Wind Insurance and Wind Mitigation Credits for Florida Homeowners

February 10, 2020

While Florida doesn’t require homeowners to have wind insurance, mortgage lenders may insist on it, particularly if you live in areas prone to hurricanes. The state, however, requires mortgage lenders to offer discounts known as wind mitigation credits to homeowners who implement home improvements that mitigate the risk of damage from windstorms that accompany hurricanes, tropical storms, and other storms. Wind mitigation credits lower the cost of windstorm coverage, which is recommended for beachfront properties and areas at a risk of hurricane, which include:

  • Northwest Florida, hit by 66 hurricanes
  • Southwest Florida, hit by 49 hurricanes
  • Southeast Florida, hit by 49 hurricanes
  • Northeast Florida, hit by 26 hurricanes

Though the least hurricane-prone area in Florida, Inland Florida, is at risk of tornadoes when the rest of the state faces a hurricane threat.

What Does Wind Insurance Cover?

Florida windstorm insurance covers damage to the property and rain, dust and/or hail that may enter the property. It helps homeowners and landlords avoid financial losses resulting from windstorm damages.

If you live in an area where the threat of windstorms is minimal and you don’t expect your home to sustain damage, you can exclude windstorm insurance coverage from your homeowner’s insurance policy by providing a written request. It is recommended that you get wind insurance in preparation for any unforeseen events occurring from a category 4 or 5 hurricane.

You don’t need to add wind insurance coverage to your homeowner’s insurance, but you can always buy it from another insurance provider. That said, by qualifying for wind mitigation credits, you can reduce the cost of your insurance policy. If you are unable to save on your homeowner’s insurance, wind mitigation inspection can help you save in other ways. Hurricanes are extremely common in Florida, so the more you prepare, the better off you will be. Wind mitigation inspections will help you discover exactly what needs to be done in order to protect your home from storms, saving you from spending a wad in damage expenses.

Conducting a Wind Mitigation Inspection

To qualify for wind mitigation credits, you must first pass a wind mitigation inspection conducted by your insurance provider or mortgage lender. An inspector will look for key features and add-ons that lower the extent of damage your home could suffer in the aftermath of a hurricane or windstorm.

The key features inspectors evaluate include the shape of the roof, roof covering, roof deck attachment, doors, how openings in your house are protected, roof to wall connections, gable end bracing, and secondary water resistance. There are many features of your home that may qualify for wind mitigation credits, but you will not be penalized if you lack the safety features.

A wind mitigation report will cost you less than $100. The results of this report will determine how many wind mitigation credits you will receive. Credits can deliver savings of 30% or more of your premium. Your premiums can only go down, never up.

Qualifying for Wind Mitigation Credits

  • Homes built prior to 2001 are not as structurally strong as those adhering to building standards from 2002 onwards. You can consider upgrades aimed at strengthening your property against strong winds.
  • The roof material and age will count in determining resistance to hurricanes and tropical storms. There will be a greater discount if your roof meets the 2001 Florida Building Code.
  • In assessing the roof attachment, inspectors will check whether your roof has the proper number of nails of the right length and design to resist powerful gusts of wind. Inspectors will check to see if the roof is attached to the walls by nails, clips, or straps. Clips and wraps, both single and double, will offer a larger credit than nails alone.
  • If the roof to wall attachment is secured by double wraps, then protection is deemed strongest, while nails are determined to offer the least protection.
  • As far as roof shape is concerned, a hip roof withstands hurricane winds more effectively than a flat roof.
  • Windows need to be impact resistant through tempered glass or shutters. The credit will be larger for openings that are protected by materials approved by the Miami-Dade County approval system.
  • It helps if the property has a secondary water resistance barrier to prevent the entry of water into the property through the joints in the roof decking. You may be required to prove that the barrier was installed when the roof was installed to qualify for the discount.

Wind mitigation credits are valid for five years, after which a new inspection will be required to continue entitling you to the credits.