GreatFlorida Homeowners Insurance - Estero, FL - Keith Wilson
Homeowners Insurance Agency in Estero, Florida

Homeowners Insurance Agency in Estero, FL

Keith Wilson

Keith Wilson - GreatFlorida Insurance - Estero, FL.

239-495-3636

20461 South Tamiami Trail
Estero, FL  33928
Fax : 239-495-2652

GreatFlorida Insurance Homeowners Auto Agency in Estero
Contact your local Agent
Call : 239-495-3636 or

Homeowners Insurance EsteroHomeowner's Insurance Florida - FAQs

Homeowner's Policy Coverages

A Estero Homeowner's 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 239-495-3636 to speak to a local agent.

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 Estero Homeowner's Insurance policies pay 10% to 20% of the amount of your Dwelling coverage.

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 Estero Homeowner's Insurance premiums?

Home Features and Characteristics — The age of your home, type of structure, wiring, roof, garage, etc., can affect your Estero Homeowner's 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 Estero Homeowner's 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 Estero Homeowner's Insurance premium.

Personal Factors — What you do can affect your Estero Homeowner's 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 Estero Homeowner's Insurance policy, you may pay a higher premium.

Discounts and Special Programs

There are many discounts are available on Estero Homeowner's 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 Estero.

Payment Options

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

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.

Simply call 239-495-3636 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Home Insurance Agent will help you find the best deal for you.

Get a Quote Online
Call 239-495-3636

About Homeowner's Insurance in Estero, FL

GreatFlorida Insurance agents can easily explain the specific needs of your home in Estero, FL. Along with mortgage requirements and the difference between dwelling, personal property, liability, medical payments and loss of use coverage as well as available discounts.

Get a Free Insurance Quote from your local GreatFlorida Insurance agent. They will help you find the most affordable options.

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 Estero, 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.

GreatFlorida Insurance in Estero, 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.

Florida Homeowners  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
9/21/2016

It’s fall, but you are in Florida. Despite the calendar date, when you wake up tomorrow, you will experience no change in the weather. It is difficult to get enthusiastic about the first day of autumn when it is still 90 degrees outside.

“Florida experiences a slight change of seasons,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency. “Fall means we can soon go outside without getting overwhelmed by the heat.”

While the season is changing, there is no need  for layered clothing despite retailers’ best efforts to sell puffy vests. Not to mention, pumpkin is in every other food product but you are thinking, “Do they make pumpkin flavored iced drinks?”

juniper-lake-10-12

In spite of a slow start to cooler temperatures, rest assured they are coming. Fall in Florida is the best time to enjoy outside activities and there is no shortage of them. Listed below are some ideas to get the family out of the house and celebrating a new season.

 

Fall Festivals-Food, wine and beer, music and art festivals are happening every weekend throughout the state in the fall.

Fall foliage- North and central Florida boasts fall foliage around the first week in November. The colored leaves will certainly put you in the mood for fall and is worth the drive to one of these parks:

Torreya State Park

Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail

Edward Ball Walkulla Springs State Park

Boost curb appeal. Rake up a few leaves, collect pine cones from your yard and decorate your front door

Grab some local produce and other products from an area farmer’s market.

Camping

Apple picking– Yes in Florida.

Go for a hay ride

Get lost at a corn maze

Visit a pumpkin patch

Hiking

Football Games-There is no problem finding high school, college and pro games throughout the state.

“One of the most anticipated moments in Florida is when windows are opened in the house,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowners insurance agency. “Remember to adjust your thermostat appropriately to save on energy costs.”

Ultimately, it will cool off and when winter arrives, there is no place like Florida.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers the best rates on homeowners insurance for personal property and liability coverage for your home. Give us a call today!

GoggleImage_Home_H_1

The post Enjoying Fall in Florida appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
8/30/2016

Florida historically experiences the most severe weather over the next eight weeks. August through October is peak hurricane season. Recent tropical activity serves as a reminder of the importance of preparing.

“Seeing the recent devastation in Louisiana, and hearing the heartbreaking stories of loss, will hopefully prompt Floridians to review their insurance policy,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency. “Insurance is designed to help people rebuild their lives.”

Consequently, this is an ideal time for people to contact their homeowners or renters insurance agent to review their coverage. The Insurance Information Institute, III reports that most insurers will not allow changes to be made to insurance policies once a hurricane watch or warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center.

2533

Therefore, it is wise and will put your mind at ease knowing the following information about your renters insurance or homeowners insurance policy. Some questions to ask your agent are as follows:

What is covered?

Is coverage provided for any upgrades or new possessions?

What is the current deductible?

Do I have enough to rebuild my home or replace my belongings?

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

Consequently, 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.

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.

Unfortunately, many homeowners are under the false assumption that their homeowners insurance would cover loss due to flooding in the home. Flood insurance is not included in a  homeowners policy and must be purchased separately.

Also, many homeowners assume they can collect federal disaster assistance if a flood occurs.  It is only offered when the president declares a major disaster which only happens in half of all flooding situations.

GoggleImage_Home_H_1

The post Storm Activity Necessitates Insurance Check appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
8/2/2016

Floridians can privately possess everything from alligators to zebras as long as they have a permit. In most cases, neighbors are not legally required to disclose what kind of pets they are housing.

“Exotic animals, like most animals, are curious and unpredictable,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowners insurance agency.

This impulsive and characteristic behavior can lead to animals escaping and exploring their area, putting neighbors on high alert. Some recent cases include the following:

Last year a woman found her neighbor’s eight foot King Cobra coiled up and hissing under her clothes drier.

A Miami woman was recently attacked by a neighbor’s pet Lemur. The animal caused scratches and bites requiring stitches.

A two-year-old Florida child died after she was strangled by a pet python after it escaped from an aquarium in the home.

While these cases are rare, unfortunate incidents involving exotic pets do occur. News 6 reported, “More than 260 exotic snakes, monkeys, lions, tigers, bears and other captive animals have escaped in Florida over the past decade.” aa-mj16-exotics-opener-wout

Keeping an exotic animal as a pet can pose a threat to your family and neighbors. Florida requires exotic pet owners to carry liability insurance for their animal. Some rare animals can cause injury, spread disease and damage Florida’s eco-system according to The Humane Society.

While dangerous behavior can be expected from a wild animal, what about the behavior of a domestic animal?

“Some communities require dog owners to purchase an umbrella insurance policy for their pet, in addition to the coverage included with their homeowners insurance if they own what is considered a dangerous breed,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance.

Dangerous dog breeds include but are not limited to: Rottweiler’s, Pit Bulls and Chows. Unfortunately, aggressive classifications are based on the breed and not behavior history or socialization.

The Insurance Information Institute  claims that dog bites account for one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims. The average payout for a claim in 2015 was $37,214.

It is important to talk to your homeowners insurance agent to review if your pet is covered on your renters insurance or homeowners insurance, or if additional liability insurance such as an umbrella insurance policy is required.

Contact GreatFlorida Insurance if you have questions about homeowners insurance, renters insurance or umbrella insurance. We will make sure you and your pet are covered.

GoggleImage_Home_H_1

The post Your Neighbor’s Strange Pet appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
6/2/2016

Do you remember the last time a hurricane hit Florida? How can you take emergency managers seriously when the state has not seen a hurricane in over 10 years?

“Having experienced a hurricane drought over the past several years, it is easy to forget how destructive one hurricane can be to your property,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent flood insurance provider.

Hurricane season kicks off June 1 and runs through November 30. Weather forecasters believe Florida is long overdue for a storm. 10 years with no major storms has many on edge.

Hurricane Wilma made landfall October 2005 in Collier County with winds up to 120 mph. Several deaths were reported, while one-third of the state lost power. AccuWeather, reports an estimated $29.3 billion worth of damage.

There are growing concerns that Floridians are not preparing for a hurricane with the proper supplies and an evacuation plan. State officials warn of complacency and “hurricane amnesia.”

At the 2016 Governors Hurricane Conference, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director, Bryan Koon reported a “lack of awareness,” especially among the millions of new residents in Florida.

“It is responsible for GreatFlorida Insurance to communicate the risk to the public,” says Buck. People should check their homeowners insurance to make sure policies are up to date and coverage is sufficient.”

INFOGRAPHIC-2016-atlantic-hurricane-season-outlook-NOAA-052416-1920x1080-original

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

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.

This year NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, predicts a “near normal,” hurricane season. With a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 named storms, of which four to eight could grow into hurricanes.

The Red Cross recommends keeping a container filled with water, one gallon of water per person, per day, a 3-day supply of non-perishable food, a battery powered or hand crank radio, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, garbage bags for trash, hand wipes, local maps, prescription medication and a cell phone with a charger, preferably solar.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help protect your home with a Florida flood insurance policy provided by the National Flood Insurance Program.  Our homeowners insurance can cover hurricane damage incurred by windstorms.  Keep in mind; most homeowners insurance policies do not include flood damage. To learn more about our services, go online for a free quote at www.greatflorida.com.

GoggleImage_Home_H_1

The post Hurricane Amnesia appeared first on The GreatFlorida 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.

download

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.

GoggleImage_Home_H_1

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.

GoggleImage_Home_H_1

 

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.
homebanners2013-2

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.

GreatFloridaLogo2010_Trans

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.