GreatFlorida Insurance - Steve Barry - Panama City Insurance

Auto Insurance Quotes in Panama City, FL

Steve Barry, Agent


3000 FL-77 - Suite B
Lynn Haven, FL  32444
Fax : 850-747-8646

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What is Florida Auto Insurance?

It is a contract between you and your insurer in which you pay the b a certain amount of money and, in return, the company will protect you from major financial losses due to an auto accident for a given period of time.

Whether you currently own an automobile or are a prospective buyer in Panama City, you can get a Free Auto Insurance quote today. 

Simply call 850-784-1688 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Auto Insurance Agent will help you find the best deal for you in Panama City.

Why Do You Need Auto Insurance?

Insurance is your protection against economic disaster should you cause an accident that results in property damage or injuries to other people. It can help cover repairs to your vehicle and related medical costs.

What does auto insurance cover?

  • Bodily injury liability coverage – Pays for bodily injury or death resulting from an accident for which you are at fault and provides you with a legal defense.

  • Property damage liability coverage – Provides you with protection if your car accidentally damages another person's property. It also provides you with a legal defense.

  • Medical payments, no-fault or personal injury coverage – Usually pays for the medical expenses of the driver and passengers in your car incurred as a result of a covered accident regardless of fault.

  • Uninsured motorist coverage – Pays for your injuries and, in some circumstances, certain property damage caused by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver. In some cases, underinsured motorist coverage is also included. This is for cases in which the at-fault driver has insufficient insurance.

  • Comprehensive physical damage coverage – Pays for damage to your car from theft, vandalism, flood, fire, and other covered perils.

  • Collision coverage – Pays for damage to your car when it hits or is hit by another object.

Can I get coverage with speeding tickets on my record? What about accidents or a DUI?

Yes. GreatFlorida Auto Insurance Agency owners understand that not everyone has a perfect driving record. They represent insurance carriers specializing in your unique situation.

What is a deductible on my auto policy?

In the event of a claim, this is the amount you will have to pay before your policy pays.

What's the difference between comprehensive and collision?

Collision is the part of the policy that covers your vehicle against damage caused in an accident. Comprehensive covers your car for damages not caused by a collision. It also covers against named perils such as hurricane damage and theft.

What are the Florida state required limits for auto insurance?

Florida requires a minimum of $10,000 coverage for property damage and $10,000 coverage for Personal Injury Protection.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

Coverage designed to provide protection should you be involved in an accident with a motorist who is at fault and has either no insurance or not enough to cover your medical expenses. Uninsured motorist coverage does NOT cover damage to your vehicle.

I just moved to Florida. Is coverage the same from state to state?

No. Each state has unique rules and regulations for auto insurance. It’s important to be aware of the differences here in Florida.

Do I have to turn in my out of state tags and get new ones from Florida?

Yes. Upon moving to Florida a driver has 30 days get a new registration on the vehicle.

What is the Florida Financial Responsibility Law?

The law that requires owners or operators of autos to provide evidence that they have the funds to pay for automobile losses for which they might become liable. Auto Insurance is the usual method for providing this evidence to the state.

What is the Florida No-Fault Law?

The Florida No-Fault law requires PIP (personal injury protection) be carried by owners of motor vehicles and imposes penalties for failing to do so.

Why should I buy my auto insurance from GreatFlorida?

  • Most customers save money because we offer some of the most competitive rates around.
  • You can reach us any time, day or night, any day of the year.
  • You deal directly with a local GreatFlorida Agent in Panama City.
  • We help you settle your claims quickly and fairly.

Simply call 850-784-1688 or complete our online quote request form. A GreatFlorida Auto Insurance Agent in Panama City will help you find the best deal for you.

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About Auto Insurance in Panama City, FL

In the event of an accident, Auto insurance provides protection against monetary losses due to a car crash, as well as damages from a natural disaster or vandalism.

Panama City, FL drivers are required to have a minimum of property damage coverage and personal injury protection. Steve Barry at GreatFlorida Insurance Panama City, FL, can familiarize you with legal requirements, additional coverage options such as bodily injury liability, collision, no-fault, uninsured motorist, comprehensive coverage and deductibles.

Steve Barry at GreatFlorida Insurance in Panama City, FL shops all the major carriers to find the best policy and the best rate. Easy, Low-Cost and Worry Free. That's the GreatFlorida Insurance promise.

Simply call 850-784-1688 or complete our online quote request form.

Florida Auto  Insurance Blog
by GreatFlorida Insurance

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.


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.


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

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

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

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 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.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

Most people do not look forward to filing taxes, especially with a new tax law in place for the first time in decades. Those changes can induce confusion and stress. This will be the last year for several tax credits as well as the beginning to benefit from some new ones.

Several tax credits are eliminated for the 2018 tax year. However, they are still available for your 2017 tax return.  “This will be the last year to take advantage of some deductions, so it’s important not to miss out on them,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.

Investing information company, The Motley Fool, reports this will be the last year to take advantage of the following tax breaks.

Personal exemptions

Property tax deductions

Mortgage interest deduction on home equity loans

Moving expenses

Unreimbursed employee expenses

Tax preparation fees

Investment-related legal and accounting fees

Job search costs

While several tax breaks will expire after this year, there are new ones are available for this year’s returns. “This year is unique with overlapping changes, so make sure your taxes are filed correctly, to avoid overpaying the IRS,” warns Buck Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency. Error rates for returns filed on paper are at 21 percent, while error rates for those filed electronically are less than one percent.

Some changes in tax deductions and credits are listed below.

Tax brackets expand. According to personal finance resource, GOBankingRates, “the federal income tax system uses a progressive tax structure, meaning that as you earn more income, your tax rate goes up as well.”

The Standard deduction, will experience a slight increase.

Health savings account– an increase to the contribution limit.

Earned income tax credit– the maximum income you can have while still qualifying for the EITC increased for each filing status. Also, you can have up to $3, 450 of investment income annually while still qualifying for the EITC.

Retirement savings credit-there is an increase in income limits.

Increased employer-paid parking or transit tax breaks

If you are looking for affordable and reliable homeowners insurance, give GreatFlorida Insurance a call.

The post Changes this tax season appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

An appeal of Florida’s current No-Fault/Personal Injury Protection(PIP) system for auto insurance, is gaining momentum this legislative session. The Florida House voted 88-15 to repeal the State’s PIP system.

“For some time, Florida lawmakers have argued over eliminating PIP and replacing it with a fault-based system,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent auto insurance company.

Under House Bill (HB19) drivers would be required to purchase bodily-injury liability coverage at $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. According to a 2016 actuarial study commissioned by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, drivers could save up to $81 per vehicle.

“While the House and Senate both look to eliminate No-Fault auto insurance coverage the version of their proposed bills are quite different,” says Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance company.

The Senate proposal (SB 150) would replace the PIP system in 2019 requiring all drivers to carry bodily injury coverage of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident as well as mandatory medical payment coverage(MedPay), of $5,000. Coverage would increase to $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident after three years. Under the Senate bill, Florida drivers could see and increase or decrease depending on the area they live. Opponents of the Senate bill are concerned about the cost increase to drivers. They also believe requiring mandatory medical payments is unnecessary for those with current health insurance plans.

No-Fault auto insurance was designed to reduce litigation across the state by creating money for anyone injured in a crash. Unfortunately, it created a flood of lawsuits which lawmakers hope to eradicate with the repeal. Since Florida’s adoption of a No-Fault system, fraudulent claims have cost the state a tremendous amount of money. In a report from The Division of Insurance Fraud, they found a 275% increase in fraud auto claims between 2007-2012. In 2012, duplicitous auto claims cost the state over $1 billion, driving the cost of insurance premiums higher for Florida drivers.

The post Big changes to Florida auto insurance? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.

by GreatFlorida Insurance

It’s hard to believe a new year is right around the corner. With each passing year, life brings changes. It is crucial to have an insurance policy that reflects your lifestyle and needs. Transitions throughout the year can dictate adjustments to your insurance. Insurance policies should be reviewed annually to guarantee you and your family has suitable coverage.

“Taking the time to review your policy and your coverage amounts prevents you from being over-insured or under-insured,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance. A review and chat with your insurance agent can help you determine if you are overpaying for insurance you do not need or under-insured, risking coming up short in the event of a disaster.

Homeowners Insurance Policy

CBS News reports 59 percent of homeowners in America are underinsured. As the real estate market fluctuates, it is important to know the updated value of your home. That is the starting point for determining the amount of homeowners insurance you desire. “A policy based on your mortgage may not cover the cost of rebuilding your home if disaster occurs,” reports Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance.

Most homeowners want a policy that will cover the costs of rebuilding their home with the current quality of materials or replacing their home of similar value. Without an annual update to your homeowners policy you could become a victim of depreciation and receive only a percentage of what it would cost to rebuild or replace your dwelling. Other factors that can change the price of your home include, adding a swimming pool, a home addition, electrical upgrades and renovations. These should be reflected in your homeowners insurance. Also, consider additional coverage for newly acquired electronics, jewelry or other costly belongings.

However, there are discounts available for homeowners. “Some home renovations can qualify you for a discount on your premium,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance. These can include, an updated roof, the addition of hurricane shutters or impact windows, as well as modernizing the home’s electrical and plumbing. The installation of a monitored alarm system, smoke detectors, or the adding of deadbolt locks can also save you money. Furthermore, maintaining good credit could qualify you for an additional savings program with your insurer.

If life changes include divorce, make sure it is reflected on the homeowners policy. If not, you and your former spouse will both be liable for damages or injuries sustained on the property. In the unfortunate event of the death of a spouse, you might decide to add or reduce the amount of coverage on your homeowners policy.

Umbrella/Liability Insurance

Maybe 2017 brought additional prosperity and your assets have significantly increased. You might want to consider increasing the amount of your umbrella policy. Auto insurance and homeowners insurance only provide basic liability coverage. While an umbrella policy is not reserved for the wealthy, personal and financial obligations can also cause you to review and make changes to your policy. Financial website, Money Crashers points out, owning a swimming pool, dog or gun, can increase the risk of accidents that could lead to a lawsuit.

Auto Insurance Policy

If a driver on your  auto policy has increased traveling you might consider adding emergency roadside assistance to your policy. However, review for an overlap in auto insurance coverage. You do not need emergency roadside assistance coverage if you are a member of AAA.

If someone in your home has recently attended a driver’s education class or your vehicles have been accident free, most insurance companies will qualify you for a discount. Inquire about other new “good driver” programs your insurance company offers. A new car or teen driver could have you wanting to increase comprehensive and collision. However, Once you have paid your vehicle off you may want to consider dropping collision to save money.

Boat Insurance

Think about purchasing additional boat insurance if you have recently purchased fishing or diving equipment. Also, if you are towing your boat more often, make sure you have comprehensive and collision in case your boat is involved in an accident out of the water.

Talk to your GreatFlorida Insurance agent to see if you are a member of affiliations that qualify you for a discount. They can be through universities, firefighting or as a member of AARP.


The post Are you adequately insured? appeared first on The GreatFlorida Insurance Blog.