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What is Florida windstorm coverage?

A windstorm is a peculiar kind of peril. In inland areas around the country, windstorm usually means fallen branches, loose roofing shingles or blowing debris. In Florida, the windstorms that blow in off the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico can cause catastrophic damage, especially in coastal areas. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew cost the insurance industry in excess of $15 billion dollars and pushed about 10insurers into bankruptcy.

In the wake of Hurricane Andrew, many insurance companies fled the Florida home insurance market. As a result, the state was forced to create two home insurance pools: the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA), which provided coastal residents with wind-only coverage, and the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (JUA), which provided comprehensive home insurance to Floridians who couldn't find coverage in the private insurance market.

In 2002, Florida lawmakers combined the two pools. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. is now Florida's provider of windstorm coverage and the state's home insurer of last resort.

Who's eligible for Florida Windstorm Coverage?

If an insurer will sell you a home insurance policy, but it must exclude wind coverage, you can purchase wind-only coverage from Citizens. Citizens, acting as the state's home insurer of last resort, will also sell you comprehensive home insurance (including wind coverage) if you can't buy home insurance in the open market (from another Florida insurer). The professionals at API Group an Financial can help you obtain rate quotes and coverage from insurance companies and/or the pool. We do have several other markets that may have the capacity, but rest assured, we will be tireless in getting you the proper coverage needed for your home.

Coverages purchased from the pool are similar to those purchased in the voluntary market — except for the deductibles, which are higher than the standard $250 to $500. A rule of thumb is that you will pay 2 percent of the value of your home for a deductible. For example, if your home is valued at $100,000, your deductible will be $2,000.

How do I reduce my windstorm premiums?

Windstorm premiums vary widely in Florida, depending on your home's proximity to water, what kind of home you own, the construction, and whether your home has had any disaster-prevention improvements. If you make certain improvements to strengthen your home against hurricane-force winds, you could save as much as 50 percent on your windstorm policy premium.

These improvements include:

  • Gable end bracing. Install a 2-by-4 bracing inside the attic to strengthen a gable end roof. (A roof with a gable end often allows wind pressure to push the "A" shaped section of the end wall off the top of the rectangular section of the end wall.)

  • Garage doors. Install pressure/impact-resistant protection devices, such as shutters, panels, and accordion-fold shutters on garage doors; install garage doors made of pressure/impact-resistant materials; or if the existing door is impact-resistant but not wind-pressure rated, install an approved garage door-bracing system to increase the wind-pressure resistance.

  • Roof covering. Consider replacing old asphalt or fiberglass shingles with tile, concrete, clay, or slate. The increased weight of these materials helps keep the roof down during a heavy wind.

  • Roof straps. Have your roof inspected to determine if roof straps are present on each truss/rafter and if they are installed per the manufacturer's recommendations. Homes built before 1995 are likely candidates for improved fastening of the roof structure to the exterior walls.

  • Secondary water resistance. Rubber or asphalt sheets with peel-and-stick undersides provide secondary water resistance to your home. This type of work is best accomplished during a planned roof replacement. Additionally, the application of polyethylene sheathing adhesive has also been shown to significantly reduce water leaks after the roof covering is lost. The adhesive is applied from inside the attic without removal of the roof.

  • Shutters and/or impact-resistant products. Cover your home's windows, doors, skylights, sliding glass doors, and gable end vents with shutters, panels, or accordion-fold shutters; or install pressure- or impact-resistant exterior doors, windows, or window glazing, or use a combination of both.

  • Superior roof-sheathing attachment. During construction or roof replacement, the roof deck should be nailed with 8 penny or larger nails. The ability of 8 penny nails to resist wind uplift is approximately twice that of 6 penny nails, while 10 penny nails offer approximately four times the wind-uplift resistance.

In order to qualify for any of these premium discounts, your home improvements must be verified and must meet the specific standards in your home insurance policy guidelines. In order to receive a discount, contact your agent here at API Group for the appropriate verification forms.

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