Tropical Storm Erika reminds us to prepare, no matter what

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Tropical Storm Erika could be a threat to South Florida come Monday – or not. No one can know for sure. That’s the way it is with weather. Florida’s Emergency Operations Center was activated, with officials acknowledging that Erika could result in anything from a rainy weekend to a category 3 hurricane.

Insurance 101 for College Students

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College campuses are coming to life this week as students launch the fall semester. Trailers, trucks and overloaded trunks are emptying into dorms, apartments and rental homes in every college town from coast to coast. Think college-bound students don’t own much stuff? Just ask the friends and family helping them haul it! College students typically own thousands of dollars of assets, and insurance protects it.

Businesses affected by recent flooding may get loans, not handout

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Residents of the Tampa Bay area, particularly in parts of Pasco County, experienced the unfortunate impact of flooding last week. Days of rain and a saturated earth around the Anclote River created circumstances that a local newspaper described as a “rinse-and repeat routine.” Parts of neighborhoods have been slogging through water for more than two weeks.

Businesses have suffered too. And, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is asking businesses how the flood affected them by inviting business owners in five affected counties to take an online survey to help the department decide which get immediate aid.

Coverage B: Don’t be fenced in

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There are six parts to a homeowner’s insurance policy. Most people understand that Coverage A insures against damage to the structure itself. Coverage B offers insurance protection for detached structures, such as a garage, storage shed, swimming pool and the backyard fence. For no extra charge, almost every policy extends coverage to other structures on the property by 10 percent of the amount for which the home is insured. Is the 10 percent sufficient for your situation?

Mastering condo insurance requires review of condo master policy

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Florida is condo crazy. They seem to sprout faster than lawn mushrooms. And, condo owners need to know that an equivalent metaphorical fungi can grow in the gaps in condo coverage if they shop for insurance based on price alone. Weed out gaps by getting a copy of the condo association’s master policy.

Independence Day Safety: Focus on “fire” in fireworks

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Buying fireworks this week to scare off a flock of egrets grazing in your yard? (Wink, wink) Sure you are — because to buy exploding or flying fireworks just to shoot off in the street on Independence Day is illegal, according to Florida’s fireworks law. Yet, there’s a loophole in Florida law as big as one of those roadside tents run by fireworks vendors; sellers of pyrotechnics get customers to sign a form saying they are using the fireworks to scare off wildlife. Illegal or not, chances are thousands of dollars in fireworks will be going up in smoke in your neighborhood this weekend. Think about the fire and injury risk beforehand, plus your liability, by reviewing fireworks safety tips before you light a match.