What is a Wind Mitigation?

In coastal states such as Florida, your insurance company may request a Wind Mitigation before issuing a homeowners insurance policy.  A Wind Mitigation helps an insurance company determine rates they will offer you for insurance on the house.

A Wind Mitigation will examine the roof structure of a building. The building techniques implemented in certain homes are there to limit the damage caused by intense storm force winds. The components that are covered in the Wind Mitigation Inspection are of concern to insurance companies because roof and roof structures are expensive to repair or replace. These components also have the potential to cause widespread damage or failure due to malfunction, resulting in a costly insurance claim. Much like a faulty electrical system could cause a house fire,  a leaky roof will lead to water damage and mold.

The inspector takes pictures with detailed notes and provides the insurance company a report on current conditions and construction methods. These items include:

General Information about the home

Type of Roof Coverings

 Roof Deck Attachment information

 Roof to Wall Attachment information

 Roof Geometry

 If the home has Secondary Water Resistance (SWR / Moisture Barrier)

 Types of Opening Protection

A Few Facts About Windstorms and Wind Insurance

  • In 2006, Citizens Insurance, one of the largest property insurers in Florida, requested a 45% rate increase for wind insurance. Other insurers took similar actions.
  • In Florida, the portion of a homeowner’s premium covering wind damage can be up to 70% of the total, depending on location.
  • Wind mitigation benefits homeowners, private insurers, and all levels of government.

Why Are Insurance Companies Concerned With Wind Mitigations?

Incentives for Wind Mitigation

Insurance companies ask for Wind Mitigations because they want verification that an older home has been constructed with desired building methods or features.

The Gulf Coast states are most prone to windstorm damage from hurricanes, Florida has been successful in mandating incentives to mitigate damage due to wind. Following Hurricane Andrew, Florida passed a law requiring insurance companies to offer their customers discounts for existing building features and home improvements that reduce damage and loss from wind. This means homeowners in Florida can benefit from reduced insurance premiums. In order to qualify for this discount, homes must undergo a certified home wind inspection (Wind Mitigation Inspection). However, many Floridians do not know of this law. 

  • Those with windstorm insurance can avoid a costly deductible. Deductibles for homes in hurricane-prone areas can exceed $20,000, meaning that mild to moderate wind damage might not be covered by insurance at all. If proper wind mitigation techniques have been used, these expenses can be avoided altogether.
  • Wind mitigation helps protect the home from damage. Even if a home is insured, it is always costly when a house is damaged, both for the homeowner and the insurer. Repairs can take months, especially during material shortages that follow massive destruction to entire communities.
  • If an opening is created during a windstorm, the pressure within the house can rise high enough to cause the roof to fail.
  • Lenders in Florida require homeowners to carry windstorm insurance in order to be approved for a mortgage. Insurers may not provide windstorm insurance to homes that are vulnerable to wind damage.

Does your home qualify?

It is possible the inspector will find that your home doesn’t have all of the desired features for the report.

  • The roof geometry type may be vulnerable to high winds. 
  • Roof deck thickness
  • Hurricane clips
  • Nail length and spacing
  • ALL Glass doors and windows are not made with impact-resistant glass.
  • Garage doors:  These commonly fail during windstorms due to:
    • inadequate door-track strength and mounting systems; and
    • flimsy metal panels.
    • Windows are not impact-resistant glass.

Good news however is that if your home does not have all of the desired features it may still qualify for some of the discount.

The report is good for up to 5 years as long as there are no major structural repairs or roof covering replacement.

  • Glass doors and windows should be replaced with impact-resistant glass. Every window, glass door, and skylight will need to be impact-resistant glass. They should be structurally attached to the building in order to prevent the entire window from popping out of its frame. Sliding glass doors are especially vulnerable to flying debris due to their large expanse. 
  • Roof covering: There are many kinds of roof covering materials, and some resist wind damage better than others. The most common roof covering materials in Florida are composition shingles and tiles.
    Roof shape:  “Roof shape” refers to the geometry of the roof, rather than the type of roof covering. Hip roofs receive up to 40% less pressure from wind than gable roofs.
  • Roof deck attachment:  According to insurance claim data, a house becomes a major loss once the roof deck fails, even partially. The most common roof deck types are plywood and OSB. The most important feature of the roof deck by far is the attachment to the framing compared to the deck’s thickness. 
  • The following building techniques can help prevent wind damage:
    • roof coverings using shingles that meet the FBC requirements;            
    • roof decks that have been installed with large nails and close spacing;
    • hurricane clips/straps that hold the roof structure to the walls; and
    • protection of windows and glass doors with impact-resistant glazing or other protection systems.
  • Roof-to-wall connections:  This connection is a critical safeguard that keeps the roof attached to the building and acts to transfer the uplift loads into the vertical walls. This connection is crucial to the performance of the building due to the large negative pressures acting on the roof. Proper installation is essential to connector performance.
  • Secondary water resistance: This is a layer of protection that shields the home in the event that the roof covering fails. It will reduce leakage if the shingles are blown off. A secondary water barrier is relatively rare in homes. The two most common types are:
    • self-adhering modified bitumen underlayment, which is applied to the exterior of all joints; and
    • foam seal, which is sprayed onto the underside of the decking.

In summary, wind mitigation is a strategy designed to limit the amount of wind damage inflicted on a structure. Various incentives are in place to motivate homeowners to implement these enhancements, and qualified inspectors can determine which improvements are necessary.

Getting Insurance Coverage

Each insurance carrier reacts differently to the information in a Wind Mitigation. Some won’t offer insurance to a home with too many problems. Others will provide coverage but will exclude coverage on any problem areas. Your other option is to update the home to repair any problems. After installing a new roof, you can talk to your insurance company to extend coverage.

*Insurance companies do not require copies of full home inspection reports. Share only 4 point inspection reports and Wind Mitigation reports with your Home Insurance agent.

New Ground Home Inspections offers Wind Mitigation inspections to Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. Contact us to request our services or book online here.