Living in Orlando is a great place to live, work, and play; and, it’s the envy of much of the rest of the country when it comes to the winter months. However, there are some drawbacks to living in a subtropical climate, and when it comes to insurance, homeowners in Hunter’s Creek and other subdivisions might be paying too much and not even know it.
In fact, the average homeowner is overpaying their insurance company 22 percent because of a lack of a wind mitigation inspection, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services. Homeowners are entitled by law to “discounts, credits, or other rate differentials…” by their insurance company, as established in the Florida Statutes, Chapter 626. This translates into a discount of 10 percent to 30 percent on windstorm insurance, which means big savings, year after year.
The Evolution of Home Insurance
Being situated on a peninsula surrounded on one side by the Gulf of Mexico and the other by the Atlantic Ocean, tropical activity happens, which include several thunderstorms, tornadoes, tropical storms, and of course, hurricanes. In the wake of several storms which hit the state, such as Charley and Ivan in 2004, then Katrina and Rita in 2005, many insurances companies left the state while others went bankrupt.
In a severe wind storm, such as a hurricane, homes are battered by heavy wind and, often, rain. Features that help protect against wind damage – wind mitigation features – make a home stronger and help it withstand these forces. Wind mitigation features that are documented by a wind mitigation inspection also can save you money over the long term by helping you qualify for discounts on your insurance premium. —Citizens Property Insurance
Homeowners, however, were the ones left with a slew of damage. That’s when state officials got involved, wanting to help insurance companies stay in the state; and, to help homeowners in paying less for homes that had wind mitigation features. Eventually, the legislature enacted laws which gave homeowners incentive to take measures for protecting their properties against wind damage.
What to Expect During a Wind Mitigation Inspection
There are eight things the inspector will look for on a home. These determine eligibility of receiving a discount on insurance, and if the features aren’t present, can be installed and reinspected. Here’s what the inspector expects to find:
- The roof covering. Here in the state of Florida, the last code on roof coverings was enacted in 2001; so, it has to be up to those standards. In addition, age is a factor, as well as the last installation date.
- Roof deck attachment. There are two ways to secure a roof deck attachment: nails and staples. Nail spacing and length are factors.
- Wall and roof attachment. Trusses are inspected for nails and hurricane clips, and wraps are looked at, which can be single or double.
- Roof geometry. In short, flat roofs aren’t good and pyramid roofs are a ticket to a discount.
- Gable end bracing. For homes with a gable roof, how the ends are braced matter.
- Wall construction. The more sturdy, the better; inspectors look at the framing, reinforcement, and outer fascia and their percentages.
- Secondary water barrier. Homes built before 2008 probably won’t have this protective measure.
- Opening protection. This is where shutters, windows and doors are inspected for protection against debris.
To find a qualified inspector or if you’re considering buying or selling your home in Hunter’s Creek, give us a call. We can refer an inspector or help you with buying or selling a property.