GreatFlorida Homeowners Insurance - Palm Coast, FL - James Cimorelli
Homeowners Insurance Agency in Palm Coast, Florida

Homeowners Insurance Agency in Palm Coast, FL

James Cimorelli

James Cimorelli - GreatFlorida Insurance - Palm Coast, FL.

386-446-0317

160 Cypress Point Pkwy
C-102 |
Palm Coast, FL  32164
Fax : 386-446-0355

GreatFlorida Insurance Homeowners Auto Agency in Palm Coast
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Palm Coast, FL Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance | Palm Coast, FL

GreatFlorida Insurance agents can easily explain the circumstances specific to Palm Coast, FL homeowners, along with mortgage requirements and the difference between dwelling, personal property, liability, medical payments and loss of use coverage as well as available discounts.

Check out our online request form and a knowledgeable GreatFlorida Insurance agent will find the best options for you to choose from.

Your home is likely your most costly asset. It contains your belongings and valuables and more importantly your family and cherished memories.

After the overwhelming task of finding a new home in Palm Coast, it can be tempting to settle by purchasing a basic homeowner’s insurance policy that could leave you with inadequate coverage or paying for more coverage than you need.

James Cimorelli at GreatFlorida Insurance in Palm Coast, FL will make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy will provide adequate coverage to protect your home from fires, hurricanes, break-ins and more. Compensation for your financial loss will allow you and your family to continue living comfortably.

Our knowledgeable agents in Palm Coast will explain the details and variety of home insurance coverage available to you.

We are familiar with the unique circumstances and needs that Palm Coast homeowners face such as flood and hurricane damage.

GreatFlorida Insurance shops all the major carriers in Palm Coast, to find the best policy and the best rate. Easy, Low-Cost and Worry Free. That's the GreatFlorida Insurance promise.

Simply call 386-446-0317 or complete our online quote request form.

James Cimorelli at GreatFlorida Insurance Palm Coast, FL will help you find affordable Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance to protect one of your most valuable assets.

Florida homeowners insurance quotes

Palm Coast, FL Homeowners InsuranceHome Insurance FAQs

Homeowners Policy Coverages

Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance policy is designed to cover the structure of your home, and includes protection for various kinds of Personal Property as well as Liability coverage.

Want to know more? Give us a call at 386-446-0317 to speak to a local agent.

Discounts and Special Programs

There are many discounts are available on Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance policies. For example, you may qualify for a discount if your home has an updated roof, a monitored alarm system, hurricane shutters or impact windows in Palm Coast.

Payment Options

In many instances your Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance policy can be escrowed in with your mortgage.  However, if you need to pay separately, many carriers now offer several convenient payment options.

Home Insurance Coverage — What Is Covered

Standard home insurance coverage policies provide the following types of coverage, up to the limits outlined in the policies:

  • Dwelling — Pays for damage or destruction to your house and any unattached structures and buildings. Examples include fences, attached garage, or patio cover.

  • Personal Property — Covers the contents of your house, including furniture, clothing and appliances, if they are stolen, damaged, or destroyed.

  • Liability — Protects you against financial loss if you are sued and found legally responsible for someone else's injury or property damage.

  • Medical Payments — Covers medical bills for person(s) injured on your property.

  • Loss of Use — Pays for additional living expenses if your home is uninhabitable due to a covered loss. Most standard Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance policies pay 10% to 20% of the amount of your Dwelling coverage.

Does my policy cover floods?

The fact is that Florida homeowner insurance does not cover damage caused by flood, and federal disaster assistance is only offered when the president declares a major disaster (which only happens in 50% of flooding situations).

Unfortunately, most people do not find this out until it is too late. However, flood insurance is available to protect homes and businesses and their contents in communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Does my policy cover hurricane damage?

Yes, your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover damages cause by windstorms. The deductible for hurricane damage can range from 2% to 10% of the insured value of the dwelling depending on the policy.

NOTE: Hurricane damage is normally covered, but may be rejected in certain situations.

What does the hurricane deductible mean?

This is the amount that you, the policyholder, will have to pay out of pocket. For example, if your home is insured for $250,000 with a 2% wind deductible and has hurricane damages of $50,000.

The amount of the deductible will be 2% X $250,000 = 5,000.

The remaining amount ($45,000) would be paid by the insurance policy. What factors can affect Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance premiums?

Home Features and Characteristics — The age of your home, type of structure, wiring, roof, garage, etc., can affect your Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance premium. Older homes can often cost more to insure, and those costs can differ depending on whether your home is brick, frame, stone or has synthetic siding.

Location — Where your home is located can change your Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance premium. For example, your home insurance rate can be affected if your home is in close to a fire station; is exposed to extreme weather, such as hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes; or is in a neighborhood more prone to theft.

Protective Devices — Burglar alarm systems, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and deadbolt locks can lower your Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance premium.

Personal Factors — What you do can affect your Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance premium, too. For instance, smokers may pay more for home insurance than nonsmokers. A good credit history also can lower what you pay for home insurance.

Claims History — If you have a history of claims on a Palm Coast Homeowners Insurance policy, you may pay a higher premium.

Simply call 386-446-0317 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Home Insurance Agent will help you find the best deal for you.

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Call 386-446-0317
Palm Coast, FL Flood Insurance

Flood Insurance | Palm Coast, FL

Flooding is the leading cause of disaster in the United States. Florida residents file more flood insurance claims than any other state. Mere inches can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home.

Florida flood insurance is your only protection against flood damage. GreatFlorida Insurance can make it simple and easy to understand the type of flood insurance that will adequately suit your dwelling. Simply call 888-478-7801 or complete our online quote request form.

Many homeowners are under the false assumption that their homeowner’s insurance would cover loss caused by a flood in the home. Flood insurance is not included in your homeowner’s policy and must be purchased separately.

GreatFlorida Insurance can provide flood insurance to policyholders through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Your local GreatFlorida Insurance agent will help you find the Florida flood insurance to protect your most valuable asset from the most common form of destruction.

Florida flood insurance quotes

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.

Flood Insurance FAQs

  • 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 Homeowners  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
5/19/2016

More than 105 million people visited the sunshine state in 2015, setting a tourism record in the United States as reported by The Orlando Sentinel. Living in a hot tourist destination might have you thinking about making some extra cash by turning your home into a short-term rental.

Additional income for homeowners and renters is the appeal to vacation rental websites such as VRBO/HomeAway and Airbnb. On the flip side, business and vacation travelers get full-home amenities including more space and a full kitchen for less than the price of a hotel room, making short-term rentals an attractive deal.

Before you start listing your place on a travel platform, keep in mind, not every home in Florida is eligible for renting. “Florida has zoning laws that restrict short-term rentals to specific areas,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance provider.

Homeowners or condo associations along with co-ops and landlords may also prohibit short-term rentals.

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Whether your vacation home is your primary residence or not, you still want to protect your investment. Having the proper insurance will do just that.

“Having homeowners insurance or renters insurance is not usually adequate to cover your short- term rental,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency. “Homeowners insurance and renters insurance will cover your guests but not someone you are engaged in business transaction with.”

It is important to speak with your insurance agent before getting started. Short-term rentals are considered more risky to insure as opposed to someone with a year-long lease agreement. You may need a rider to your current homeowners policy or get rental property insurance.

Personal property covers your belongings. Liability protects you against legal fees and medical bills if someone is injured in your home. No matter how safe your home is, accidents are bound to happen.

Once you get your insurance in order, remember, Florida occupancy taxes are collected by 22 counties, according to FloridaPolitics.com.

If you are considering renting your home, for a short or long period of time, contact GreatFlorida Insurance. Our experienced agents will get you the proper homeowners insurance or short-term rental insurance to protect your belongings and home from potential damage or theft.

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The post Short-Term Rental Insurance appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
5/12/2016

While reading through real estate listings, you often come across some descriptive language. Real estate agents utilize terms that sound appealing but should raise a red flag.

“A real estate agent wants make their home listing sound as attractive as possible in order to attract buyers,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowner’s insurance agency.

“One way to do this is by finding euphemisms to throw the most flattering light onto a home-and sometimes obscure a home’s flaws,” explains real estate website, Realtor.com.

The following are some common real estate listing terms and their translations to help you become a savvy shopper.

Charming or Tons of character

This is often code for “old” and it would be in your best interest to check the plumbing and appliances.

Custom, Unique or Artistic

Count on this home having a very specific style and set of features, it could also just be weird.Zillow_Zillow-Talk_Listing-Description_T1-37917d

As is or Cash Only

These terms can often come up on foreclosed homes. It translates to the home is in bad condition and the owners cannot afford renovations. It will also remove your negotiating power.

“Keep in mind, Florida foreclosures are a judicial proceeding and could take a year or more to complete,” reports Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowner’s insurance agency.

Up and coming neighborhood, Trendy or Hip

You are expecting to see cool shops and cafes around the corner but you discover that is a future forecast for the area. A good idea would be to check the local crime statistics.

Great potential

Prepare for a mess, meaning renovations that could range from cosmetic to total tear down.

Cozy

This term is positive and will make you feel all warm inside, but it means very small.

Natural Landscaping

Get ready to see no landscaping. It is most likely a yard jungle.

Secluded, Private, Retreat, Quiet

The house will probably have a long commute to work and the grocery store.

Convenient to Shopping

This home is located on a busy street or high traffic area.

Well-Maintained

Well-maintained sounds like a compliment but according to, Wired magazine, “It usually means the home is old but not quite falling down.”

Contact GreatFlorida Insurance, if you are looking for homeowner’s insurance. Get a quote as soon as your contract is signed.  We can help you finalize the details well in advance of your closing date.

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The post Real Estate Code Words appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/20/2016

Is home ownership the American Dream?

Is renting the equivalent of throwing your money away?

“Home buying versus renting is a multifaceted decision. It takes into account your financial situation as well as personal and emotional choices,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

There are pros and cons for home buying and renting. A one-size-fits-all answer does not exist. Fortunately, there are some considerations to factor that can help you make your decision.

Financial Factors

Most experts agree that your monthly mortgage or rent should not exceed 30 percent of your annual income. This is merely a guideline and it is important to review your other expenses before making a final determination.

Buying is more expensive once you factor in the cost of the home purchase, taxes, homeowners insurance as well as maintenance and repairs. A down payment is typically between 5- 20 percent, although government programs are available to help home buyers put as little as 3 percent down. Closing costs are an additional 5 percent.

Many people rent because they lack a down payment or they have poor credit. Renting generally requires first and last month’s rent as well as a security deposit up front, making for a significantly smaller payment.

Keep in mind, investment educators The Motley Fool, point out rent historically increases five percent each year but a mortgage payment is locked in and does not change. Owning allows you to build equity but equity takes time to build.

 The Florida Housing Marketown-or-rent-infographic

In some markets across the U.S. rental prices continue to rise making a mortgage payment less than a monthly rental payment. “Rents are rising faster than wages throughout most of Florida,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowners insurance agency.

RealtyTrac reports, “Low interest rates and reasonable housing prices make South Florida, ripe for buying.”

Recent job growth and a population increase, along with affordable housing are drawing many buyers into the market.

Forbes reported that Florida is the best state to invest in home ownership due to economic recovery and the addition of nearly a quarter million jobs in the past year. They list Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota, Jacksonville, Cape Coral, West Palm Beach and North Point as being the best cities to buy a home in 2016.

Renters are not always at a disadvantage. We don’t always know what the future holds as seen by the 2008 housing bubble bust, and that can make a significant difference when deciding to buy or rent.

Renting is ideal for those who desire for a low maintenance lifestyle and those not settled in one area or do not plan to stay in one place long. While homeownership can benefit from tax breaks, the breaks can be oversold to those with moderate priced homes.

What’s better, renting vs buying can be a difficult prediction to make and sometimes you have to go with your gut.

Whether you are looking to buy or rent a home, GreatFlorida Insurance can help you protect your valuables. We offer affordable options for homeowners insurance as well as renters insurance. Give us a call today.
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The post Buy or Rent? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/30/2016

Three Boca Raton firefighters were recently struck by lightning. They were injured while responding to a backyard fire caused by a previous lightning strike. All three were knocked off their feet and one began having a seizure.

“It is a critical reminder about the perils of a thunderstorm. In Florida, thunderstorms are so common, we forget about their dangers,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowner’s insurance agency.

Florida is the lightning capital of the United States. Lightning kills and injures more people in Florida than any other state. The Red Cross reports, more people are killed every year by lightning strikes, than tornadoes and hurricanes. Thunderstorms produce lightning along with damaging winds and heavy rain that can cause flooding.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates, 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in the U. S. every year. Lightning can strike more than 10 miles from where it is raining. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose a threat.

All thunderstorms produce lightning. Lightning strikes cause horrific injuries. Being struck can cause burns, serious lifelong pain and permanent neurological disabilities, as well as cardiac arrest and death.

Some safety tips to heed during a thunderstorm are listed below.

Inside

Lightning can enter a structure through metal water and sewage pipes so avoid bathing, washing dishes or other water required activities.

Do not talk on a landline phone. A bolt of lightning could hit a telephone pole and cause an electrical surge to shoot through the line. Cell phones are safe as long as they are not plugged in to an electrical socket.

Unplug electrical items. Lightning travels through electrical wiring, plugs and cords.

Keep your distance from windows and doors. Lightning can move through glass and unsealed cracks along floors and window panes.

“Every year homeowner insurance claims for lightning losses total in the hundreds of millions, reports Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowner insurance agency. “Florida usually tops the list with thousands of claims annually.”

OutdoorsLightning_Infographic

When thunder roars, go indoors. There is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm. If you are in the water, get out immediately. Avoid open structures such as gazebos, porches and baseball dugouts.

Lightning tends to strike the tallest object in the area and you do not want that to be you. If you are caught in an open area, such as a golf course or ball field, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you crouch down into a ball position, with your feet and knees together with your head tucked and your hands over your ears. The idea is to get low without touching the ground. Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly from over 100 feet away.

If you are in a group spread out from one another to reduce the number of injuries if lighting strikes the ground.

Wait to go outside for 30 minutes after you hear the last thunderclap.

Someone who is struck does not carry and electrical charge and requires medical attention immediately.

Don’t let a storm rob you. GreatFlorida Insurance provides top notch homeowner’s insurance at a price to fit your budget. Give us a call today.

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The post Caught off Guard-Lightning appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/16/2016

If you are looking to put your house on the market or just want to spruce it up, GreatFlorida Insurance has some tips to increase the value and make you fall in love with your home again.

“You do not have to take out a second mortgage on your home to make impactful changes. Many home renovations are budget-friendly and can be done by the homeowner,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowner’s insurance agency.

Kitchen-The kitchen is the heart of the home which is why it sells homes. A kitchen remodel can run into the thousands but it does not have to be out of reach. Some simple and cost effective changes that can change the look of this high traffic area includes: changing out hardware on the cabinets and drawers, updating light fixtures or replacing the kitchen faucet. If you really want to flex your DIY muscle, try installing a backsplash.

Bathroom-Bathrooms are another popular place in the home. In order to keep renovating costs down, try cleaning or re-grouting the tile. Apply fresh caulk around the tub and sink area. Replacing the mirror or bathroom lighting makes a strong visual impact. Changing out the toilet or even just the toilet seat can make a clean impression.

Paint-Painting is an inexpensive way to create a different environment in a room.  Experts at HGTV recommend, “Soft, cool colors create a quieter feeling while strong colors add drama. Warmer, contrasting and brighter colors add to a sociable atmosphere, deeper blue-greens and neutrals will give a more formal ambiance.”

Lighting-Adding dimmer switches to your current lighting can help create mood. Softer bulbs can bring warmth into a room. Check into updating a ceiling fan or just the blades with a more modern style. Replacing a nondescript light fixture with a chandelier or oversized pendant in the entryway, kitchen or bedroom can make a bold design statement.

Front Door-“Replacing your front door will not only boost your home’s style, but it could also provide you with a discount on your homeowner’s insurance,” reports Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowner’s insurance agency. Replacing your front door can provide you with an 82 to 98 percent increase on your investment, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2016 Annual Cost vs. Value Report. If you are not interested in replacing your door, painting it will also provide a wow-factor.

Curb Appeal-Overgrown landscaping can obscure your home’s view and foster mold growth. Mowing your yard, pulling weeds along with pruning shrubs and bushes will increase the attractiveness of your home. Adding new, clean house numbers can also make a fresh impression.

Maintenance and Repairs-Investing in simple repairs around your home such as, plumbing leaks, drywall repairs, rusted rain gutters and replacing windows are affordable fixes that go a long way in making your home more comfortable while feasibly averting future problems.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides affordable rates on the most costly asset you own. Our homeowner’s insurance provides adequate coverage for all your needs, call us today.

The post Simple and Affordable Home Renovations appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/1/2016

When filing your taxes, you want to take every opportunity possible to save money on expenses that can reduce your taxable income.

“Deductions are sometimes available on health programs and treatments such as smoking cessation, weight loss and alcohol and drug abuse, if it is not covered under your current health insurance policy,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent healthcare insurance agency.”

Below is a list of some commonly missed tax deductions and credits that could be available to you.deduct-home-business-expenses

  • State and Local Sales Tax Deduction– Floridians do not pay a state income tax making taxpayers eligible to deduct state income tax paid on purchases. If you purchased a large item such as a car or boat, you can add the sales tax paid to the amount sown on the IRS tax table.
  • Charitable Contributions-Money donated to your church, a charity or even if you purged your closet or home of household items and dropped them off at Goodwill, those can be counted. Out-of-pocket expenses such as food ingredients needed to prepare meals for a soup kitchen or if you drove your car for charitable activities, you can deduct 14 cents per mile.
  • Tuition-There are Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits, as well as the American Opportunity Tax Credit available for those taking classes. A tax credit is available for tuition, fees, books and other educational supplies for you, your spouse or dependents.
  • Health Insurance-“Health insurance premiums for self-employed people, are 100 percent deductible from their gross income,” reports Buck from GreatFlorida Insurance.
  • Job Relocation-Your moving expenses are deductible if you took a first job and moved more than 50 miles away. You can deduct 23 cents per mile of getting you and your household goods to the new area, including parking and tolls.
  • Casualty, Disaster and Theft-Casualty, disaster and theft losses can be deducted on your tax form, but the IRS has some stipulations. The IRS states, “You may not deduct casualty and theft losses, (generally covered by homeowner’s insurance) unless you reduce the loss by the amount of any reimbursement or expected reimbursement.”
  • National Guard-National Guard and Reservists can claim overnight travel expenses.
  • Gambling Losses-Your losses cannot surpass your winnings, which must be reported.
  • Child Care-A child care tax credit is offered, worth 20 – 35 percent of what you pay in childcare while you work.

Financial management company, Intuit suggests a tax credit is better than a tax deduction because it reduces your tax, dollar-for-dollar. As painful as filing your taxes is, take your time to think back over your finances for the year to save money on your taxes.

GreatFlorida Insurance is the leading independent insurance company in Florida, offering health insurance, homeowner’s insurance, car insurance and boat insurance. Call us today for a free quote.

The post Overlooked Tax Deductions appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/1/2016

In 2015, Florida experienced the warmest year on record. With a significant El Nino predicted for the 2015-2016 winter season, a shift in temperature is expected.  This year, NOAA National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is predicting that El Nino will be amongst the strongest one ever reported.

Forecasters expect El Nino to bring Florida wetter and cooler weather than the normally drier winter weather. An increase in overnight tornado activity and flash flooding is also anticipated.

At GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowner’s insurance agency, we know the importance of being prepared during a weather emergency. The better equipped you are with knowledge and a plan, the less stressful an unexpected event can be on your family.

So exactly what is El Nino?  It is a complex weather pattern resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean around the equator. NOAA explains, “The deviations from normal surface temperatures can have a large scale effect on the ocean as well as global climate and weather conditions.”

Outlook_map_temp2015_2F_2000

El Nino develops over North America producing wetter than normal conditions in the Gulf Coast and Florida.  It typically forms in the spring and reaches its peak in in December and January. This year, climatologists at NASA see the potential of a second peak occurring in February and March and dying down in May of 2016.

This weather anomaly typically lasts 9 – 12 months and usually occurs every five to seven years. Temperatures and participation amounts are not the only effect El Nino brings. In an El Nino year, marine life is affected and the fish population declines.

“El Nino generally results in more severe weather occurring throughout Florida,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowner’s insurance agency.

The recent El Nino season has been attributed to reducing the Atlantic hurricane activity in 2015, minimizing the risk of summer wildfires, an increased risk of flooding and it is responsible for the severe storms as of late.

The intense El Nino event of 1997-98, caused alarming weather conditions. It lead to widespread damage across Florida resulting in a number of deaths from tornadoes along with the loss of crops.

While there is no reason to panic, it cannot hurt to be prepared. Floridians can be ready by assembling an emergency kit, having a weather radio on hand along with an evacuation plan in place.Tornado_warning

If you find yourself in a tornado, take the following advice.

  • Take shelter where you are
  • Find the smallest interior room or closest to ground level, away from windows
  • Make sure everyone in your home, school or business knows where to go before a tornado hits
  • Protect your head by putting on a bike helmet or pulling a mattress over you

GreatFlorida Insurance offers you protection for you and your belongings when an adverse weather situation occurs. Contact us today if you are looking for first rate homeowner’s insurance.

The post Severe Weather Expected this Winter appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
1/19/2016

What is important to you when it comes to selecting insurance? There is no right or wrong response, the answer is based on personal preferences.

A survey of over 400 agents and brokers from Insurance Journal found overall, regional insurance carriers scored better than national carriers. “Local insurance provides an opportunity for more personalized service, you’re not just a number” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent auto insurance agency in Florida.

In order to guide you through your decision making process, below is a list of the top ten reasons to choose a Florida based insurance agent rather than a nationally based one.

  1. Customer Service – When calling a local agent, you will get them phone, giving you one- on- one service. Your personal agent is already familiar with your policy and coverage. When you phone a national insurance company, you will most likely reach a call center and a different representative every time.
  2. Personal Contact – Local insurers are better at building personal relationships and getting to know their clients. They ask you specific questions and examine your needs more to make sure you are not underinsured. They can also make you aware of discounts, special savings or bundling opportunities for your car insurance and homeowner’s insurance.
  3. Know the Area – A local insurance agent has intimate knowledge of your area. They can assess possible risks and will inform you if you require specific coverage. For instance, if your home address is in a flood zone and you require flood insurance not just homeowner’s insurance. They are also familiar with common claims in the area and can make recommendations due to that information.
  4. Human Resources – A local insurance agent can serve as your personal HR department if you own a small business. If one of your employees has a question regarding their health insurance, they can inquire with the agent.
  5. Flexibility – Local insurance agencies will offer more flexibility to customize coverage. National insurers usually work off a standard operating procedure.
  6. Second chances – No one is perfect. If your driving history has a blemish, local insurance agencies are less rigid and more accommodating to offer car insurance coverage. A national carrier often has their hands tied to strict company policy.
  7. Options -A local independent insurance agency, such as GreatFlorida Insurance, can comparison shop with different insurance providers for you. While a captive agent is obligated to one insurance company.
  8. Support a Local Business – Money spent locally, stays in your community. Forbes points out; local businesses will give back to the community, further increasing community character and economic benefits to build up the area.
  9. Prompt Service – Direct access to your agent usually means you get answers quicker and the claims administration process will be faster.
  10. Security – With the constant breach of security at large companies online, inputting your personal data can leave you more vulnerable. Knowing who you are submitting your personal information directly to feels more secure.

GreatFlorida Insurance has been offering auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance throughout Florida for 25 years. Our independent insurance agents can find the right insurance for you, give us a call.buylocalbanner

The post Buying Insurance Local vs National appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
1/8/2016

“Hidden fees, add-ons, unnecessary insurance coverage and unfulfilled reservations are some of the complaints consumers have when it comes to renting a car, says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent car insurance provider.

Are you familiar with the Seinfeld episode where Jerry goes to pick up his reserved car and they do not have his vehicle?

Jerry responds, “But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation. See you know how to take the reservation; you just don’t know how to hold the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation – the holding.”

A former car rental employee explained to the LA Times, that reservations are used for planning but will not guarantee you a vehicle. Supply and demand will dictate whether your reservation is honored. Most car rental companies do not charge for no-show reservations, so they take as many reservations as they desire.Florida-Rental-Car-Insurance

Do you really need extra insurance? “Before renting a car, check with your insurance agent for the type of car insurance coverage you currently have in order to avoid paying for double coverage,” urges Buck, with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent car insurance agency.

Take into account, a car rental employee is a sales person. They have been urged to sell you upgrades as well as insurance.  If you do not have car insurance, consider purchasing car insurance from the rental company.

The most common types are, LDW- loss damage waivers, it protects the vehicle if stolen, vandalized or if a tree limb should fall on it.  CDW- collision damage waivers covers damage caused by a collision with another vehicle.

Some credit cards, such as American Express, offer automatic insurance coverage when you pay for a rental using that card. Also, certain homeowner’s insurance policies will cover the cost of belongings stolen in the car.

US News & World Report suggests the following tips for keeping costs down while renting a car.

  • Try renting a car from a company located away from the airport if possible.
  • Shop around
  • Do not pre-pay for gas, fill it up yourself.
  • Forgo the GPS rental and use your smart phone for directions.
  • Take the time to thoroughly inspect the rental car before you drive away.
  • Return your car on time to avoid possible late fees.
  • Check that tolls are covered by the rental car company.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers dependable and affordable car insurance. Give us a call today for your free quote.

Florida-Auto-Insurance

The post Car Rental Woes appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
12/10/2015

“It’s not unusual to encounter an alligator on the golf course when you are playing golf in Florida but lately, there has been some remarkable alligator activity on some Florida courses,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest healthcare insurance agency.

Two alligators shocked golfers when they began to wrestle on the greens at the Myakka Pines Golf Club in Englewood. Golfers reported that the two gators thrashed and bit one another for at least 10 minutes before the smaller gator, estimated to be 10 feet long, limped away. The champion of the fight, Goliath has been nicknamed by locals and is known for making appearances on the golf course but has never been seen taking on another alligator.

At the Crandon Park Golf Course in Key Biscayne, a six foot crocodile ate a dog after it ran into the water. The dog was a 25 pound pit bull terrier mix, off his lease and chasing ducks and geese in the early morning hours.florida-health-insurance

Another alligator was photographed by a stunned golfer in Naples at The Golf Club at Fiddler’s Creek. The alligator was feasting on a large python.

While alligators are native to Florida, alligator attacks are rare. According to the Tampa Bay Times, no one has suffered a fatal, unprovoked alligator bite in Florida since 2007. Encouraging news, there are no documented deaths from an alligator bite to a golfer in Florida.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, FWC reports 10 percent of all violent gator confrontations occur when golfers are trying to retrieve balls.

With an estimated 1.5 alligators populating the state, it is no wonder they can be seen lurking around golf course marsh areas and banks with heavy vegetation.  “At one time, the American alligator was considered endangered but thanks to the alligator population boost, the species was removed from the endangered list,” reports Buck, from healthcare insurance provider GreatFlorida Insurance.

In order to have a peaceful co-existence between golfer and alligators, the FWC has the following recommendations:

  • Never feed alligators, it is dangerous and illegal.
  • Seek immediate attention if you are bitten by an alligator.
  • Observe and photograph alligators from a distance.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and warning signs.
  • Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Leave alligators alone, even small ones

Alligators less than four feet long are not considered dangerous. If you encounter a gator longer than four feet and posing a threat to people, property or pets, call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).  Nuisance alligators are killed not relocated.

GreatFlorida Insurance wants to help keep golfers in prime shape for the green. That can be accomplished through the high quality healthcare insurance we provide to cover well visits and injury care. Give us a call today.

The post Gators on the Golf Course appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.