In Florida, you can earn discounts off your homeowner’s insurance premium by accumulating what’s called wind mitigation credits. Given that Florida is a very windy state, this kind of system makes sense, and in fact, it is mandated by state law.
That’s right! Florida law actually requires home insurance companies to offer significant discounts if you meet certain criteria ascertained in a wind mitigation inspection. Essentially, you are being rewarded for making upgrades to your home that lower the risk of damage due to high winds. And let’s be honest, reducing your risk of damage also reduces your chances of having to haggle with your insurance company about repairs.
You may have already had a basic home inspection, but wind mitigation is a special case that involves a separate inspection all its own. Read on below to find out how you can earn money-saving wind mitigation credits on your Florida property!
What Is Included In a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
Your home insurance company and/or mortgage holder will require you to have at least a 4-point home inspection done when you purchase a new home. There is no requirement to have a wind mitigation inspection done, but as mentioned above, there is an incentive – you can save big on your monthly homeowner’s insurance premiums.
Wind mitigation inspections are not really something you “pass” or “fail” as such. It’s a matter of how well you do as far as earning wind mitigation credits, which determine how much you can save.
There are many features of your home that the inspector will look at to assess your wind damage risk level. Most of these are related to the roof and roofing, but windows, doors, attachment to the foundation, and simply being up to code also factor in.
A wind mitigation inspection is good for five years before you need to have it done again. The cost savings normally are such that the inspection at least pays for itself after the first year. So that’s four years of real savings, typically.
A professional, state-certified inspector will operate on the basis of a checklist. He or she will explain to you the meaning of each item checked, whether or not you currently get a credit for it, and how to upgrade your home’s wind safety features to gain additional credits.
The Key Features On Wind Mitigation Reports
While there are numerous items on a wind mitigation report that a professional inspector will cover, we can summarize this kind of inspection by mentioning a handful of key features covered.
First, you can get a discount simply by being up to code IF your home was built on 1 March, 2002 or later. That is, earlier-built buildings have different building code standards that would not qualify for a discount. However, anything built after 1974 can still get some discounts – enough to make a wind mitigation inspection worthwhile, just not as big of a discount as homes built from 2002 on.
Also, note that the same building code issue applies to the date your roof was built or when you had roofing put onto it. A newer home with a newer roof and roofing can, thus, double up on the savings.
The second major area to look at is how well your roof is attached. First, inspectors consider the roof-deck attachment method. Longer, stronger nails that are spaced less widely helps to increase this discount since the roof decking is less likely to be torn off in a windstorm. Then there is the roof-wall attachment method. This regards how strong the connection is between the tops of your walls and the roof structure. If you have hurricane clips, that will give you a big boost in this regard in Florida!
Next, the very shape of your roof is important to insurers. Hip roofs gain the biggest discounts. A “hip roof” is one that has no gables – at least 90% gable-free is required for the big discount.
Having strong secondary water resistance is another money-saving plus. Water and ice protection, heavy duty roofing underlayment, and appropriate flashing all help to shield your home’s interior from potential water invasion even if some water gets past the shingles.
Finally, the ability of your home’s openings to resist wind and impacts from wind-borne “missiles” will also be taken into account. Impact-resistant doors, garage doors, and windows are important here. They need to be rated for “large missile impact resistance” and have the appropriate documentation. Shutters that shield glass and resist impacts themselves also count, and impact-resistant glass is yet another positive.
How Can I Get The Biggest Discount?
There are several things you can do to ensure your home gets the biggest possible wind mitigation discount on your homeowner’s insurance policy. First of all, choose a top-rated home and wind mitigation inspection company. Also, choose an insurer that offers larger discounts for wind safety features.
Accompany the inspector during the inspection and take notes in a notebook. Pay careful attention so you understand exactly what will determine your discount level, and ask your inspection company for help in understanding the details of the wind mitigation report.
Making the recommended upgrades and repairs will increase your wind mitigation “points” and thus your potential savings on insurance premiums. Doing everything possible to prepare your building for tough Florida winds pays double dividends – in safety and in lower insurance premiums!
To learn more about how wind mitigation works in Florida or to get a free quote on a wind mitigation inspection, contact Super Inspection Pros today for a free, no-obligation consultation!