How Much Does a Wind Mitigation Inspection Save on Insurance?
Updated: Nov 13
Wind Mitigation Inspections in Florida: When They Help and When They Don’t
Imagine a beautiful Florida farmhouse outside of Tampa. Surrounded by mature Florida landscaping that only a true gardener could cultivate. My client has lived here for years.
When her husband died, she remained. Even though her homeowners’ insurance doubled on the house and land that year, she found a way to stay. She had grown her own bit of paradise. How could she leave it?
But, a few years later, her insurance premium went from $5,000 to $11,000/year.
That got her wondering; how much does a wind mitigation report save on insurance? Would it make a difference? Could it be enough to keep her home?
If your insurance agent sent you the same letter informing you of a rate increase, you’re in the same predicament. Is there a way to prevent your insurance from skyrocketing?
Well, the good news is there’s hope for both of you.
What Is a Wind Mitigation Inspection in Florida?
A wind mitigation inspection in Florida assesses the likelihood that wind will damage your home in the event of a hurricane or tornado. Because certain wind mitigation factors significantly impact how well your home weathers a storm, it’s possible that a wind mitigation inspection could save you money.
But it’s important to note that getting a wind mitigation inspection doesn’t guarantee that you’ll save money. If your house already has good wind mitigation measures in place, then getting another inspection isn’t going to change your rating.
However, if you’ve made substantial improvements to your roof, windows, shutters, or doors, it’s possible a wind mitigation could work in your favor.
What Does a Wind Mitigation Inspection Entail?
When the home inspector comes by to do a wind mitigation inspection, he looks at all the roof and the openings in your home to rate them on a wind mitigation report to give to your insurance company.
A wind mitigation inspection entails…
Checking the impact rating of all the windows in the house, including those small windows in doors.
Checking the impact rating of all the doors, including a garage door.
Checking the impact rating of shutters that would be used during a storm.
Observe the existing construction connections for your roof. (For example, your rafters could be toe-nailed, use hurricane straps, or clips.)
How Much Does a Wind Mitigation Report Save You on Insurance?
It all depends on your home and what the insurance carrier has on file.
For my client in the Florida farmhouse, it made all the difference. The $100 she spent to get a wind mitigation report saved her $6,000 on her insurance. No, joke.
But we’ll get to her situation in a minute.
Here’s when getting a wind mitigation inspection could pay off for you.
If you’ve upgraded ALL of your windows and doors to a higher impact rating, then you could benefit from a new wind mitigation.
If you’ve changed your shutters to a higher impact rated shutter, this also improves your wind mitigation.
If you’ve improved the strapping or replaced your roof, then your mitigation rating could increase, lowering your insurance premium.
Now, there’s also times when it’s not worth getting a new inspection done.
You’ve replaced all the windows EXCEPT that one in your door. (I have to judge your house by the weakest link.)
Your roof already has the highest rated strapping.
Your home is already ranked highly for wind mitigation.
You may be wondering…
“How do I know if my home is already ranked highly?”
“How do I know what kind of ‘strapping’ I have?”
“We just did some remodeling; how do I know if it affected my wind mitigation rating?”
These are all good questions that each depend on your specific situation. So the best thing to do is ask someone who knows your home already like your insurance agent. They should be able to tell you if any changes could impact your premiums.
Is a Wind Mitigation Inspection Required in Florida?
While there’s no requirement by law, almost all insurance agencies ask for a wind mitigation inspection when you buy a home. With Florida being in the path of hurricanes five to six months out of the year, it’s just the smart thing to do.
There are some exceptions. Mobile homes don’t normally get wind mitigations because they are made to be light and mobile, not durable.
High rise condos are another exception. Typically, the condo association takes care of the wind mitigation on the whole building, so the individual owners don’t worry about it. However, if you put in high impact windows and sliders or upgrade your shutters, then you can opt to get a wind mitigation inspection.
How Much Does a Wind Mitigation Inspection Cost in Florida?
The cost of a wind mitigation inspection in Florida varies across the state. It depends on the density of the population, the cost of living in the area, and if that area is in a HVHZ (High Velocity Hurricane Zone).
In North Florida, where the population is less dense and the inspectors cover a wider area, the wind mitigation inspections cost $150-$200.
In the Tampa Bay area, the population is denser with a booming market, so our inspections are $90-150.
And in Southeast Florida, along the Atlantic coast, the rates can be as high as $500. Why the jump in price?
Well, you see, Southeast Florida is in a High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ). They’re most likely to get hit with high winds, so extra precautions apply here. In fact, there’s a special section of the wind mitigation report dedicated to HVHZs.
There’s one more scenario where that $100 wind mitigation inspection can save you thousands…
Let’s go back to my client with the farmhouse.
How a Wind Mitigation Inspection Saved Her $6,000 on Insurance?
When my client came to me, she didn’t really know what to do or if she could do anything.
She couldn’t afford to pay $11,000 a year. She didn’t understand why her rates were skyrocketing all of a sudden. And she was looking at having to sell her precious home she worked so hard to keep.
So she reached out to me. And I’m glad she did.
Hers was the case of a false assumption leading to erroneous changes. And it was all over one nail.
You see, when your roofing straps have only two nail holes, they’re not as effective at mitigating wind. Her insurance company assumed she only had the two nail holes from pictures they had from a previous inspection.
They didn’t come to look. They didn’t ask. They just assumed. This led to a $6,000 increase in her yearly premium.
She had me over to do her wind mitigation inspection and see if there were any changes she could make to keep that increase from taking effect.
Sure enough, I go up into the attic and I find not two but three nail holes. Two in the front and one in the back. Perfectly, acceptable.
I sent the wind mitigation report over the same day, and they were able to correct their files with up-to-date photos.
Needless to say, she was thrilled. It’s not every day you spend $100 and save $6,000.
Where Can I Find Good Wind Mitigation Inspectors Near Me?
Honestly, wind mitigation inspections are pretty easy and don’t require a lot of expertise to complete.
Ask your insurance or real estate agent who they recommend. They deal with wind mitigation inspectors near you all the time and should be able to suggest a reputable one.
Now if you prefer using someone who has over 20 years' experience in the construction industry, then I’d be happy to help you out.
Buyer’s Guide Home Inspections provides accurate, same day reporting for all our home, four point, and wind mitigation inspections, so you can move on with life.