Alabama homeowners can take part in the Strengthen Alabama Homes (SAH) grant program. Created in 2011 by the state legislature, this program provides grants to homeowners so they can make their homes resistant to wind damage by retrofitting them to the program’s standard.
Wind mitigation refers to construction techniques that help protect a home from wind. The mitigation process typically involves adding features to your home to reduce the likelihood of damage caused by wind.
Undergoing wind mitigation can also help you save money on your Alabama House & Property insurance. The steps you take to better protect your home through SAH may make you eligible for our premium discounts.
Wind mitigation standards for SAH
The mitigation standard adopted by the Strengthen Alabama Homes program is known as the FORTIFIED Home™ program, developed by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). To receive a grant for wind mitigation costs for your home, you must be awarded a FORTIFIED™ Roof or Silver standard.
What is the FORTIFIED™ Standard?
The FORTIFIED™ standard is a systems-based approach to strengthening homes against wind damage. There are three designations that your home may be given, according to the program:
Roof designation: Addresses the roof system of a house (including soffits and gable ends) with the primary goal of keeping water out
Silver designation: Addresses the Roof designation requirements in addition to openings, attached structures such as porches or carports, and the bracing of gable ends
Gold designation: Requires a “continuous load path” for the main structure of the home, pressure-rated windows and doors, and chimneys that are well-anchored into the roof structure (SAH grants are not available for homes to reach the Gold level)
What are the benefits of mitigating your wind risk?
The first step in mitigating your wind risk in Alabama is getting a wind mitigation inspection. This is when a certified inspector comes to your home to check how well your roof, windows, doors, and other elements of your home can hold up against extreme winds.
The SAH wind mitigation inspection is called a FORTIFIED™ Evaluation. Once you apply and are accepted to the program, you may receive:
An evaluation of your home’s ability to withstand hurricane-force winds.
An outline of the improvements that you should make to the home to increase its resistance to hurricane wind damage.
Tax credits on repairs or retrofitting projects prescribed by the inspection.
Discounts on the wind portion of your insurance premium.
Who needs to mitigate wind risk in Alabama?
If your home is in a high-risk area, mitigating wind risk is a good idea. Baldwin and Mobile counties, for example, are areas where protecting against high-force winds may be particularly important.
Older buildings that were built before current codes and standards were in place are often good candidates for wind mitigation. So are new buildings that weren’t designed to wind-resistance codes.
Remember that to qualify for the FORTIFIED™ program in Alabama, your home must be a single-family, detached structure built on a permanent foundation. Townhomes, duplexes, and other multi-unit buildings don’t qualify, nor do mobile homes.
Nothing can guarantee absolute protection from wind damage along the coast of Alabama, but many retrofitting projects can strengthen your home and minimize the damage you might experience.
How much does a wind mitigation inspection cost in Alabama?
You can get a wind mitigation inspection from a FORTIFIED™ Evaluator for a small fee. These fees vary by evaluator, so it’s best to get several bids before choosing the inspector that best fits your needs.
Although you are required to pay the evaluation fee, the SAH grant program is not a reimbursement program. You aren’t required to pay for the retrofitting or mitigation work on your home up-front.
How can I get a wind mitigation inspection in Alabama?
Visit the Strengthen Alabama Homes website or the Strengthen Alabama Homes application page to apply for a SAH grant. You’ll be required to show proof of insurance on the home (your declarations page should suffice) and other documentation.
If you’re approved for the program, you can start the process of selecting a FORTIFIED™ Evaluator and completing the FORTIFIED™ Evaluation.
What areas of my home might need wind mitigation?
Wind mitigation can start with home-hardening activities, such as:
Investing in impact-resistant windows and doors, or if necessary, hurricane shutters.
Getting a professional to install hurricane clips.
Installing a wind- and impact-rated garage door.
Checking that your soffits were properly installed.
Retrofitting gable ends.
Protecting your home from wind damage can go a long way towards keeping you and your loved ones safe.