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Victor Pistone, Agent

813-381-3820

2234 Lithia Center Lane
Valrico, FL  33596
Fax : 800-910-6320

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Driving for app based transportation companies is rapidly increasing in popularity. Whether you drive full-time for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, or it is the source of additional income, make sure you are covered.

GreatFlorida Insurance is offering rideshare insurance to meet the growing demand from rideshare drivers for full coverage.
GreatFlorida Insurance is one of the few insurance companies in Florida to offer rideshare insurance. We make sure you, your passengers and your vehicle are protected while driving.

Our company offers a rideshare endorsement to supplement your auto policy. It fills in coverage gaps while driving for a rideshare company and keeps you covered while you drive for personal use.
Give us a call today at 888-478-7801 to discuss GreatFlorida rideshare insurance and speak to an agent in your area.

FAQ’s

Doesn’t the rideshare company’s insurance cover me while driving?
Uber and Lyft provide a $1 million insurance policy while a passenger is in your vehicle. It serves as your primary insurance during this time. The same coverage is not extended to drivers while you are logged into the app without a passenger.
Policies vary between the different rideshare companies, especially during the time when you are logged into the app but have no passenger in your vehicle.

Coverage Gap
Just because you are signed into the rideshare app does not mean you are covered. The time between logging into the app and a passenger entering your car, you could be uninsured or underinsured. This is considered a coverage gap.
While logged into the app, accepting a job, driving to a passenger and waiting for them to enter your vehicle, your personal car insurance is responsible for damages. During that time many rideshare companies have a policy that is “contingent,” making it a gray area.

Doesn’t my auto insurance cover me?
Most drivers with auto insurance have a personal auto insurance policy. It is intended for personal use not for commercial driving or driving-for-hire.
Unfortunately, personal auto insurance companies would be likely to deny your accident claim. When you are logged into a rideshare app, insurance companies consider that as driving-for-hire, so it would fall into the commercial driving category.

What if I do not make changes to my auto policy?
If your auto insurance discovers you are using your vehicle for profit, such as ridesharing without proper insurance, they can set the policy to cancel or non-renew. 

Additionally, should a claim occur while a driver is logged into the rideshare app and they do not have rideshare insurance, their claim can be denied by their auto insurance company.

Commercial auto insurance is also available to drivers who participate in rideshare but it can be more expensive and limiting when it comes to personal use. That is why GreatFlorida Insurance offers rideshare insurance, as a less expensive option to supplement your personal auto policy, while covering the gaps a rideshare company doesn’t cover.

Accidents are inevitable. Make sure you are covered during personal use and while ridesharing with GreatFlorida Insurance’s rideshare insurance.
If you are a rideshare driver, agents at GreatFlorida Insurance can make sure you get the proper coverage for you and your passengers. Contact us today to discover all the auto insurance options available for you.

Simply call 813-381-3820 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Auto Insurance Agent in Valrico will help you find the best deal for you.

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Florida Uber  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/18/2018

2018 Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22. The theme for this year’s Earth Day focuses on ending plastic pollution. Single-use plastic is believed to be the biggest source of trash in and around water worldwide.

We use plastic everyday- plastic bags, toothbrushes, water bottles, product packaging. It’s hard to go a day without plastic,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent boat insurance agency.

Some alarming statistics about plastic include the following:

2.5 million plastic bottles are used every hour in the U.S. (Recycle Across America)

8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year (Recycle Across America)

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s largest collection of floating trash has grown to 600,000 square miles, twice the size of Texas. (Scientific Reports)

According to the website, Earthday.org, plastic poisons and injures marine life, disrupts human hormones, litters beaches and landscapes and clogs our waste streams and landfills. The movement is hoping to inspire and inform people into changing their attitude about plastics.

So, what can one person do to make a difference? Below is a list of suggestions to help you reduce the use of plastic.

Carry your own reusable shopping bags to the store.

Stop buying bottled water, carry a reusable water bottle.

Use a refillable mug at the coffee shop, you can even get a discount for it.

Say “no” to straws.

Checking your packaging. When possible, choose paper packaging over plastic, such as a box for pasta rather than a plastic bag.

Trade in your disposable razor for one you that you only must switch out the blade.

Change up your food storage. Instead of using plastic baggies or plastic wrap, try mason jars, bento boxes or glass containers.

Recycle

“Doing something is better that do nothing,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

If we all try and make one or two changes to our plastic use, collectively, we can make a difference. Consumer choice speaks loudly.

 

 

 

The post Trashing the ocean appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
4/5/2018

Recently, an 11-ft. alligator made its way into a homeowner’s swimming pool in Sarasota, FL after busting through the patio screen.

A seven-ft. alligator caused a traffic jam on Easter Sunday in Jacksonville, while trying to cross Interstate 295.

Warmer weather is bringing out alligators.

“Most Floridians have seen an alligator lurking around, especially golfers,” comments Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent boat insurance agency.

In 2017, the Statewide Alligator Nuisance Program (SNAP), received 13, 210 nuisance alligator complaints resulting in the removal of 8, 455 nuisance alligators.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), This once endangered species, has a healthy and stable alligator population estimated at 1.3 million in a variety of sizes just in Florida. In addition, alligators inhabit all 67 counties in Florida

An important part of Florida’s wetlands and eco-system, alligators become more active when the temperature rises and their metabolism increases. Mating season is from April – June.

“While alligators are a part of the Florida landscape, you certainly want to keep your distance,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent boat insurance agency.

Alligators are unique, in the fact they that inhabit land and water. This feature also makes them very dangerous. American zookeeper, Jack Hanna says an alligator can outrun all human creatures within the first 20-30 feet of exiting the water, making it very difficult for humans to outrun alligators.

The Key West Aquarium, has advice for living with alligators:

Avoid feeding an alligator, it is dangerous and illegal.

Stay at a safe distance of at least 50 feet away.

Do not approach an alligator to take a selfie.

Avoid checking to see if an alligator is alive.

Before entering a freshwater stream, lake or spring, check around. Alligators are often around even if you don’t see them.

Keep pets on a leash and away from the water.

Steer clear of water at night.

If one bites you, make as much noise as possible. Work hard to get away, use force and try poking at their eyes.

People with concerns about an alligator can call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

 

 

 

 

The post Here come the alligators appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/28/2018

Finding your ideal car is a challenge. “Knowledge of reliable or well performing brands, is a great place to start,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent car insurance agency.

Recently, Consumer Reports not only compared models, but took it to the next level by comparing car brands. Scores are based on vehicle testing as well as owner feedback. Road-test score, predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, along with safety features,  are factored into the final score.

USA Today says, “Consumer Reports is watched closely because it is notoriously independent when it comes to car evaluations, including buying models that it tests from dealers rather than borrowing them from automakers.”

So, who made the lists? We will start with the bad news first. The following car brands proved to be unreliable and lacking in performance.

2018 Worst Car Brands

  1. Fiat
  2. Jeep
  3. Land Rover
  4. Alpha Romeo
  5. Mitsubishi
  6. Jaguar
  7. GMC
  8. Dodge
  9. Ram
  10. Mini

“Most of these car brands are not visiting this list worst car brand list for the first time. Several have been plagued with problems for years,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent car insurance agency. Notably, Cadillac and Chevrolet finally made it off this notorious list in 2018.

A 2017 dependability study by J.D. Power cites the most common problems with modern vehicles is technology issues, specifically pairing a smartphone to Bluetooth in the car.

Now for the good news. These drivers can drive with pride knowing they made a wise investment into a reliable car brand.

2018 Best Car Brands

  1. Genesis
  2. Audi
  3. BMW
  4. Lexus
  5. Porsche
  6. Kia
  7. Subaru
  8. Tesla
  9. Honda
  10. Toyota

These car brands represent the most satisfying by customers, by consistently producing top-quality models. With over 35 brands selling cars, truck and SUV’s in the United States, hopefully these rating can help guide you when making you next car selection.

The post 2018 best and worst car brands appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
3/14/2018

This year’s legislative session was unique. The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School prompted action from lawmakers, shifting the agenda toward the end. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s Legislature passed the fewest bills in two decades. The lack of progress could be due to the unexpected gun debate that took place. In response, legislators passed gun-control measures for the first time in 20 years.

Many of the same issues, along with some new debates were brought up again among lawmakers. Let’s look at what passed and what fell short.

FAILED

A bill to repeal the no-fault auto insurance system, requiring drivers to carry personal injury or PIP Coverage.

“Florida lawmakers have argued over eliminating PIP and replacing it with a fault-based system for years. It seems to never gain enough momentum to become law,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance company.

An effort to ban fracking, the controversial oil- and natural- gas drilling process.

A ban to red-light cameras.

A proposal allowing law enforcement officers to pull people over for texting while driving. A practice, the National Safety Council reports causes 1,600,000 accidents a year.

Creation of new specialty license tags.

Guns at church.

PASSED

Tax cuts by $168.6 million- including a property tax break for homeowners displaced by hurricane Irma and nursing homes that purchase electrical generators. It also includes back-to-school holiday exempting sales tax on clothing and school supplies and reduces sales tax on business rents.

“It adds an 18 percent reduction in penalties for non-criminal traffic infractions for drivers who attend driving school,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance company.

Permanent daylight saving time.

Permits trained school employees to carry concealed weapons in school, raises the age requirement for gun purchases from 18 to 21, imposes a three-day waiting period for rifles and other long guns, allows police to seize weapons from those who pose a danger to themselves and others, and bans the sale of bump stocks.

A bill to make threats of mass shooting and terrorist attacks a second-degree felony.

Expansion of mental health services in public school.

K-12 -Creates voucher-like scholarships to pay for students who are bullied in public schools so they can attend private schools. Requires all schools to visibly display the Florida state motto, “In God We Trust,” and allows tenants of commercial property to direct tax revenue of up to $57.5 million in rent into the account of two scholarship programs.

More money for the state’s Bright Future’s merit scholarship program.

A homeowners’ insurance policy must visibly state that hurricane insurance does not include flood insurance.

Creation of the first Florida Slavery Memorial built on Capitol grounds.

Prescription limits on opioids and money for addiction treatment.

A resolution declaring pornography a health risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Winners and Losers from the 2018 Florida Legislature appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/27/2018

The Florida Highway Patrol reports recently, that an elderly man was driving the wrong way on a Florida highway in an RV. The RV struck a truck head on, killing the truck driver and passenger. Three days later, the RV driver also passed from his injuries. Not only was the senior driver driving the wrong way, his lights were not on at the time of the crash. 29 days before the accident, he passed a driving test in his home state of Michigan.

After hearing a tragic story like this, it’s tempting to set age restrictions on a driver’s license. “Keep in mind, people age at differing rates,” reminds Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent auto insurance agency. One 75-year-old can barely get out of bed in the morning, while another person the same age, does yoga and goes for a run.

A decline in vision, cognitive functioning (the ability to reason and remember), physical limitations along with medical conditions and prescription medication can hinder the ability to drive. The most common condition the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) decides to restrict a license is for failing cognitive skills including memory, coordination and flexibility.

Although, more options are available for aging drivers. “Driver programs and car innovations are readily available to meet the challenges of senior drivers,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance agency.

For example, The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), has developed the Florida GrandDriver program for aging drivers. It is an education and outreach initiative that provides information and resources on driving safely and how to plan for safe transitioning from driving. Also, Driver Rehabilitation Specialists offer refresher courses to keep driving skills sharp.

While it is important for senior drivers to maintain their driving independence, eventually elderly drivers and their family must have the difficult conversation about when driving capabilities are beginning to diminish and causing potential danger for others on the road and themselves. Consumer Reports found safety is the biggest motivator for handing over the keys.

How do you know it is time to have that awkward discussion with your loved one? AARP, has some warning signs that indicate a person should begin to limit or stop driving.

Delayed response to unexpected situations.

Becoming easily distracted while driving.

Decrease in confidence while driving.

Having difficulty moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic.

Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up.

Getting scrapes or dents on car, garage or mailbox.

Having frequent close calls.

Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions.

The DHSMV requires that Florida drivers age 80 or older who renew their license undergo a basic vision test.

 

The post Too old to drive? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/21/2018

Across the country hearts are heavy, grieving the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. “These tragedies impact our communities-our parents, our children, our school professionals, our first responders-the mental health of our whole country,” reminds the professionals with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Even if someone is not involved directly traumatic events, especially within our state, burden our hearts and minds,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance provider.

Many people experience sadness, anxiety or anger. Some have trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating. Their minds are dominated by the details of the event. These symptoms typically decrease over time.

Effective and healthy ways to cope during this time include:

Talking to your children about the incident, discuss how it makes them feel.

Limit news and social media exposure. Continuous exposure causes a person to relive the trauma. Also, descriptions and images in the media can cause fear in kids going to school.

Maintain your normal routine.

Connect with people in positive ways. Talk with people and take the time to listen to others. Tell people you care about that you love them.

“Doing something for others can help you channel stressful feelings,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent health insurance provider.

However, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), points out that in some cases the anxiety will continue and interfere with everyday life. For people who continue to experience the effects of trauma, it is important to get professional help. Signs to look for include the following:

  • Worrying a lot or feeling very anxious, sad or fearful
  • Crying often
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Having frightening thoughts
  • Feeling angry
  • Having nightmares or difficulty sleeping
  • Avoiding places or people that bring back disturbing memories and responses.

Our world seems to be experiencing tragedy and stress on a more frequent basis. Be sure to slow down and be kind to yourself as well as others.

The post Coping with tragedy appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance
2/1/2018

Allstate Insurance AgentThe Captive Insurance Agency model, like that of Allstate and StateFarm, initially enjoyed much popularity among those interested in entering the P&C insurance industry.

Yet, over time, this captive model has gone through changes that have left many of their agents suffering.

In recent years, auto insurance premiums have begun to rise because of increased claims and rampant fraud, especially in Florida.

While a real problem, the captive insurance companies have responded by becoming selective in the customers they offer coverage to. Specifically looking for those people with good credit and good driving records. This leaves many captives with little to offer their clients. As one ex-Allstate Insurance agent put it, “We feel like we’re in the insurance rejection business”.

Adding insult to injury, increasingly lowered commissions continue to reduce profits for these same captive agents. They sell less and are paid less for what they do sell.

As a result of these issues, sales quotas fall short of what is expected, even mandated, and begins to threaten agent jobs. This unstable work environment communicates that these captive insurance companies are more interested in growing their profits, than in supporting their agents.  The unrealistic expectations force many agents to look for alternatives.

The Insurance Journal recently reported that morale is quickly sinking at one big blue insurance company due to lowered commissions (8% to 10%) and increased premiums.

Terminations are also forcing the sales of captive agencies because of unmet sales quotas. Some long-time agents are going as far as suing the parent insurance company in retaliation.

Captive Agents Look for Alternatives

Independent Insurance Agencies like GreatFlorida Insurance, Brightway, and We Ensure are reporting an active exodus of captive Allstate agents this last year. Wishing to speak on the condition of anonymity, some ex-captive agents shared their experiences and why they chose to become independent insurance agents:

“Eventually rate increases forced me out. Being a captive agent made me feel like a one-trick-pony and I could not do much for my clients. Allstate is a conservative underwriter. They want to insure the cream of the crop and that is a small niche group.”
– TJ an exAllstate agent in FL. 

“Allstate is looking for a particular person to fit their profile, a homeowner with excellent credit.”
– KS an exAllstate agent in FL. 

Commenting about agent commission rates, two former captive agents said, “When they are good, they are good but when they are bad, they are really bad.”

A Better Way

Independent Insurance Agencies offer greater freedom and options for the agent and their customers.

Speaking to Ana Miranda of GreatFlorida Insurance in Pinecrest, an ex-captive agent, she explained that as an independent, she can offer a variety of products represented by a diverse group of insurance companies. “There isn’t a risk that walks through that door that I can’t sell”.

“Existing captive agents have come to a tipping point where it no longer makes sense to stay where they are, leaving money on the table.”, says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, the largest and fastest growing franchise of independent agents in Florida.

GreatFlorida Insurance works with top insurance carriers such as Progressive, Mercury, Safeco, as well as 95% of all the available carriers in Florida.

They also boast higher commission rates from 15% to 22% and with fewer writing restrictions, the potential to grow the agency as an independent is far greater.

For GreatFlorida, 2016 saw the largest number of converts from the captive model to the independent, in years.

Why GreatFlorida Insurance?

Recent ex-captive agents shared why they chose to join the GreatFlorida Insurance franchise.

“I now have more freedom to offer more choices. You are restricted when you are a captive agent. Now my customers have 4-10 auto insurance companies who can offer coverage.”

“Because GreatFlorida Insurance is one of the largest in the state, they can negotiate the carrier appointments and higher commissions for me. Going from 10% as a captive, to 15% with GreatFlorida for each new policy I sell, is a huge increase in my income.”

“Other independent insurance agencies wanted more money down and more in commissions. GreatFlorida Insurance was the most responsible choice for me.”

“I like the way they operate. Easy going and laid back. They’re hands off and force no minimums. Everything is real fair.”

Compare GreatFlorida Insurance to a Captive AgencyFlorida Insurance Franchise and Allstate

To learn more about the insurance policies and options available at GreatFlorida Insurance, visit www.greatflorida.com or call 888-478-7801.

For franchise options call our franchise hotline at 772-577-7555.

The post Why are Captive Insurance Agents Suffering? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.