Wind Mitigation

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.

If you live in a coastal state, you've probably heard of Wind Mitigation Insurance. If you're a Florida resident, especially - that peninsular state sprawling into the Atlantic and Gulf, flirting with tropical storms and hurricanes every summer and fall - almost assuredly you're familiar. And if you're not, you might want to reconsider the significant savings a home inspection may offer, should nature's fury unleash.

Many property owners receive wind mitigation inspections to assess the preparedness of their homes and businesses in resisting the effects of windstorm damage or loss. Interestingly, even in Florida, wind mitigation inspections are not required by insurance companies or mortgage lenders - it's totally optional, unlike some derivative of the four-point home inspection (which assesses the status of a property's electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems plus the roofing) or a more intensive roof condition inspection. So why would someone want to order an extra inspection if it isn't 100% needed? Because it could save you money!

That's right - SAVE YOU MONEY. Wind Mitigation Insurance is the only inspection that is almost guaranteed to result in some level of insurance discount on your insurance premium.

Florida looks at 8 key categories, described below:

  • Roof Covering: inspectors want to know when the roof was installed and does if it meets building codes. In Florida, the code standard was updated in 2001.
  • Roof Deck Attachment: inspectors will determine what type of roof decking is used and how it's attached to the underlying structure, like if it's nailed or stapled down. If nails are used, nail length and spacing between each will also be noted.
  • Roof to Wall Attachment: the roof attachments become the focus here: are trusses attached with nails or hurricane clips? Are the wraps single or double? The more secure your roof, the better impact on your wallet!
  • Roof Geometry: is your roof hip or not? Nope, the inspector won't care how cool it is, just how it's shaped - a hip roof resembles that of a pyramid, and is a definite qualifier for a discount.
  • Gable End Bracing: if the roof is a gable style, an inspector will review if the gable ends are braced to Florida Building Code standards. Gable ends measuring more than 48 inches tall should be braced for reinforcement, and inspectors will be checking for this qualification for discount.
  • Wall Construction Type: Inspectors will review the construction materials used on your home for framing, reinforcement, and outer fascia, and at what percentages. Steel reinforced concrete block homes may yield a better discount than one with a plywood-only frame and plastic siding.
  • Secondary Water Barrier: This is a newer item for roofs. If your roof was installed or upgraded before 2008, it's fairly unlikely you'll have this sort of barrier. As with most newer features, photo documentation, at a minimum, will be required for a discount in this area.
  • Opening Protection: Here, inspectors are looking for shutters and installed-protection devices from wind-born debris for doors and windows. They will also be checking the rating of the devices, if you have them (as in- are they hurricane-rated?). 100% of all openings need to be covered with Hurricane rated protection to qualify for this discount.

In the end, investing in a wind mitigation inspection is at your own discretion. The potential cost-savings per year could easily outweigh the cost. If you live in a coastal region, avoiding a wind mitigation inspection is at your own peril.