What is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
If you’re a Florida homeowner, it’s important to know about wind mitigation inspections. This type of insurance inspection can help you save on your home insurance premiums by identifying features on your property that help protect it from wind damage. A wind mitigation inspection assesses your property’s ability to withstand hurricane and tropical storm winds. In Florida, insurance companies are legally bound to offer discounts for building features that can help protect your home or commercial building against wind damage.
HOMESHAPE Inspections is licensed and certified to review your building and provide a Wind Mitigation Report, which may make you eligible for insurance discounts.
Is A Wind Mitigation Required in Florida?
No. As of 2022 Wind Mitigations are not required in the State of Florida. However, most insurance carriers will require them to provide you with the best pricing on a homeowners insurance policy. HOMESHAPE Inspections recommends that the best opportunity to get a wind mitigation report is when you are buying a new home, after your roof has been replaced or after 5 years have passed since the previous report.
Why Do You Need A Wind Mitigation?
The wind mitigation process is intended to save you money, not raise your premiums. I say this because if an insurance adjuster sends out a quote before getting reports on the condition of your home, then those estimates will be inaccurate due to them assuming conditions without any actual proof. Always make sure you reach out to multiple insurance companies for accurate quotes after receiving all necessary documentation from the home inspector. Here are some additional reasons you’ll need a wind mitigation report.
According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, 15% – 70% of home insurance premiums in the state are due to wind damage risk. While there is an upfront investment involved, putting upwind mitigation measures into your house may save you a lot of money over time.
Installation of hurricane shutters on home, upgrading to impacted rated doors, windows, garage openings, or roof protection straps reduces the danger of flying debris entering your home, putting your family in danger.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that your home is safe from hurricane damage simply because the season has passed. Water can enter through vents or poorly sealed windows, while strong winds can detach a roof. Even a small leak in your roof can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage if left unchecked.
Determine Home Improvements
Wind mitigation reports examine how well your home can currently withstand wind and suggest strategies for reducing the damage it suffers. This report may be used to rank home improvement initiatives like installing new windows and doors or having the roof replaced.
What is Inspected on A Wind Mitigation?
You might be surprised to learn that many homeowners are not aware of the important role that wind mitigation plays in securing an insurance policy. It is common for people to hear from their insurance company that wind mitigation is required, but they often have little idea of what this entails or what they need to do in order to comply. During a wind mitigation inspection, your home inspector will review several key features of your home.
- Building Code
- Roof Covering
- Roof Deck Attachment
- Roof to Wall Attachment
- Roof Geometry
- Secondary Water Resistance
- Opening Protection
During your wind mitigation inspection your home inspector will be evaluating the age of the home or structure.
Building codes are a set of rules and regulations that are used to determine the safety and structural integrity of a building or structure. In order to determine whether or not a building meets these standards, wind mitigation inspections are typically performed. During these inspections, a variety of factors are evaluated, including the age of the building, the materials used in its construction, and any upgrades that have been made over time.
One key factor that is often evaluated during wind mitigation inspections is the age of the building. Since building codes change on a regular basis, older buildings may not meet the latest standards for wind resistance and structural integrity. Therefore, insurance companies often require that homes be built within certain time frames in order to qualify for wind mitigation discounts.
When evaluating a roof for wind mitigation, a home inspector will look at the type of roof covering that is currently in place. This may include different materials and finishes, such as asphalt shingles, metal panels, and even tile or wood shakes. The age of the roof is also taken into account, as older roofs may not be able to withstand wind gusts as effectively as newer roofs.
Additionally, the inspector will look for any damage to the roof itself and any potential entry points for moisture or leaks. Finally, if permits were acquired when the roof was installed or other repairs were made to the structure, these documents will be evaluated by the inspector as well. Most home inspectors will conduct a permit search with the local county or city. Overall, a thorough evaluation of the roof is an important part of wind mitigation processes in order to ensure that your home is properly protected from wind-related damage.
Roof Deck & Wall Attachment
Determining the roof deck attachment is process of analyzing what sheathing was used for the roofing underlayment this is often a plank or plywood sheathing. The home inspector will determine how thick the sheathing is and the nailing pattern that was used to secure it to the trusses of the roof. The roof can be attached by nails or staples but 8d nails that extend over an inch and are spaced within 6 inches or less are optimal for the report
The wall attachment portion of the inspection will analyze how the trusses are secured to the exterior walls of the home. I’ll admit this is the hardest part of the inspection due to how difficult it can be to access these areas of the attic. There is multiple type of attachment methods: toenails, clips, single wraps, and double wraps. These attachment methods determine how strong the roof truss system is secured to the house itself.
It’s important to note that the inspection requires the home inspector to evaluate 3 separate areas to perform the evaluation and determine what is the weakest form of deck and wall attachment.
When it comes to the geometry of the roof, insurance companies are primarily interested in whether the roof is a hip roof or a flat roof. A hip roof is a style of roof that has a sloped angle on each side meeting in a hip on top. There are 5 types of hip roofs. This design is stronger than a gable roof, which has two attachment points, and is therefore more desirable for homes in areas that are prone to hurricanes or other strong windstorms. Additionally, a hip roof cannot have more than 20% of the linear feet of the entire roof composed of another roof type.
For the best evaluation on a wind mitigation report a hip roof is desired. However, if you do not have a hip roof that’s alright it doesn’t hurt your insurance; it just doesn’t provide a break on your insurance premiums.
Secondary Water Resistance
If a home has a secondary water resistance barrier, or SWR, it can qualify for insurance discounts. An SWR is a self-adhering polymer that is applied to the roof sheathing as a supplemental means to protect the dwelling from water intrusion. Regular underlayment does not qualify as an SWR.
An SWR can help protect your home from water damage in the event of a storm or other weather event. It is important to note that an SWR is not a replacement for regular underlayment, which should still be used as part of your roofing system. If you are interested in learning more about SWRs and whether or not your home qualifies for discounts, please contact your insurance company.
The best way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your insurance policy is by protecting your home from the wind. One way to do this is by making sure all of your openings are properly protected. This includes things like impact windows and hurricane shutters. If you have all of your openings properly protected, you may qualify for a discount on your insurance policy.
It’s important to know how these calculations are determined. Your home inspector will evaluate all openings to your home, including windows, doors, garage doors, skylights, and glass block. The impact rating is determined by the lowest rating of any of the openings. For example, if you install new impact rated windows but the skylight doesn’t have an impact rating or shutter installed, the evaluation will consider it to have some impact rating but won’t qualify for a full impact rating on the home.
How Much Does A Wind Mitigation Cost?
When it comes to buying a home, there are a lot of things to consider. One of the most important things to factor in is the cost of a wind mitigation report. Depending on the size and complexity of the home being inspected, most reports generally cost between $100 and $250. Additionally, many home insurance companies offer discounts on premiums for homes that have up-to-date wind mitigation reports on file. So, while there is an initial cost to having the report prepared, it could end up saving you money in the long run.
Just because a price is better it doesn’t mean your home inspector is performing the inspection with your interests in mind. When hiring a home inspection company there are a few very important questions you need to ask.
- Are they performing permit research on your behalf?
- How about the product approval research for impact ratings?
- How soon can you get your wind mitigation report after the inspection?
NOTE: Permit and product approval research can take more than an hour to properly document if there’s little to no information available. Also, some inspectors can have a longer turnaround on their reports.
HOMESHAPE Inspections is different from other home inspection companies because we’re upfront with our pricing on every inspection. We also provide bundled service pricing to save homeowners on their insurance inspections. Each wind mitigation report our company provides already includes the standard permit and product approval research with a same day turnaround.
5 Tips to Prepare for a Wind Mitigation Inspection
While you can’t control the outcome of the inspection, there are some steps you can take to prepare for it and increase the chances that your home will pass with flying colors—and be better protected against high winds in the event of a storm. Here are some tips:
Make sure there is an attic access that the inspector can enter.
One of the most important parts of the inspection, the attic is necessary for 3 major sections of the wind mitigation report. If the access is blocked and there is no reasonable way for the home inspector to inspect this area, they may mark the report as no attic access, and this can adversely affect the report. Now if your roof has no attic access due to being a low pitch or flat roof there are some options to check the roof deck and attachments from the soffits but it’s best to ask your home inspector prior to the inspection.
Provide any permits or documents you have about your roof, doors, or windows.
Permits are considered the gold standard in the eyes of insurance carriers. it’s important to also know product information about any upgrades you made to your home to study them for their impact or wind resistance. If you don’t have this information, it’s alright a good home inspector will conduct permit research and evaluate any product etchings available on the windows or doors during the inspection. We also provide a guide about building permits to help homeowners and realtors find permits online.
Evaluate your home’s windows, doors, roof for damage and get it repaired prior.
If your home is damaged, it’s best to get it repaired as soon as possible. The inspector is obligated to report any broken glass on windows or doors, or any leaks present inside the home, attic, or roof.
Trim any overgrown trees or shrubs around windows or the roof.
Overhanging branches can damage your roof in high winds, so it’s important to trim back any trees or shrubs that are close to your home. This will also help prevent debris from being blown onto your property in a storm.
Check your roof for leaf debris
Most insurance companies do not like seeing debris on the roof. In a lot of cases, they can mistake this as roof delamination or discoloration making the roof look older in a small photo on a report. Roof debris also can cause long term damage by trapping moisture to the roof materials and reduce it’s lifespan.
Even though a wind mitigation inspection is not required, there is no excuse for not having one. When it comes to dealing with storms, your house should be one of the safest places you can go. Living in Florida means that you may expect a storm at any time. We’ve all seen—whether through photos, video, or firsthand experience—houses destroyed after a major storm.
Protect your home by taking the necessary steps and saving money in the process. If you want to see how much you could save on your homeowner’s insurance or want to find ways to reinforce your house against wind damage, contact us today to set up a wind mitigation inspection.
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