Flood Insurance For Your Business


My husband’s family lives in Rhode Island, along with our friends at Astonish Results. Last night my mother-in-law told me that the Warwick Mall recently reopened after being closed for nearly five months. In March, Warwick, Rhode Island underwent historic flooding. You can see how severe the damage was in this photo gallery. Dan says the mall was at or below sea-level. It took millions of dollars to restore the mall.

If you own a business here in Florida, you know you need flood insurance. It rains here nearly every afternoon and evening. Can you afford to rebuild or put your business on hold due to flooding? One of the mall’s largest department stores, Macy’s, isn’t scheduled to reopen until the Spring of 2011. They must have lost so much keeping their store closed for so long. Just think of all the employees who were suddenly out of work.

If you’d like to learn more about commercial and flood insurance, please call us at 1-888-721-1949 or stop by our office at 11322 Seminole Boulevard in Largo, Florida. You can also check out www.FloodSmart.gov and find out if your business in a low-to-moderate risk area or a high risk area–if it’s in the former you may qualify for a lower/preferred rate. Don’t forget that there’s a 30 day waiting period for flood insurance from the date of purchase to the date the policy goes into effect. So don’t put off that phone call or business.


5 Years After Katrina: Are You Prepared?

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Can you believe that’s been nearly 5 years since Hurricane Katrina swooped through the Southeast United States? No other single event in the history of global insurance has ever been so costly. 1.7 million claims were submitted and over $45 billion were paid out by insurance companies as a result of this Category 3 storm. Not only was Katrina one of the most costly storms, it was one of the deadliest. Sadly somewhere between 1,300 and 1,500 lives were lost. Countless people had to uproot their families and move to new cities and states because their homes and businesses were destroyed. We don’t know when another hurricane of this magnitude will strike again, but we can learn from the past and better prepare ourselves for future storms. Below you’ll find a video from the Insurance Information Institute that will give you 4 steps you can take to protect your family and your and your property.

You can also read our other blog entires about preparing for hurricanes. To learn about disaster supply kits click here. To learn how to prepare your home and yard, click here and to read about having a hurricane plan, click here. Finally if you’d like to speak to an insurance agent about insuring your home and belongings, please call us at 1-888-721-1949, stop by our office (11322 Seminole Blvd. Largo, FL), or visit our website (www.patronsinsurance.com).
One of our friendly and knowledgeable would be happy to help you purchase the coverage you need.

My Beach Safety Tips

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Beach Safety Tips

  • Children need to be under constant supervision, especially near the water.
  • Know how to swim and teach your children how to swim.
  • Know child and infant CPR.
  • Stay out of the water at twilight or in the dark, when sharks are most active.
  • Swim with in a group or with another person.
  • If a lifeguard is present, swim directly in front of them in water that is waist deep or less.
  • If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of it. Then swim to shore.
  • Try to avoid being in the sun during the hottest parts of the day 11:00 a.m. – 2:00p.m..
  • Wear sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher. Put it on before you get in the sun and reapply every 2 hours.
  • Don’t forget to wear UV protection on your lips and protect eyes with sunglasses.
  • Wear sandals to protect your feet from the hot sand, sharp shells and debris.
  • Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water.
  • Make sure to check the weather for coming storms and seek shelter if you’re caught in one.
  • And of course, don’t forget to do the Stingray Shuffle! Watch this video to see how it’s done.

Don’t let these tips keep you from having fun. Enjoy the beautiful beaches while they’re oil free and the weather is nice. To find out where the best beaches are, check out Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches. I hope you notice that Florida has two beaches on the list, including Siesta Beach (Sarasota) at #2!!!

Beware of Sinkholes!

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Massive sinkhole forms after Tropical Storm Agatha hits Guatemala on Sunday.

Have you seen the enormous sinkhole that was formed in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Sunday? I heard that it’s 66 feet in diameter and 100 feet deep. It swallowed a whole building and part of another! Here in Florida, sinkholes are a common occurrence. Our states bedrock is made of limestone which is whittled away by acidic water. Rain that’s already slightly acidic drains through the soil, where plants give off carbon dioxide, making it even more acidic. Eventually, the underlying structure collapses under the surface weight and voila–a sinkhole!

Florida homeowners may be concerned about the potential of sinkholes on their property and the dangers and destruction brought about by them. If you’re shopping for house in Florida, you may not be able to obtain information about the risk of sinkhole formation for a particular home or neighborhood, but you can check out a map that shows where sinkholes have already formed. The process of assessing the risk is very expensive, but you can hire a geologist to run tests. However, their results may not be conclusive.

If a sinkhole has formed on your property, or you think one may have, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Mark and block off the depression.
  2. Carefully read over your homeowners insurance policy and take notes on all the sections related to sinkholes.
  3. Document the damage on paper. Take a drawing of your home and property and mark the affected areas.
  4. Take lots of photos and video of the damage to be attached to your insurance claim.
  5. Call your insurance agent to file your claim. They will ask you some questions and appoint an insurance adjuster to handle the claim.
  6. Talk to the adjuster about your claim. He will ask many more questions, so keep your notes and records handy.
  7. A field inspector will come out to evaluate your home.
  8. Stay in regular contact with your insurance adjuster and agent. This process will probably take several weeks/months.

Hopefully in the end, the inspection and repairs will be covered by your homeowners policy. Want more sinkhole answers? Click here.

Brooker Creek, My New Favorite Place


A couple of weeks ago I planned a field trip, with my friend Krista, to Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs. It was the first time either of us had been there. The short walk to the Education Center was beautiful.

I loved the beautifully sculpted archways that covered the path leading to the education center.

We met Krista and he 4 boys (ranging from age 6 months to 10 years old) at the education center and then went walking along the Education Center Loop Trail. The trail had several interpretive signs along the way that talked about things like creek itself and the wildlife inhabiting the preserve.

This sign talked about the history of Brooker Creek. Alistair liked it because it looked like a book.

The kids had a great time running along the boardwalk, checking out the fish and trying to navigate the trail. The scenery was gorgeous. The only thing that I didn’t like about this short trail, was that I had a hard time pushing my infant son in his stroller because much of the trail was sandy. I highly recommend bringing a jogging stroller if you have one (I don’t). The trail ended back by the parking lot and there we found a shelter with several picnic tables. So we took a break from the heat and ate some lunch.

Alistair, Wesley and I enjoying the shade.

Then we said goodbye to Krista and her boys and headed to the Education Center. My 3-year-old Alistair was immediately amazed by the wonderful exhibits. He loved the coyote by the entrance and couldn’t get enough of the water cycle exhibit. His favorite exhibit was a giant map of the Brooker Creek watershed.

There lots of things that we could touch, see and hear, like the sculpture of a vulture that hissed when you pet its head and a giant gopher tortoise burrow that you could crawl through. They had the most comfortable rocking chairs in the world that sat in front of giant windows overlooking the preserve.

Check out that view!

You should definitely take your family to Brooker Creek Preserve soon! It’s located at 3940 Keystone Road Tarpon Springs, FL and is open Thursday – Saturday from 9 a.m. –  4 p.m., which is not often enough for me.

Preparing For a Hurricane, Part 3: Have a Plan

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This is part 3 of my Hurricane Preparation blog series. In part 1, I told what to have in your hurricane survival kit and in part 2, I told you how to prepare your home and yard. Today’s post is all about having a family plan.Before there’s a threat of a storm, call a family meeting to discuss what to do if a hurricane does come. Here’s what you need to talk about:

  1. How and when to use 911. Kids should call from a landline and stay on the line until told to hang up.
  2. Make a list of emergency numbers to keep by the phone(s).
  3. Establish escape routes from your home and where you’ll meet. You should also have escape routes from work, school and other places you frequent often.
  4. Choose someone out-of-state as a contact person. This way all your family members have a single point of contact.
  5. Locate the safest place in your home for each of the hurricane hazards (storm surge, flood, winds). Know which of these hazards your home is vulnerable to.
  6. Plan for everyone to take Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes. The Red Cross offers different classes depending on your needs. Families with young kids can take Infant/Children CPR classes.
  7. Make arrangements for family pets now. Know which shelters and hotels are pet-friendly before a storm hits.
  8. Find out where the closest shelter is if you don’t have anywhere else to go. If you have anyone in the home with special needs, you’ll need to find a shelter that can accommodate them.
  9. Know what to do and bring in case you have to evacuate your home. Don’t forget to bring your supply kit and important documents with you, like your insurance policies.
  10. Know how to turn off water, gas and electricity at their main switches.

Be prepared for hurricane or any other threat now. Don’t wait until the last-minute to gather supplies and evacuate immediately when advised. Your family’s safety comes first.

Preparing For a Hurricane, Part 2: Home & Yard


In my last post I talked about preparing a disaster supply kit in case of a hurricane or devastating storm. Today’s post is about getting your home and yard ready for hurricane season.

  • Prune your plants. Make sure your trees, hedges, and shrubs have been cut back properly. Loose branches can become missiles during high winds. Do not leave your clippings or tools in the yard either, for the same reason.
  • Clean your gutters. Gutters and down spouts need to be kept clear and in working order. If they’re not properly secured to your home, they can be swept up by the high winds and cause serious damage or injury. Keeping them cleared out will help reduce the risk of flooding.
  • Cover your windows. Putting tape on your windows does not help much, but storm shutters or plywood ( on the outside of your windows) can keep debris, loose furniture, branches, etc. from flying into your home at dangerous speeds. *Homeowners, remember you can receive a discount on your insurance for preparing your windows.
  • Do NOT lower the water level of your pool. Keep your pool full. If your pool is not full, it can pop out of the ground. Keep it full and super-chlorinated.
  • Replace rock mulch with shredded bark. The latter is lighter and less dangerous.
  • Bring in loose furniture and other outdoor items. If a hurricane watch is issued, bring in loose items from your yard like trash cans, grill, toys, tools, furniture and even bird baths.
  • Brace your garage door. Newer garage doors have to meet strict wind-load requirements, but older doors can be braced with retro fit kits. These are available at most home stores like Lowes.

It’s also very important to carry flood insurance for your home, whether you own or rent the house. To learn more about flood insurance check out this video and call us at 1-888-721-1949. We can also help you set up a windstorm inspection to make sure your home is ready for hurricane season and that you’re getting all the discounts you’re eligible for on homeowners insurance. Pinellas County residents can check out the Emergency Management webpage.

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