Wind Mitigation


Wind mitigation is a broadly used term which can be misleading or confusing to the consumer, homeowner or building owner. The idea behind mitigation is the attempt to reduce the severity, seriousness, or costliness of windstorm damage to a structure, especially that caused by hurricanes. Coastal regions of Florida are the primary focus of mitigation as discussed in this guide.Hurricane damage from Charley


Wind Mitigation Inspections vs. Wind Mitigation Retrofits

Wind mitigation can be divided into two main categories: 1) Wind Mitigation Inspections, and 2) Wind Mitigation Retrofits (Improvements). WBC&I offers both Wind Mitigation Inspections and Retrofit Consultations.

Wind Mitigation Inspections These are performed by qualified inspectors, contractors, architects or engineers in order to determine if a home or building has certain hurricane-resistant features. The appropriate Wind Mitigation form is completed by the inspector and provided to the owner. The owner in turn can submit the completed form to their insurance provider in order to qualify for a reduction in premiums. The insurance savings are mandated by Florida Statute if the home qualifies. If hurricane-resistant construction is lacking, the home or building owner will want to consult with an expert to perform wind mitigation retrofit analysis.

Wind Mitigation Retrofits These involve making improvements to sub-standard wind-resistant components or installating hurricane-resistant upgrades such as roofing uplift connections, impact-resistant windows and doors (also known as Opening Protection) or certain types of wind-resistant roof coverings. Some improvements may not be feasible, practical or provide a substantial return when compared with the investment. The WBC&I consultant will determine the areas where improvements will be most cost-effective and make recommendations for retrofitting hurricane-resistant components.

Keith Gipe is a State of Florida Licensed Building Inspector, Home Inspector & Building Plans Examiner
with a wealth of construction experience.


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How Can I Decide Whether To Mitigate or Not?

There are several factors to consider.

1. The first consideration is the age of the home. Newer homes, especially those constructed since 2004 may already have many hurricane-resistant features and may not qualify for additional reductions in insurance permiums. Older homes are likely to need one or more of the mitigation improvements. Even if some of the features are not present on your newer home, there may be only a small return on your investment if improvements are made. On older homes, many of the components may be nearing the age of replacement.

2. Second, consider the condition of your home. Replacing worn roof coverings or leaky windows is expensive. Many homeowners will put off replacement until there is no other option. Since mid-2008, Florida is requiring wind mitigation measures for the roof assembly whenever a roof covering is replaced. So you may have no choice but to upgrade when the time comes. However, this mandatory improvement is certainly in your best interest and may result in savings on your homeowner’s insurance policy. Another benefit may be appreciated only when a hurricane affects your home. The likelihood of serious wind or water damage may be drastically reduced. Imagine being able to return home after an evacuation to find your home with minimal damage.

3. Third, is the return on investment (ROI). Roof covering and window replacement are costly improvements. There is certainly some value added to your home when these have been upgraded. However, the ROI will not be 100%. Most will yield only a 50-70% of the cost of the improvement. So ask, "How long do I intended to own this property"? If you plan to stay for two or more years the ROI begins to improve. You should compare the cost of the improvement against the value added and the potential for savings from your insurance provider. There may be other ways that these improvements can save you money. For instance most replacement windows will result in substantial energy savings. New windows have thermal breaks and insulated glass to reduce heat conductivity and hot climate Low-E coatings to reduce heat and UV radiation.

Insurance premium reductions can be as little as 15% or up to 70%, depending on the region in Florida where the building is located. Premium determination is complicated, so the building owner should contact their insurance agent or insurance company for rate reduction information. The Wind Insurance Savings Calculator may be used to run scenarios that approximate the savings. However, it should not be relied upon to represent actual discounts since there are many factors that affect the premium. Florida Statute 626.0629 states that insurance companies are required to offer Florida building owners “discounts, credits, or other rate differentials” for construction techniques that reduce damage and loss in windstorms. This applies not only to free standing single family homes, but also to multi-family dwellings such as condominiums and townhouses, as well as commercial buildings that are located in what has been classified as a Wind Borne Debris Region as pictured in the Basic Wind Speed Map in the Florida Building Code. Keep in mind that the reductions apply to the wind portion of the premium only.


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