Why Wind Mitigation And 4-Point Inspections Are Important Steps To Getting Your Home Properly Inspected
By Allison Williams
Photos provided by Curt Kniffin
Let’s talk home insurance. Curt Kniffin, Home Inspector of Boomers Property Services in Polk County has some great tips and info that will help customers receive the best, most thorough inspection possible.
As we all know, insurance companies require homeowners to have insurance on their homes. It is also very important to insure your home to make sure that it is a safe, sound and solid home to live in.
Some inspectors simply fill out a form and do not spend quality time thoroughly inspecting a home. This may be a cheaper option, for clients but it is certainly not the best option. Without the proper tools, a detailed inspection cannot be successfully conducted. At Boomers Property Services, Curt always completes thorough inspections and makes sure that you know the ins and outs of the condition of your home. He uses thermal imaging and magnetometers (metal detectors). These tools help him find things in the home that the naked eye cannot detect.
Wind mitigation and 4-point inspections are important parts of a home inspection.
“Wind mitigation is for strictly the exterior of the home trussf to wall connection,” Curt said. He added, “The nails that hold down the roof deck, how far apart they are and how long
you’d have stored protection such as shutters or plywood to put over your windows or steel reinforcement on your garage door. Those are the things that wind mitigation looks for.”
He added, “Wind mitigation is roof and storm protection. Having protection for windows, and doors. Either storm rated windows and doors, or impact rated windows and doors or storm shutters . Even plywood with a minimum thickness of 7/16 inch assigned for each opening.”
The purpose of 4-point inspections is to look at these four things, which make up the base of a structure:
- mechanical (HVAC, water heater age and condition)
- appliance condition and roof
“Age of roof and a well-maintained home can all have bearing on your insurance rates,” Curt said. “We’re always happy to consult with home owners on what to expect and how to prepare for these inspections to have maximum opportunity for insurance savings. Most folks just know they need an inspection to obtain or retain insurance. They don’t know what they can do or obtain to maximize savings on their policy. That’s where perception of need versus perception of value comes in. Perception of value comes from education of the need for the client. They don’t know what they don’t know. We take the time to educate. For instance, if they’re told that if the roof deck nailing should three inches at the butt joints and six inches in the field, and the nails should be eight penny which is 2 inches in length. Then when they have a new roof put on, they can have the contractor add nails to come into compliance which can be very beneficial for them. For both life safety and savings. So it may cost more up front, but the long term savings brings more value to their dollars spent.”
Opportunity for discounts
Often times, inspectors will check off ‘unknown’ or ‘unverified’ after conducting an inspection just to finish the job and move on. They are more focused on what Curt calls this ‘perception of need.’ “Their perception of need is ‘I gotta have that report.’ They don’t yet have the understanding of value in a good report,” Curt said. “So if a good report takes time, it’s going to cost more money. Cheap isn’t good and good isn’t cheap.” This does not benefit the homeowner. There are actually opportunities for insurance discounts, which a lot of people are unaware of.
When Curt does a home inspection, he looks for ways to save the customer money, all while being elaborate in his inspection. “I’m up there forever in the attic for 15 to 20 minutes, looking for things,” Curt said. “I look for active leaks. I look for nails and fasteners. When you inspect the roof a lot of inspectors will just inspect the outside. Well, if you’re just looking at the outside and not underneath, you’ll never discover any water or moisture intrusion that’s not supposed to be there. If you don’t look you can’t find it. So I spend about an hour and a half for each of those two inspections on the property.”
When people shop for insurance, they often do not understand what it is that they are really shopping for. “Their perception of the need is ‘I need to get this report done so I can get insurance. My insurance is going to be cancelled if I don’t turn in this report.’ They don’t even consider ‘Hey, If this is a detailed, comprehensive report, I could possibility get discounts on my insurance.’ If not discounts, at the very least you don’t get your insurance rates increased,” Curt explained.
Importance of Storm Protection
“I’ve been involved in disaster relief for over 20 years,” Curt said. “The one thing I see regularly, is homes that have metal roofs and storm protection on their openings are standing or have significantly less damage then the home next door that has their roof torn off and windows blown out with shingled, or clay tile roofs and no opening protection. It’s clear that preparation makes a difference. NOTHING is guaranteed. Especially in a category 3 or higher storm. Depending on the size of a storm, even tropical storms and cat 1&2 hurricanes can be deadly and cause great damage. Trees close to the structure can also have a significant impact on survivability of the home and YOU. So they should be kept trimmed away from the home, especially from over the roof. In my opinion the energy savings from the shade they provide over the roof is just not worth the risk in Florida. As well as the fact that debris dropping from the tree can shorten the life expectancy of the roof, cost time energy and money to have that debris removed regularly as well as draw bugs and critters that also cause damage.
These are the reasons a good inspection is important for your home and why storm protection is important. To inquire about a home inspection or about storm protection, contact Boomers Property Services today. They are just a phone call away and ready to help.
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