WIND INSURANCE INSPECTION
Ways to Save up to 45% on Your Homeowners Wind Insurance Policy
Windstorm Mitigation Inspection – Wind Mitigation Certification
I specialize in inspections for the insurance industry (wind mitigation inspection, 4-point inspection). Allow me to help you lower your windstorm premiums. By simply contacting me, I can determine whether or not you are eligible for discounts that can save you up to 40% off your windstorm insurance.
A Windstorm Mitigation Inspection is a valuable inspection service that may reduce the windstorm portion of your homeowners insurance. Insurance discounts are available for building features that reduce damage during high wind events. The discounts are justified because stronger, more wind-resistive structures have lower windstorm losses, which mean reduced costs to insurance companies. Most existing structures have one or more wind resistive construction features and may qualify for some insurance discounts.
The state of Florida REQUIRES Insurance Companies to offer REDUCED RATES for certain Hurricane resistant features:
Cut insurance costs with wind resistance survey
New law can save hundreds of dollars a year
Originally published on October 07, 2007
I’ve got good news and better news. The good news is that I just saved $1,600 a year on my homeowners insurance. The better news is that you may be able to do the same.
This may sound like an ad for Geico insurance, but it’s not. Florida state law mandates that every insurance company offer qualifying customers a discount on homeowners insurance. What’s the catch? There isn’t one. All you have to do is have a wind loss mitigation survey performed on your home and sit back and wait to see what your savings will be. Savings are not guaranteed, but according to insurance experts, most homeowners can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year.
I was skeptical when I first heard about the potential savings. My home was built in 1995, and I had not added any of the new hurricane-protection devices such as storm shutters, impact glass, etc. But at the prodding of my insurance agent, I paid $150 for the necessary inspection. I hoped to at least save the cost of the inspection. To my surprise, I saved a whole lot more.
After I calmed down, my burning question was why didn’t I know about this sooner? My insurance agent was quick to point out that they had done several mass mailing to their customers regarding this program, and they were doing their best to spread the word. I realized that those mailings probably ended up in my trash compactor. I wonder what other good news had I missed? Since then, I decided to lower my junk-mail filters just a tad, fearing I might have already thrown away the notice that Publishers Clearing House was going to be dropping by with a check the size of a minivan.
I have since learned that I’m not alone. The majority of the people I talk to don’t know about this law either, in spite of conscientious insurance agents trying to get out the word. Brian Chapman, an insurance agent for State Farm and a long-time friend of mine, has written an article regarding this program, but was having difficulty getting it published. I promised him that if the results of my inspection saved me money, then I would gladly help spread the good news. Here are excerpts from his article:
The legislative session of 2004 mandated that insurance companies offer discounts on all homes, even older ones, that contain wind loss mitigation characteristics similar to those of newer homes built under the Florida Building Code of 2001 (FBC 2001). Suppose you have had a new roof put on your home in 2004, for this you receive a credit because the new roof material and installation techniques meet or exceed the FBC 2001. The credit applies because you have a roof installed based on the FBC 2001 regardless of the age of your home. If you had the roof deck material, most of the time plywood, re-nailed when the roof was installed, chances are the nailing pattern is one that would allow for an additional discount as well.
New construction products have been developed since the inception of the FBC 2001 that provide for additional protection for a home from storm damage. If your house has this, you get a discount for it. The list of other possible discount features includes type of construction, roof tie-down attachments and foundation restraints. Each of the construction characteristics that can relate in some way to that of homes built under the new code will allow for credits that can add up to a tidy sum of money.
His advice is for homeowners to contact their insurance agent and ask for a list of approved windstorm loss mitigation specialists. If you hire an approved inspector, the usual charge for this inspection is between $150 and $200.
Is this the ultimate answer to our insurance crisis? No, but any program that will reduce rates is a step in the right direction
Windstorm Mitigation Inspections must be performed by Certified Wind Mitigation Inspectors. I will inspect the home for features present and prepare the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form (OIR-B1-1802), This form was developed by the Office of Insurance Regulation and must be completed and signed by a Qualified Inspector (see below), to use in your request for reduced rates.
• A Florida licensed General, Residential or Building Contractor
• A licensed/certified Building Inspector
• A registered Architect
• An Engineer in the State of Florida
• A Building Code Official (who is duly authorized by the State of Florida or its county’s municipalities to verify building code compliance).
INSURANCE COMPANY DISCOUNT
click on Mitigation Incentive Database
Windstorm construction features protect your home from catastrophic hurricane damage by strengthening your homes ability to withstand the uplift, shear and lateral forces of the wind associated with a hurricane to the exterior shell of your home. The features enhance the vulnerable components of your home’s protective shell or envelope by fortifying your roof, exterior walls, windows and doors so they will not breach or fail in high winds. If this protective shell or envelope is breached, not only can wind-driven rain and debris enter your home causing considerable damage to its interior, but the high winds can enter your home and exert pressure on your walls and roof leading to catastrophic damage to your property.
Windstorm inspections look for construction features that have been shown to reduce losses in hurricanes, such as a hip roof, concrete block construction, the presence of gable end bracing, shutters and opening protections, the presence of single or double roof straps, and the presence of a secondary water resistance barrier.
A homeowner with windstorm insurance can often submit the results of a windstorm inspection to their insurer to obtain discounts on their windstorm insurance. In Florida, for example, premium discounts for certain favorable wind mitigation features are mandated by State law and can total 45% of the original policy’s premium.
Windstorm Mitigation Certification
Q & A
- Why are insurance companies offering discounts?
The state legislation adopted provisions for a new statewide building code (the 2001 Florida Building Code), which became effective on March 1, 2002. The same legislation included a requirement for insurance companies to provide property insurance discounts for homes that have construction features that reduce the losses in windstorms. Each insurance company was required to submit new rates by February 28, 2003 and include discounts for wind damage reduction (mitigation) construction features.
The discounts are justified because stronger, more wind-resistive houses have lower windstorm losses, and lower windstorm losses means reduced costs to insurance companies. The insurance discounts provide some financial incentives for homeowners to strengthen their existing homes and for new construction to be built to the strongest options in the Florida Building Code.
These new insurance rate discounts in Florida begin to take place in 2003. They apply to both existing construction (houses built prior to 2002) and new construction built to the new statewide Florida Building Code (FBC).
To qualify for these discounts, most insurance companies require a certification of the key construction features.
- What construction features qualify for discounts?
The following figure shows typical features that reduce wind damage. Over 90% of existing houses have one or more of these wind resistive construction features and may qualify for some insurance discounts. In addition, houses built after 1994 in Miami-Dade or Broward Counties and houses built after 2002 in the rest of the state generally have many wind resistive construction features and will likely qualify for significant credits.
The following items are building features that reduce wind damage
for which many insurance companies offer wind premium discounts.
To learn more about each of these categories, click on the
highlighted portion of the text.
1. Roof coverings, such as shingles that meet the FBC
2. Roof decks that have been installed with large nails and close
3. Hurricane clips/straps that hold the roof structure to the walls.
4. Protection of Openings such as windows and glass doors with
impact resistant glazing or other protection systems.
5. Secondary Water Resistance that prevents the roof from leaking if
the roof covering is blown off in a windstorm.
6. Roof Design, Hip roofs seem to divert the stronger winds and
therefore sustain less damage.
7. Garage Doors require reinforcement . Shutters have little value
when the garage door is not protected.
8. Newly Constructed Homes built to the Florida Building Code since
March 1, 2002
9. Homes built to the South Florida Building Code in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties after 1994.
Please note that insurance companies may have more features that qualify for credits such as doors and gable end bracing.
- What is the value of the Insurance Discounts?
The dollar value of the discounts depends on three primary factors.
- The number of wind resistive construction features present on your home – Some individual features may qualify for 10% discount and others only a few percent. The more wind resistive features you have, the higher total discount will be. The discounts can be as high as 30% or more of the wind portion of the insurance premium. (The portion of your premium that is for wind losses is provided on your policy declaration page).
- The location of your home – Wind insurance rates vary by location within the state. If your wind insurance rates are high, then the percentage discounts will result in more dollars for a house in a high rate area versus the same house in a lower rate area.
- The value of your home – Discounts are calculated as a percentage of the wind premium for your specific home. High value homes have higher premiums, hence, the dollar value of the discounts will increase as the value of the home increases.
Contact your insurance agent or company to determine the potential value of the discounts for your house.
- What do I do after the Wind Certification Survey is conducted?
After the inspection you will receive a copy of the OIR-B1-1802 form, typically, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to forward these papers to their agent or insurance company.
- How much is a Wind Certification Survey?
|Living Space of Building
|0- 4999 square feet
|5000 – 9999 square feet
|10000 square feet and more
- How to I know the product I have on my home or buy for my home are properly rated?
After Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida in 1992, Miami-Dade, Broward, and unincorporated Palm Beach counties passed building codes that required new homes to be built with opening protection (impact-resistant windows and doors, or impact-resistant coverings, such as shutters, for windows and doors). These codes also included standards for how opening protection products would be tested and approved for use.
Today, the Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA) is the best way to be sure the products you buy pass the strictest tests in the country or windborne debris, pressure, and water.
All opening protection products that have received a Miami-Dade NOA are also approved by the Florida Building Code. But the reverse is not true. That’s because the Florida Building Code test standards do not disqualify an opening protection product, a shutter for example, that allows for the possibility of glass breakage during a
hurricane. A product that allows for glass breakage during testing would not be approved for use by the Miami-
You can learn whether a product you are considering has received a Miami-Dade NOA by visiting the Miami-Dade Building Code Compliance website at: www.miamidade.gov/buildingcode look for the Search Approved Products tab under Product Control on the site’s menu.
- What if my agent or insurance company refuses to accept the inspection results submitted on the proper form?
Call the Department of Financial Services’ Consumer Hotline 1-800-342-2762 (In Florida) or 850-413-3132 (Out-of-State) to report what happened.