Does your Florida homeowners insurance policy mention opening protection? This section of your policy details whether or not your home is deemed to be properly protected in case of a severe weather event, and can also be subject to discounts if you’ve taken steps to mitigate risk.
What is opening protection?
Opening protection language in your Florida homeowners insurance policy refers to the level of wind-resistant features present in the structure of your home. The features may have been built-in when the home was constructed, or added later as a way to upgrade and add protection.
The openings in your home consist of the entry doors, garage doors, windows, vents and skylights. If all of these are properly guarded with wind-resistant features (that are verified to meet Florida Building Code requirements), you have mitigated your risk and have appropriate opening protection.
Many homeowners have only partial protection – for example, they may have reinforced windows and doors in their home, but they didn’t think about their skylight or their garage door. These are then more vulnerable to wind or impact from objects driven by wind. In that case, wind mitigation is in order to help ensure all openings are properly protected.
How is wind mitigation accomplished?
Wind mitigation can help prevent major damage to your home during a storm. Once wind enters through a compromised window, door, or skylight, the pressure in your home doubles, and the roof is much more likely to blow off due to the external and internal pressures at work. Extreme damage can also be done to the interior of your home due to wind-driven rain and flying objects.
By preventing wind from gaining entry into your home, you can significantly reduce the damage it is capable of. You can protect the openings in your home by installing impact resistant glass, hurricane shutters, and vent covers. You can also invest in a hurricane rated garage door and outward swinging, impact resistant exterior doors.
How does opening protection and wind mitigation lower insurance premiums?
All Florida insurance companies must offer opening protection discounts to property owners who institute appropriate wind mitigation. A home mitigation verification inspection must be completed, and the opening protection portion of the inspection passed to determine if you can qualify for these discounts.
Hurricane shutters, reinforced garage doors, impact resistant glass, and coverings which can resist the impact of wind debris are all items that inspectors will be looking for. Most opening protection products that would qualify your home for discounts are “hurricane rated” and laboratory tested to withstand debris driven by hurricane level winds.
To qualify for an opening protection discount, all exterior entries and glazed exterior openings (including doors, windows, skylights and main vents, but excluding roof ridge, gable, soffit and plumbing vents), must be completely covered with impact resistant protective materials.
By improving your home’s wind resistance, you can not only improve your chances of qualifying for opening protection homeowners insurance discounts, but can increase the value of your home and the safety of its contents. Ask your agent if a home mitigation verification inspection would be the next step to take.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not form a part of, replace, change or amend any terms, conditions, provisions or language within your Olympus Insurance policy. We encourage you to read your entire policy.