Wind Mitigation Inspections

Wind Mitigation Inspections

WIND MITIGATION INSPECTIONS

Florida is well known for all of the damage caused during our stormy seasons.  The power of wind can burst open windows, doors, split open walls, creating and increasing uplift forces on the roof.   Once the wind breaks open any part of the home, wind and water will enter and damage to the interior escalates dramatically.

Homeowner’s insurance companies offer premium discounts based on a home’s level of wind resistance. These wind mitigation inspections are used to determine whether specific protective reinforcements are in place, therefore decreasing the amount of damage your home may receive during a hurricane or strong storm. A home with these features is less likely to incur costly repairs during a “high wind event” which saves the insurance company money.

What is Wind Loss Mitigation? Mitigation is the act of making a condition less severe. Therefore wind loss mitigation is the act of minimizing loss that might be caused by wind damage to your home.

History Behind the Credits
After the devastating 2004 Hurricane season many Florida based insurance companies were forced to increase premiums due the substantial losses they occurred. The Florida Legislature saw the rising premiums as a problem for Floridians so they agreed that if homeowners made steps to make their homes more secure from wind loss, they should be rewarded by a reduction in insurance premium.

So How Do I Get the Credits?
In order to get credits you must have a Wind Mitigation report completed by a licensed inspector. Many people believe that their Homeowners carrier is responsible for paying for the report, but that is not the case. That being said, the mitigation report usually pays for itself within the first year, with prices ranging from $70 – $125. These prices are typically reduced if you purchase another report from the inspector, such as a 4-point inspection.

Make Sure You Request the 2012 Form!
Most carriers are now requiring that the Wind Mitigation Report to be on the 2012 form. If you have an older form, you will most likely have to get a new mitigation completed to apply for credits.

Premium Credits for Wind Mitigation Construction Features 

Roof Age: If your roof was replaced on or after March of 2002, it most likely is eligible for the Florida Building Code of 2001 credit. This code required contractors to use improved construction techniques, thus making roofs sounder.

Roof Covering: Common types include shingles, clay tiles, metal, and built-up-tar and gravel. The key factor in roof covering performance is the method of attachment of the roof covering to the roof deck.  This feature must meet or be equivalent to the Florida Building Code which has specific material and attachment specifications which are superior to building practices in the past.

Roof Deck Material & Attachments: The method used to connect the roof decking (plywood, metal panels, etc.) to the roof trusses or rafters. The performance of the roof deck is of critical importance in keeping hurricane losses to a minimum. This is usually achieved by nail fasteners. Nail size, type, spacing, and penetration depth into the truss or rafters determines the uplift resistance of the deck.  The difference in uplift capacity of 8d (2 ½”) nails at a typical nail spacing and 6d (2 ½”) nails at the same spacing is a factor of about two times stronger.

Roof-to-Wall: This is another critical connection that keeps the roof on the building and acts to transfer the uplift loads into the vertical walls.  This connection is KEY to the performance of the building due to the large negative pressures acting on the roof.

Secondary Water Resistance: Material applied to the roof covering to prevent water from intruding into the structure when the roof covering fails.  Roof coverings often begin to peel off in peak wind gusts ranging from 70 to 100 mph.

Roof Shape: Roof shape refers to the geometry of the roof.  There are many common roof shapes in residential construction, including gable, hip, and flat (and many possible combinations).  Some roof slopes and configurations perform better than others.   Moderate roof slopes don’t tend to uplift the roof and push the building sideways and hip roofs provides greater stability during high winds regardless of which direction the wind blows.  *A HIP shaped roof receives the largest insurance discount. This may help a protective home buyer consider which home to buy.

Opening Protection: Openings in the wall and roof include windows, doors, sliding glass doors, skylights, and garage doors.  Openings are vulnerable to wind-borne debris impacts in hurricanes and other windstorms. The protection of openings is perhaps the greatest single loss mitigation strategy for a building.  The reason for this is that once a window or door fails the pressure inside of the structure increases due to the breach in the building envelope.  Thus, putting all openings in an overload situation; resulting in additional failures.  The inspector is looking for glazed (glass) openings with specific ratings and or shutters protecting them.

4 Reasons Homeowner’s Need Builder’s Risk Insurance

4 Reasons Homeowner’s Need Builder’s Risk Insurance

Builders Risk For Homeowners: When Is It Needed?

Why should a home buyer purchase any other policy beyond homeowner’s insurance when undergoing new construction or a remodeling project? The short answer in determining whether homeowners truly need builders risk insurance is that there are often gaps in coverage when relying on the homeowner’s policy that may not be apparent until a loss occurs. At that point, clients can be in for some unpleasant surprises when they learn that their losses are not covered to the extent they anticipated.

Here are four advantages of using builders risk insurance in conjunction with an existing homeowner’s policy:

  1. Broad Property Coverage

Builders risk policies offer coverage that extends far beyond what inclusions typical defined in homeowner’s policies.

In general terms, the definition of covered property and losses can include the theft of building materials, property in transit, property in storage, and even property owned by subcontractors and suppliers. Builders risk can also cover damage to new paved surfaces and installed trees, lawn, shrubs and plants, and the expense of removing debris after a covered loss. .

  1. Endorsements Offer Additional Coverage Options

Builders risk policies can also provide coverage for damage caused by floods, wind storms and sewer or drain backups. Builders risk insurance offers a number of other optional coverages, including automatic coverage for change orders if the homeowner decides to upgrade building materials mid-construction, water intrusion coverage, and even coverage for the added cost that may be involved when using “green” building materials.

  1. Attractive Policy Terms

For homeowners purchasing coverage, a standard builder’s risk insurance policy term is 12 months on new construction projects, and the single structure policy can be renewed with underwriting approval. For remodeling/renovation projects, the policy term is six, nine or 12 months, and those terms can also be renewed.

  1. Minimize Claims For Homeowner.

Even if a claim occurs, the homeowner with separate builders risk policy does not need to worry about the risk of impacting their premiums or future coverage for their homeowner’s policy because coverage was secured under a separate policy unrelated to that homeowner’s insurance.

If you or your client are starting or considering new construction or remodeling projects, discuss with an agent at Sihle Insurance Group how builders risk insurance can help you protect your investment and avoid potentially costly losses not covered under their homeowners’ policies.

HO6 Condo and Townhome Insurance

HO6 Condo and Townhome Insurance

HO6 Condo Insurance Policy

HO6 Condo Insurance or HO6 Townhome Insurance is a specific insurance policy created for the unique needs of Condo’s and Townhome’s throughout the United States.

The HO6 is a Named Perils Policy

The HO6 policy for your Condo or Townhome is a named perils insurance policy. This particular type of policy specifically lists all the perils that the policy will insure. This means that if an event that is not listed on the HO6 happens to destroy or damage your property, it will not insure what was damaged as a result of that individual event.

HO6 Insurance Policy Perils

The following 16 perils are what a standard HO6 insurance policy will insure:

  1. Fire or Lightning
  2. Windstorm or Hail
  3. Explosion
  4. Riot or Civil Commotion
  5. Aircraft
  6. Vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic Eruption
  11. Falling Objects
  12. Weight of Ice, Snow, or Sleet
  13. Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Water or Stream
  14. Sudden & Accidental Tearing Apart, Cracking, Burning, or Bulging
  15. Freezing
  16. Sudden & Accidental Damage from Artificially Generated Electrical Current

The HO6 and Dwelling Coverage

In order to have a complete understanding as to why dwelling coverage amounts differ between condo and home insurance policies, we first need to understand the differences between condos and homes. When a person owns a home, they are responsible not only for the upkeep of their home (the actual dwelling), but also for the grounds (front yard, back yard, etc.) as well as all the other buildings on the property (pools, fences, mailbox, etc.). With the exception of a fence (fences may be co-owned by neighbors), the detached single family home owner has all the responsibility for upkeep and repair.

Now let’s look at condo and townhome structures. When someone owns a condo, they are responsible for only the upkeep and repair of the portion of the condo complex they own. Although, a condo owner typically has full access to amenities (the pool, weight room, etc.), they don’t technically have full ownership of these areas. For example: Condo owner A wouldn’t be allowed to kick condo owner B out of the community pool because they want privacy.

Most condo owners only own the interior of the condo. The floors, walls, ceilings, and “studs-in” are all part of the condo owner’s responsibility. The roof, the community pool, the mailbox areas are all typically community owned, thus the community is responsible for upkeep and repair.

Now that the difference between condos and homes is understood, it will be a little easier to explain why the HO6 requires a small amount of dwelling coverage. The owner of a 1700 square foot home needs to have enough coverage to replace not only the interior of the home, but also the exterior walls, roof, central air, heating system, etc. The owner of a 1700 square foot condo, on the other hand, doesn’t have to insure the roof, the exterior walls, the central air, and the heating system. These are all covered by the community. Due to the responsibilities of the home owner vs. the HO6 condo insurance owner, it’s clear to see that the home owner will need much more insurance for the Dwelling than a typical condo or townhome owner will need.

The HO6 and Other Structures Coverage

The amount of Other Structures coverage in HO6 insurance is calculated similarly to Dwelling coverage. The main difference is that the condo owner will not typically have other structures that need coverage. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

Is the condo owner responsible for fixing the community mailbox if it breaks?

Are they responsible for fixing the pool if it clogs?

Responsible for fixing the roof of the clubhouse or the roof of the building they share with 4 other owners?

The answer to all of these questions is no, the condo owners association is responsible for taking care of all of these situations. Due to the fact that most condo owners have no outbuildings which they own outright, they typically have no Other Structures coverage.

Is The HO6 Insurance Policy the Only Policy Available for Condo and
Townhome Owners?

The HO6 has one limitation for condo and townhome owners and that is the fact that they don’t have any other options.  Homeowners can pick between varying degrees of coverage, and many different types of insurance policies; the HO1, HO2, HO3, and so on. Condo owners don’t have the same luxury that homeowners have. If a condo owner doesn’t like the coverage the HO6 offers, they have very few other options. Despite this limitation, the HO6 is an excellent insurance policy, and is typically sufficient coverage for most condo owner’s needs.

What Type Of Insurance Do I Need If I’m Renting Out My Home?

What Type Of Insurance Do I Need If I’m Renting Out My Home?

There are many reasons you might want to rent out your home on either a short- or long-term basis. Depending on the rental scenario, your standard homeowners policy may not cover losses incurred while your home is rented out, and you may require a more specialized insurance policy. So, whether you own a second home that you lease to tenants, want to rent out a spare bedroom in your house periodically though Airbnb, or make a little extra cash renting out your beach cottage the weeks you’re not using it, the first step should be to call your insurance professional at Sihle Insurance Group.
Short-Term Rentals/Primary Residence
If you are planning to rent out all or part of your primary residence for a short period of time, for instance, a week or several weekends, there will likely be two insurance scenarios.

  1. Some insurance companies may allow a homeowners or renters policyholder  a short-term rental—assuming they have notified the company. Other insurers will require an endorsement (or rider) to the existing insurance policy in order to provide insurance coverage.
  2. If you plan to rent out your primary residence for short periods on a regular basis, to various “guests.” this would constitute a business. Standard homeowners insurance policies do not provide any coverage for business activities conducted in the home. To be properly covered you would need to purchase a business policy—specifically either a hotel or a bed and breakfast policy.

Long-Term Rentals/Second Home
If you are planning to lease your home to one person or a couple or family for a longer period of time, say six months or a year, you will likely need a landlord or rental dwelling policy. Landlord policies generally cost about 25 percent more than a standard homeowners policy to pay for increased protections. If you are regularly renting out a vacation home or investment property, this would also require a landlord or rental dwelling policy.

Landlord policies provide property insurance coverage for physical damage to the structure of the home caused by fire, lightning, wind, hail, ice, snow or other covered perils. It also offers coverage for any personal property you may leave on-site for maintenance or tenant use, like appliances, lawnmowers, and snow blowers.
The policy also includes liability coverage; if a tenant or one of their guests gets hurt on the property, it would cover legal fees and medical expenses.
Most landlord policies provide coverage for loss of rental income in the event you are not able to rent out the property while it is being repaired or rebuilt due to damage from a covered loss. This coverage is generally provided for a specific period of time.
Renters Insurance
As the landlord, your coverage is only on the structure itself and your financial interest in it. Your tenant’s personal possessions are not covered under your policy. In order to avoid disputes arising from damage to the renter’s belongings, many landlords require a tenant to buy renters insurance before signing a lease.

As A Homeowner, How Much Coverage Is The Right Amount?

As A Homeowner, How Much Coverage Is The Right Amount?

Insurance is an area that frustrates most people because they don’t really want to pay for it, are constantly looking for better quotes, and yet are so thankful when something happens and they have it in place.

Whether you are a new homeowner or have owned your home for 10 years, insurance might still not be your forte and that’s okay. The goal here is to help you understand how homeowner’s insurance works, and hopefully shed some light on what the right coverage for you could be so you can get not only a great price, but have the right policy in place for the what if’s.

Identifying Restoration Costs

A good place to start is evaluating how much it would cost to restore your home in the case of a total loss. Choosing the exact amount of your home loan may not be accurate as inflation increases and it could cost more to reconstruct than what your home loan was when you first purchased the home. Being mindful of inflation as time goes on is key to helping you get the best coverage.

No Obligation to Guarantee the Land Your House Is On

You may want to note the fact that you do not have to guarantee the land that your house sits on. An example of this would be a home that sits on multiple acres of land. Banks will attempt to get you to add additional coverage for the land as well.

Understanding Exemptions

Flood Insurance is not included in Florida Homeowner’s policies. If you live in Florida you are likely near a body of water, whether it is the Gulf of Mexico, The Atlantic Ocean, a River, Canal, Pond or Lake. Each of these have the ability for overflow with storms or hurricanes. Even if you aren’t in an area that is deemed to be a flood zone, it’s a good idea to have flood insurance for peace of mind.

Replacement Value Protection

An insurance protection that allows you to obtain a policy worth exactly the amount of what you lost. Of course with this added, it will cost more, but if you should have to place a claim for an item of furniture that was $3,000, that the insurance claim will set aside that exact amount so you can buy another of the same value.

Another option would use the term real money value of an item that was damaged. If this wording is used, than it is a diminished value that will only cover a portion of what the item was originally worth.

Liability Limitations

Choosing to get a higher liability insurance will cover you in case you are held accountable for damaging someone’s sliding glass door, if a baseball breaks a window, and things of this nature. This type of insurance has a few different choices, and can often times does not cost that much more to have included in your policy.

Guarantee Your Property

The easiest way to make a record of your belongings is to record each item that you want guaranteed. This is really easy since we all have smart phones, and you can save video and pictures of these items to an external hard drive or the cloud for safe keeping. If that’s a little too high tech for you, or you don’t trust technology, you can do it the old fashioned way and place pictures and a saved video in a security deposit box off property so you can obtain it when needed.

Have Questions? Contact Us To Have An Agent Answer Them.