If you’ve lived in South Florida for any significant amount of time, you know all too well the damage that can be inflicted by a hurricane or vicious tropical storm. Each year, when the calendar turns from May to June, a great number of Floridians begin making preparations for “hurricane season”—a threat that is as real as it is frightening.
Sadly, as the people of Florida start stockpiling bottled water, gasoline and filling sand bags, most of them overlook a protection measure that could ultimately save them hundreds, if not tens of thousands of dollars in the most serious cases: their Wind and Hail Insurance policies.
Here are a couple of questions every Florida resident—and every U.S. resident for that matter—should ask themselves: Do I have enough coverage to protect my home and belongings from damage in the event of a large, windy storm? Do I know what my deductible is? If you don’t have a firm grasp regarding these questions, perhaps it’s time to sit down with a qualified Dewey Insurance agent to review your policy.
Important to remember is that most insurance companies do not allow you to add wind and hurricane-related protections mid-year, so it’s never been more important to adequately protect yourself from these potential damages during the designated renewal period.
Does My Current Homeowners’ Insurance Policy Protect Me from Wind Damage?
The simple answer to this question is that “it depends.” Although many homeowners’ policies do offer protection from natural wind disasters, there are many policies that do not offer this type of protection as part of their standard policy. Naturally, this can become quite the problem come “hurricane season,” which is why it’s important to review all of the provisions of your specific policy before it is too late.
Depending on where your home is located, you may require a separate “wind insurance” policy in addition to your homeowners’ policy—one that can protect your home and possessions from the powerful and destructive forces of wind.
Do I Need Wind Insurance?
The mighty forces of wind can cause irreparable damage for those not protected. However, in Florida and other gulf states, many people believe that they only need Wind Insurance for the six months out of the year in which the weather is most active, a period that is familiarly dubbed “hurricane season.” As a result, many of those individuals merely purchase the minimum amount of home-protection insurance during the so-called “off season”—a decision which can ultimately prove to be a huge mistake.
So why should Floridians maintain a comprehensive Wind Insurance policy throughout the year? The answer to that question is rather simple:
In addition to being one of the most hurricane-prone states in the U.S., Florida is also home to many heavy-wind tropical storms and the occasional tornado. Of course, Florida rarely sees the level of tornado-based wind destruction seen in states such as Kansas, Oklahoma and other states in “tornado alley,” but the state has been the site of certain destructive wind events over its history—destruction that could have been easily diminished with a comprehensive Wind Insurance policy.
How Much Does Wind Insurance Cost?
The cost of Wind Insurance varies from one state to another and even from one city to another. However, there are measures you can take to reduce the cost of your premiums—measures that are not merely dependent on the dollar amount of your deductible.
Florida residents who possess hurricane shutters to protect their homes’ windows can often save on their Wind Insurance policies, but the savings are not completely dependent on these shutters.
Recently, the insurance community has offered homeowners the “Windstorm Mitigation Credit,” a program designed to reward individuals for certain disaster-prevention measures in which they engage. To qualify for this credit, homeowners must consent to an inspection of their homes, during which experts will recommend certain safety precautions that may “mitigate” the amount of damage during a major wind storm. The inspection takes into account a number of safety features and recommends steps a homeowner can take to lower his/her premiums without accepting a huge deductible. Some of these features include:
- The size and shape of the homeowner’s roof
- The attachment method applied to the roof (roofing material, nail spacing, etc.)
- The age of the roof (in years)
- The presence (or absence) of reinforced roof decking, as well as hurricane clips and/or straps
- Window shutters
- Impact windows and doors
Of course, not all homeowners will pass the inspection needed for “full mitigation” of their Wind Insurance Policy. However, even if you do not qualify for the full measure of credits when it comes to the above list, there may be minor adjustments/upgrades you can make to receive at least partial credit.
The expert agents at Dewey Insurance are always more than happy to review your mitigation inspection with you, and to assist you in discovering additional ways to save on your Wind Insurance/Homeowners’ Insurance premiums.
10620 Griffin Road, Suite 201
Cooper City, FL 33328