When purchasing a home in Southwest Florida, a wind mitigation report is crucial for your homeowner insurance policy. Over the years, building standards have changed to accommodate potential hurricane threats, especially since 2004-2005. Roof style, roof and deck attachment, roof sheathing/ waterproof covering, etc. has improved to prevent hurricane and water damage. This is especially important for buyers when purchasing a resale home, and I use home inspectors licensed to do so, as a service to my buyer clients. Insurance companies like any other type of insurance, base their rates upon the level of risk of damage.
Here are important facts you need to know:
Wind Mitigation Insurance is the only inspection that is almost guaranteed to result in some level of insurance discount on your insurance premium. In 2006, Florida became the first state in the nation to mandate that insurance companies offer some reduction insurance costs if a wind mitigation inspection is sought and certified upon review by a qualified inspector.
How much could a person stand to save?
An inspector will evaluate the wind-mitigating characteristics of your home or business. Post-inspection, that inspector will make recommendations for any improvements or repairs the property owner could make on their home to enhance its sustainability against windstorm damage. He or she then submits a state-standard inspection report to your insurance agency. The report is viewed as a benchmark of your home's ability to withstand storm damage, and an appropriate discount is then applied – in Florida, an average discount of 30% is typical, saving a few hundred to over $1,000 annually on your insurance premium.
Every state can vary on what safety features inspectors look for. Florida looks at 8 key categories, described below:
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.
For example, and inspection looks at the weakest element to determine the risk category: if you have a row of small windows at the top of your garage door, or a window above the doorway that is not protected by a hurricane shutter, you are in the a different risk category regardless if alll the other windows have a protection.
As always, I am always looking out for my clients. Contact me with any questions, it pays to use someone working for you!