When I refinanced my home this year, the lender insisted upon a Wind Mitigation Inspection. Good thing. The inspection alone saved me $3K on my insurance bill. Coverage for wind/hurricane damage is the most expensive part of a Florida homeowners policy.
After the devastating 2004 hurricane season, many insurance companies went out of business and those that survived raised premiums considerably. The largest hurricanes that year ― Charlie , Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne ― resulted in thousands of deaths and tens of billions of dollars in damage. The Florida legislature recognized the impact this was going to have on families. In response, they now require insurance companies to give discounts for home features that minimize wind damage.
Homeowners who complete a Wind Mitigation Inspection could receive discounts up to 89% on the wind damage portion of their policy. For $70-$100, a homeowner could potentially save thousands. At the very least, they would save enough to cover the cost of the inspection. The inspection and subsequent savings are good for five years.
The Form Matters
It is important that the licensed inspector use the right form. The 01/12 update to the OIR-B1-1802 Uniform Wind Mitigation Inspection Form went into effect February 1, 2012. The new version is much more comprehensive and gives homeowners the opportunity to realize more savings.
For example, high impact windows are now separated out from other building entrances (like your garage) and may provide additional discounts. You’ll want to give the inspector as much documentation as possible, such as permits for shutters and Notice of Acceptance (NOA) for Exterior Opening Protection. These show that you have installed these items and had them approved.
A licensed Wind Mitigation Inspector must perform the inspection. They are looking for building features that reduce the risk of wind damage. The 01/12 form requires them to provide detailed information about your roof, doors, and windows.
First, they want to know if your roof was built in compliance with the Florida Building Code. The specific code requirement is based on the age of the house and county in Florida.
Most of the inspection is related to your roof. The shape of the roof matters. A hip roof is the most wind-resistant and provides the largest discount.
Carriers not only care about the material that covers your roof, but also how it is attached. Is the roof decking attached to the rafters or trusses below? They also inspect how the trusses or rafters attach to the walls. The inspector must identify the weakest points in the roof-to-deck and roof-to-wall attachments during the inspection.
The Details Matter
The discounts are definitely in the details. How a roof is attached to the rafters is just one example. The type of nail and the spacing between them determines uplift resistance strength. This minor detail can double the chances of your roof staying on during a hurricane.
The Wind Mitigation Inspection also examines secondary water resistance (such as a foam barrier) and opening protection. The addition of hurricane shutters and impact-resistant windows and doors can result in higher discounts, depending on the type.
The one thing you never want to do is list a building feature that you don’t have in order to get a discount. It’s a class one misdemeanor. The state of Florida takes this seriously.
Worth More Than Discounts
No doubt that potentially saving thousands is an incentive to get a Wind Mitigation Inspection. But finding ways to protect your property from getting destroyed in a hurricane is even more important. Risk mitigation and a full tank of gas go a long way.
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