Many buyers including those new to buying a home in Southwest Florida, ask why should I get a wind mitigation inspection when buying a home? The main reason is to save money. It is not required by insurance companies or mortgage lenders, but having a Florida certified wind mitigation inspector perform an evaluation of the windstorm preparedness of the house is a sure way to save on homeowners insurance cost.
Often it is done during the home inspection of the of the home and systems. The inspector will also make recommendations for improvements. The report is a standard form provided by the state and sometimes the format changes, so an old report may not suffice for a new policy. The form is submitted to the insurance agency for a dtermination of a discount.
It is not uncommon in Florida for a 30% savings. Often hurricane shutters, impact glass, etc. will reduce the premium since the risk of damage is reduced. The state of Florida determines discounts based upon eight criteria:
1. Roof Covering: inspectors want to know when the roof was installed and does if it meets building codes. In Florida, the code standard was updated in 2001.
2. Roof Deck Attachment: inspectors will determine what type of roof decking is used and how it’s attached to the underlying structure, like if it’s nailed or stapled down. If nails are used, nail length and spacing between each will also be noted.
3. Roof to Wall Attachment: the roof attachments become the focus here: are trusses attached with nails or hurricane clips? Are the wraps single or double? The more secure your roof, the better impact on your wallet!
4. Roof Geometry: is your roof hip or not? Nope, the inspector won’t care how cool it is, just how it’s shaped - a hip roof resembles that of a pyramid, and is a definite qualifier for a discount.
5. Gable End Bracing: if the roof is a gable style, an inspector will review if the gable ends are braced to Florida Building Code standards. Gable ends measuring more than 48 inches tall should be braced for reinforcement, and inspectors will be checking for this qualification for discount.
6. Wall Construction Type: Inspectors will review the construction materials used on your home for framing, reinforcement, and outer fascia, and at what percentages. Steel reinforced concrete block homes may yield a better discount than one with a plywood-only frame and plastic siding.
7. Secondary Water Barrier: This is a newer item for roofs. If your roof was installed or upgraded before 2008, it’s fairly unlikely you’ll have this sort of barrier. As with most newer features, photo documentation, at a minimum, will be required for a discount in this area.
8. Opening Protection: Here, inspectors are looking for shutters and installed-protection devices from wind-born debris for doors and windows. They will also be checking the rating of the devices, if you have them (as in- are they hurricane-rated?). 100% of all openings need to be covered with Hurricane rated protection to qualify for this discount.
In the end, investing in a wind mitigation inspection is at your own discretion. The potential cost-savings per year could easily outweigh the cost. In many cases, the savings are 20-30% on hazard insurance.
Living in Southwest Florida requires diligence when purchasing a home, and I am here to assist you throughout the whole process.
Mary Horesco, REALTOR® 239-293-9434