Saving Money & Protecting Your Home

Earlier this year I wrote how every home owner can save hundreds of dollars each year off their insurance by ordering a “Wind Mitigation Inspection”.  The article was well received but generated a universal question:  “How much will I save on my home?”  The most true and direct answer is, it depends on your insurance company.  However there are guidelines for the reductions you will receive.  Of the many elements inspected during a Wind Mitigation Inspection, three offer the greatest savings; the first two are governed by the age and design of your home, the third is one you may directly control and readily improve.

Hurricane-Zone-Design-and-AnalysisThe largest savings (up to 45% of your wind insurance cost) comes by having a home that meets the construction standards established by the 2001 Florida Building Code.  These codes went into effect March 1, 2002.  Therefore, if your home was built after January 2003, it is likely that it meets these standards.  The second largest reduction comes from having a “hip roof”.  This style of roofs is similar in shape to a pyramid, in which all the sides slope toward the center of the home.  Having this roof design saves up to 23% off your wind insurance.

The third most important factor in reducing your wind insurance, and one which YOU may readily improve, is having protection for each of your home’s wall openings: windows, doors, garage doors, skylights, etc.  If the shutters and protection systems for those elements achieve a “Hurricane” or rathter “Large Missile Impact” rating, the highest rating, your wind insurance may be reduced up to 33%.  Products that meet the Hurricane rating classification must meet Impact, Wind Pressure, and Pressure Cycle testing requirements and be tested and approved under the Florida Building Code (FBC) Product Approval System.  A label or stamp on each shutter and door will identify this rating.  However, homeowners ought to request and retain any and all information and sales receipts for shutters, coverings, or garage doors they install to help certify and prove the products approval rating.  Shutters that may qualify for discounts include the following types: Awning (over hang each window and hinged to be lowered), Roll down, Accordian, Bahama, Swing or Hinged Colonial, special Fabric types, Perforated metal screen, or FBC approved plastic panels.  While some older styles of shutters may not achieve a “Hurricane” rating, it is likely they meet one of the other lesser categories which will still save money.  If you are not sure what level of wind protection your home has, or if you have not yet had a Wind Mitigation Inspection, be sure to hire a state approved inspector (such as a Licensed Professional Engineer) to perform a Wind Inspection to start saving money and learn more about your home.

Greg Bertaux, PE &  CIEC is a Licensed professional engineer, Licensed Mold Assessor, Licensed Termite inspector, and a Licensed home inspector.  He is President and Owner of PRIME Engineering & Environmental Building Services.  For more information, visit or call (772) 410-3752.

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