Seven Tips for Hurricane Preparedness in Florida

Hurricane_Fran_sept_1996

Here at Insurance Company of Florida, we encourage our customers to prepare for hurricane season by assessing their home’s risk and developing emergency plans to protect against a potential storm.

To make sure your household is as safe, here are some important safety tips to prepare for hurricane season:

  • Know your risk. FEMA’s map service center will show you the flood risk for your community, which helps determine the type of flood insurance coverage you will need since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding.
  • Assemble an emergency kit. The emergency kit should include first aid supplies, a flashlight, extra batteries, at least three days of non-perishable foods and water, towels and a supply of any necessary medications. Stay informed of the storm’s path and progress by monitoring Wireless Emergency Alerts via text message and having a battery-powered radio or TV available.
  • Develop a family communications plan. Know how you will contact one another; how you will get back together, if separated; and what you will do in different situations. Having a plan can eliminate some of the stress and confusion.
  • Establish an evacuation route. Prior to a storm, contact your local American Red Cross to locate the shelter nearest you or download their Shelter Finder App. Identify the safest route to get there. Be sure to check if your local emergency shelter allows animals and family pets.
  • Secure your home. Outdoor furniture and other objects can pose a potential hazard. Turn off propane tanks and other utilities if instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Protect financial documents. In the event of a disaster, you will need identification and financial documents to begin the recovery process. Safeguard important documents in a bank safety deposit box, computer storage devices (USB drive, CD/DVD), and/or waterproof storage containers, including:
  • Personal identification (driver’s licenses, birth certificates, military IDs, passports, etc.)
  • Financial account information (checking, savings, retirement and investment accounts, credit/debit cards).
  • Insurance policies on all personal property, including appraisals and lists and photos of valuable items.
  • Ownership or leasing documentation for homes and vehicles (deeds, titles, registrations, rental agreements, etc.)
  • All health and medical insurance documentation.
  • Know the details of your insurance policy. Talk with your agent to determine if you have adequate coverage or if you need to reassess your plan. This is especially important if your property’s flood map has changed.

The FEMA website, Ready.gov, offers tips on preparing for an emergency. FEMA offers a free app that is available for download through your smart phone as well.

Less Than A Month Until 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins

Hurricane

With less than one month until the start of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, now is the time to prepare. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges Americans to prepare their families and businesses for hurricanes and tropical storms by writing a communications plan, making a kit of essential items and being prepared for any potential financial impacts of such events, including reviewing their insurance policies with an insurance agent.

All property owners and renters are encouraged to review insurance coverage, including flood insurance, with an insurance agent to ensure their homes, businesses and possessions are adequately protected from all types of disasters.

Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, and flooding can happen far from major bodies of water. As hurricanes and tropical storms move inland, the high winds and storm surge are often accompanied by torrential rains that increase the likelihood of flooding. For example, residents as far inland as West Virginia saw the impacts of Hurricane Sandy two years ago, including flooding.

Flood insurance policies should be viewed as protection against a continuing threat – not something to purchase only if flooding appears imminent. In fact, flood insurance policies typically have a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before going into effect, and floods can happen at any time of the year.

Flood insurance is available nationwide through approximately 85 insurance companies in more than 22,000 communities. Homeowners, renters, condo owners and commercial owners/renters can all purchase flood insurance. Costs vary depending on the level of coverage, the type of coverage and the property’s flood risk.

If you have any questions, feel free to give our office a call at 888-839-2926 or stop by our office today.  Also, feel free to visit our website here and check what kind of coverage we offer.

Pasco County honored by Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council

pasco

Pasco County has received two of the highest honors from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.  The county received the One Bay award and the Charles A. McIntosh Jr. Award of Distinction.  These two awards honor the county and their latest achievements.

The county also received recognition in the Community Service Award, Cultural Sports Recreation Award, Development and Going Green.

via Bay News 9

Top 10 Best Beaches in the U.S. According to Dr. Beach’s Annual Survey

source: stockvault.net

source: stockvault.net

Each year, Stephen ‘Dr. Beach’ Leatherman releases his 2012 survey of the best beaches in the United States.

The survey factors in sand, waves, swimming, and surrounding such as lighthouses and views. Of course, Florida snagged some of the top spots as well. This is the 22nd year that this survey has been released.

Here is a list of the top 10 best beaches in the U.S. just in time for Memorial Day Weekend:

1.  Coronado Beach in San Diego, Florida

2.  Kahanamoku Beach Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii

3.  Main Beach East Hampton, New York

4.  St. George Island State Park Florida panhandle

5.  Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii

6.  Coast Guard Beach Cape Cod, Massachusetts

7.  Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Oahu, Hawaii

8.  Cape Florida State Park Key Biscayne, Florida

9.  Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina

10. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks of North Carolina

Tampa Rotating Restaurant CK’s Will Close June 2013

source: stockvault.net

source: stockvault.net

If you called Tampa home in the 1980s and attended prom or a company event, you no doubt either went or considered dining at the swank Tampa restaurant, CKs.

The revolving dining experience gave guests a bird’s eye view of Tampa’s sunsets and airport traffic. Sadly, the rooftop restaurant will be closing its doors June 29, 2013.

The iconic restaurant had a separate elevator and a maitre d’ that greeted diners before being seated in a romantic booth. But this doesn’t mean good-bye for CK’s. The world and the rotating restaurant will continue to spin and will become a space for special events.  So maybe that prom, wedding or company event will live in in this iconic establishment.

The Sunshine State May Keep Shining All Year Long Under New Bill

source: stockvault.net

source: stockvault.net

A Florida State Senator has launched a campaign for more time in the sun. With the introduction of the “Sunshine Protection Act” bill, Sen. Darren Soto is hoping that lawmakers will see the benefits of keeping the sky light later on winter nights by continuing daylight-saving time year-round.

With golfers and other outdoor sporting types already finding favor in the idea, Sen. Soto explains that the benefits would lead to more than just later tee times. Extending the hours of daylight by not “falling back” in November would mean more entertainment time for tourists, and therefore, a boon to Florida’s economy. This would prove especially true because the current time change kicks off each fall just when Florida’s tourist season does.

On the flip side, an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day would mean a later sunrise – not so much fun for school children and farmers who would be getting up in the dark. But the Sunshine bill would also allow for later school start
times.

Whether or not the bill passes this year, it could be the beginning of the end of
that perfect November week when Florida homeowners get to sleep in an hour late.

Florida “Python Challenge” Wrangles a Reported 50 Snakes

source: publicdomainpictures.net

source: publicdomainpictures.net

Turns out, Florida’s Everglades are facing a bigger threat than over development. Burmese Pythons are taking over these natural lands, and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded by launching a competition, according to an article on TBO.com.

Operation “Python Challenge” commenced in January and has brought in a reported 50 reptiles from over 1,500 participants that are trying to wrangle in this snake species which has no business hanging out in Florida.

The competition which will end on Sunday, will spare the lives of these slithery creatures. Instead, they will be logged and shipped off to the University of Florida for further study.

The Everglades environment is not the place for these Southern and Southeast Asia natives that can grow to a reported 12 feet in length and diet consists of small mammals.

Scientists and wildlife officials are uncertain about how they ended up in the Everglades.

Deadline Looms For Florida Homeowners Eligible For Mortgage Settlement

source: West Palm Beach FL by Bobby Mikul

source: West Palm Beach FL by Bobby Mikul

The clock is ticking for Florida homeowners that lost their homes from 2008 to 2011 due to questionable foreclosure and loan practices. During a press conference this week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that the state is making a final push to help those to finally collect on the National Mortgage Settlement before the January 18, 2013 deadline. Yes, that is tomorrow.

As part of The National Mortgage Settlement, Florida homeowners that received loans or had loans serviced by Bank of America, Citi, GMAC/ALLY, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase are eligible for financial compensation.

Less than fifty percent of the 167,000 former Florida homeowners have stepped forward or have received payments.

To find out more or to find out if you qualify visit Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s website.

How to Avoid Getting Sick This Flu Season

source:publicdomainpictures.net

source:publicdomainpictures.net

It’s the worst flu season in 10 years and has lead to reported outbreaks in 41 states (29 of them listed as severe), 18 deaths in Massachusetts and a state of public health emergency for The Bay State.

The CDC and public health officials advise these steps to keep from catching the flu or the worst of it:

-Avoid close contact with those that already have the flu.

-Wash your hands well and frequently. Keep hand sanitizer handy if you are not anywhere near a sink.

-Don’t touch your eyes, mouth and nose. Cold and flu viruses are easily spread that way.

-Get a good night’s sleep and eat lots of green vegetables. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep lowers your ability to fight off the flu. Additionally, a healthy diet will also help you ward off any germs.

-If you have a fever your are most likely contagious and need to stay home from work or other areas where it can be spread. Stay at home until your fever has been gone for a minimum of 24 hours on its own.

-It’s still not too late to get a flu shot. Of course, there is no guarantee that you will not get the flu, but every little bit helps.

For more tips visit the CDC.gov/flu

Florida Joins 24 Other States Opting Out of a State-Run Health Exchange

source: publicdomainpictures.net

source: publicdomainpictures.net

Friday’s deadline for states to decide if they will participate in a state-run health insurance exchange has come and gone. And it turns out that many states are opting out of running a state-based health insurance exchange. Instead, states such as Florida would allow these exchanges to be run at the federal rather than the state level. However, 7 states have decided to participate with a federal-state exchange partnership.

Here is a list of the 25 states that are in, and the 18 states that have decided to participate:

Opting Out:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virgina, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Opting In:
District of Columbia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

Opting for a partnership exchange:
Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and West Virginia.