Updated June 4, 2021
Reading time: 3 minutes
Buying the perfect house for you and your family isn’t easy. Once you find a place that meets your needs, you have to wade through reports, inspections, financial paperwork, and home insurance policies.
It’s a confusing process—even more so if you aren’t familiar with the terminology. One buzzword you might come across on your journey to homeownership is “wind mitigation.” Wind mitigation is one way to protect your home from strong winds, and this guide will explain why it’s important to homeowners.
Wind mitigation reports can help you save money on home insurance. Another way to lower your home insurance premium is with Insurify: compare insurance quotes side by side to pick the best one to protect your home.
A wind mitigation inspection, or windstorm inspection, is a visual examination to determine how much wind a home can withstand during a windstorm. A licensed general contractor, architect, engineer, building inspector, or home inspector will look at your home’s various construction features to determine its ability to handle strong winds.
Homes in parts of the U.S. where hurricanes are common can benefit from an inspection since high winds often accompany storms. The inspection can identify structural weaknesses and suggest features to add to your home to reduce losses in hurricanes.
Although some insurance companies require wind mitigation inspections, your policy might not if it doesn’t cover damage from excessively strong winds. Ask your insurance agent, and read your policy carefully to determine if you need separate windstorm insurance to protect against hurricanes and tornadoes.
Wind mitigation inspections aren’t a requirement for most homeowners insurance. However, the resulting report could lower the premiums you pay for coverage.
It comes down to where you live. Beachfront property owners typically pay higher rates and have the fewest options to protect against wind damage. Regardless of your home’s location, wind mitigation credits—credits you get for taking steps to protect your home from wind damage—can reduce the cost of your home insurance.
For instance, Florida requires insurers to offer discounts to Florida homeowners who protect their homes with wind mitigation features, such as:
Securing a roof deck attachment to the rafters using hurricane clips
Covering windows and using hurricane shutters to protect against flying debris
Installing a hurricane-resistant garage door
Using hurricane-resistant garage door bracing kits
If you’re house shopping, keep in mind that a home’s roof geometry can result in insurance discounts, too. A hip roof, one with a pyramid shape, is the most wind-resistant and might qualify you for a wind mitigation discount.
Wind mitigation reports can vary by state and provider. All forms include similar information to gauge structural integrity in the event of strong winds. Florida’s Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form is an excellent example. In Florida, the form includes information about when the home was built to determine if the home meets Florida Building Code requirements that were put in place in 2001.
Most forms also examine the type of roof covering, the roof deck attachment, the roof shape, and the presence of secondary water resistance to act as a water barrier in case the roof is blown off during a windstorm.
Like wind mitigation inspections, 4-point home inspections are an evaluation of your home. Insurance companies often require a 4-point inspection to examine the roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC condition before issuing an insurance policy.
Insurers can ask for wind mitigation reports, too. While a 4-point inspection assesses the well-being of a home’s major systems, a wind mitigation inspection determines the structural integrity as it relates to withstanding wind damage.
Inspection requirements can vary from state to state, and not all homes require a 4-point inspection or a wind mitigation inspection. Homes over 10 years old are more likely to require a 4-point inspection. Wind mitigation reports are standard in Gulf Coast states where hurricanes are more common.
Your home is one of the largest investments you’ll make, and a wind mitigation inspection can help you protect it from possible damage. An inspection report can identify areas of your home that are prone to damage from high winds and suggest home improvements that can reduce the damage. The report may recommend opting for hurricane-resistant glass when installing new windows or having the roofing shingles replaced. Remember: taking steps toward wind mitigation can qualify you for discounts on your home insurance, which is another reason you may want an inspection even if it’s not required.
Only authorized inspectors can perform a wind mitigation inspection. Florida requires a certified inspector to complete a minimum number of hours of hurricane mitigation training and pass a proficiency exam. Building code inspectors, general and building contractors, engineers, and architects are also authorized to complete wind mitigation inspections.
Before jumping into another inspection, you should ask about the cost. Different companies can charge different amounts, although the average price is about $75 to $100. A wind mitigation report might lower your home insurance premiums, so compare the cost savings against the initial inspection fee.
A wind mitigation inspection can give you peace of mind as a homeowner. But it may cause you anxiety if you worry about your home failing the report. The good news is that you can’t “fail” a wind mitigation inspection. The wind mitigation report is an evaluation of the construction of your home. The results can help you qualify for discounts on home insurance or suggest areas of improvement to make the structure more resistant to high-wind damage.
When buying a home, there are often hoops to jump through. A wind mitigation inspection can be worth the extra work even if it isn’t required to purchase your home.
Depending on where you live and which insurance company you use, a wind mitigation report can qualify you for discounts on your home insurance premiums. It can also suggest measures you can take to safeguard your home from wind damage.
With or without an inspection, use Insurify to shop for the best homeowners policy to see how much you could save on your premiums.
Jackie Cohen is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in property & casualty insurance educational content. She has years of experience analyzing insurance trends and helping consumers better understand their insurance coverage to make informed decisions about their finances.
Jackie's work has been cited in USA Today, The Balance, and The Washington Times.Learn More