Strengthen Your Home and Save Money on Your Homeowner's Insurance
many of us, buying and owning a home is one of the most important
investments we make in our lives. When we make this investment, we expect
our homes will protect us and serve as a
safe haven from hurricanes.
To better protect ourselves and our homes when
a hurricane hits, we must also invest in building
standards and techniques that will strengthen
our homes and communities against the
catastrophic damage that hurricanes inflict.
How do you know if your home is
The Department of Financial Services is providing
guidance on what you can do to strengthen your home
against catastrophic storms and better protect you and
You can start by taking advantage of a new program,
My Safe Florida Home, which offers free wind
inspections to measure how safe your home is against
hurricanes. Following the inspection, you will receive
a detailed report that will explain key steps you can
take to make your home more hurricane resistant. The
report will also outline insurance discounts that may be
available to you if you take the recommended steps to
strengthen your home, if you provide your insurance
information at the time you apply (wind, premium,
dwelling coverage and hurricane deductible.)
But that’s not all. You may be eligible for a matching
investment of up to $5,000 to help make recommended
improvements to strengthen your home against
Why should you make an
investment to strengthen your
home against hurricanes? We’ve
got three good reasons:
Reason 1: A free wind inspection. Before you
can improve your home’s ability to withstand a
hurricane, you need to know how hurricane resistant
it is today. The inspection will be conducted by a
qualified wind inspector trained in wind-resistant
building techniques. Following the inspection, a
detailed report will be provided to you that will:
1. Explain and prioritize what improvements
can be made to strengthen your home against
2. Provide cost estimates for making each of the
3. Rate how hurricane resistant your home is today,
and how resistant it will be after improvements
4. Explain what insurance discounts are available
to you if improvements are made and how
to get them, if you provided your insurance
Reason 2: A financial incentive. For qualified
homeowners, the state will offer a matching grant
of up to $5,000 to help pay for the cost of the
hurricane-resistance improvements recommended in
your inspection report.
Reason 3: A discount on insurance premiums.
Homes that are strengthened with hurricane-resistant
improvements are less likely to suffer serious
damage in a hurricane. Homeowners who invest
in strengthening their homes will be entitled to a
range of discounts on their homeowners insurance
premium, depending on what and how many of
the recommended improvements are made. The
discounts you may be eligible to receive will be
outlined in your free wind inspection report.
What kind of improvements can
be made to strengthen my home
against hurricane damage?
Free wind inspections provided through
My Safe Florida Home will recommend
improvements in one or more of seven specific
1. Improving the strength of your roof deck
For instance, if your roof
is made of shingles nailed to plywood
sheets, the wind inspection may reveal
that the plywood sheets are not
adequately nailed to your roof trusses,
and that more nails and/or longer nails
need to be added to prevent the plywood
from being blown off during a hurricane.
2. Creating a secondary water barrier to
prevent water intrusion.
There are products that cover and seal the joints
between the plywood sheets on your roof. This
will reduce leakage if your shingles are
3. Improving the survivability of your roof
Upgrading to stronger and thicker
hurricane-resistant roof shingles, attached
with properly sized and applied roofing
nails, will reduce the chance of your roof
shingles blowing off during a hurricane.
4. Bracing gable-ends in your roof framing.
This is usually done in your attic to lessen
the chances that your roof will collapse
under hurricane wind loads.
5. Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections.
For example, installing metal tie-down straps that
attach roof rafters to wall studs to decrease the
chances that all or part of your roof will lift up
from your house during a hurricane.
6. Upgrading exterior wall-opening protections.
For instance, installing hurricane-rated window
7. Upgrading exterior doors.
For example, replacing a standard garage door
with a hurricane-rated garage door.
For more information on the seven
categories of improvements, visit
www.mysafefloridahome.com or call the
My Safe Florida Home helpline:
Where do I sign up for a free wind
Step 1: To help you get started on making your
home more hurricane resistant, you will need to apply
for the free inspection. You can apply through the My
Safe Florida Home Web site...
...or by calling the My Safe Florida Home helpline at 1-866-513-6734.
Step 2: Once your application has been approved,
you will be contacted by a qualified wind inspector
who is trained in residential wind inspections and
wind-resistant building techniques. You and the
inspector will set up a time for the inspection of your home.
Step 3: Once your home has been inspected, you
will be provided an inspection report that will rate
the hurricane resistance of your home before and
after improvements, prioritize which improvements
will give you the greatest defense against hurricanes
and the cost of these improvements. It will also
outline the potential insurance premium savings
you could receive if improvements are made, if you
provided your insurance information.
You may qualify for a free wind inspection if
you have a single-family, site-built home.
NOTE: Mobile, modular and manufactured
homes, apartments and condominiums
are not eligible.
For some Floridians, this report may be the
only My Safe Florida Home tool they need!
Where do I sign up for a matching
grant to help pay for the
improvements recommended in
my free wind inspection report?
Qualified Florida homeowners can apply for up to
$5,000 in matching funds to invest in the hurricane resistant
improvements recommended in their free
Local governments and not-for-profit agencies are
also offering grants to low-income homeowners in
certain areas of the state. These programs will offer
hurricane protection upgrades at reduced or no cost
to the qualifying homeowner.
To obtain an application
or just learn more,
What else do I qualify for?
Strengthening your home by participating in My Safe
Florida Home may also qualify you for discounts on
your insurance premium. The threat of property loss
and the need for family security are enough for most
Floridians to invest in hurricane-resistant products. A
reduction in your homeowners insurance premium is
an added bonus.
By law, all companies offering homeowners
insurance must provide discounts to policyholders
who invest in products and improvements proven
to defend a home against hurricane damage.
Contact your insurance company or your agent to
find out what discounts are available to you after
strengthening your home.