Wind mitigation is the implementation of certain building techniques in order to limit damage caused by intense wind.
A Few Facts About Windstorms and Wind Insurance
- In 2006, Citizens Insurance, one of the largest property insurers in Florida, requested a 45% rate increase for wind insurance. Other insurers took similar actions.
- In Florida, the portion of a homeowner’s premium covering wind damage can be up to 70% of the total, depending on location.
- Wind mitigation benefits homeowners, private insurers, and all levels of government.
Incentives for Wind Mitigation
- In some states, homeowners can benefit from reduced insurance premiums. The Gulf Coast states, which are most prone to windstorm damage from hurricanes, have each considered mandating incentives to mitigate damage due to wind. Mississippi and Texas currently do not have such legislation, although Florida has been successful. Following Hurricane Andrew, Florida passed a law requiring insurance companies to offer their customers discounts and credits for existing building features and home improvements that reduce damage and loss from wind. In order to qualify for this discount, homes must undergo a certified home wind inspection. However, many Floridians do not know of this law.
- Those with windstorm insurance can avoid a costly deductible. Deductibles for homes in hurricane-prone areas can exceed $20,000, meaning that mild to moderate wind damage might not be covered by insurance at all. If proper wind mitigation techniques have been used, these expenses can be avoided altogether.
- Wind mitigation helps protect the home from damage. Even if a home is insured, it is always costly when a house is damaged, both for the homeowner and the insurer. Repairs can take months, especially during material shortages that follow massive destruction to entire communities, as was the case after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana.
- Lenders in Florida require homeowners to carry windstorm insurance in order to be approved for a mortgage. Insurers may not provide windstorm insurance to homes that are vulnerable to wind damage