Depending on where you live in Florida, the windstorm portion of your homeowners policy premium is typically between 15% – 70%. A wind mitigation inspection can drastically reduce those premiums, depending on the construction of your home and how well it is designed to withstand potential windstorm damage.
The more wind-resistive features your home has, the less likely you are to have a costly windstorm loss. Premium discounts/credits for more wind-resistive construction can be as high as 30%. When applied towards your windstorm premium, wind mitigation credits can greatly reduce your overall policy premium – potentially saving you hundreds of dollars. When you do the math, the credits more than pay for the cost of your inspection.
Homes built prior to 2002 do not automatically quality for wind mitigation credits, so an inspection can go a long way towards saving you money! Also, an inspection is generally good for up to 5 years; requirements may vary from carrier to carrier. Newer homes and condos built to meet Florida Building Code requirements automatically receive wind mitigation credits. However, a wind mitigation inspection could provide further credits based on the type of shutters the home has installed.
What is a Wind Mitigation Inspection and Where Can I Get One?
A wind mitigation inspection should be performed by a State of Florida Licensed Building Contractor or Certified Architect. There are a number of companies that perform such inspections, and the cost ranges anywhere from $75 – $150 with the average cost at about $100. An inspection usually takes less than an hour to perform.
Once the forms have been submitted to the insurance carrier, you should allow 4-6 weeks for processing. The applicable credits are applied to the policy, and if your premium has been paid in full you will receive a check for the return premium (credit) amount direct from the company. If you have not paid your policy premium in full, the wind mitigation credit is applied, and the overall premium and any remaining payments are reduced accordingly.
The following building features are what an inspector/contractor is looking at and takes into consideration when conducting the inspection:
- Shingles or other roof coverings: Do they meet Florida Building Code requirements?
- Roof decking: Has this been installed with larger nails/screws with closer spacing?
- Are hurricane clips and/or straps in place that secure the roof structure to the supporting walls?
- What type of protection is in place for windows and glass doors – full or partial? Is there impact-resistant glazing or other protection methods applied?
- Does a secondary water resistance barrier exist that prevents the roof from leaking if the shingles are blown off in a windstorm?
A reputable company will perform the inspection and provide the required forms and photographic documentation to your agent and in some cases – directly to the insurance carrier, with a courtesy copy to you. You should always keep your original inspection documents on file with your policy documents for future reference.