A wind mitigation inspection is a specific type of inspection designed to help insurance companies to identify if a home has features to increase the chances it will be able to withstand the damages normally caused by high wind. Since Florida has the highest risk of hurricane damage, it also has the highest insurance premiums. All admitted insurance carriers in Florida provide a discount on wind insurance for properties that can be proven to have wind mitigation features. The wind mitigation inspection provides the documents needed to apply for these discounts.
Where is your attic entrance? The inspector will need to get into your attic. If the attic is in a closet then it is important to move any items and clothing out of the way. The inspector will make his best effort to keep the area clean but sometimes the attic access is covered with insulation and when the access is opened some insulation may fall down. We ask that you move any items that could be damaged if this were to happen. Also we want to make sure the inspector is able to perform a complete inspection so that he may find every possible wind mitigation feature. If you have a two story house he needs to get into the attic on the second floor, not the first.
Do you have hurricane shutters or impact rated windows? We need to document that you have them by taking photos. In addition we need to prove the make and model as well as the testing standards for the devices. In order to get the maximum credit we must be able to prove that every door, window, garage door, skylight and glass block is either impact rated or has an impact rated device that protects it. If even one item in not protected the home will not qualify for credit.
How old is the roof? If the roof was installed on or after March 1, 2002 and we can prove it by finding a building permit or documentation to prove what material was put on the roof, it will qualify for a mitigation credit. Sometimes we can tell that the roof has been replaced but are unable to find any records to back up what we can see. If that happens the home will not qualify for the credit.
During the wind mitigation inspection, an expert will evaluate the property’s mitigation features. The visual inspection consists of two parts. Inspecting the exterior of the home and inspecting the attic. The inspection can be performed in any order but typically our inspectors will follow the order listed here.
Starting at the front left corner of the house and working in a counterclockwise fashion the inspector will look at each window and door opening to determine if it is protected and if so determine the rating of protection. Common protection ratings are Hurricane, Not Rated and None. Hurricane is the best rating and the only rating recognized for mitigation discounts currently. Not rated typically would be a rating for a window that has a shutter but the shutter has not been tested. The older clamshell awning shutters are a good example of a not rated protection device.
Also as the inspector walks around the property he is looking to see the shape of the roof. If the roof qualifies as a hip roof it can receive a credit. A hip roof must be 90% or more hip based upon the perimeter of the roof. Usually we see homes almost receive credit as hip except for a connected flat roof on the back of the home. We have to count any roof that covers living space or ties into the main roof. While looking at the roof from the ground the inspector will note any skylight. Skylights are also considered openings and must be protected as well.
When an inspector sees that the home has hurricane shutters usually the next step is to verify the rating. At this point in the inspection the inspector will ask for your documents that you prepared prior to his arrival. His goal will be to find a Florida Building Code or a Miami-Dade product approval for your items. This information will be added to the wind mitigation report and used to prove to the insurance company that your home has impact protection.
The hard part of the inspection starts when the inspector goes into your attic. We like to say this is where he earns his paycheck. In the attic the inspector will use his tools to photograph the roof to wall connections and the roof deck attachment.
The roof structure attaches to the walls of the home thanks to the roof to wall connection. A properly installed roof to wall connection can prevent the roof from separating from the home in a high wind situation. Common names for these are hurricane clips, single wrap straps, and hurricane straps. There are a couple of requirements that your home must have to get the credit. They must be on every single truss, they cannot be corroded, they must have at least three nails in the truss and they cannot have more than a ½" gap.
The roof itself is usually installed on some type of decking, either plywood or planking. The way this roof decking attaches to the trusses is the roof deck attachment. The inspector will determine what type of decking the home has, the type of fasteners used to attach the decking and the spacing between the fasteners. The longer the nails are and the closer they are to each other, the more likely the decking is to stay attached during high winds. In order to get credit for this, the home has to be able to resist certain amounts of wind pressure.
Wind mitigation inspections are an inexpensive way to qualify for the best possible insurance rate no matter who insures your home. It is important to select a company with a quality assurance program and a commitment to supporting the results of the inspection. You can schedule an appointment today. All of our inspectors are fully licensed and insured. In most cases our clients will save more in one year for insurance than the cost of the inspection.
Large Missile Impact Hurricane Shutters