If you’ve owned real estate in Central Florida for more than a few years, your insurance company might have suggested that you get a wind mitigation inspection or asked to see a wind mitigation inspection report.
But what is a wind mitigation inspection, exactly?
Also known as “windstorm inspections,” this quick, affordable process can help you prepare for hurricane season as well as provide substantial discounts on your home insurance premiums.
What Is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
A wind mitigation inspection is a visual examination of a home’s existing ability (or lack of ability) to withstand damage during a windstorm. During an inspection, a licensed general contractor, architect, engineer, building inspector, or home inspector examines various features of your home and describes their current condition as well as any improvements that could make the property more wind resistant.
Surprisingly, as of November 2019, wind mitigation inspections are not required in the state of Florida. But they are something that EDC highly recommends for every Florida homeowner.
If They’re Not Required, Why Should I Get One?
Hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th but it doesn’t take a named hurricane to damage a home. Water can enter through vents or poorly sealed windows. Strong winds can detach a roof. Even a small leak in your roof can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage, especially if it goes unnoticed.
Wind mitigation reports not only describe the characteristics of your home, they list the measures you can take to lessen the damage it receives during a windstorm. You can use this report to prioritize home improvement projects, such as installing new windows and doors or having the roofing replaced.
Wind Mitigation Credits
For homeowners insurance companies, there is measurably less risk involved in insuring homes that have taken extra precautions against damage, so they offer wind mitigation credits to give you a discount on your home insurance premiums.
Under Florida law, insurance companies are required to give discounts on home insurance for structures that pass a wind mitigation inspection. Your discount will be based on the risk rating your home receives during the inspection. If you have recently replaced your roof, the new roof is up to the most recent code and will most likely qualify for additional credits.
Savings can be up to 88% off your hurricane and wind premiums, far outweighing the cost of the inspection, providing an immediate payback and accumulating return on investment.
To receive these wind mitigation discounts, your report must be less than five years old, even if your home’s characteristics have not changed. Check with your insurance agent if you are unsure of whether your wind mitigation report is about to expire. The inspector can also give you advice for items that need to be brought up to code or other wind mitigation features you can install to increase your discount.
When it comes to protecting your home against wind damage, ignorance is not bliss.
The great news is that your premium will never go up because of an inspection, it can only go down. There is no risk in getting a wind mitigation inspection: you either get a hefty insurance discount or you have valuable knowledge for protecting your home against the next hurricane. (And let’s face it, there will always be a next hurricane.)
Wind Mitigation Checklist
So what happens during a wind mitigation inspection?
Your home inspector will check different areas of the home during the walk-through, such as:
- Roof covering and installation (either Florida-approved or permitted installation for discount),
- Roof-to-wall ties,
- Roof deck attachment,
- Windows and doors (required protection in wind-borne debris regions >140 mph),
- Garage doors (both WBDR protection and pressure eligible for discount),
- Secondary water resistance,
- Roof shape
- Documented dwelling conditions, such as style of roof design.
This checklist ensures that your home has been thoroughly checked at all the known points that water or wind can enter your home.
Even though a wind mitigation inspection is optional, there is no reason not to get one.
When it comes to dealing with storms, your home should be one of the safest locations for you and your family. Living in Florida means that you never know when the next big thunderstorm or hurricane will hit. We’ve all seen—through pictures, video, or our own eyes—homes torn apart after a major storm.
Take the appropriate steps to protect your home and save you money along the way.
If you are interested in finding out how much money you could save on your homeowners insurance or want to see where your house could use some wind reinforcement, contact us to set up your wind migitation inspection today.