Author Topic: $1,200 saved each year on my property insurance (Florida)  (Read 2080 times)

Rollin

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$1,200 saved each year on my property insurance (Florida)
« on: August 05, 2015, 07:15:03 AM »
I thought I'd point this out to you MMMs that may not be aware of this.  I would bet that this can be had in any coastal state as well (e.g., Texas).  $1,000 saved on my primary residence and $200 on my rental, each year (was $1,200/year on my former home).

I did this by installing approved hurricane shutters on all openings, and replacing the old garage doors.  Then, for $85 I had a Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection and submitted that to my insurance company to get the credits.

I installed the shutters on my rental myself years ago (18 years ago) and remember it costing about $1,700 at the time and the garage door was $1,000 in 2002.  The door needed replacing anyway, so I consider the ROI in a little over 8 years.

My current home had the shutters installed already (that is one reason why I picked it, with the solar water on the roof another, and in a non-evacuation zone another) and an insulated garage door cost me about $1,300 (the old one would have fallen apart had it been hit by a toddler on a tricycle).  So not only will I save in the long run, I have the peace of mind that after a hurricane or tropical storm my homes may still be there (with me in one since I do not plan to evacuate).  ROI for me 1+ year.

BTW - you can do hurricane impact windows instead if you are replacing them already (and actually must use hurricane impact if you don't have shutters and are replacing more than 25% of your openings), but they are expensive.  The advantage is they are in place and you don't have to put the shutters up (my current home uses accordian shutters that are up already - just have to pull them shut - but $$$).  Also, you won't get anyone breaking a window to get in, as they are literally stronger than a cinder block wall.

So for those of you that are owner-occupied (bigger discount because you are paying more for the insurance in the first place I guess - I don't quite get the difference and have not dug into it) you might want to consider doing this.  Check with your agent and see what the discount will be before you embark on it for cost savings alone.  There are other discounts for new roofs and other cross bracing in the attic, etc..  You may also get dinged for having a really old roof, but the point is to find out what discounts are available for work that you plan on doing or might benefit from.

Peace of mind is good too.  Back in 2004 we got hit by many storms (4 or 5 through our area - lost track) and I was putting the shutters up and down regularly (different home altogether).  For one of the tropical storms I decided I was tired of doing that and didn't put the shutters up (they were plywood back then - I later switched to metal and they were much easier).  That was scary when it came through (only 60 mph) and I watched the front windows bow in and out and me inside helpless to do anything to stop it at that point.

I did a rough outline/summary here so if I missed something or you have more detailed question, let me know.  Some may have additional information on some of the mitigation programs out there.  For example, a friend of mine went through the state and got most of his window protection payed for (he used a fabric protection that rolls up and is put in the garage when not needed).
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 07:27:58 AM by Rollin »

The_path_less_taken

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Re: $1,200 saved each year on my property insurance (Florida)
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2015, 07:38:34 AM »
Kudos.

Some fire prone areas also get huge savings by installing a metal roof...enough to even make it worthwhile if you farm it out versus DIY.

Rollin

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Re: $1,200 saved each year on my property insurance (Florida)
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2015, 07:45:46 AM »
I can add that I foamed my attic with 2.5" of closed cell, but that (frustratingly) did not get counted in the discount.  The foam holds the roof together better than Miami-Dade standard roof and has a 99% water protection, however the insurance companies use a very old form and don't respond to "new" stuff very well.

Anyway, I did it for energy savings mainly (and got a tax right off for a portion of it).  It was pricey, but I'm probably saving as much as $150/month in the summer on my electricity bill (no sure for winter) and the AC unit is supposed to last twice as long.

The attic has gone from approximately 130 degrees F to not higher than 93 so far (2 years of evaluating).

Mrs. PoP

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Re: $1,200 saved each year on my property insurance (Florida)
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2015, 07:56:28 AM »
OP - out of curiosity, what were your rates before/after the shutter install? 

We've discussed this with our agent, and we're near to the maximum wind mitigation credit that we can get with our current style of roof, so shuttering/changing out every single window and sliding door, as well as replacing the front door, the door from the garage to the outside, and the garage door to bring it all up to current hurricane standards would be very expensive.  Doing some but not EVERY SINGLE OPENING will not get you any credit for shutter/windborne debris protection.  For us, since we're already near the maximum wind mitigation credit (without changing our roofline), it would result in only a small decrease in the hurricane portion of our premium. 

My recommendation - talk to your agent/insurance company to see what your marginal savings would be before assuming they'd be $1K/year like OP. 

FWIW, we got better results by increasing our deductible to the maximum allowed by our mortgage holder, which corresponds to a 5% hurricane deductible instead of the 2% we had before.  This shaved an average so far of $775/year off our bill and makes sense as long as we sustain major named-storm specific damage less often than every 6 years. 

Rollin

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Re: $1,200 saved each year on my property insurance (Florida)
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2015, 12:27:23 PM »
Not sure if I remember exactly on the rental, but with the new home the rate was $2,800 and is going down to just above $1,800 (so not quite $1,000, but close to that).  You are right that ALL openings must be protected or you get NOTHING (I found this out the hard way once).

maybe a way for me to understand what you are saying would be if I replaced my roof I probably wouldn't get much credit?  I agree with you about running scenarios past your agent before you start.  For example, I'll talk with him about a new roof and what that discount might be.  If it is significant I may move the roof replacement up a few years.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: $1,200 saved each year on my property insurance (Florida)
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2015, 12:46:38 PM »
Not sure if I remember exactly on the rental, but with the new home the rate was $2,800 and is going down to just above $1,800 (so not quite $1,000, but close to that).  You are right that ALL openings must be protected or you get NOTHING (I found this out the hard way once).

maybe a way for me to understand what you are saying would be if I replaced my roof I probably wouldn't get much credit?  I agree with you about running scenarios past your agent before you start.  For example, I'll talk with him about a new roof and what that discount might be.  If it is significant I may move the roof replacement up a few years.

Probably.  The way my agent explained it - The wind mitigation form has check boxes for yes/no and count for a variety of "points".  If you reach N points (N probably also depends on the type of construction - wood frame, concrete block...), you get a the maximum discount with no additional discount offered for anything above N points.  For our type of home (wood frame), we reach something like 0.8*N points just by counting the ones we get for our roof construction (clips, straps, etc...).  Even though we could probably accumulate another ~0.8*N points by shuttering and strengthening all of the openings, 0.6*N of those points would do us no good since there is no insurance ROI (for you - the insurer won't complain since you are statistically continuing to lower your risk profile to them) on accumulating points past N. 

Since you did your windows first, it is probably the case that strengthening the structure of your roof wouldn't impact your insurance premiums all that much.

We've had two insurance companies and both their systems are the same for wind mit, so I assume it's standard in FL, but I guess it's possible that other insurers may let you mitigate your hurricane premium down to $0.