STATE LAW now requires ALL insurance companies in Florida to notify policyholders of potential discounts for features they may ALREADY HAVE in their homes. Florida Statute 626.0629 REQUIRES that ALL insurance companies offer Florida homeowners “discounts, credits, or other rate differentials…” for particular construction techniques that help to reduce wind damage caused by hurricanes, tropical storms and other windstorm related claims. The required notice is with your policy documents; just take a look. With your policy endorsements you will see a form that outlines what you’ll save if your home has some of these relatively common construction features. The really exciting news is that most existing homes already have AT LEAST ONE or more features that will qualify for a discount on current policies.

If your home was built on or after March 1, 2002, most insurance companies give you credit for the upgraded features. BUT… if your home was constructed prior to March 1, 2002, your insurance company does not take for granted that it contains any upgraded features such as a hip roof, clips or straps holding your roof trusses to the walls, roof covering (i.e. shingles) that meet the 2001 Florida Building Code (if your roof was installed after 2/28/02 it qualifies) etc., even though the vast majority of homes do have one or more of these features that qualify for discount(s). The responsibility lies with you, as the homeowner, to have these features certified, proving to the insurance company that your property is eligible for discount(s). You can do this by having a Wind Mitigation Inspection performed by a qualified individual. According to the State of Florida’s Department of Financial Services, before getting a Wind Mitigation Inspection, the average homeowner is overpaying by 22%

The State issued form that is used for this inspection is called a “Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form”, OIR-B1-1802 (Rev.02/10). The inspection typically takes less than an hour and, if your attic access is in the garage, the inspector does not usually need to come inside your home. The cost is normally in the $100. range, and the savings that result typically outweigh the cost of the inspection, sometimes many times over. The discounts are based on a percentage of your windstorm premium so the higher your premium, the higher your discount! The really good news is that you don’t have to wait for your policy to renew to benefit. Savings start from the day your insurance company receives the inspection. If they receive the inspection mid-year, the company will send you the pro-rata share of any refunds due you, AND reduce your renewal premium. The form states that it is good for up to 5 years, provided no material changes are made to the structure.

Bottom line is… If your home was built on or after March 1, 2002, you are probably getting the credit you deserve. The only two discounts that require verification are opening protection (i.e. hurricane shutters) which requires an inspection to certify, and a hip roof which (if they haven’t already) most companies will accept a photo as verification for that discount. If you have already had a Wind Mitigation Inspection performed and are experiencing the savings, congratulations! Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors about it. I originally heard about it from a friend and am so happy she spread the word! If you have NOT had one, check it out. Your agent can give you additional guidance.

Wind Mitigation Inspection, Windstorm Inspection, Roof Inspection, Wind Inspection, Florida Statute 626.0629, Mitigation Discounts, Insurance Discounts, Uniform Mitigation Verification

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