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What Is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?

What is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?

Wind mitigation inspections do more than give Florida homeowners peace of mind.

Find out how a quick wind mitigation inspection can help lower your insurance premiums.

Floridians are well-versed at protecting our homes from hurricane-related wind damage. We secure doors and windows, fill up sand bags, and clear our yards of loose debris.

But most people forget about the biggest area of protection for their home: the roof.

Your realtor or home inspector might have recommended that you get a wind inspection, but what is it? And—more importantly—why is it so important?

 

What Is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?

A wind mitigation inspection looks at seven key areas of your roof to determine its ability to withstand strong winds and water intrusion.

During a storm (yes, even a typical summer thunderstorm), heavy winds can push rain against your home, where, being water, it will find its way into any crack or crevice.

Your roof is the first line of defense against wind, which is why wind mitigation inspections focus on your roof.

The inspection report will examine seven areas:

  1. Construction Year: the year your home was built, which tells the home inspector how strict the building codes were;
  2. Roof Covering: the type of roof covering (shingle, tile, etc.) and age of the roof;
  3. Roof Decking: the material your decking (i.e. the material your shingles are nailed to) is made of, the type of nails securing the shingles, and how far apart the nails are;
  4. Roof To Wall Attachment: the method used to attach the roof to your walls;
  5. Roof Shape: the shape and slope of your roof;
  6. Secondary Water Resistance: the type of material between the shingles and roof decking;
  7. Opening Protections: whether you have additional protections on openings such as sunroofs, garage doors, windows, etc.

Obviously, the newer, stronger, and better constructed your roof is, the more protection it can provide against wind damage.

 

Who Can Perform a Wind Mitigation Inspection?

Legally, wind mitigation inspections can only be performed by a licensed general contractor, building contractor, architect, engineer, building inspector, or home inspector.

Certified home inspectors are typically used for most wind mitigation inspections. If you are purchasing a home, a professional home inspector can do both the wind mitigation, four point, and/or buyer’s inspections at the same time. Many even offer a discount for performing multiple inspections at once.

 

What to Expect From Your Wind Mitigation Inspection

A wind mitigation inspection is a visual examination of the condition of your roof and the techniques used during its construction.

Unlike a typical home inspection, a wind mit inspection focuses on your roof. For this reason, someone will need to be present to allow the inspector to access the attic and view the underside of your roof.

empty attic underneath roof

The inspector is also required to take photos of your roof. This strengthens the validity of their report and helps combat fraud (which is rampant in the Florida building industry).

A typical wind mitigation can be performed in under an hour and the inspection cost is similarly low: roughly $100. But price should be far from your primary concern.

Most importantly, make sure you use an honest, trustworthy, and accurate home inspector or other professional. If you need a referral, Harry Levine Insurance can provide you with the names of several local inspectors that we know and trust.

 

Benefits of Wind Mitigation

By far, the most popular reason for getting a wind mitigation inspection is to save money on your insurance premiums!

Legally, your carrier must provide you with insurance discounts for a “passing grade.” The more wind-resistant features your roof has, the deeper your discount.

Generally speaking:

  • Newer roofs;
  • Longer nails placed closer together;
  • Upgraded materials;
  • Hipped roofs;
  • Secondary water resistance; and
  • Higher-rated doors, windows, shutters, etc.

…will all get you extra “credits” that your insurance company will turn into discounts.

 

How Big Of a Discount Will I Get?

As with most things insurance-related, there’s no way to know for sure.

Not only is there no standard among insurance companies for the size of the discount they offer, there is no  scientific consensus that certain roof features are “safer” or more wind-resistant than others.

hands holding ball of cash

The Florida Legislature is not made up of engineers or building inspectors, but politicians. Although they used certain scientific (and quasi-scientific) data when writing the bill, your insurance carrier has their own data on what makes a home more exposed to risk. This is why Insurer A might give you a 5% discount because your roof is attached with clips instead of nails and Insurer B might only offer you 1%.

This doesn’t mean that wind mitigation inspections are useless. Far from it!

We often find that the inspections pay for themselves, earning at least $80-$100 of credit each year for a guaranteed five years (if not longer). Many times, the credits reach well into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars.  

It is extremely rare for no credits to be earned. Without a wind mit inspection, your insurer assumes that your home has the least wind-resistant features available. Notifying them that you have at least a few will require them to offer a discount. 

You cannot be charged more unless you had a prior wind mitigation inspection that had incorrect findings in your favor.  

 

Conclusion

Wind mitigation inspections are the easiest way to save money on your insurance premiums.

For less than an hour of your time—and around $100—your inspection can offer significant insurance savings over the next five years (or more)!

At Harry Levine Insurance, we urge all Florida homeowners to schedule a wind mitigation inspection at regular intervals. While we can’t guarantee savings with 100% certainty, it’s tremendously likely that you’ll wind up with a positive result.

While wind mitigation inspections are a very simple way to save some money on your insurance premiums, there are additional ways we can help. As independent insurance agents, we are not tied to a specific carrier, so we can provide you with multiple options at varying coverage levels and price points customized to your needs.

Call today to schedule a consultation or contact us online for a free quote. We can’t wait to meet you!

 
We updated this post in 2020 to provide the most up to date info about wind mitigation inspections.
 

This piece is intended as an incomplete introduction and reference to the process of Wind Mitigation Inspection for Florida homeowners. It does not imply or guarantee any premium savings, insurance coverage or protection against loss. Wind Mitigation Inspectors are hired at all homeowners’ own risk. Harry Levine Insurance is in no way responsible for positive or negative outcomes of any actions taken in reliance on this article. No action should be taken in reliance on this article.

About the Author

Jason Levine

Jason received a Masters of Science & Management in Risk Management & Insurance from Florida State University. He has been with Harry Levine Insurance for 9 years and handles the leadership of daily operations. He was the 2013-2014 Florida Association of Insurance Agents Young Agent Council's Agent of the Year. Currently serves on FAIA Board of Directors.

17 comments

  1. I have searched high and low in Newport News VA and Hampton VA and have not found company that does a wind mitigation report. Do you know of anyone in Newport News or Hampton VA that does a wind mitigation report? I need it for my house insurance before I am covered.

    • Ronda,

      I am not familiar with other states that use Wind Mitigation Inspections. We work primarily in Florida so I would recommend reaching out to an insurance agent in Virginia and asking them who they use. Thank you and good luck!

  2. Hello I’m thinking about doing some impact windows and doors. However to obtain a permit the city of Sunrise is asking for wind load calculations. Would that be the same thing as a Wind Mitigation report?

    • Hi Chris!

      No, the wind load information and a Wind Mitigation Affidavit are entirely separate things. The wind load information would be available from your door/window contractor or from the window manufacturer. It is specific to the amount of wind/pressure the specific window can withstand by design and proven by laboratory testing.

      A Wind Mitigation Affidavit is much broader. It focuses on features of your roof. It does account for things like impact resistant glass/shutters/etc., but it doesn’t get into the specific design features of each and every window pane.

      Thanks!

  3. I am building a new home and want to know if the roof has any effect on insurance cost.
    1. It is a new house build to code and the roof is designed for 150 mph wind. Does it matter if it is a hip or gable at this point?
    2. The target roof is a Boston hip roof, which has small gables. I need it to increase the ridge length for proper attic ventilation. If a hip roof still influences insurance cost even though it meets 150 mph wind, how are the small gables counted to calculate gable/perimeter ratio? Are the small gables included in the perimeter length? Is the length measured at the gable fascia or where the eve ends merge with the hip? the eve length has a huge influence on this dimension.
    3. Are gable ends on structures outside of the main structure wall included in the gable end length? for example; a main entry way roof attached to the house outside the main walls and extending to large pillars 8′ from the wall where the gable end exists.

    • Hello!

      Congratulations on the new home, and thank you for reaching out to us! There are quite a few things that go into the wind resistive nature of a home, and understanding them can be confusing. This is especially true when the Wind Mitigation Affidavit and related credits don’t actually come from the building community. They were completely the creation of the Florida Legislature.

      Regardless of your wind speed design it will always matter if the roof geometry is hip or gable for insurance purposes. No matter what a gable roof will statistically fail before a hip roof. Imagine putting a greeting card on a table in front of you such that it looks like an upside down “V” while sitting there (gable). If you blow on it immediately flies away. If you did the same with a pyramid shamed object (hip) it would take much greater force to move it. A hip roof is always preferable from a wind resistance standpoint, and hip roofs usually cost significantly less to insure than gables!

      The issue with your small gables can vary in impact depending on your insurance company. Generally speaking, the roof must be a vast majority hip or it gets rated as gable. I have seen a small gable or two cause insurance companies to rate the entire home as having a gable roof. Again, it creates a weak point. The 150 mph rating can be misleading, just like a 50 year warranty on tiles or shingles. It’s almost certain that 50 year warranty shingles or tiles won’t last anywhere near that long. The warranty is usually only for workmanship and product defects anyway – not the effects of 100 degree bleaching summer sun and those rare but real 20 degree winter nights here in Florida.

      If the gable is part of the roof that is fully attached to the home it does not matter if the gable is above living space or not. Again, you’re creating a weak point (no matter what your contractor says) in the roofing system. So pries up the gable over the front porch, so pries off the rest of the roof in 100mph winds!

      Hope that helps, and thanks again for contacting us!

  4. Hi,
    I am switching home insurance company and they need a wind mitigation form before giving me a quote. Who do i call to get the inspection done?, and do i have to pay this inspector or my current home insurance company can provide me one?. Thanks

  5. I recently had a wind mitigation and 4 point inspection in January of 2019 the inspector said we had a few bubbles but others wise it was ok, he then reported to the insurance company that we needed a roof, so on the 25th of February we got one, nails came through my kitchen 2 bedrooms and a bathroom closet in my ranch style home the roofers also left a area on the roof open which it leaked in the ceiling in the living room for the initial inspection which has not been done to date. March 20th another wind mitigation was done not sure of the results yet or what was done because it was done so quickly. It appears mildew is on the ceiling wall wear it leaked from the roof that was left open for inspection due to it rained all day the day after our roof installation and partly the day after that. What can be done about the mildew/mold?

    • Hi Dee,

      It sounds like you’ve got a less than ideal situation. First and foremost, if you’re roof is not water tight it needs to be tarped and then fixed immediately. Nearly all insurance policies have a clause requiring policy holders to take steps to mitigate a loss once its known. That means you’re not expected to climb on the roof yourself, but you need to get somewhere out there to stop the leaking and ensuing damage. Your policy likely also has a certain amount of Fungi coverage to help deal with the mold. Your company can than choose to go back after the contractor(s) who left your roof incomplete, or if you do not have coverage you can sue them directly.

      The biggest issue is active leaking and mold though! You need to call a service like Baxter Restoration (https://bit.ly/2HRKgNT) to secure things and start mold remediation ASAP. No matter who you call DO NOT SIGN A CONTRACT WITH AN ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS CLAUSE IN IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!! You’d just be setting yourself up for further headache.

      Hope that helps!

      Thanks,

  6. Hi! What if after having the original wind mit done in 2017 and u have another in 2019 because I added shutters the new inspectors see that the previous inspection did not reveal the correct findings about my roof in my favor? I had all the upgraded roof attachments and yet the inspector said I had toe nails causing me. It to get the discounts. But in 2019 it showed that I had all the upgrades and the previous inspector did not report correctly causing me to overspend on insurance by$2500 for two years. Is this reportable to retrieve my lost monies?

    • Hi Sakina,

      Unfortunately, there isn’t that much you can do. You can have your agent ask the carrier if they’ll consider any return of premium, but it’s unlikely. The good news is that you’ve got the new inspection that corrects the problem. You could always file a complaint against the first inspector with the appropriate licensing board (whoever regulates their professional license). There are several different categories of licensees who can perform Wind Mits, so it’s hard to say who would be the appropriate regulator without seeing the inspection report.

      Thanks!

  7. My insurance has gone up 10% yearly according to my agent I wanted a reduction and was told it would cost 600 for a wind mitigation report I had one in Dec of 2011 when we purchased our home in Indian spring. How long for does it last and why so much?

    • Hi Drew,

      Thanks for your question! Wind Mitigation Inspections provide details about how your roof is built, and how it is attached to your home. The idea is that if you have construction methods that exceed minimum standards you will get discounts on your insurance. If your roof does not exceed minimum standards then there is no penalty. The inspection cannot hurt you. It can only help you. From time to time the inspection form changes. If you have an older form then the insurance company will require a new inspection filled out on the new form. The newest form is from August 2014.

      Summarily, it looks at if your roof is up to the latest building codes, the pattern used to place nails in the shingles or tiles, the type of nails used, how the roof trusses are attached to the exterior walls, the geometric style of the roof, if you have secondary water resistance and a few other items. The Florida legislature has mandated that all insurance companies give credits for findings greater than minimum standards, but the credits are not uniform. They vary by carrier and by roof feature being applied in favor of.

      The cost you mention sounds more like a potential savings. There is no guarantee of credits, but often they range from as little as $50 to as much as $1,000. It all depends on the location, construction type, age and specific roofing system of the home in question. We typically see the inspection cost less than $150.00 in the Central Florida area.

      Please give us a call to further discuss. We’d be happy to discuss the inspection more in depth, refer you to an inspection service and review your homeowner insurance! You can also check out some a blog article we wrote where we interviewed a local company, Douglas Inspection, for their insight. https://www.harrylevineinsurance.com/have-you-saved-with-a-wind-mitigation-inspection/

      Thank you!

  8. How long is the wind discount good for? I had an inspection done when I first bought my house about 6 years ago. When switching insurance companies, do you need to update the inspection too?

    • Thank you so much for your question. We hope that the following provides the answer that you’re looking for! If not, feel free to call or email us.

      The affidavit is valid for 5 years, though an insurance company can honor it until the roof is replaced or significantly updated. The most current version of the affidavit generally needs to be used at the time credits are applied. If you have an inspection from 2011 and you switch carriers most will not honor it today, as the state last changed the form in 2012 and added several required photographs. A new inspection would be required in such a case.

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