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Flood Insurance Quotes in Clearwater, FL

Mike Lazanis, Agent

727-441-9080

1468 Gulf To Bay Blvd
Clearwater, FL  33755
Fax : 727-441-9045

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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
6/26/2019

Summer is in full swing, which mandates a trip to the beach. With the most beautiful beaches in our backyard, it’s a shame not to take full advantage.

“Open water swimming at the beach is adventurous and can provide a challenging workout,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

While swimming in the ocean is fun, changes in water depth and hidden currents also make it unpredictable.  Here are a few tips to keep your beach trip enjoyable and safe.

Swimming at the Beach

The American Red Cross recommends to always stay within your fitness and swimming capabilities.

Swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present, and swim with others. Never swim alone.

“Continually supervise children around water and never leave young children unattended around water, says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent boat insurance agency.

Stingray season is from April – October, when entering the water look around the edge, where they generally hang out. A purple flag at city beaches will provide a warning.

Rip currents and undertow currents are the biggest dangers to swimmers at the beach. Swim in an area where there is a lifeguard on duty or ask other swimmers about the conditions in the water. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

If you find yourself pulled out to sea by a current, don’t panic. Try to keep calm to conserve energy. Relaxing is also the best way to stay afloat. Breathing deeply draws more oxygen into your body, lowering your overall density and thereby buoying you up in the water. Laying back also helps you float, because it makes it more difficult for water to flow around your outstretched body and force it downward compared to when you’re upright. If necessary, kick your legs and wave your arms very gently, cupping your hands to push water downward and turning them on edge to slide them upward.

Do not swim at any beach right after a heavy rain. Runoff following a heavy rain may result in a high bacteria level.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has a beach flag program to alert beach goers of surf conditions. Also, to check conditions before you head out, go to visitbeaches.org/ for updated information on specific beaches.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides Floridians with boat insurance policies for various kinds of watercraft. For more information call us at 888-478-7801 or visit us online at www.greatflorida.com.

The post Let’s Go Swimming appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/19/2019

“Several popular food items have been recalled over the past month,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

The following are a list of the food products to check.

The Sprouts Farmers Market grocery chain is recalling conventional and organic frozen spinach manufactured by National Frozen Foods. Food Safety News reports the recalled bags were shipped to retailers in 19 states including Florida. A random sample tested positive for Listeria. The contaminated bags have a, “Use By Date” of 12/3/21.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a public health alert, warning consumers that several frozen berry products manufactured by Townsend Farms Inc. were found contaminated with Hepatitis A. Among the products in question are frozen berries from Kroger and Costco.

  • Kroger: Private Selection Frozen Triple Berry Medley, 16 and 48 oz. and Private Selection Blackberries 16 oz.
  • Costco: Kirkland Signature Brand Three Berry Blend

“Bakers beware of an ongoing flour recall,” warns Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance agency.

Three flour brands including Pillsbury, King Arthur and ALDI have been recalled after the FDA discovered an ongoing E. coli outbreak tied to Archer Daniels Midland Co. Seventeen reported cases of the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections have been reported with three hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Pillsbury Best Bread Flour 5-pound bag
  • King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour 5-pound bag
  • ALDI Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour 5-pound bag

Ragu recalls three flavors of pasta sauce. The company that makes it, Mizkan America Inc. reports they may contain plastic fragments. The products in question are listed below.

  • Ragu Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion, 45 & 66 oz.
  • Ragu Old World Style Traditional, 66 oz.
  • Ragu Old World Style Meat, 66 oz.

If you are in possession of any of the following tainted food items, click on the links in the article for more detailed information. You can also return them to the store for a refund and toss them out immediately.

GreatFlorida Insurance wants to keep you safe by keeping you informed. We offer dependable health insurance options through Florida Blue, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. Give us a call today.

The post Check Your Food Pantry and Freezer appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/4/2019

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), has received another extension until the end of September. This gives lawmakers more time to work on a bi-partisan deal on how to reform the program which is billions of dollars in debt. The NFIP provides flood insurance to more than 5 million policy holders across the country.

“While the solution is temporary, we are glad to see the NFIP extension in place with hurricane season upon us,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

The extension is part of a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill, with $1.5 billion going toward the rebuilding of Tyndall Air Force Base, after hurricane Michael. Plus, millions will go to Florida farmers for agriculture recovery in the state. The package also includes $900 million to Puerto Rico for hurricane recovery efforts.

Since its formation in 1968, the NFIP had covered its losses. However, damages from hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma have overwhelmed the fund, forcing Congress to cover billions in payments to those with insured properties.

Frustration is growing from lawmakers and outside groups, at the lack of progress toward a more viable solution. “After eleven short-term extensions, communities and residents at risk deserve certainty and stability,” says SmarterSafer.org, a national group that favors risk-priced flood insurance.

Solutions for reform include, increasing flood insurance rates, more resilient home construction along the coast, improved residential building codes, better flood maps and more coverage from the private insurance market.

“We would really like to see lawmakers come up with a sustainable long-term extension or reform for the program,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance.

Lawmakers have until September 30 of this year to come up with an agreement or they will have to pass another short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Policy. Visit us online today.

The post Extension on flood insurance program appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/24/2019

AccuWeather predicts a fairly normal 2019 Hurricane season. They expect to see 12 – 14 storms to develop in the Atlantic. “Of those storms, five to seven are forecast to become hurricanes and two to four are forecast to become major hurricanes.”

“Despite the predictions for a normal hurricane season, it only takes one storm to do incredible damage,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance company.

Hurricane damage is what retirees are concerned about, and it is driving many out of the state. About 52,630 people ages 65 and over left Florida in 2017, compared to 48,174 in 2016 and 43,356 in 2012, according to Jon Rork, professor of Economics at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, who studies retirement migration.

Rork told Money, “Many of these people have left Florida for states like Georgia and North Carolina. There’s a hypothesis that those who have left Florida for Georgia and North Carolina have done so to avoid hurricanes and big insurance premium jumps.”

 

One cause for concern is changes being made to flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans to implement risk-based pricing in 2020. This would change from the current system used by the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP), which depends on flood maps that are often outdated.

The reason for the transition? To offer a “more accurate assessment of risk,” according to FEMA. The NFIP is currently billions of dollars in debt. It unsustainably pays out more than it takes in each year. Many are concerned this means higher rates for those living in coastal areas.

“Before we sound an alarm, it is best to wait and see what Congress does, while being aware of the potential increases,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance company.

Current funding for NFIP expires on May 31, 2019. Legislators have until then to reach an agreement and find a permanent solution for the program or else pass another temporary funding extension.

GreatFlorida Insurance provides homeowners insurance and well as flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Policy. Visit us online today.

 

The post Hurricanes are Taking a Toll on Retirees appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
12/18/2018

Before you gather around the table this holiday season to celebrate with family and friends, you might want to eliminate a few things from your refrigerator and pantry.

“This year, food recalls occur on an almost weekly basis,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explain the increase in food recalls this year is not due to more contaminated food, but technological advancements in identifying tainted foods.

Below is a list of the most recent recalled food products.

Jimmy Dean Sausage

CTI Foods LLC, is recalling 29,028 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat pork and poultry sausage links. The products may contain pieces of metal.

For more information: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2018/recall-120-2018-release

Del Monte Canned Corn

Del Monte Foods Inc. is recalling 64, 242 cases of Fiesta Corn Seasoned with Red & Green Peppers, due to under-processing. These deviations could cause contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens, which could lead to life-threatening illness if consumed.

For more information: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm628259.htm

Ground Beef

JBS Tolleson Inc. is recalling more than 12 million pounds of beef products for possible salmonella contamination. Over 100 retailers distributed the beef, including Sam’s Club and Walmart. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) urges consumers to check their freezers for the tainted meat.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Older adults, infants and those with a weakened immune system can develop a severe illness.

For more information: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2018/recall-085-2018-EXP-release

Almond Butter & Sunflower Butter

Inspired Organics, LLC has issued a voluntary recall of Organic Almond Butter and Organic Sunflower Butter due to potential contamination of listeria. Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and other with weakened immune systems. It can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

For more information: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm628680.htm 

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm628186.htm

Salad Bowls

Apio Inc., issued a recall for several varieties of their pre-made salads. “Eat-Smart-Single-Serve Salad Shake Ups,” tested positive for listeria.

For more information: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm628566.htm

Vegetables

Now that we can safely consume romaine lettuce, the same farm that is suspected in the romaine lettuce outbreak, Adams Bros. Farming Inc., is recalling red and green leaf lettuce, as well as cauliflower for E. coli contamination.

It is important to note, none of the tainted produce was distributed to wholesalers in Florida.

For more information: https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/12/california-farm-suspected-in-romaine-outbreak-recalls-other-produce/

“If you are in possession of any of the following tainted food items, return them to the store for a refund or toss them out,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s most dependable independent health insurance agency.

GreatFlorida Insurance sends a Happy Holidays greeting to all our valued agents as well as our appreciated customers across the state.

The post What’s Safe to Eat this Holiday Season? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
10/17/2018

Hurricane Michael was the 3rd most powerful storm to hit the U.S. The storm quickly escalated to a category 4 hurricane, making it the worst in almost a century. National Geographic reports, Michael had the three most critical characteristics for a hurricane to gain strength and make a big impact. Those include, warm waters, low wind shear (a change in wind speed or direction in a short distance) and a tight core, keeping the storm intact.

“In a span of 48 hours we watched the tropical storm grow to a worst-case scenario,” recounts Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance company.

While it has been a week since Michael made landfall, the impact was so devastating, crews are still searching for survivors in the hardest hit areas. Hundreds remain in shelters and over 100,000 are still without power. Many are dependent on food and water being air dropped to their areas. Bay county schools are closed indefinitely for over 26,000 students. Cell phone service is spotty, and it is difficult to fill a gas tank. To support victims, Verizon announced it would give a three-month credit to every Verizon customer in Bay and Gulf counties.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has established a website, floridadisaster.org, for storm victims, as an information hub. The website includes a list of open shelters, instructions on how to apply for disaster assistance, emergency supply distribution locations, updated curfews for each county, family reunification, boil water notices, debris reporting, insurance resources, available gas stations, power outage details, school closures, traffic, weather, a list of open camping areas, rumor control and more.

“At GreatFlorida Insurance, we are making every effort to provide our customers with a quick response so they can piece their lives back together,” says Ellsworth Buck Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance company.

Gov. Rick Scott, issued an emergency order that ensures additional protections to Florida insurance policy holders. According to the Insurance Journal, the order requires that insurers perform the following.

  • Freeze any rate hikes for 90 days.
  • Provide an additional 90 days to policyholders to supply required information to their insurance company.
  • Rescind for 90 days, all non-renewals or cancellations issued to policyholders in the days leading up to Hurricane Michael. This gives policyholders 90 days to either renew their insurance policy or find a new insurance policy.

For those interested in helping financially, Charity Navigator has highly rated the following charities. They will help by providing food, shelter, medical care and other necessities to victims of the storm.

Team Rubicon, https://teamrubiconusa.org

Samaritan’s Purse, https://www.samaritanspurse.org

All Hands and Hearts- Smart Response, https://www.allhandsandhearts.org/programs/hurricane-michael-relief/

Direct Relief, https://www.directrelief.org/emergency/hurricane-michael/

Many good Samaritans have packed up trucks with food and supplies to come and aid storm victims utilizing their own resources.

The post Hurricane Michael- What is being done? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
10/9/2018

Driving in the rain is stress inducing.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, it is more dangerous to drive on a rainy day than a snowy one. Most weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement-70 percent and during rainfall-46 percent.

“Sometimes rain seems like no big deal, but it’s a good idea to follow safe driving techniques when driving in inclement weather,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.

Slow down and keep calm

When the weather takes a turn for the worst and you must get behind the wheel, make sure you are alert and attentive. Reduce distractions. Also, even if it is raining during the day, it is a good idea to turn on your headlights to increase visibility. Keep your pace slow and steady. Leave plenty of extra space between you and the car in front of you, five seconds is advised.

Avoid hydroplaning

Hydroplaning is the biggest risk to driving on wet pavement. It occurs when a layer of too much water gets between the road and your tire, preventing the tire’s tread to properly grip the road.

“Rotating your tires and maintaining proper tire pressure will keep you tires it good condition, this helps prevent hydroplaning,” reminds says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance agency.

To prevent hydroplaning, avoid the outer lanes of the road where excess water accumulates.  Also, drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. Another word of caution, turn-off cruise control. Cruise control causes you to lose control on wet surfaces. If you hydroplane while in cruise control, your car will accelerate.

Popular Mechanics recommends, “If you start to hydroplane, keep both hands on the steering wheel and gradually apply the brakes. Slamming on the brakes or jerking the wheel can cause a skid.”

Water and wind

Keep a firm grip on the wheel if it is windy.  Be aware of vehicles around you, larger vehicles are more susceptible to high winds and could have trouble staying in their lane.

When it comes to standing water, avoid driving through a puddle with an unknown depth. If you are confident the puddle is only and couple of inches, slow down before coming to it and do not brake until you drive out of it.

Motorcycles

For those riding on motorcycles, be sure to wear proper gear especially for your feet and hands. Likewise, invest in a clear, anti-fog faceshield or goggles.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers reliable and affordable car insurance as well as motorcycle insurance. Contact us today!

The post Avoid driving like a maniac in bad weather appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.