleeping
  • Avoiding places or people that bring back disturbing memories and responses.

Our world seems to be experiencing tragedy and stress on a more frequent basis. Be sure to slow down and be kind to yourself as well as others.

The post Coping with tragedy appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
1/30/2018

Most people do not look forward to filing taxes, especially with a new tax law in place for the first time in decades. Those changes can induce confusion and stress. This will be the last year for several tax credits as well as the beginning to benefit from some new ones.

Several tax credits are eliminated for the 2018 tax year. However, they are still available for your 2017 tax return.  “This will be the last year to take advantage of some deductions, so it’s important not to miss out on them,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Investing information company, The Motley Fool, reports this will be the last year to take advantage of the following tax breaks.

Personal exemptions

Property tax deductions

Mortgage interest deduction on home equity loans

Moving expenses

Unreimbursed employee expenses

Tax preparation fees

Investment-related legal and accounting fees

Job search costs

While several tax breaks will expire after this year, there are new ones are available for this year’s returns. “This year is unique with overlapping changes, so make sure your taxes are filed correctly, to avoid overpaying the IRS,” warns Buck Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency. Error rates for returns filed on paper are at 21 percent, while error rates for those filed electronically are less than one percent.

Some changes in tax deductions and credits are listed below.

Tax brackets expand. According to personal finance resource, GOBankingRates, “the federal income tax system uses a progressive tax structure, meaning that as you earn more income, your tax rate goes up as well.”

The Standard deduction, will experience a slight increase.

Health savings account– an increase to the contribution limit.

Earned income tax credit– the maximum income you can have while still qualifying for the EITC increased for each filing status. Also, you can have up to $3, 450 of investment income annually while still qualifying for the EITC.

Retirement savings credit-there is an increase in income limits.

Increased employer-paid parking or transit tax breaks

If you are looking for affordable and reliable homeowners insurance, give GreatFlorida Insurance a call.

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

by GreatFlorida Insurance
9/6/2017

With Hurricane Irma’s path is still uncertain, preparations across Florida are underway. State officials are warning residents to prepare for the worst.

“Seeing the recent destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, Floridians are taking this storm threat seriously, says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

What do you need?

For starters, assemble an emergency kit. Your emergency kit should contain at least the essentials. Consider making one to keep in your car and one at home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA recommends:

  • Water-rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day for 3 days
  • Food-non-perishable items for at least 3 days for each person
  • A battery powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Multi-purpose tool, such as Swiss Army knife
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic bag for trash
  • Map of your area
  • Medications
  • A copy of important documents- birth certificates, passport, insurance policies, etc.
  • Blanket
  • Emergency contact information
  • Cell phone and charger

Try to always keep at least half a tank of gas in your car in case you need to hit the road in hurry. Likewise, have some cash on hand or in your emergency kit. Also, know if you live in an evacuation area, get familiar with the evacuation routes.

 

Handling Insurance

Time is an asset. “As part of your preparations take a photo inventory, it is the simplest way to document your possessions,” suggests Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance. Snap pictures of your closets and drawers to show ownership of clothes and shoes. Take clear photos of jewelry, electronics, power tools, china and other valuables you might own. Date the photos and if possible list the purchase price. If anything is destroyed, this step is helpful when dealing with replacement costs regarding homeowners insurance and renters insurance.

Most homeowners insurance cover hurricane wind damage, but not flood damage. Flood insurance is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA), “Flooding is the most frequent and severe weather threat.” With 90 percent of natural disasters in the U.S. being flood related. Floods are also the costliest natural disaster.

Federal disaster assistance is only offered when the president declares a major disaster, which happens half of the time. The Insurance Information Institute, III reports that most insurers will not allow changes to be made to insurance policies once a hurricane watch or warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center.

What to expect?

The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Irma is currently a category 5 hurricane and “extremely dangerous.” Hurricane Wilma (category 5), hit Florida in 2005 leaving almost 4 million people statewide without electricity for several days. Widespread flooding and property damage is common during a severe storm preventing access to clean water and shutting down businesses.

Hurricanes cause storm surges and battering waves, producing an abnormal rise of water that can travel several miles inland. There is also flooding from heavy rains, along with wind and tornadoes.

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 renters insurance.

 

 

 

 

 

The post Preparing for Hurricane Irma appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.