Home Blog Page 29

Holiday Theft Prevention

This time of the year it is easy to get caught up in the Christmas Spirit and be a little careless. Do not be caught off guard by those looking to steal your joy and packages. The holidays can be an opportunity for the greedy, unable to resist lone packages sitting on your front porch or the shopping treasures piled in your car.

“Many local police departments throughout Florida are warning residents to watch out for an increase in thefts and break-ins around the holidays,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.  “Most packages are stolen during the day time, when residents are at school or work.”

Specifically, the Tampa Police Department requests,”Residents should be suspicious and alert. In your neighborhood, apartment complex or on your street, keep an eye out for unfamiliar people in a vehicle or on foot following a delivery truck.”

 

Home Deliveriesholidaytheft

FedEx has some tips for keeping thieves away from your delivered packages this season.

Alternate location – Consider having your packages shipped to an alternate location such as your office or to a neighbor or friend who is home during the day.

Sign on the line – Request a signature confirmation for your delivery if possible

Hold it – Ask for your package to be held  at the post office, FedEx or U.P.S. store near you, most carriers will do this free of charge.

There’s an app for that! – There are several package tracking apps available for iOS and Android devices. Popular tracking apps include: “Parcel,” “Slice” and “Delivered!”

 

Car

While you are out shopping, thieves are looking for an opportunity to play the Grinch and take your goods. Consumer Reports has helpful advice on how to keep your presents from being stolen.

Watch where you park – Ideally, park as close to the store entrance as possible or under lighting. Avoid parking near large vehicles such as trucks or SUV’s, which provide privacy for thieves.

Lock up – It sounds like we are stating the obvious but, be sure to close your sunroof and double check that windows and doors are closed and locked.

Out of sight – Keep your packages and valuables hidden in the trunk, or under the seat where they are not easily spotted.

Keep on movin’– If you come out to your vehicle to drop off packages and plan to go back into the store, consider driving to a new parking place. Someone could be watching and will know you won’t be back for a while.

Focus– It is important to pay attention to your surroundings when walking to your car. Stay off the phone, have your keys ready as you approach your vehicle and get in the car quickly and lock the door.

 

GreatFlorida Insurance provides competitive rates on car insurance, homeowner’s insurance as well as renter’s insurance. Visit us online today for a free quote from one of our offices located throughout Florida.

Holiday Kitchen & Food Safety

Gastronomy is at the center of any legitimate holiday celebration. Spreading good cheer through cookie baking, family dinners and cooking a traditional holiday recipe spreads appetizing joy. With all the chopping, basting, shredding and whipping, hazards can present themselves in the kitchen.

“Food and kitchen safety is probably not a priority on most minds during the holidays. However, reviewing simple safety tips will keep you cognizance of potential dangers throughout the holiday season and hopefully prevent an unforeseen incident from occurring and ruining any merriment, said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

In the Kitchen

A prevalent threat while cooking is a kitchen fire. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), reports Thanksgiving Day cooking fires average 1,300, three times the average daily rate of 400 per day. This holiday season they urge cooks in the kitchen to, “stand by your pan.”  If you are frying grilling or boiling food, stay in the kitchen. Also, keep anything that could melt or catch fire away from burners.

Spills, cuts and burns can also cause injuries. The Burn Foundation reports over 500,000 scald burns occur annually. To prevent spills and burns be sure to turn handles inward, toward the back of the stove. Make the area in front of the stove a “no zone” for kids. Be sure to keep a clear path where hot liquids are traveling.

When cutting, always cut on a stable surface and never cut food in your hand. If a knife falls from your hand or the counter, do not attempt to catch it, step back and let it fall on the floor.

thanksgiving-cartoon-deep-fried-turkey-598x427

Frying a Turkey

The enticement of fired turkey is an irresistible culinary delight, but if not prepared carefully it can turn into a calamity. According to a 2012 report from State Farm, Florida is the 5th highest state with the annual number of claims due to turkey fryer related incidents. Turkey fryers can cause fires, burns, explosions, smoke inhalations or lacerations. Keep the following safety tips in mind as you prepare to fire up the fryer this holiday season.

Keep the fryer at least 10 feet away from your home and never cook in the garage or on a wood deck.

Place the fryer on a level surface

Keep children and pets a safe distance from the fryer

Monitor the temperature and use caution when touching the fryer, the lid and handles can be very hot.

Do not use too much oil and over fill the fryer

Make sure the turkey is properly thawed, extra water can cause oil to bubble fiercely and spill over.

Keep a fire extinguisher accessible

Food Safety

Make a plan for food space, that way your hot foods can stay hot and your cold food can maintain their cool temperature.

Use a food thermometer for your turkey and cook it to at least 165 degrees.

Properly thaw your turkey. WebMD recommends allocating 24 hours per 5 pounds to defrost in the refridgerator.

Make sure to wash all produce.

“This Thanksgiving I want to express my thanks to our stellar independent agents and their staff for all their hard work to make GreatFlorida Insurance a success. A big thanks to all of our customers, it is our honor and pleasure to serve you and your families,” says Buck.

GreatFlorida Insurance offers competitive prices on Florida homeowners insurance, renter’s insurance and health insurance. We work with reputable companies across the U.S. to find the right policy for you.

Thanksgiving Travel

Thanksgiving-Travel-InsuranceAs you and your family prepare to go over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, this Thanksgiving you will not be alone. Thanksgiving weekend is the most traveled time of the year.

The auto club, AAA estimates 46.3 million people will be traveling 50 miles or more over the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume of travelers since 2007. Close to 90 percent or 41.3 million of those travelers will be on the road.

“As the economy stabilizes a bit and gas prices drop significantly, families feel encouraged to travel,” says Ellsworth Buck Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

Gas prices are currently the lowest they have been in five years, with the national average costing $2.85 per gallon.  High U.S. oil and gas production rates along with lower global crude prices are responsible for the drop in gas prices.

AAA also reports air travel is on the rise with 3.55 million taking to the skies, despite an air fare price increase of one percent from last year. Mid-range hotels have increased 8 percent with rental cars costing 10 percent more.

The University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety studied driving patterns over the Thanksgiving holiday. Researchers found Thanksgiving Day is the best day to travel because the fewest amount of cars are on the road. Wednesday between 2-5pm is the most congested time to be on the roads. Avoid traveling during these times if possible. They also recommend leaving earlier in the day to help ease your traffic woes. Congestion and accidents are at their highest in the late afternoon and evening.

Traffic is not the only cause for crashes, the study found car wrecks caused by alcohol, deer and bad weather are more common during Thanksgiving weekend. While employees enjoy time off from work, alcohol consumption increases. This combination can be linked to a higher number of DUI accidents with a 25 percent increase over the rest of the year.

Deer strikes are five times higher over Thanksgiving weekend than any other time. Deer have a nocturnal nature and seek food at dusk. November is also the middle of fall mating season for the animals.

The Weather Channel predicts the weather will be clear in most of the U.S. with the exception of rain throughout Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday and snow showers along the east coast, possibly disrupting travel plans for those flying north. When driving in wet weather visibility can be decreased, so be mindful of your speed and keep a proper distance between you and the car in front of you. Always be sure to wear your seat belt.

If you are looking for dependable Florida auto insurance, contact GreatFlorida Insurance.  Our agents will compare car insurance from several reputable companies across the U.S. to find an affordable auto policy for you.

2014 Travel Forecast - Florida Insurance

Winter Energy Saving Tips

While residents might not have to contend with snow and ice, when temperatures dip into the 60’s it is chilly by Florida standards. As cold weather is predicted to make its way into much of the state this week, it will have most residents running to adjust their thermostats.

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), reports, “Weather is the number one cause for high bills. Heating your home is two to three times more expensive than cooling.” FPL also reports that people tend to take longer showers in colder weather, which increases heating costs.

While this type of behavior is typical to combat the cold it could make a significant dent into your wallet. “Getting some control over your energy consumption will help you save money on your heating bills,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

Below are some tips from The U.S. Department of Energy  (DOE), and FPL on how to keep your home cozy this fall and winter without busting your budget.

Take advantage of the sunTips-Energy-Efficient-Homes

Keep window shades and curtains open during the day to let the sun heat up your home, then close them in the evening to reduce the chill.

Cover drafty windows

Install tight fitting shades or insulating drapes around your window.

Adjust the temperature

When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as possible, while still feeling comfortable.

When you are asleep or out of the house, turn it back 10-15 degrees for eight hours a day and you can save 10 percent annually. A programmable thermostat makes this an easy task.

Water

Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting, 120 degrees.

Try to reduce any lingering in the shower to limit your shower time. Water accounts for 14-25 percent of energy consumption in your home.

Limit the time you run your pool pump to four hours a day. 

Seal up leaks

Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around drafty doors and windows.

Fireplace

Keep your fireplace damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. It is like having a window open in your home.

When you using your fireplace; reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox, if provided. If not, open the nearest window approximately one inch and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting between 50 and 55 degrees.

Holiday Decorating

Set timers on your Christmas lights, this will prevent you from leaving them on all night.

Use light emitting diode, (LED) holiday lights, they last 25 percent longer and use 75 percent less energy.

 

GreatFlorida Insurance has offices located throughout Florida to provide dependable and affordable homeowners insurance and renters insurance. Our experienced agents will work to present you with options to choose from so you know you are getting the ideal insurance policy for you and your family.

Vehicle Recalls Effect Floridians

Since the beginning of 2014, an unprecedented and alarming number of vehicles have been recalled. According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 55 million cars and trucks have been identified as having a critical defect.

“At GreatFlorida Insurance, we are encouraging all car owners to get online to see if there have been any recalls on their vehicle. You might have checked your car a couple of months ago but the government and automakers are almost daily adding cars to the list of recalls.”

“It is in you and your family’s best interest to stay on top of the latest information, it could really be a matter of life and death,” urges Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

Just this week, the NHTSA released a consumer advisory adding 7.8 million more vehicles with faulty airbags to the list. They are advising those car owners who have received a recall notice to “act immediately” and get their vehicles fixed.

Airbags are rupturing and spewing metal shrapnel into drivers and passengers. High humidity seems to amplify the problem. This flaw has caused three deaths including a woman from Florida and dozens of injuries.

Responsible for the recall is Takata, a Japanese auto part maker that supplies to multiple automakers globally. Ford and Nissan believe software is to blame for their air bag deployment issues while GM thinks the problem is a result of an electrical problem with the sensors connected to their faulty ignition problems.

Other carmakers with airbag deployment recalls include Mazda, Honda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, Toyota, and BMW. The problems extend to cars that have been on the road since 2000.

The influx of vehicle recalls has been made since Toyota was ordered to pay $1.2 billion in March, the largest criminal penalty for any automaker in the U.S.

Cars have been recalled for a number of issues such as electrical shorts, damaged gears, coolant pump, faulty alternator, poor tire tread, parking brakes, hood latches, stalled engine and faulty ignition switches.

To find out if your car has been included in a recall, use the following link and have your vehicle identification number available. Information specifically regarding recalls for Takata airbags has been experiencing temporary outages, so check the list below.

infographic-final-print1

http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Owners/vin-lookup-sites

Takata Airbag Recalls

BMW: 627,615 vehicles

  • 2000-05 3-series sedan
  • 2000-06 3-series coupe
  • 2000-05 3-series sports wagon
  • 2000-06 3-series convertible
  • 2001-06 M3 coupe
  • 2001-06 M3 convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 vehicles

  • 2003-08 Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2005-08 Dodge Ram 2500
  • 2006-08 Dodge Ram 3500
  • 2006-08 Dodge Ram 4500
  • 2008 Dodge Ram 5500
  • 2005-08 Dodge Durango
  • 2005-08 Dodge Dakota
  • 2005-08 Chrysler 300
  • 2007-08 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 vehicles

  • 2004 Ranger
  • 2005-06 GT
  • 2005-07 Mustang

General Motors: Undetermined total number vehicles

  • 2003-05 Pontiac Vibe
  • 2005 Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 vehicles

  • 2001-07 Honda Accord
  • 2001-05 Honda Civic
  • 2002-06 Honda CR-V
  • 2003-11 Honda Element
  • 2002-04 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003-07 Honda Pilot
  • 2006 Honda Ridgeline
  • 2003-06 Acura MDX
  • 2002-03 Acura TL/CL
  • 2005 Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 vehicles

  • 2003-07 Mazda6
  • 2006-07 MazdaSpeed6
  • 2004-08 Mazda RX-8
  • 2004-05 MPV
  • 2004 B-series truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 vehicles

  • 2004-05 Lancer
  • 2006-07 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 vehicles

  • 2001-03 Nissan Maxima
  • 2001-04 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2002-04 Nissan Sentra
  • 2001-04 Infiniti I30/I35
  • 2002-03 Infiniti QX4
  • 2003-05 Infiniti FX

Subaru: 17,516 vehicles

  • 2003-05 Baja
  • 2003-05 Legacy
  • 2003-05 Outback
  • 2003-05 Baja
  • 2004-05 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 vehicles

  • 2002-05 Lexus SC
  • 2002-05 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003-05 Toyota Corolla Matrix
  • 2002-05 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2003-05 Toyota Tundra

Hands Free Driving Is Not Risk Free

Florida prohibits texting while driving but hand held cell phone use is permitted. Safety minded Florida drivers have embraced hands free devices such as earpieces, the speakerphone or a dashboard auto system in an effort to promote safety but are they really that much safer?

The National Safety Council, (NSC) released a report about the distraction a hands free cell phone conversation can have on your mind and how that can affect your driving. Their results show it causes slow response and reaction times. It also proves difficult for drivers to maintain their lane.

Having our sight is vital while driving. Not only is talking on a cell phone while driving a cognitive distraction but a visual distraction as well. Multitasking significantly narrows our field of view.  The report it states, “Drivers using hands free phones have a tendency to “look at” but not “see” objects. Estimates indicate that drivers using cell phones look but fail to see 50 percent of information in their driving environment.  It is a condition similar to tunnel vision.”

When your brain is distracted, even by something as seemingly harmless as a cell phone conversation, it cannot process everything in the roadway making the driver unable to identify potentially hazardous situations and unable to respond to unexpected situations. It is referred to as “inattention to blindness” and caused by the cognitive distraction of a cell phone conversation.

“Drivers generally know when they are physically or visually distracted from the road but, it can be more difficult to discern when they take their mind off the road,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

Florida Auto Insurance

Voice command infotainment systems are developed by car makers with the goal of contributing to driver safety.  It is designed to make performing tasks in your vehicle hassle free, convenient and hands free.

AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report that evaluated the demands of using hands free voice systems. The report is entitled, “Mental Workload of Common Voice-Based Vehicle Interactions across Six Different Vehicle Systems”. They took six top automakers’ voice activated infotainment systems and put them to the test.

They conducted a research using 18 men and 18 women and measured brain activity, heart rate and had a passenger evaluate their reactions. At the end of the study each participant took a questionnaire about their experience. The drivers were given a map and task assignments such as, “from your contacts, call Joel Cooper on his cell” and “tune the radio to 103.5 FM.”

AAA’s results suggest that even if a driver’s eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel, their ability to respond may be impaired. “Common voice tasks are generally more demanding than natural conversations, listening to the radio, or listening to a book on tape.” They also reported that system errors, such as the system, not recognizing your command can cause frustration and increase your cognitive workload.

Below are the results of the in-car voice systems beginning with the system, which imposed modest demands to the systems which required the most mental work.

  • Toyota Entune
  • Hyundai Blue Link
  • Chrysler Uconnect
  • Ford’s MyTouch
  • Mercedes COMAND
  • Chevrolet MyLink

Halloween Safety Tips

o-HALLOWEEN-CANDY-CORN-JACKOLANTERN-facebook

GreatFlorida Insurance wants all Floridians to enjoy Halloween parties, trick-or-treating and harvest festivals this weekend. Being safe will prevent disruptions from ruining the celebration. Below are some guidelines, common sense reminders and helpful information to keep the fun in your festivities.

Home

Whether your home is decorated to be chic, spooky or terrify the neighbors, you want to guarantee it is safe for all visitors.

  • Clean up and make sure to have a clear path to your door. Pick up leaves, debris and garden hoses, toys and bikes so trick-or-treaters do not trip.
  • Turn on your outdoor lights and make sure to replace burned out bulbs.
  • If you plan to leave your home, be sure to look around for children before getting into your car.

Pets

Halloween can be a stressful night for your pets. Children are dressed in costumes and excited running all over the neighborhood and constantly coming to your door. To keep your pets from becoming anxious the following tips can help.

  • Do not leave your pets in the yard, they can frighten children and entice pranksters.
  • Keep your animals confined and away from the door.
  • Halloween candy is not for pets, chocolate, especially dark chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats.

Candy

Everyone loves to indulge in sweet treats but encourage your kids to hold off on the snacking while on the trail.

  • While tampering is rare, it is a good idea to look through your child’s loot after trick or treating especially if your child has food allergies. Toss anything that is not sealed, has torn packaging or looks questionable.
  • Ration the candy, usually kids get much more candy than they will eat or need. Suggest a candy trade such as a handful of treats for a book or date with mom and dad.

Costumes

Dressing up is the heart of Halloween.  Whether you are an adult or child the following guidelines will help you get maximum enjoyment from your costume.

  • Make sure the costume fits properly to prevent trips and falls.
  • Try using non-toxic face paint and make-up instead of masks to make sure vision is not restricted. If you use a mask, make sure the eyes and nose holes are large enough.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or a flashlight so they can be seen. Using reflective tape on a costume or candy bag is also helpful.
  • Do not allow your kids to carry sharp or dangerous accessories with their costume.
  • If you or your kids are using decorative contact lenses as part of a costume, make sure to get them from a reputable eye center and try them out first.

Trick-or-Treat Trail

It is recommended to set ground rules before your kids head out.

  • Children under 12 years of age should have adult supervision.
  • Put down the phone. Parents need to be in the moment and pay attention. There are kids running everywhere and you do not want to lose them in the fun and chaos.
  • Stay on sidewalks and cross the street at corners and crosswalks and always look both ways before you cross.
  • Never go into a stranger’s home.
  • Set a time limit for your older kids to be out and be familiar with their route.
  • Encourage kids to avoid shortcuts through alleys and backyards.

Motorist

Pedestrians are everywhere! Popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30-9:30pm. If you must drive between those times use caution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports pedestrian driver accidents increase four times on Halloween.

  • If you plan to leave your home, try parking so you do not have to back out of a parking space.
  • Check behind your vehicle for little ones before you leave.
  • Drive especially slow.
  • Be prepared to stop at crosswalks and intersections.
  • Stay off electronic devices.

Halloween is a night of pranks, make sure to teach your children the difference between a prank and vandalism.

2014 Florida Ballot Measures

vote

November 4 is Election Day across the United States.

“Voting represents the spirit of democracy.  It is our right as Americans to vote and the responsibility should not be taken lightly. I believe you have no right to complain about the results of an election if you did not cast your vote,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

While many initiatives were filed, only three measures made it onto this year’s Florida ballot. Issues that will appear on the 2014 Florida ballot include the environment, marijuana and state judiciary. Proposed amendments to the State Constitution are listed below.

Amendment 1: Water and Land Conservation- Dedicates Funds to Acquire and Restore Florida Conservation and Recreation Lands

This measure would provide funding for the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. It funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests as well as fish and wildlife habitats, lands protecting water resources, including the Everglades and water quality of rivers, lakes, streams, beaches, shores, outdoor recreational lands, parks, trails, urban open space, working farms and ranches and historic or geologic sites by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.

Money for the Land Acquisition Trust cannot be commingled with the General Revenue Fund of the state.

Amendment 2: Use of Medical Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions

This approves the right to use medical marijuana for the treatment of certain ailments when recommended by a physician. This measure would allow the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. It also allows caregivers to assist patients in consuming medical marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.

Examples of debilitating conditions are cancer, glaucoma, HIV positive, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, MS, or other conditions where a doctor believes the medical use of marijuana would outweigh the potential health risk for a patient.

This law would not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana. It will not offer immunity from federal law. Federal marijuana laws that would be upheld include, no driving while under the influence of marijuana and no smoking in public.

A caregiver has to be at least 21 years of age and has agreed to assist with a qualifying patients use of marijuana. Caregivers are prohibited from using marijuana. It can only be used by the qualifying patient. Health insurance companies are not required to reimburse patients for medical marijuana.

This has been to most popular issue by far that appears on the ballot. Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of medical marijuana.

Amendment 3: Prospective Appointment of Certain Judicial Vacancies

The measure would allow the governor to fill judicial vacancies by appointing a justice or judge from a slate of nominees. The Governor could fill openings in a judicial office to which election for retention applies resulting from the justice or judge reaching the mandatory retirement age or failure to qualify for a retention election and allowing prospective appointments if a justice or judge is not retained at an election. Currently, the Governor may not fill an expected vacancy until the current justice or judge’s term expires.

Sources: votesmart.org

Top Stolen Cars

Most-Stolen-Cars-750x420Every 44 seconds a car is stolen in the U.S. totaling an annual loss of $4 billion. In Florida the most popular car stolen is a full size Ford pick-up truck.

“Car thieves like to steal cars and car parts such as car batteries, catalytic converters and entrainment systems. Having comprehensive car insurance can help you sleep better at night because you know you are covered,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau, (NICB), has come out with a list of the top new and used stolen cars in 2013. Surprisingly, they report that older cars are stolen more often than new cars for their parts. The stolen vehicles are taken to chop shops and disassembled. Their parts are then sold online or to shady auto dealers.

chartoftheday_2593_Honda_Owners_Are_Most_At_Risk_From_Car_Theft_n
http://www.statista.com

The 2013 top 10 list including all model years of vehicles stolen in the U.S.

  1. Honda Accord
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Chevrolet Silverado
  4. Ford F-150
  5. Toyota Camary
  6. Dodge Ram Pickup
  7. Dodge Caravan
  8. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  9. Toyota Corolla
  10. Nissan Altima

The top 10 list of 2013 model vehicles most commonly taken during 2013 in the U.S.

  1. Nissan Altima
  2. Ford Fusion
  3. Ford F-150
  4. Toyota Corolla
  5. Chevrolet Impala
  6. Hyundai Elantra
  7. Dodge Charger
  8. Chevrolet Malibu
  9. Chevrolet Cruze
  10. Ford Focus

Stolen newer cars are sold intact with doctored paperwork. Higher end vehicles are often shipped abroad for resale. While luxury cars are not the most popular to be stolen, the ones most commonly taken include the Mercedes C Class, BMW 3 series and the Infiniti G.

The number of stolen cars has declined over the years. Officials believe it is due to tougher laws and improvements in car technology such as computer-chip-coded keys and built-in engine immobilizers making it more difficult to hotwire a car and drive away.

When it comes to protecting your car, the NICB suggests taking a layered approach to protection. Cars are often taken because owners make it easy for them, to be stolen.

  •         Lock your car, roll-up windows, close the sunroof and take your keys when you are leaving your vehicle unattended.
  •         Park in a garage instead of the driveway and keep your vehicle in a well-lit and visible area.
  •         An anti-theft device such as the “Club” will deter thieves and may get you a discount on your car insurance.
  •         Have and use a visible or audible warning device.
  •         An immobilizing device such as “kill” switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are extremely effective.
  •         Tracking devices will emit a signal to the police, monitoring station or allow for remote monitoring when the vehicle is stolen. These devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles

Comprehensive car insurance can cover your vehicle in the event of a theft. If you are looking for peace of mind regarding your car contact GreatFlorida Insurance.

Our independent agents can help you find the right car insurance policy to cover theft and damage to your ride. Look us up online at www.greatflorida.com.

What You Need to Know About the 2014-2015 Cold & Flu Season

Florida Health insuranceThe fall brings Floridians slightly cooler, less humid mornings, football, pumpkin spice lattes and the arrival of snowbirds. It is also the time of year when news about the importance of getting a flu shot beings to spread.

Flu season stretches from October to May with the peak months being December to March.

“Influenza seems to vary in severity and timing from year to year. By maintaining healthy habits such as hand washing and staying home to rest when you feel sick, you will have an advantage over sickness this season,” said Ellsworth Buck, GreatFlorida Insurance Vice President.

So what do we need to know about this year’s cold and flu season? Recently prevalent in the news has been the spread of Enterovirus D68. It has been confirmed to have spread in 29 states including the District of Columbia.

While it has not been confirmed in Florida by the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is fast spreading and making its way to the southeast states.

According to the CDC, all cases have involved children and one adult. Symptoms are similar to the flu or a cold and the virus produces shortness of breath, especially dangerous to children with asthma. Many children with and without asthma have been hospitalized.  There is no vaccination or specific treatment, good hygiene is your best defense.  If your child is exhibiting cold or flu like symptoms, get them to a doctor immediately.

As far as this year’s flu season goes, we will not know until it begins. The CDC recommends everyone over six months of age to get a flu shot, preferably in October. They are also suggesting children ages 2-8 years old receive the nasal spray vaccination. According to recent studies it may be more effective in younger children.keep-calm-and-get-your-flu-shot-15

Some facts about the flu vaccination:

  •         It is available at your doctor’s office, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, health department and school and work health clinic.
  •         This year’s flu vaccination will protect against three viruses, H1N1, H3N2 and Influenza B viruses.
  •         The flu vaccine will last throughout the current flu season. If you had one last year, you need another one this year.
  •         A flu vaccination cannot guarantee you will not get the flu.

GreatFlorida Insurance is committed to helping Floridians stay healthy.

Our experienced agents can offer you and your family quality health insurance policies to fit your needs while staying within your budget.

Call us at 888-478-7801 or go online to www.greatflorida.com for a free quote today.