Reinspect—Don’t Let Your Windstorm Discounts Expire

In 2007, the Florida Department of Financial Services enacted a program to help Floridians strengthen their homes to protect against windstorm damage. Since the majority of Florida homes were built prior to the tougher building code changes of 2002 that required stronger construction, most Florida homes were at significant risk of structural damage during wind events. The program, called My Safe Florida Home, verified Florida homes with upgraded, wind-resistant construction features. The program also offered grants to Florida homeowners who upgraded their houses with construction improvements designed to reduce damage from hurricanes.

At the time of the grant program, Florida homeowners living in single-family, site-built homes could receive a free wind inspection. The state of Florida contracted with home inspectors around the state, who visited Florida homes to identify potential discounts or credits available to reduce the homeowner’s insurance premium, or to suggest construction upgrades.

The inspector completed a windstorm mitigation inspection form, which evaluated the home’s wind worthiness. The inspection also identified retrofits that could harden the home and estimated the potential cost to complete those improvements. Many Florida homeowners obtained grants to make the appropriate upgrades and obtained premium discounts under their Florida homeowner’s policy. Although the state stopped funding inspections and retrofit grants in 2009, the premium discounts are still available.

Homeowners insurance carriers provide discounts for the following:

  • Hurricane protection on all windows and exterior doors, for example shutters or impact resistance windows and garage doors
  • A hip roof (a roof sloped on all sides like a pyramid)
  • Roof-to-wall connections installed with hurricane clips or straps. Discounts vary depending on the type of connection
  • A Florida Building Code-approved roof covering. Discounts vary depending on the type of covering, such as asphalt, tile or metal

The results of these inspections last up to a five-year period from the date of inspection. This means if your My Safe Florida Home inspection results are five years or older, you risk losing your discounts on your homeowners policy.

To continue to receive your homeowners discounts, you must obtain a new Wind Mitigation inspection. Because the program expired on June 30, 2009, the State of Florida Department of Financial Services no longer provides verification inspection forms. Florida homeowners who wish to maintain their credit should contact a licensed home inspection company, a licensed Florida building contractor, a city building official, architect or engineer to obtain a new inspection. The cost of the inspection is minimal compared to the potential premium savings.

Act now to avoid losing your premium discounts.

Names of inspectors are also available on the My Safe Florida Home website.

Don’t let your valuable windstorm credits lapse. Take action today by arranging your home’s re-inspection or contact your Florida insurance agent for more details.

Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.