Seeing red where others don’t? STOP running red lights!

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The traffic signal turned yellow, I slowed to a stop. The light then turned red, and a few seconds later, two cars (not just one) in the lane to the left of me sped through. This is not only wrong, it is stupid. Yet, it happens all the time.

City planners wisely have had to bend to this risky behavior by delaying the green/go signals a few seconds to accommodate red-light runners. In many cities, drivers know that being too quick to move on a GREEN light is almost as dangerous as speeding through a red one.

No one should ever be in such a hurry.  There are many factors the determine your auto insurance rates. Safe drivers pay less. They are the ones who obey traffic signals.

These are called “accidents,” but they don’t have to happen. Drivers know the rules and ignore them. The result? Florida has been experiencing a higher number of crashes and fatalities. 

Make it stop.

 

If a tree fell, now what?

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Now, we know how mean Hermine was. It’s over, except for the cleanup and the lessons learned. Hopefully, residents in the northern parts of Florida learned renewed appreciation for the power of even a Category 1 hurricane. Winds of 75 miles an hour are nothing to disregard.

Tallahassee took a pounding. I bear witness. For more than four hours (seemed longer), the house took a beating, prompting a move to an interior room, away from the windows, in the wee hours of the morning. I heard one massive tree hit the ground with an impressive thud. The second tree must have been hit by lightning. I did not hear lightning last night, but thought a transformer blew since there was a huge flash of light, which burst bright against the darkened neighborhood. (Power went out two hours before the brunt of the storm arrived.)

How mean Hermine?

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We live in Florida; we know the drill. Yet, this might not be a drill but the real thing. At the time of this post (early afternoon on Thursday), the National Hurricane Center forecast had Tropical Storm Hermine extending her reach along our coastline. You can be glued to the TV watching weather reports – or you can be a person of action.  

How named storms matter to property insurance

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Late summer is the peak time for hurricane season. And as if on cue, there’s a few storms brewing out in the Atlantic. It’s too early to tell if they will impact Florida, but it is not too early to prepare as if they are.

Review our hurricane season insurance checklist. First on the list is probably the most important: Make certain to have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home in the event it is severely damaged or destroyed. This means sufficient insurance protection to rebuild your home and replace all its contents.

Don’t confuse the real estate value of your home with its insurance cost. Typically, the older your home the bigger the gap between what it costs to insure it, which is the rebuilding costs, and what you would get if you sold it.

Flood Myth: Not in my neighborhood

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There are many myths about flood insurance, and the biggest myth is thinking you don’t need it. With a tropical weather system stalled over parts of Florida this week, the ensuing deluge should get you thinking about why you need this important protection.

A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood insurance, and that’s been true for more than four decades. If you live in an area at high risk for flooding, the mortgage lender requires flood insurance. If you live in a low-risk flood zone, the lender does not require it. But that does not mean you don’t need it. Would you be motivated to consider flood insurance if you knew that nearly 25 percent of flood insurance claims are paid to people living in low- to moderate-risk flood zones? Well, now you know.

As of September 2015, there were 1.8 million flood policies in force in Florida. Yet, there are more than 3.1 million single family homes in our state. Many of those Florida flood policies are bought by people living in coastal condos. Do you need flood insurance if you live on the 9th floor of a high rise on the Gulf? Yeah, you do. Because if storm surge beats up the bottom floors of the condo making it uninhabitable, you won’t be able to retrieve your personal possessions as the building is likely to be unstable/condemned. Flood insurance would cover that loss.

Flood insurance statistics show about 68 percent of policies nationally cover single family homes, 21 percent cover condominiums, and 5 percent cover businesses and other non-residential properties. Two- to four-family units and other residential policies accounted for the remainder.

Earlier this summer, there was flooding in parts of Tampa Bay. The National Flood Insurance Program reported just 38 claims. That is not an indication of the minimal amount of flood damage; it is an indication of how few people have flood insurance.

Annual checkup time for trees

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Florida summers means thunderstorms nearly every day. Most trees benefit from the daily drenching, except for the dead ones. They get deader, if that’s really a thing. Dead trees and diseased or damaged tree limbs can cause havoc on your property as summer rains root out (literally AND figuratively) the weak from the strong. Inspect your property and get rid of damage waiting to happen.

Look up. If your home is surrounded by tall pine trees, you might see one that looks more like a telephone pole. That is an obvious sign that it has passed its useful life. A tree without branches is not a tree anymore.