TRUE HOME WIND MITIGATION INSPECTIONS AND 4 POINT INSPECTIONS
While your insurance agent may call it a “wind letter” or “wind form,” it is officially known as the “Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form, OIR-B1-1802.” The purpose of the form is to verify hurricane-resistant structural features of your home so that you can receive discounts on the windstorm portion of your homeowner’s insurance.
Here are the things that comprise the inspection:
1. Roof Covering. Does the roof meet the 2001 Florida Building Code? Roofs installed starting in 2002 meet this criterion.
2. Roof Deck Attachment. How is the roof deck (typically plywood sheathing) attached to the trusses or rafters below?
3. Roof To Wall Attachment. How are the trusses or rafters attached to the wall below?
4. Roof Geometry. What shape is the roof? The best shape for hurricane resistance is a hip roof (roof sloped inward on all sides).
5. Secondary Water Resistance. Typically this would be a self-adhered modified bitumen roofing underlayment (such as Grace Ice and Water Shield) or a foam barrier. Secondary water resistance is not usually added in residential construction, but it does get you a nice discount.
6. Opening Protection. What type of hurricane shutters or impact resistant windows and doors are installed in the home?
4 POINT INSPECTIONS
What is a four-point inspection? Insurance company statistics show that homes more than 30-years old have more claims than newer homes. Plus the claims are often due to a deteriorated condition of older building components. So, as a loss-prevention measure, many insurance companies now require an inspection of key home components of an older home before they will issue a policy--to see if they are in serviceable condition or have been replaced/upgraded since the home was built.
The age of the home at which a 4-point inspection is requested depends on the insurance carrier. More than 30-years old is the threshold for some companies, while others are more lenient and start at 40 or 50-years old.
There are a few companies out there that will write insurance on an older home without a 4-point. But the policies are for created primarily for short-term use for an unoccupied home under construction, and are much more expensive, so being able to provide an underwriter a 4-point inspection report without any defects means you will save money.
The four points are: 1. roof, 2. plumbing (including water heater), 3. electrical, and 4. heating/air conditioning system.
1. A roof with any leaks at all, or an older roof, typically over 15-years old for a 3-tab asphalt shingle roof, for example. An estimated additional roof life of 5-years is the usual standard for a roof to be acceptable.
2. An electric panel with screw-in type fuses.
3. Newer 3-slot type electric receptacles connected to old wiring that does not have grounding.
4. An older water heater, typically more than about 20-years old.
5. Lack of an installed heating system. Window a/c units or plug-in portable heaters are not considered “installed.”
6. Any evidence of plumbing leaks or other water intrusion into the home, even previous ones.
7. Older knob-and-tube wiring that’s still “live.”
8. Exposed, amateur electrical wiring, especially open electrical splices.
9. Deteriorated, damaged, or un-vented plumbing piping.
10. Deteriorated washing machine hoses.
If you are purchasing a home and have already had a home inspection done, unfortunately you cannot submit the home inspection report as an alternative to a 4-point inspection (also sometimes called a “4-point letter). But the good news is that many home inspectors, including us, offer a discounted price for a 4-point inspection report done at the same time as a home inspection.