Your Florida homeowner’s insurance policy may not be the most exciting read of the year, but it could be the most valuable. Examining and understanding your policy could end up saving you money. One section of your policy that deserves a second look is the opening protection section. In addition to insurance discounts, proper home protection can help prevent major damage to your home during a storm.
What is Opening Protection?
Opening protection on your Florida homeowner’s policy is the level of wind-resistant features built into the structure of your home. It refers to steps you’ve taken to upgrade all openings to your home — your home’s entry doors, garage doors, windows, and skylights — with wind-resistant features that are verified to meet Florida Building Code requirements. Most homeowners protect their window openings, but some forget about other openings, such as the garage door.
How Can Opening Protection Save Money?
Opening protection is a key factor of the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection. All Florida insurance companies offer discounts to property owners who protect their home against damage caused by strong winds. Your home mitigation verification inspection will determine if you can receive these discounts. Passing the opening protection portion of the inspection is a critical factor for receiving discounts. Inspectors will be looking for items such as hurricane shutters, reinforced garage doors, and fully protected impact resistant coverings capable of withstanding wind debris. The quality of the protection devices installed will also be a factor in the inspection. To qualify for the discounts, all openings must be protected with hurricane rated impact-resistant protection. Proper opening protection can also increase the resale value of your home, providing you more value for the future.
How Can Opening Protection Protect Your Home?
If a new opening is created during a windstorm or if wind finds its way into an existing opening, the pressure in a house could build up enough to cause the roof to become damaged in the areas of low pressure. Reducing your home’s vulnerability to wind makes a big impact if you choose to stay at home during a storm. Most opening protection products that will qualify your home for discounts are thoroughly tested, often in laboratories, to withstand flying debris during hurricane level winds. An exposed window or garage door with poor or no protection could make even a sturdy structure weak to a small windstorm — putting your home and family at risk.
Taking the time to examine your opening protection options could result in potential savings and security. If any sections of your Florida homeowner’s policy are unclear, you should contact your agent or homeowners insurance company. A full understanding of your policy will erase sudden surprises in the event of a disaster and potentially uncover missed discounts.