TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program will partner with local government and non-profit organizations and businesses to hold fairs in three Florida cities with the intent of raising awareness about the MSFH program’s safety and financial incentives. The series of fairs will take place from September to November in Pensacola, Tampa, and Ft. Lauderdale and will be free to the public.
“It is my hope the My Safe Florida Home fairs will help raise awareness among Floridians about the program’s safety and financial incentives,” said CFO Sink who oversees the Department of Financial Services which runs the MSFH program. “In addition to learning how safe your home is against storms, this program has helped save many homeowners an average of $154.51 a month on their wind insurance premiums through free hurricane inspections.”
The first MSFH fair will take place in Pensacola on Saturday, September 15, 2007, at the Pensacola Civic Center from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Pensacola fair is being co-hosted by the Gulf Power Corporation, the Escambia County Commission, and WEAR-TV and will feature over 50 exhibitors. The Tampa Bay area MSFH fair, co-hosted by the City of Clearwater will take place at the Harborview Center and Coachman Park in Clearwater on Saturday, September 29, 2007 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. On Saturday, November 3, 2007, the third MSFH fair will take place in Ft. Lauderdale at the Broward County Community College from 10 a.m. – 4p.m.
Insurance company representatives will be on hand at the fairs to assist homeowners in understanding which hurricane-resistance measures will best protect their homes, and how they can apply for discounts on their insurance premiums. By law, insurance companies are required to offer policyholders discounts on the wind-coverage portion of their homeowner policy premiums for specific measures that reduce their homes’ exposure to windstorm damage. Homeowners are encouraged to bring insurance documentation to obtain information on possible insurance savings through the program.
Products will be displayed throughout the day to highlight methods and procedures homeowners can use to make their homes safer. All exhibits and workshops are free. Representatives from CFO Sink’s office will also be on hand to assist eligible homeowners apply for MSFH free inspections or grants.
To date, the MSFH program has completed 89,268 inspections. More than 106,000 Florida homeowners have signed up for free wind inspections through the program, signifying the program has exceeded 25 percent of its long-term goal of 400,000 free wind inspections in the next two years.
Any Floridian who lives in a single-family, site-built home is eligible for a free wind inspection through the MSFH program, which helps Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes and reduces the overall potential for hurricane damage in our state. Floridians can apply on-line at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com
or by calling the program toll-free at 1-866-513-6734. Homeowners who receive free wind inspections through the MSFH program will receive a detailed inspection report, complete with additional information on estimated insurance premium discounts, if insurance information is provided at the time they applied.
Additionally, some Florida homeowners receiving free wind inspections may be eligible for matching grant reimbursements of up to $5,000 to make recommended improvements. To be eligible, the Legislature requires that homeowners: have received a completed wind inspection after May 1, 2007; live in a single-family, site-built home built before March 1, 2002; have a valid homestead exemption; have an insured value of $300,000 or less; and be located in the wind-borne debris region. Additionally, while the free wind inspections will still cover seven potential wind-resistance improvements, matching grants may only be applied to opening protections, including windows, exterior doors and garage doors, as well as the bracing of gable ends.