Living in Florida, you must be well-versed in how to protect your home from hurricane-related wind damage. Nearly everyone focuses on tasks that include securing doors and windows, clearing yards of loose debris, and filling up sandbags, but most people forget about their biggest line of defense against storms: their roof. Perhaps your home inspector or realtor recommended a wind mitigation inspection, but what is it? And why is it so important?
Today, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about a wind mitigation inspection in Florida, including cost and benefits.
What is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
Wind mitigation inspections occur when certified inspectors check your home for wind-resistant features. Such features include window and door coverings and how your home’s roof is attached and sealed to prevent water intrusion.
Though Florida does not require you have a wind mitigation inspection completed, it’s highly recommended that you do so. These reports look at seven key areas of your home to determine its capacity to withstand high winds and water intrusion.
Inspection Areas of Wind Mitigation Inspection
These are the seven main areas of interest for a wind mitigation inspection:
- Building Codes: When was your home built? This information will tell the home inspector how strict the building codes were when it was constructed.
- Roof Coverage and Age: How old is your roof? What material was used as a covering? Tile, shingles, metal, or something else?
- Roof Decking: What type of decking material (what the shingles are nailed to) was used? The inspector will also look at the kind of nails used to secure the shingles and the distance between each one.
- Roof Shape: What’s the general shape of your roof? Does it have a slope?
- Roof-Wall Attachments: What method was used to attach your walls and roof?
- Opening Protections: Do you have any additional protections on other openings? These would include features such as garage doors, windows, skylights, etc.
- Secondary Water Resistance: What type of material was used for the roof decking and between the roof coverings?
Who Performs a Wind Mitigation Inspection in Florida?
Wind mitigation inspections can legally be performed by licensed general contractors, architects, engineers, home or building inspectors, or building contractors. However, most people choose to hire certified home inspectors to complete these exams. So, when you buy a home in Florida, the same home inspector can do the general, four-point, and wind mitigation inspections simultaneously. Some even offer discounts for performing multiple inspections at one time.
How Long are These Inspections Valid, and How Do You Prove You’ve Had One?
A wind mitigation inspection is valid for five years in Florida. Simply provide the inspector’s report to the requesting agency to prove you’ve had one. If you think you’ve had one completed but no longer have the paperwork, it’s wise to begin by examining your current insurance policy to see if you’re receiving discounts. If so, contact your current carrier for a copy of the wind mitigation inspection.
Why Should You Have a Wind Mitigation Inspection in Florida?
As you know, Florida is prone to hurricanes and other intense storms. So, homeowners and homeowner insurance companies want to ensure that houses can withstand the rain and winds associated with such storms. To completely understand just how sturdy your home is, you must get a wind mitigation inspection.
The premise began after Hurricane Andrew when laws were passed that required insurance companies to offer clients credits and incentives for building structures that reduce sustained damage caused by wind. However, the law also requires that a wind mitigation inspection is performed to receive the credits. The upside is that once you complete it, you’ll receive substantial discounts on your insurance premiums.
Benefits of Wind Mitigation
In general, there are two significant reasons homeowners should focus on wind mitigation. The first is peace of mind, which is especially important if you plan to hunker in place and endure a storm in your home.
However, second, and possibly the main reason most people get a wind mitigation inspection is for the savings on insurance premiums. Each state and insurance company can vary regarding the discounts they give. However, in Florida, you can expect to get discounts for the following items:
- A newer roof
- Longer nails that are placed closer together
- Hipped roofs
- Upgraded materials
- Higher-rated windows, shutters, and doors
- Secondary water resistance
Legally speaking, insurance carriers have to provide you with discounts for receiving a “passing grade,” however, the more wind-resistant features you install, the higher the discount.
What Can I Expect During a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
A wind mitigation inspection is much like any other visual examination of your home. However, unlike others, such as the four-point inspection, this one only focuses on your roof and the techniques that were used to construct it.
For starters, it’s highly recommended that someone is home during the wind mitigation inspection because the inspector will require access to the attic so they can view the underside of the roof. The examination should last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, so be sure to set aside enough time.
And don’t be alarmed when you see the inspector taking photos, as they must do this as part of the inspection. The photographs offer proof needed to strengthen the report’s validity, but doing so also helps prevent fraud, which can be rampant in Florida’s building industry.
How Much Does a Wind Mitigation Inspection Cost in Florida?
Typically, the cost of a wind mitigation inspection is around $100. However, the price should be the least of your concerns. The most important thing is to choose an inspection company that’s experienced, reliable, and honest.
How Much Money Will You Save With a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
The amount of money you will save depends on your home’s wind mitigation features and where you live. Living in Florida, you’ll find that this state offers the most substantial savings, but that’s because the Sunshine State requires insurance companies to provide such discounts.
As an example, along the coast, wind mitigation savings can range from a couple of hundred dollars to more than $1,000. So, when you factor in the cost of the report at $100, you’re saving money no matter what.
How Can I Get the Most From Wind Mitigation Discounts?
As you may have noticed, some wind mitigation factors can be simple additions, but others, such as your roof’s shape, are more challenging to change. With that being said, the following components usually offer the most significant insurance premium discounts, as they are considered “safest” for many homes.
- Roofing installation and materials that meet state building codes
- A roof-to-wall attachment that features double wraps. These metal connectors are secured to the wall frame and wrapped over the truss top.
- Having a hipped roof
- Roof-deck attachments made from OSB sheathing or plywood with a thickness of no less than 7/16 of an inch attached to the truss using 8d nails that are spaced six inches apart.
- Installing secondary water resistance under your roof’s sheathing
- Use impact-resistance coverings that offer protection from large missiles and cyclic pressure over every glass opening.
Once your wind mitigation inspection is complete, the inspector can offer suggestions to improve the sustainability of your house. Then, the choice is yours; make changes or submit the inspection report as-is.
And did we mention these features also add value to your property? It’s true, and this is always a good thing! Yet, you may save money whether you make changes or not, but your savings may be higher if you consider the inspector’s suggestions.
Other Inspections to Consider
Now that you understand why a wind mitigation inspection is a great idea, let’s discuss a few others you should consider before hiring an inspector. The truth is that most inspection agencies offer discounts when a homeowner orders more than one type of inspection, making this the perfect time to explore other options.
The most common home inspections include wind mitigation, four-point, and general home inspections. However, if you have reason to believe your home contains radon, the inspector can also check for that. Another excellent option for those living in Florida is a home maintenance inspection. These visual examinations cover your home’s structure, systems, and mechanicals. They will reveal any areas of concern and provide you with ways to remedy them before they cost you more money. And keep in mind when buying a home that’s over 20 years old in Florida, you must obtain a four-point inspection, so if you’re doing this, you should have the inspector come to the property once and complete all reports at that time.
The Bottom Line
In the end, strong storms and winds are part of living in Florida. You want to know that your home is safe and sturdy enough to withstand whatever mother nature throws at you. So, don’t wait – if you’ve never had a wind mitigation inspection completed on your home, do it now! Then, you can rest easy knowing your family is safe and you’re saving money on insurance premiums!