Strengthen Your Home and Save Money on Your Homeowner's Insurance
For many of us, buying and owning a home is one of the most important investments we make in our lives. When we make this investment, we expect our homes will protect us and serve as a safe haven from hurricanes. To better protect ourselves and our homes when a hurricane hits, we must also invest in building standards and techniques that will strengthen our homes and communities against the catastrophic damage that hurricanes inflict.
How do you know if your home is hurricane resistant?
You can start with a Wind Mitigation inspection. The inspection will identify what wind mitigating attributes are present and what you can do to harden your home against violent wind storms and hurricanes.
Why should you make an investment to strengthen your home against hurricanes?
Before you can improve your home’s ability to withstand a hurricane, you need to know how hurricane resistant it is today. The inspection will be conducted by a qualified wind inspector trained in wind-resistant building techniques. The inspector will explain what wind mitigating attributes are present and what improvements can be made to strengthen your home against hurricanes and what insurance discounts are available to you if improvements are made. Homes that are strengthened with hurricane-resistant attributes are less likely to suffer serious damage in a hurricane. Homeowners who invest in strengthening their homes will be entitled to a range of discounts on their homeowners insurance premium, depending on what and how many of the recommended improvements are made.
What kind of improvements can be made to strengthen my home against hurricane damage?
1. Improving the strength of your roof deck attachment.
For instance, if your roof is made of shingles nailed to plywood sheets, the wind inspection may reveal that the plywood sheets are not adequately nailed to your roof trusses, and that more nails and/or longer nails need to be added to prevent the plywood from being blown off during a hurricane.
2. Creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water intrusion.
There are products that cover and seal the joints between the plywood sheets on your roof. This will reduce leakage if your shingles are blown off.
3. Improving the survivability of your roof covering.
Upgrading to stronger and thicker hurricane-resistant roof shingles, attached with properly sized and applied roofing nails, will reduce the chance of your roof shingles blowing off during a hurricane.
4. Bracing gable-ends in your roof framing.
This is usually done in your attic to lessen the chances that your roof will collapse under hurricane wind loads.
5. Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections.
For example, installing metal tie-down straps that attach roof rafters to wall studs to decrease the chances that all or part of your roof will lift up from your house during a hurricane.
6. Upgrading exterior wall-opening protections.
Installing hurricane-rated window shutters or other impacted rated materials.
7. Upgrading exterior doors.
For example, replacing a standard garage door with a hurricane-rated garage door. By law, all companies offering homeowners insurance in Florida must provide discounts to policyholders who invest in products and improvements proven to defend a home against hurricane damage. Contact your insurance company or your agent to find out what discounts are available to you after strengthening your home.