Windstorm Inspections

A windstorm inspection also referred to as a windstorm mitigation inspection, windstorm insurance inspection, or wind mitigation inspection is a kind of home inspection common in the coastal areas of the United States. The purpose of a windstorm inspection is to determine the appropriateness of a given structure’s construction in the event of strong winds, such as those present in a hurricane.

Windstorm inspections look for construction features that have been shown to reduce losses in hurricanes, such as a hip roof, concrete block construction, the presence of gable end bracing, shutters and opening protections, the presence of roof to wall attachments such as toe nails, clips, or hurricane straps, and the presence of a secondary water resistance barrier.

A homeowner with windstorm insurance can often submit the results of a windstorm inspection to their insurer to obtain discounts on their windstorm insurance. In Florida, for example, premium discounts for certain favorable wind mitigation features are mandated by State law and can total 45% of the original policy’s premium. In coastal parts of Texas, the State mandates windstorm inspections prior to certifying a new building.

Some homeowners are finding it difficult to find insurance coverage near or on the water. Most homeowners receive a letter from NY State Property Insurance and need to perform this inspection within 60 days.

Insurance Plans

New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (FAIR Plan): The plan insures properties where the homeowner cannot find coverage elsewhere. “Extended coverage” includes windstorm coverage. The plan operates on two levels: properties within 1,500 of the shore and in the rest of the state. For properties within 1,500 feet of the shore, windstorm coverage is included, but the owner must have a licensed engineer or architect inspect the property and complete a form verifying that the home has reinforcements that minimize wind damage. If the owner cannot comply, the windstorm coverage is deleted.

Coastal Market Assistance Plan (C-MAP): The C-MAP helps policyholders living along the coast locate an insurer willing to provide homeowners coverage. Homeowners must have made three attempts to secure coverage from the C-MART (insurers in the regular market) before they can apply to the program. Properties must be one-to-four family, owner-occupied homes, located on Long Island’s South Shore and the shore areas of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island’s Forks, within one mile of the shore (salt-water ocean, sound, bay, or inlet); Long Island’s North Shore, the Bronx, and Westchester, within 2,500 feet of the shore.

Information Sources: New York State Department of Insurance, New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association, Coastal Market Assistance Plan (C-MAP)