The State of Florida requires homeowners insurance companies to offer discounts to consumers who take steps toward wind mitigation. Florida's high winds and water intrusion are the top contributors to the state's disproportionate amount of insurance claims.
Wind mitigation is essential in Florida – so much so that the Florida Department of Financial Services, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Florida’s Foundation, Florida Alliance for Safe Homes, and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety all endorse the same research-based recommendations and provide resources to inform and assist homeowners.
These are the seven main categories on Florida wind mitigation forms - that is, the standard inspection documents that help determine how wind resistant your home is.
1. Building Code: What year was your home built? Home built prior to 2001 were not required to have the same standards as those circa 2002-present. If your home is on the older side, you might need to do some upgrades to strengthen your home against hurricane winds. Doing so could help you save money on your homeowners insurance. Miami-Dade and Broward counties have their own set of guidelines because they are closest to the eye of the storm.
2. Roof Covering: The material your roof is made of helps determine how resilient it is to wind and water damage. The most common materials for roofs are often asphalt/fiberglass shingle, concrete/clay tile, and metal. Insurance companies will consider what your roof is made out of and how old those materials are to determine what wind mitigation discounts your home is eligible for. Newer materials are typically built to stronger building code equivalent standards.
3. Roof-Deck Attachment: This measures on a scale of 1 (weakest) to 3 (strongest) how well your roof is attached to the rafters of the frame on your home. To qualify for wind mitigation credits, it’s essential to have a roof that has the proper amount of nails with the proper length and design to withstand the most wind. All homes built 2002 to present fall into Category C, which is the best option (for the overachievers out there, that means plywood/OSB roof sheathing with a minimum thickness of 7/16 inch attached to the roof truss/rafter).
4. Roof-to-Wall Attachment: How well is your roof attached to the walls? This is quantified by eight options: (A) toenails, (B) clips, (C) single wraps, (D) double wraps, (E) anchor bolt, (F) other, (G) unknown, and (H) no attic access. Double wraps are considered the strongest, whereas toenails provide the least protection. Companies are unable to provide discounts when there is no attic access to determine the roof-to-wall attachment. If the attachment type is unknown or falls into the other category, your company should be able to assess the photographs in the inspection to determine whether or not you qualify for a credit.
5. Roof Geometry: This is another way to say, “What shape is your roof?” The options are usually hip roof, flat roof, and other. A hip roof is ideal, as all sides slope downward to aid in resisting clashes with hurricane winds. A flat roof has one or more sides with a vertical angel, a straight dropdown. This provides a strong path of resistance for high winds, and can prompt more forceful direct impact, so insurance folks frown on flat roofs.
6. Secondary Water Resistance: This is essentially an additional layer put onto homes post 2001 that provides additional water protection and is attached under the shingles. You either have it or you don’t. Secondary water resistance is not something folks usually invest in unless they're installing a new roof.
7. Opening Protection: This part of a wind mitigation inspection focuses on “glazed openings” (glass) and “non-glazed openings” (entry and garage doors). If windows aren't properly impact resistant with shutters or tempered glass, flying debris can break through and compromise the entire pressure barrier of your home. This portion of the inspection basically wants to know if you have impact-rated materials installed on every glass unit in the home (skylights and glass blocks included), if your entry doors have the proper sealing, and if every attachment is properly secured.