Florida program that could help lower home insurance costs gets approved for more funding

The Florida Senate unanimously cleared a bill Wednesday to put $100 million into the “My Safe Florida Home” program, which could help people lower their home insurance costs.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis calls it “free money” for homeowners to reinforce their homes against severe storms and hurricanes.

Homeowners are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in grant funds.

That money could be used for new doors, windows, or even a new roof. All of which would help lower your insurance costs.

The bad news is the program is backlogged, with thousands on the waiting list for help.

Jacksonville Homeowner Scott Gross said he wouldn’t be opposed to getting free money from the state.

“I would put a new roof on and clean up the house and get it ready to sell,” Gross said.

Gross said he doesn’t need a new roof, but he’d gladly replace it if it would lower his insurance bill.

“Ridiculous. I wish they would get a handle on that for everybody,” Gross said.

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That’s the entire goal of the ‘’My Florida Safe Home” Program.

“It’s the quickest way to drop your insurance rates,” Patronis said.

The program provides matching grants for wind mitigation efforts for homes.

“Best case scenario people should be able to start reapplying for the grant money July 1. The legislature has to pass the budget, the governor’s got to sign it. And once it is signed, then the fiscal year is where these new dollars kick in,” Patronis said.

How to qualify for the program:

You must be the owner and resident of the homeQualify for a homestead exemptionThe home’s insured value must be $700,000 or lessThe homeowner must agree to two free home inspectionsOwners must use an approved contractorThe contractor must be paid in full before reimbursement

“If somebody invests $15,000 in their house, following the state’s instructions, the state’s going to give them a check back for $10,000. So I mean, you have a brand new hardened home with $5,000 out of pocket, and that’s not including what your insurance company might ultimately refund back to you,” Patronis said.

The House bill is still working its way through committee and if it’s approved, applications will open again on July 1.

Anyone who owns a single-family home can apply for and receive a free home hurricane inspection. You don’t have to apply for a grant to receive the inspection.

You can visit this website for more information on the program.

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