Wind Mitigation: What It Means for Your Homeowner’s Insurance
In our last few articles, we’ve focused on the roof. We’re still there, although the issue we’re discussing now also impacts the rest of your home – wind mitigation features.
Did you know that the majority of your homeowner’s insurance premium can be attributed to wind-mitigation risk? Anywhere from 15 to 70 percent of your premium exists to cover the cost of wind damage, according to a 2015 report from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Here is a link to get an idea of what wind mitigation and a UMVI (uniform mitigation verification inspection) report is all about: https://peoplestrustinsurance.com/homeowners-academy/2015/06/03/what-is-wind-mitigation.
Surprisingly even in Florida, where we are at extreme risk for wind damage, wind-mitigation inspections are not required by insurance companies or mortgage lenders. And if you do have a wind-mitigation inspection on your home, and it is more than five years old, it is no longer considered valid or current.
Why have a wind-mitigation inspection? The first reason is obvious. Knowing how your home will stand up to potential high winds could provide you and your family with some peace of mind. If that’s not enough, the second reason is money.
Living in a coastal state like Florida you may be aware of wind mitigation insurance. If you’re not, you might want to consider the significant savings a home inspection may offer, should you end up suffering from nature’s wrath.
While wind mitigation is not a standard part of the traditional four-point home inspection (electrical, HVAC, plumbing and roofing), it’s worth considering. So why would someone want to order an extra inspection if it isn’t 100% needed? Because it could save you money!
In 2006, Florida became the first state in the nation to mandate that insurance companies offer some reduction in insurance costs if a wind mitigation inspection is sought and certified upon review by a qualified inspector (usually a board-certified contractor, architect or engineer).
Casey Hahn, (http://caseyhahn-ffbic.com) an agent with Farm Bureau Insurance, explains how it works.
“Homes built prior to 2002 may not have been built to the current building code,” he said. “That includes hurricane clips in the attic, which help tie-down the trusses in the attic to the exterior walls of the home. If your home was built after the building code update in 2002, it automatically qualifies for a handful of discounts, particularly for homes built in the Alachua County area. Homes built before 2002 can have wind-mitigation inspections done on them, and they may still qualify for multiple discounts on their homeowners insurance.”
A licensed inspector can evaluate the wind-mitigating characteristics of your home or business. Post-inspection, and assuming the wind-mitigating characteristics are sufficient, the inspector 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 the appropriate discounts are applied.
How much can you save? That depends o the insurance company. In Florida, an average discount of 30 percent is typical. That could lead to a saving of $1,000 a year or more on your insurance premium.
What’s involved in a wind-mitigation inspection? That varies from state to state. Florida focuses on eight specific areas.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
How much will a wind-mitigation inspection cost you? With Informed Inspection, Inc. the inspection and creation of your wind mitigation report is $125. If it’s part of a full-home inspection, it is only $75, and if you qualify for one of our discounts it could be as little as $64. Given that the insurance savings can be hundreds of dollars per year, why wouldn’t you invest in getting an inspection?
Bye for now. In the next issue of Mr. Rick’s blog, we will discuss attics with poor insulation, shortened roof life and high (ouch) utility bills.
Remember, if you have an issue that we haven’t addressed in the blog, use our contact page at http://www.informedinspection.com/contact.html and ask a question. “Mr. Rick” is here to help you. I’ll answer you via email, and with your permission, your question and answer may create a future blog presentation.