A windstorm inspection also referred to as a wind mitigation inspection or a windstorm insurance inspection is a kind of home inspection common in the south-east. The purpose of a windstorm inspection is to determine the appropriateness of a given structure’s construction in the event of strong winds, such as those present in a hurricane.
Windstorm inspections look for construction features that have been shown to reduce losses in hurricanes, such as a hip roof, the presence of gable end bracing, shutters and opening protections, the presence of roof to wall attachments such as toe nails, clips or hurricane straps, and the presence of a secondary water resistance barrier.
A homeowner with windstorm insurance can often submit the results of a windstorm inspection to their insurer to obtain discounts on their windstorm insurance. In Florida, premium discounts for certain favorable wind mitigation features are mandated by State law and can total 45% of the original policy’s premium.
If you have a newer roof on an older home, chances are you can be saving serious cash by getting a wind mitigation done. Long story short, say hypothetically you spend $1000 a year on insurance. By spending $125 on a wind mitigation report you could be saving $450 of that $1000 EVERY YEAR.
Further Info on Wind Mitigation Inspections.
Wind Mitigation credits were mandated by the Florida Legislature several years ago, and they earn premium discounts for construction methods within your roof that resist damage by wind. There are multiple categories of credits, and within these categories, there are several levels of discounts. The year the home was built the age of the roof will be examined and I will also be noting and taking photos of the roof deck attachment, roof to wall connection, roof shape and the existence of a secondary water resistance barrier.
The only way to know exactly how much you can save is by having the inspection done. The inspection cannot hurt you or cause your premium to go up. It can only cause the premium to stay the same or go down, sometimes by several hundreds of dollars!
You definitely don’t have to be a professional to understand a Home Inspection or a Wind Mitigation inspection, however, it does get technical. Let’s look at what I a professional home inspector am looking for, why I’m looking, and how the process came to be.
First, it’s important to know that the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form is actually a legal affidavit. That means that it’s considered a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation for use as evidence in court. This goes along with why all insurance companies in Florida must offer premium discounts for Wind Mitigation (although they can vary); the state legislature mandated the credits!
A Wind Mitigation Inspection looks at 7 areas of your roof system.
- Which set of building codes is your entire home in compliance with? Basically, when your house was constructed determines how strict the building codes were and how wind resistive it is at a minimum.
- Wind Mitigation Discount Tip: The newer the home the better the discount.
- What kind of roof covering you have. This is where Thurmond Home Inspections notes if you have shingles, tiles, etc., and what building codes they are compliant with. This is important because an older home from the first item can have a much newer roof.
- Wind Mitigation Discount Tip: The newer the roof the better the discount (much more so than in number 1)
- What is the weakest portion of your roof decking (typically the flat plywood under roof) made of, what kind of nails is secured down with and how far apart are the nails.
- Wind Mitigation Discount Tip: Plywood is almost universally used, but not always. The longer the nails and the closer they are together, the better the discount.
- What is the roof attached to the walls of your home with? There are 8 findings the inspection can have, but the most common in order from weakest to strongest are Toe Nails, Clips, Single Wraps, and Double Wraps and Concrete Anchors.
- Wind Mitigation Discount Tip: If you are re-roofing your home make sure the best/strongest method is used. All you have to do is upgrade as much as possible. Always ensure proper permits are pulled and building codes are followed too.
- What is the geometry of your roof? Very simply put, from a home insurance perspective, hip roofs are the best, gables are OK, and flat roofs are great for wind but aren’t so great overall. A hip roof slants up on all sides kind of like a pyramid. It can have more than 4 sides. Hip roofs can withstand the highest pressure loads from very fast blowing wind. Gable roofs can be simple upside-down V-shaped roofs much like the roof on a typical shed. Gable roofs can only withstand certain pressure loads because the blowing wind can get under and lift them, unlike hip roofs. Flat roofs are less of a wind issue, but they tend to collect standing water and leak more so than others.
- Wind Mitigation Discount Tip: If building or purchasing a home, a hip roof is always preferable. A home with a hip roof will generally have a lower insurance premium than a similar home with a gable or flat roof.
- The first item that has absolutely nothing to do with wind but is on a Wind Mitigation Inspection is Secondary Water Resistance. Does the roof have more than just felt paper between the outer covering (shingles/tiles) and the decking (plywood)? Is there rolled waterproof membrane in between? Felt paper has a tendency to dry out. As it crumbs away water can permeate the wood decking and work its way into the house causing damage. Secondary Water Resistance helps prevent this water intrusion.
- Wind Mitigation Discount Tip: On a re-roof make sure Secondary Water Resistance is used. It’s now part of the building codes throughout Florida to use it on new construction.
- Opening Protection is another less roof involving item, but it very much concerns itself with wind. This possible credit looks to see if your house has hurricane shutters, specially designed garage doors, windows, skylights or other “openings” meant to withstand wind and strikes from blowing debris.
- Wind Mitigation Discount Tip: A few extra bucks on the hurricane rated garage door/skylight/windows/etc. and investing in hurricane shutters will qualify you for some extra discounts!
Insurance companies often find that the inspections pay for themselves, earning at least $80-$100 of credit each year for a guaranteed 5 years (often longer). Many times the credits reach well into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. It is rare that no credits are earned because without the inspection your home is assumed to have the least possible wind resistive features. It’s also important to note that the inspection CANNOT hurt you. You cannot be charged more unless you had a prior Wind Mitigation Inspection that had incorrect findings in your favor. I urge all Florida homeowners to get the inspection done. I cannot guarantee savings with 100% certainty, but it’s tremendously likely ( 90% or more in my opinion) that you’ll wind up with a positive result!
Here is a blank wind mitigation form looks like.
For all of your wind mitigation, four point inspections, mold inspections, and home inspection needs contact Thurmond Home Inspections today.