It’s as though someone left the gate open at the Florida state line in the past three years. New residents have poured into the state, perhaps chasing sunshine and that “no state income tax” life.
It doesn’t take long to realize what you avoid in state income tax hits you in other areas, such as homeowners insurance. Hurricane season, which is June 1 through Nov. 30, is a key factor in those rising insurance rates.
The state has sought to address the issue with the My Safe Florida Home program.
Created during the 2022 legislative session, the program provides grants to homeowners to receive free inspections and reports that provide details on their home’s hurricane readiness, according to MySafeFLHome.com. It also potentially provides $2 matching funds for every $1 the homeowner spends on authorized mitigation projects up to $10,000.
Homes are the largest investment for many Florida families, so it’s important to protect them. It’s also important from a budgeting standpoint to save money where you can, and this program may do that.
The free wind mitigation inspections verify whether certain features exist in your home’s construction to help protect it from high winds associated with hurricanes and other major storms. The presence of those features can qualify you for a discount on your homeowners insurance.
If your inspection identifies other areas for improvements, grant funds can be used for the following:
- Upgrade roof coverings
- Strengthen roof deck attachments
- Reinforce roof-to-wall connections
- Install a secondary water barrier (SWR) for the roof
- Exterior door upgrades
- Garage door upgrades
- Window upgrades
This program also eliminates the six percent state sales tax on retail purchases of impact-resistant doors, impact-resistant garage doors and impact-resistant windows through June 30, 2024. Making recommended improvements may lower your home insurance premiums.
An additional bill passed in the Florida House of Representatives in April expanded and extended the My Safe Florida Program, according to the Pensacola News Journal. HB811 does the following:
- Increases the insured value of homes to $700,000 – up from $500,000 – and includes townhomes
- Appropriates $100 million to extend the program
If you’ve been a Florida homeowner for several years, you’ve likely experienced the white-knuckled nervousness that accompanies news of a hurricane headed for the state.
As Polk County homeowners, my husband and I have weathered Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Irma. We’ve been blessed every time with minimal or no damage. But just like investments, past performance of hurricanes is not a predictor of future performance. We know our property could be damaged in the future.
Take advantage of this program while you can. The response so far has been great, and grant funds are quickly being obligated.