Hurricane Ian was one of the most destructive storms to hit the country in recent years. The Category 4 storm inflicted an estimated $40 billion in damages, leaving at least 80 people dead and over 1 million residents in Florida without electricity.
Coastal areas in the state often bear the brunt of violent storms. The Insurance Information Institute has put Florida at the highest risk of storm destruction, with up to 2.85 million houses vulnerable to Category 5 hurricanes.
The latest information from the United States Census Bureau shows that the population in coastal counties grew by 40 million from 1960 to 2008, an increase of over 84%. The agency also said the most destructive hurricanes affected almost 51 million residents since 1960.
Understanding Wind Mitigation Retrofits
According to the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center, even a Category 1 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 95 mph could damage the roof shingles, gutters, and vinyl sidings.
Wind mitigation retrofitting involves several property upgrades that help homeowners reduce the impact of storms. These home improvement projects also minimize debris and accelerate post-disaster clearing tasks. Sealing roof decks properly, reinforcing roof-to-wall connections, and strengthening the property’s bracing systems are a few retrofitting mitigation methods the Florida Division of Emergency Management recommends.
Hurricane Clip and Strap Retrofitting is Crucial for Floridian Homes
Strengthening roof-to-wall joints is popular among homeowners, as roof damage is the most common aftermath of strong winds. According to Waypoint Property Inspection, older property homes in Florida were built with a toenail connection, using two nails to secure the roof to the wall. Sometimes, a toenail connection involves one nail pushed at an angle through the truss and into the metal plate.
Since early 2002, the Florida Building Code requires homes to have three nails to fasten the metal clips, providing more resistance to heavy winds. As a result, many homes in Florida today do not have this method of securing roof-to-wall attachments, leaving owners to reinforce hurricane straps and clips themselves.
Hurricane clips are pieces of metal held by nails and attached to the truss and the wall plate. More nails make this attachment more secure. Using single and double metal wraps connecting the roof to the rafters can also make the building more resilient.
Wind Mitigation Retrofitting Can Help Lower Premiums
Besides providing protection, these improvements help homeowners earn discounts when applying for insurance. According to Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, using three nails to secure the metal clips and wraps can save homeowners up to 35% in their insurance premiums. However, insurers have different evaluation systems, and discounts vary from one company to another.
The state of Florida mandates all insurance providers to offer credits and discounts to property owners who invest in projects that increase their home’s structural integrity, making these assets less vulnerable to wind damage. Lowering the risks means a policyholder is less likely to file a claim, effectively reducing costs.
A state-authorized professional evaluates insurance premiums and discounts property using the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form. The document includes a checklist of what homeowners must focus on when determining a building’s structural resiliency. It’s also an excellent way to identify a property owner’s wind mitigation measures, which impact premium assignments and discounts.
An inspector can only consider a truss system secure if the metal plate has at least three nails holding it together, among other features. Looking at the form and identifying the areas for improvement or hiring accredited inspectors to examine a property can benefit homeowners and help them save money on homeowner’s insurance.
Wind Mitigation Project Costs
As with any other home upgrades, wind mitigation retrofitting costs vary based on the materials your property needs and the scope and size of the project. According to the same article mentioned earlier from Waypoint Property Inspection, local companies charge about $950 for simple retrofitting, like adding more nails into the metal plates and clips. Prices increase if the roofers need to access the truss system outside the attic.
Comparatively, hurricane window installation costs anywhere from $2,700 to $15,721. Meanwhile, wall bracing retrofits and foundation bolting range from $5,000 and $10,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home, according to home improvement site Fixr.com.
Wind mitigation retrofits require upfront costs, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Besides saving on hefty repair costs, these upgrades can help lower insurance premiums and increase property value. This is a welcome solution for homeowners, especially as Florida’s property insurance prices are seen to continue rising for at least the next two years.
ABC Dennis Insurance Agency
ABC Dennis Insurance is an independent insurance agency established in 1997 that provides homeowners insurance to its customers. If you have not reviewed your insurance coverages this year, please call our office at (813) 949-7765 or email us.
Besides homeowners insurance, we can help with all your insurance needs. As an independent agency, we find the best insurance coverage with the most competitive rates.