A lot of Florida homeowners spend thousands of dollars to secure their homes against hurricanes in to qualify for insurance discounts. According to insurers, some homeowners have fraud claims regarding improvements to their house just to receive a discount. Now, insurers require inspectors to include pictorial documents of each qualifying upgrade and a signature of a licensed engineer, architect, or contractor to verify the accuracy.

According to insurance companies, if a homeowner complains and believes that the insurance companies are taking away genuine credit, insurance companies need to work to make sure that they are getting the correct information.

Windstorm mitigation specifically targets the structural and nonstructural aspects that prevent or lessen damage caused by high winds that occur with storms. In Florida, the primary concern is wind damage caused by hurricanes. Normally, hurricane season starts in June 1st and ends in November 30th. That means that for almost half the year, Floridian homeowners are prone to hurricane windstorm and exposure to high winds. In addition, it is not unusual to have a hurricane or a tropical storm outside of hurricane season, so it is wise to make sure that you are covered properly.

The first step is to have an inspection of your home. Having an inspector come out to your house can generally cost you a bit of money, but is well worth the investment to fully mitigate your home. Mitigating your home will consist of research based recommendations.

The state of Florida requires insurance companies to offer discounts for protecting your home against damage caused by windstorms. These discounts are known as “Wind Mitigation Credits” and are offered after a certified inspection is done to your home. Unlike some home inspections, this one is not required by your insurance company or your lender and is completely optional. Note, that you will not be penalized for not having these safety features. Your insurance premiums can only decrease, not increase.

A wind mitigation inspection will include an inspector who will come to your home and will look for specific factors that will best protect your home in a windstorm. They will mainly be looking at your roof and any opening in your home such as, the doors and the windows. Florida wind mitigation inspectors examine these key safety features:

• Roof Shape
• Roof Bracing of Gable End
• Roof Deck Attachment
• Roof Covering
• Roof-to-Wall Connections
• Secondary Water Resistance
• Doors
• Protection of openings (windows and other openings)

These features will be assessed to determine how well your home is protected against high winds with its current safety features. All Florida homes built after 2002 were constructed to certain safety codes that will likely result in an automatic savings for you. If your home was constructed before 2002, you might want to seriously consider getting it inspected.

A few cost-effective measures you can take to safeguard your home and to reduce your hurricane-wind premium would be to first secure your roof with hurricane clips, wraps, and hurricane safe windows, doors, garage doors, and/or any other openings in your home.