What Is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
A wind mitigation inspection (also called a windstorm mitigation inspection) is when a certified inspector checks your home's wind-resistant features. These features can be anything from door/window coverings to the way your roof is attached to your home to how your roof is sealed to prevent water from entering. Though a wind mitigation inspection is not required to get Florida homeowners insurance, it can result in substantial savings.
Why Does Wind Mitigation Save You Money on Home Insurance?
A wind mitigation inspection is the only inspection that can significantly reduce the cost of your insurance policy. That’s because this inspection can determine whether your home has features that drastically decrease severe property loss from hurricane wind. As always, the safer and stronger your home is, the lower your premiums may be.
All the features the inspector looks for may seem like minor details, but they make a world of difference when a windstorm or hurricane strikes. The appropriate wind mitigation features can be the difference between your home weathering the storm and a total rebuild.
That’s why Kin highly recommends investing in wind mitigation features and getting a windstorm mitigation inspection before you apply for a quote.
How Much Money Can You Save with Wind Mitigation?
That depends on where you live and your home's features. Along the coast, savings can range from a few hundred dollars to well over $1,000. Wind mitigation savings are most substantial in Florida because the state requires insurers to offer these discounts. (Learn more about wind mitigation in Florida here.)
The average cost of a wind mitigation inspection is about $100, which is usually more than offset by the insurance savings.
Questions on the Florida Wind Mitigation Inspection Form
A wind mitigation inspection form considers seven indicators of your home’s ability to withstand strong winds. All Florida inspection forms are the same and ask these seven questions (see a sample form here and snippets of each question below):
- Building code: The first question on all Florida mitigation inspections forms asks whether your home was built in compliance with the Florida Building Code 2001 or later or South Florida Building Code 94.
- Roof covering: This question asks about the type of roof coverings your home has – that is, the material your roof is made of: asphalt / fiberglass shingle; concrete / clay / tile; metal; built up; membrane; or other. If your roof has been replaced recently, provide the permit you had for the construction; it’ll help the inspector accurately assess your roof. The inspector will also determine whether your roof coverings are approved by Florida building codes at the time of installation.
- Roof-deck attachment: This question determines how well your roof deck is secured to the truss/rafter and the strength of the attachment (in most cases, option A is the weakest and C is the strongest). The inspector will even look at the length of the nails that attach the roof sheathing to the roof truss / rafter – the longer the nails (8d are the longest) and the closer they are together (6 inches is preferred), the better.
- Roof-to-wall attachment: This indicates how well your roof is attached to the walls of your home. The question offers eight types of connections: (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 type of connection; toenails are considered the weakest.
- Roof geometry: This is the shape of your roof and it has a big impact on how well your home withstands strong winds. The inspection form offers three roof shapes: hip roof, flat roof, and other. Hip roofs slope down on all sides and help resist clashes with hurricane winds. For that reason, they tend to get a bigger premium discount.
- Secondary water resistance: This part of the inspection determines if your home has a protective layer under the primary layer of the roof (like the shingles). Think of it as that light rain jacket you wear even though you have an umbrella. The inspection form will note whether your roof has SWR or not.
- Opening protection: The final part of the wind mitigation inspection form considers “glazed openings” (i.e., openings with windows or glass) and “non-glazed openings” (e.g., entry doors and garage doors) and how impact resistant they are. For instance, they will check for shatterproof windows, bracing on the garage door, hurricane-rated doors, and storm shutters. Without these measures, flying debris can compromise your home's pressure barrier. Consider putting up hurricane shutters before the inspector arrives to make sure you get this credit.
If you decide to make structural changes to your home to qualify for more wind mitigation credits, make sure you work with a licensed engineer and contractor.
How to Get the Most in Wind Mitigation Discounts
As you can see above, some wind mitigation components can be added while others (the shape of your roof, for example) are harder to change. That said, these components are generally considered the “safest” for most homes and therefore lead to bigger premium discounts:
- Roofing materials and installation that meet Florida building codes.
- A roof-deck attachment with plywood / OSB sheathing with a minimum thickness of 7/16 an inch attached to the truss by 8d nails spaced 6 inches apart.
- A roof-wall attachment that uses double wraps (metal connectors that are attached to the wall frame and wrap over the top of the truss).
- A hip roof.
- Secondary water resistance under the roof sheathing,
- Impact-resistant coverings verified for cyclic pressure and large missiles (9 pounds for windows / doors and 4.5 pounds for skylights) over all glass openings.
After the wind inspection is complete, the inspector will offer suggestions that could improve the sustainability of your property. You can make changes to your property or simply submit your wind mitigation report to your Kin representative.
You’ll likely receive the most savings if you take the inspector’s suggestions, which will also add to the value of your home – that’s never a bad thing! However, we’re happy to crunch the numbers and see how much you can save based on your inspection report alone.
How Long Is a Wind Mitigation Inspection Valid?
Wind mitigation inspections in Florida are valid for five years. Put another way, you pay for the inspection, but it saves you money on your home insurance premium every year for five years.
How to Prove You’ve Had a Wind Mitigation Inspection
You can input your report's results when you apply for a Kin quote online or you can provide a copy of your wind mitigation report to your representative. If you think you’ve had one done, you can look over your current policy and see if you received any sort of windstorm mitigation credits. If so, you can ask for a copy of the inspection from your current carrier.
Keep in mind that the wind mitigation inspection has to be current. If it’s older than five years old, it’s time for a new one!
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