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Local insurance agents urge homeowners to apply for My Safe Florida Home grant

A My Safe FL Home YouTube Florida Association of Building Inspectors
My Safe FL Home
Homeowners who apply for the My Safe Florida Home program can get free wind mitigation home inspections.

State lawmakers approved changes to the My Safe Florida Home grant program that will become effective July 1.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation that will add another $200 million in funding. The program will now also favor mainly older and low-income homeowners.

MSFH provides free wind mitigation inspections, including roofs, windows, and doors, identifying and recommending upgrades or repairs to best protect a home against future storms. If a homeowner qualifies, the program can also provide state grant money toward the improvements. Ideally, these inspections and home improvements can result in significant decreases to home insurance premiums.

The repairs and upgrades come at the cost of the homeowner, but if they qualify, they can be reimbursed through a separate application, $2 on the dollar, up to $10,000.

While the program has been around since 2006 and was relaunched in 2022, local insurance agents reported eligible homeowners might be missing out.

Anthony Viscuso is the senior sales executive for Selective Associates Inc. in Orlando, and even though he’s been serving the area for nearly 15 years, he said he’s never had one of his clients use the program in full.

“As far as my crossings with people who are doing the My Safe Florida Home program, I haven't had any, in all honesty. People have just been doing their own replacing of their roofs themselves,” Viscuso said. “We've utilized (wind mitigation inspections) for clients to reduce their premiums but never had one who went that extra step of getting the grant and then retrofitted from that.”

Florida has some of the highest home insurance premiums in the nation. For many Floridians, budgeting these hikes has become unmanageable.

Viscuso said it’s important for insurance agents to properly orient their clients to help save them money and protect their homes from potential hurricane damage.

“I just think that people just do not know about it yet. It needs to be pushed out there a little bit,” Viscuso said. “Or maybe people are just misunderstanding, thinking it's just the inspection that's going to help reduce the premium. Certain people might not even get an inspection just because their agent might not even tell them to do that.”

Originally, lawmakers had proposed increasing funding by $100 million but changed it to $200 million before passing the legislation this year.

Homeowners interested in applying must go through the portal and apply for the inspection, with the funding assistance process requiring a second, separate application. However, the MSFHP program is not taking new applications until the new funding becomes available July 1.

Lillian Hernández Caraballo is a Report for America corps member.

Lillian (Lilly) Hernández Caraballo is a bilingual, multimedia journalist covering housing and homelessness for Central Florida Public Media, as a Report for America corps member.
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