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How to Prepare for a Florida Wind Mitigation Inspection

High winds from tropical storms and hurricanes are an increasing reality for residents in Florida. The devastation seen over the past few decades in Florida is nothing short of sobering.


Modern construction techniques take into account the high winds that afflict almost all of Florida. Florida Building Code (FBC) now requires certain methods of wind mitigation techniques in the construction of a home, or when a vital part of a home is updated (such as having a roof replaced).


Insurance carriers often request what are called "Wind Mitigation Inspections". These inspections document the wind mitigation techniques implemented at home they are evaluating to implement insurance coverage on. Most homeowners we speak with only hear about it when their insurance carrier asks them to have one completed and have no idea what it actually is. So what exactly is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?


Wind mitigation techniques are methods utilized to help protect a home from high winds and the cyclical pressures that affect a house during a hurricane or tropical storm. Homes that have no wind mitigation techniques commonly see windows breaking and roofs literally lifting off the house during high wind conditions. Insurance carriers offer discounts on your homeowners insurance premium based off of the wind mitigation techniques that are implemented in your home.


When an inspector completes a wind mitigation inspection, they're checking just a handful of things:


  • Opening protection- this encompasses all openings of the home and how they are protected from wind and debris impact. This includes windows, doors, garage doors, skylights, and (if you're in a high velocity hurricane zone) glass block windows. If your home has specific impact rated windows and doors, or if you have approved and impact rated hurricane shutters, then you stand to receive a better discount on your insurance rates than a home that has no protection for the windows.

  • Roof-to-wall attachment- This part of the inspection looks for the methods used to secure your roof framing to the walls. The roof-to-wall attachment includes the use of hurricane clips or special straps that increase the wind resistance of your house and

Roof-to-Wall Attachment

prevents the roof from flying away during a hurricane. If your home was built between now and around the early 2000's, its extremely likely that you have, at a minimum, clips installed. The presence of approved clips or straps will likely receive a credit or discount on your homeowner's insurance premium.

  • Roofing material and technique- the inspector will check the roof sheathing thickness and how the roof decking is attached to the rafters/trusses. A special tool is used to check for proper

Roof Deck Nail Spacing

nailing methods in the trusses and the spacing between nails. This also includes documenting when the roof was installed and any permit information regarding the installation.


  • Roof Geometry- Roofs that are "hip-roofs" withstand winds much better than gable roofs. As long as there are no gable-like features that make up 10% or more of your roof's geometry, you'll likely get a discount for roof geometry.


Ways To Prepare for a Wind Mitigation Inspection 1. Gather documentation regarding items your inspector will be looking at- this includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Paperwork/manuals from the manufacturer of any windows, doors, garage doors or storm shutters you may have purchased for your home- especially if you elected to purchase any device that is impact rated.

  • Paperwork/contracts and contact information of any roofing company who has installed a new roof for your home

  • More paperwork regarding your roof- this includes invoices, receipts, and any documentation that can show the products used on the roof. While not fully necessary, if you elected to have a special product applied called a "Secondary Water Barrier" or "Secondary Water Resistance (SWR)", this paperwork can help you get a cheaper insurance premium.

2. At a minimum, you should make sure your attic access point (if you have one) is accessible. Attic access points are typically located in garages, bedroom closets, or in the hallway of the highest floor of your home. In order to complete a wind mitigation inspection, your home inspector needs to enter the attic space. If the attic access is obstructed by personal belongings or is unsafe to enter, you'll likely have to pay for a return visit after you can gain access.


Florida's "My Safe Florida Home" Program

Many homeowners are interested in upgrading the features of their home to implement devices such as hurricane clips and straps, storm shutters, impact rated garage doors and windows to improve the rating of their home. The State of Florida has a grant program called the "My Safe Florida Home" program. Their website can be found here. According to their website, benefits of this program include:

  • A free wind mitigation inspection

  • A grant where for every $1 you provide, the state provides $2 toward the actual cost of an authorized mitigation project (or 2/3s of the project cost up to $10,000)

This program runs off of grants supplied from the State of Florida. At the time of this publication (November 14, 2023) funding has been depleted for the 2023 year. However, we recommend frequently monitoring their website for updates regarding any new funding availability for 2024. If you plan on upgrading your home's ability to withstand high-wind conditions, this program can make these expensive projects much more affordable.


Conclusion


Wind Mitigation Inspections are often requested by insurance carriers when assessing an annual premium for coverage. These inspections document ways your home is capable of withstanding high winds and impact from flying debris during tropical storms and hurricanes. In order to stand the best chance at receiving a discount, make sure your attic is accessible and that you have paperwork readily available for any new windows, doors, garage doors, and roof modifications that you've paid for.


Call Sighthound Home Inspections, LLC today at 850-296-8329 to schedule your wind mitigation inspection!



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