Insurance companies like to see that you’re taking precautions to protect your home. By installing hurricane shutters that make your home less vulnerable to weather damage, you’re decreasing the chances that your home will be severely damaged in bad weather. In turn, this decreases the chances of needing your insurer to reimburse repair costs. This means your monthly insurance premium may go down simply for protecting your home. It’s called a wind mitigation discount, and if you live in a storm zone, you should see whether you can take advantage of it.
How to save on insurance with hurricane shutters
1. Compare options
It can really pay to shop around when it comes to hurricane shutters and your insurance policy. First, you should compare the cost of the different types of hurricane shutters: accordion shutters, storm panel shutters, colonial shutters, Bahama shutters, and rolling shutters. Each type has benefits and drawbacks, including cost. Pricing options will vary depending on your home’s size, how many windows you have, and the material and style of the shutter.
The level of protection that the hurricane shutters provides is directly linked to the discount you’ll get on your insurance premium. Make sure you consider all vulnerable or weak areas of the insured structure and be sure to remember protection for other glass areas, like skylights.
Compare the different costs of your insurance before and after a potential hurricane shutter installation. Your insurance agent should be able to give you a new quote with a wind mitigation discount.
2. Consider legal requirements
Some areas will legally require you to purchase physical hurricane protection for your home or business. Regions that are prone to tropical storms and hurricanes may have certain protections as building code requirements.
For example, Florida has one of the country’s strictest building codes because of its climate, location, and history of destructive hurricanes. New buildings in Miami-Dade County of southern Florida require all structures to have hurricane shutters and reinforced concrete block construction, which help structures withstand winds up to 175 mph. Be sure to check with your county for legal requirements and building codes for your area.
3. Get an inspection
In order to prove that you have adequate wind protection from your hurricane shutters, you’ll need to get an inspection on the record. First, check with your insurance company to understand the inspection requirements for your specific policy. Next, schedule your wind mitigation inspection (sometimes called a windstorm mitigation inspection) with a professional, certified inspector.
The inspector will evaluate features of your home or business to identify areas that need improvement and areas that will properly protect your structure in the event of strong winds. Hurricane shutters will help you score well on the inspection, but building features that could generate an additional discount include water protection (any protective layers added to the roof), garage door bracing, and hurricane-proof doors or windows.
Keep in mind that wind mitigation inspections usually expire after a set amount of time. Usually, inspections are good for five years and cost, on average, about $100. Check with your insurer for their specific requirements.
4. Tell your insurance company
Finally, inform your insurance company of your decision to protect your home or business with hurricane shutters or additional structural protective measures. Simply provide a copy of your wind mitigation inspection to your insurer and enjoy the sweet reward for your investment.