We've written in the past about Florida's home insurance requirements, which include a "Four-Point Inspection" for homes that are more than 30 years old. Of course, home insurance can be expensive in southwest Florida in part because our environmental conditions throw a lot of potentially damaging conditions at our structures, day in and day out, all year long. But since we're smack-dab in the middle of hurricane season, it's a good time to talk about Wind Mitigation Inspections and Credits--what they are and how they can help you save a lot of money on your home insurance.
Wind Mitigation Inspection: Roof
There are quite a few ways your home can be damaged by high winds, and my job during a wind mitigation inspection is to look closely at all of them. Of course, your home's roof is a big item on my wind mitigation checklist. I have to take into account not just the condition of the roof, but the style: What kind of roof covering does your home have, has it been properly installed, and has it already sustained damage? What is the style/shape of your roof? Different architectural features present different challenges when it comes to wind mitigation.
I'm also going to look at your roof deck attachment--how well your roof's surface is attached to its underlying trusses--as well as the roof wall attachment--how well the whole "skeleton" of the roof is attached to the lower structure of the home. Not to be dramatic, but one of the biggest, scariest consequences of high winds occurs when penetrates the inside of a home and lifts the roof clean off.
Wind Mitigation Inspection: Windows and Doors
In addition to your roof, a wind mitigation inspection needs to take into account how well your windows and doors can resist wind damage--especially wind-borne objects. All these openings need to be well attached and water-tight to prevent damaging leaks, but they also need to be able to withstand your neighbor's patio umbrella hurling into them at more than 100 mph. Again, if your house lets in high winds, the pressure from the inside out can be incredibly damaging.
Wind Mitigation Credit
Here's the thing: A wind mitigation inspection isn't required by home insurance companies, but it's still a good idea--and not just because the inspection makes sure your home is protected, and the report highlights improvements you can make. Florida law requires insurance companies to offer discounts for homes that pass a wind mitigation inspection. A wind mitigation report lasts for five years--so that's five years with a significantly decreased home insurance premium. Trust me: It's worth it.