Florida building codes are among the strictest in the US. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992 the State of Florida evaluated the homes that were damaged and what could be done to avoid the $30 billion dollars in damage done by Andrew in South Florida. As a result the Florida Building Codes were revised in 2002.
The cost of your wind insurance is directly effected on where your home is located and how it is built. And if your home meets certain standards you can save big on your homeowners insurance.
Note: Some insurance companies will make adjustments (hopefully in your favor) to your policy costs based on an inspection by a licensed contractor that confirms you have certain positive features.
Here is a summary of the most important construction features:
Where Your House is Located
Florida defines what are called wind borne debris Regions. Each region is a geographical area that is rated for the wind it is expected to potentially experience in a hurricane. All coastal areas of Florida are designated for 120 mph of wind or greater.
There are a few exceptions. The coasts of Hernando, Citrus, and section of Levy County, all on the Gulf of Mexico, as well as Wakulla and Jefferson, and Taylor County, also on the Gulf of Mexico are rated for 110 mph winds.
Southern Dade (Miami Dade) County and Monroe County (all of the Florida Keys) have the highest rating of 150 mph.
The coast of Northern Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Martin County, and St Lucie County are rated for 140 mph winds.
In addition, the cost of the Pan Handle from Franklin County all the way to the Alabama State Line are rated for winds of 140 mph.
Most of the Gulf Coast including Colllier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, Levy, and Dixie County Florida are rated for 130 mph winds.
Map of Florida Wind Regions
Roof Type and Construction
The type of roof you have and how it was built are a big factor in determining your hurricane insurance costs. If you are building a new home be sure to consult an insurance company about your roof.
How your roof is connected to the house is another important factor. This is because roof failure (the roof lifting off the house) is usually the reason why houses do not hold up well in Hurricanes. Using strapping to connect the roof is very desirable.
Other Roof Factors
Other factors that effect how your roof will hold up in a hurricane and how your home owners insurance will rate your roof are:
- The Shape of your roof (e.g. Gable versus Flat)
- How your roof deck is attached to your home
- Roof Covering (e.g. tile, shingles, metal, etc)
- Secondary water resistance
Protection of Openings
The protection of Windows and doors with some type of hurricane shutters is another key factor in determining how your house will hold up in the high winds of a hurricane and the resulting home owners insurance rating and price.
One of the best ways to find the best rates on home owners insurance in Florida is to use the tool provided by the state of Florida. It asks you a series of questions and based on your answers gives you a list of Insurance Companies and the discounts they offer. Of course it’s important that you know how your home is built so you may want to get a contractor to perform an inspection.
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