In order to have the inspection and receive a wind mitigation form, a Florida homeowner must have a licensed inspector review their home. The inspection informs the home owner of what factors makes their home more or less resistant to wind.
The inspector checks the interior, exterior, and landscape of the home in order to determine where it may be lacking or otherwise up-to-standard. The inspector’s assessments are noted on the Florida wind mitigation form as well as any applicable photo documentation. After the inspection is complete, the homeowner receives a comprehensive inspection report.
Why Should I Have a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
Rather than a “pass or fail” examination, the wind mitigation inspection form may be handed in to a home owner’s insurance agency in order to receive Florida home insurance credits and discounts. It is a state requirement that insurance agencies must offer these discounts in the state of Florida.
Homeowners are rewarded for the steps they take in safeguarding their homes from wind damage. Discounts are applied by accumulating Florida wind mitigation credits which are earned based on what precautions the homeowner has taken in shielding their home from hurricane-force winds.
If you take many precautionary measures to protect your home in case of natural disasters and hurricane winds, you are likely to receive these wind mitigation credits and receive a discount. However, if your home is not up-to-speed on more recent building codes, especially when it comes to the roof, you may not receive all or any credits and thus, less of a discount on your insurance premium.
Not only does the wind mitigation inspection and subsequent form give you, as a homeowner, the ability to earn and accumulate Florida home insurance credits and discounts, it also safeguards you and your family from damage to your belongings as well as protects you from potential injury. While it is not required to have the inspection, the benefits of both safety and savings make it worth it to many Florida homeowners.
Weather In Florida
Florida homes are subject to potential damage from numerous external forces, especially regarding the weather. Florida’s weather is often violent, and it would be wise to take preventative measures to ensure you, your family, and your belongings are safe.
Though it is known as the “Sunshine State,” Florida is often anything but sunny. It is fairly temperate as it is quite warm during the summer and rarely gets very cold during the winter.
The coastal regions are especially more even in temperature. However, though it may be warm, the state is prone to thunderstorms which occur about every other day during the summer months(June-September).
The area which is most affected by this is a strip of land which reaches from Orlando down to Lake Okeechobee and Fort Myers. Not only does Florida have an above-average amount of thunderstorms, but even the lightening which comes from these storms pack a stronger-than-average punch. This could be because of its massive, highly charged storm clouds. Many of the oddities in the weather are caused by the many bodies of water within and surrounding the state.
Another extreme factor of Florida’s climate which affects both residents and homes is the extreme heat. It is estimated that is has about 25 “dangerous heat days” every year. Excessive rainfall and subsequent flooding is also something Florida residents often face. Some days, areas experience up to 10 inches of rain, but this is predominantly when a tropical storm or hurricane occurs.
The spring months are peak tornado time in Florida. These are relatively “mild” tornadoes, however and typically manifest as a waterspout. Though, there are typically more severe tornados in the panhandle of Florida in early spring. Lightning, hail, and rain often accompany tornadoes as well.
Hurricanes are possibly Florida’s most well-known and definitely one of its most dangerous natural disasters. The violent winds of a hurricane travel at a minimum speed of 74 miles per hour. The storms begin over the ocean where the water is warm. The humid air from these warmer areas propels air towards the center of the storm, causing it to spiral.
From these spinning barriers of wind comes torrential rain. It is extremely important for Florida homeowners to prepare their homes for hurricanes, whether they are trying to earn Florida wind mitigation credits or not.
The Wind Mitigation Inspection vs. The Four-Point Inspection?
While both inspections are specific to the state of Florida, they are very different. Florida wind mitigation inspections are voluntary by the homeowner, and rather than determining an insurance agency’s risk, they allow homeowners to earn discounts on their home insurance.
Four-point inspections, however, are requested by the insurance agency in order to determine how much risk the company would be taking on in insuring a home. The “four points” considered are roofing, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.
How to Obtain a Wind Mitigation Inspection
This kind of inspection can only be administered by a licensed professional. However, general contractors, building contractors, engineers, architects, home inspectors, and building inspectors could all be potentially certified.
For those who are buying a home or taking outa new insurance policy, the same professional inspector who performs your buyers inspection and/or four-point inspection can also perform your wind mitigation inspection. Some even offer a packaged deal and subsequent discount.
How Long Do Florida Wind Mitigation Credits Last?
Florida wind mitigation credits last for five years. During these years, the discounts are applied at each policy renewal.
What’s Considered On the Wind Mitigation Form?
Homes built in Florida prior to the year 2002 were not held to a state building code. Local counties had the authority to decide these standards for themselves. Because of this, the standard of the buildings were much lower.
Homes built before 2002 are more likely to be lacking in structure able to withstand hurricane-force winds. If your home was built before 2002, some upgrades might be needed on your home to bring it up to code and earn you Florida wind mitigation credits. If your home was built during or after 2002, you may not need a wind mitigation inspection as the codes should already be up-to-date.
Even homes built in the 1990’sto 2001 are likely to be mostly up to code. If your roof has been replaced since 2002, you will most likely receive wind mitigation credits.
Houses built in the 1980’swith roofs that have been replaced since 2002 will also probably qualify. Houses built in the 1970’s are much less likely to qualify to earn any wind mitigation credits unless steps are taken to update the home and make it more hurricane wind-resistant.
New materials tend to be more up to the task of protecting your home against strong storm winds. Type of material and how long they have been on your roof are both determining factors your wind mitigation inspector will consider.
Your inspector will consider how well your roof attaches to the rafters your home. If it is a weak attachment, it will berated at a 1, whereas if it is stronger a 2, and if strongest, a 3.
There are other factors considered in the way your roof is connected to your home including how many nails are used to secure it, the length of those nails, and the type of nails used. Some nails and supplies are superior in creating a wind-resistant home than other materials.
If your home was built after 2002, you already have materials that are up to code.
Toenails, clips, single wraps, double wraps, anchor bolts, and other possible forms of fastenings are all considered in the way your roof is connected to the walls of your house.
They are arranged from A to G with A being the weakest (toenails) and G being the strongest (double wraps). If there is no way to determine what kind of fastenings are used to connect the walls to the roof, such as by means of an attic, no credit can be administered.
Toenails, the weakest of these options, refers to when nails are hammered in at angles to fasten attic trusses to the walls. Because of the weakness of toenails, no wind mitigation credits are allotted for this type of attachment.
Older homes often have clips. Clips attach on one side of a truss and need three nails to fasten them. These can be added to houses with toenails. Straps (both single and double wraps) only need three nails to fasten them (two on the front and one on the back). These “wrap” over the truss.
A hip roof has sides which all slope downwards. This is the best option when it comes to going up against hurricane winds. When a roof has flatter sides, there is more surface area for the winds to beat against, thus creating more force and probable damage on the home.
Secondary Water Resistance
This is a system which keeps water from seeping into a home incase the primary roof has been destroyed or removed by a hurricane. This is another factor which has been added to homes since 2001. If your home was built before then, it is unlikely your home is built with secondary water resistance.
If seals on your house are broken, such as those on windows or doors being opened, the caused pressure in your home can create more damage and issues.
By making sure you have the proper shutters and tempered glass, as well as seals on all doors and garage doors, you can better protect your home from damage. Your wind mitigation inspector will check for this and make sure attachments in your home are secure.
What Factors Establish My Premium?
Insurance agencies in Florida are required to offer their customers a copy of the Wind Mitigation Notice of Premium Discount Form whenever a new policy is taken out and at every renewal. This form lays out what kinds of factors are considered when establishing your premium.
The factors considered are location, policy, deductible(s), and home improvements.
Homes near the coast are more at risk to hurricanes and damage from high-speed winds. This is considered and could affect premiums higher.
Florida home insurance policies have two deductibles, based on what type of loss is claimed on your policy(hurricane/windstorm and all other perils).
With a smaller deductible, you, as a homeowner, will take on less risk in case of a loss, while the insurance company will take on the greater risk of loss, thus raising your premium. However, if you have a higher deductible, such as 5% or 10%, the insurance agency takes on less risk, lowering your premium.
Taking steps to secure your roof and windows are a couple of the ways to protect your home against hurricane winds and to reduce your hurricane wind premium.
Is a Florida Wind Mitigation Inspection Right for Me?
When you take steps to protect your home and make sure it is resistant against hurricane winds, you increase your ability to earn Florida home insurance credits and discounts as well as keep you and your loved ones safe.
Worth Insurance aims to help you in finding the best possible rates to aid you and your family in the event of a natural disaster. Our up-to-date modern technology aims to make buying insurance easy. Here at Worth, we are happy to help you decide if a wind mitigation inspection is right for you.