Closeup on a home insurance policy on a table with a model home and pen atop the paper

If you live in a state prone to natural disasters, especially Florida, you might be worried about the ability of your house to withstand such dangerous events.

Unfortunately, making sure your home is prepared for calamities can be challenging. Still, there are many home improvements you can easily make that will help avoid property damage and keep your household safe in times of disasters.

This article will discuss how you can protect your property from storm damage by using items like hurricane ties. We will also talk about what happens during inspections and answer other important questions you might have on your mind. Read on to learn more.

How Much Can Hurricane Ties Save You on Home Insurance?

Hurricane ties can save you up to 60% on home insurance. If an inspection confirms that your property has enough features to counter the effects of wind disasters, providers are obliged by the state to reduce your home insurance premium. One building component that will help you pass the inspection is hurricane ties.

How To Save On Home Insurance With Hurricane Ties

It doesn’t take a high level of numeracy to understand that 50% savings on annual home insurance costs could work out to thousands of dollars. However, the exact discount you’ll obtain varies depending on your area of residence and the specific wind mitigation features installed in your home. 

In Florida, where wind mitigation credits are part of the law, homeowners can save up to $1,000 on home insurance costs. 

The insurance company decides the remaining factors. An agent will evaluate your form, inspection documents, and other paperwork and use them as the basis when calculating applicable discounts. 

Credits can reach up to 88% off your insurance cost if you install all wind mitigation features necessary, and they all pass the inspection. 

My Own Story on Saving With Hurricane Ties

I purchased an 1,140 square foot 1954 block home in Saint Petersburg, FL in May of 2021. The idea was to do a full gut renovation and to make it our second completely net-zero home, using the same method and concepts from the first successful one we did.

The house needed pretty much everything, including a new roof. It had never had hurricane ties/straps installed either. The insurance companies also ask for this in one way or another. In Florida at least, they all ask for what’s called a 4-Point Inspection report, done by the home inspector when you buy it.

This 4-Point Inspection covers the roof, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing of the house, telling the insurance company what may or may not be a liability.

So now knowing that my house had no hurricane ties, I would be charged whatever their regular rate was per year. In my case using pretty standard deductibles, my rate without the hurricane ties was $1,923 per year.

Keep in mind also that any flood insurance is separate and excluded from regular homeowner’s insurance if you’re in a flood zone.

a roofing team working on top of the roof at mid day with the sun shining and the old roof being removed

The roof was from 2005, and I knew I’d be going solar to go full net-zero (including powering the Tesla/EV as well), so it certainly would need to be replaced soon anyway before that went on.

The roofing company quoted me an additional $1,500 to install the hurricane ties along with the new roof. They actually outsourced it to another local company, which wasn’t a problem in my mind (as long as it got done correctly!).

two men working on ladders to install hurricane ties inside a roof of a white house

The hurricane tie install only took about two days.

a single wrap aluminum hurricane tie nailed into the truss and joist of our netzero home, a closeup picture
This is called a “single wrap” hurricane tie, nailed into the truss and base of the top of the wall. It prevents hurricane winds from blowing the roof off, and thus will cut your homeowner’s insurance by a significant amount!

Once the install was done, many pictures were sent to the original home inspection company that was used, and they updated the 4-point inspection to show that hurricane ties had now been installed.

I then sent the updated 4-point to my insurance broker, and they took a few days to review and rewrite the policy. The new yearly policy came back at $831.00 per year, a savings of $1,092 per year, or 57% just from adding hurricane ties.

This also represents a payback of only 1.37 years on my money, which is amazing. Talk about a great investment.

I would encourage anyone to at least get a quote or two if you don’t have hurricane ties/straps, and to also get a quote from your homeowner’s insurance company to see what your policy would look like with ties installed.

The Best Way To Protect Against Wind Damage

Strong winds can occur anytime, and they come with or without a warning sign. Unfortunately, when this type of natural disaster occurs and you’re unprepared, a tremendous amount of damage will likely hit your property and the people living inside it.

You can’t avoid these calamities from hitting your area, especially now that climate change is worsening, but there are still measures you can take to protect your home and your family against wind damage. 

According to the US Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), one of the most important things you can do is enhance the structural integrity of your roof, which is your first line of defense and biggest shield in times of a high-wind calamity. 

To fortify it, you need to have hurricane ties that anchor the roof framing to the wall structure. This process is done so that the roof will remain attached to the walls despite the force of strong winds.

What Is a Hurricane Tie?

A hurricane tie is a piece of hardware used to connect a property’s wall structure to the roof. It is mainly made of steel to increase sturdiness and effectiveness to fulfill its purpose, which is to secure homes from collapsing during earthquakes or hurricanes.

These metal straps are also called seismic ties, hurricane clips, truss ties or clips, or rafter ties. Warehouses and tool supplies may vary in labels, so it’s important to note that all of these names refer to a hurricane tie.

TThe corner of the top of a structural wall is shown attached to a tie rod with a hurricane tie
Courtesy of Kin.

When hurricane ties are installed on a property, they protect from external forces that may cause your house to fall apart and make your home resilient. They are also affordable and can commonly be found in hardware stores. 

For around $20, you can consider seismic clips a good investment, primarily if you reside in areas where hurricanes occur frequently.

As in the case of Hurricane Irma in 2017, anecdotal evidence proved that hurricane-hit houses with installed hurricane ties are less likely to be ripped off.

This discovery means that although there is no certainty your roof will withstand an intense, Category 5 hurricane, seismic ties contribute significantly to the safety of your home during calamities. 

How To Install a Hurricane Tie

Knowing hurricane ties are an excellent addition to your property, you may be wondering how to install them. If you live in a newer house, there’s a big chance that there are already ties attached inside your home. 

Rafters and beams of a home with hurricane ties attached.

You can go to your attic and check for yourself to make sure.

If metal straps are attached to the wooden decks in the ceiling, then you don’t need to worry about the installation, as they are already there. But if you don’t see anything, you must head to the nearest hardware store and purchase them yourself. 

Here are some general tips for installing hurricane ties on your property:

  • Do your research – reading and watching tutorials is essential to know what kind of clips to use in specific areas of your home. 
  • Know the purpose of each hurricane tie – hurricane tie installation is not an easy job considering different structural elements of a house require different types of ties as well. Even the distance between clips should be accurate, so it’s crucial to know this before starting the installation.
  • Consult with professional engineers and contractors. You can ask them for assistance or even pay them to install ties for you. 

Doing this will save you time, stress, and money in the long run, as you might waste a lot of resources if, by any chance, you encounter problems installing the components yourself.

In addition, if you live in Florida, you should consider the hurricane tie requirements indicated in the state’s Wind Mitigation Report. 

In summary, your hurricane ties should be:

  • Made of metal
  • Attached to a truss or rafter using three nails
  • Secured to the top plate of the wall framing or embedded in the bond beam—the distance should be less than an inch from the blocking and no more than ⅕” (0.07 cm) off the truss or rafter
  • In good quality (no visible corrosion)

If you’re a visual learner, you can see how hurricane ties are installed by watching this instructional and informative video: 

Screenshot from a video by Red Poppy Ranch explaining how to install hurricane ties
Courtesy of Red Poppy Ranch

What Is Wind Loss Mitigation?

Now that we’ve established the definition and importance of hurricane ties let’s talk about how they can be related to your home insurance policy. To cut to the chase, you can get a significant home insurance discount by installing hurricane ties on your property.

Wind loss mitigation is the process of adding components to your property that will increase resistance to strong winds brought by hurricanes. Insurance companies give you credits for enhancing your property with hurricane ties and other measures. 

Providers are legally obligated to give home insurance discounts to property owners who take the suitable measures to protect their homes from wind damage through windstorm mitigation. 

This benefit is known as Wind Mitigation Credits, and it is given because a massive chunk of what you pay for home insurance policies can be attributed to the risk of disaster damage.

To get this break, all you need to do after installing the hurricane ties is to make an appointment for a wind mitigation inspection. After the assessment is completed, the next step is to show your insurance company the result to prove that your property has enough protective features.

How Wind Mitigation Inspection Works

A licensed general contractor performs a wind mitigation inspection to examine the ability of your house to withstand strong winds.

The assessment includes the following things: 

  • Roof quality and condition
  • Roof-deck attachments
  • Roof-to-wall connection
  • Wall construction
  • Opening protections
  • Water barrier

Generally, you could expect the entire process to last 30 minutes to an hour. You’ll also have to pay about $100 for the inspection cost.

Before the inspection day, make sure to declutter your house, especially the attic, because the inspectors will need to take pictures of every relevant corner. You’ll also want to double-check the installation of your wind mitigation features beforehand, ensuring that they are in perfect condition and that all components are not repairable. 

Note that the inspector will send the photos to your insurance agent, so they need to be excellent visual proof that your property is adequately maintained. 

On the inspection day, ensure that the roof and attic are both accessible, as these are the main areas that the contractor will assess.

You’ll also want someone from your household to be present during the whole process in case the inspector needs to ask a question about your home’s wind mitigation features. 

Final Thoughts

In hurricane-prone areas, hurricane ties are essential to your property because they provide safety and savings. These pieces of hardware will secure your home and protect your household in times of calamities.

If you have more queries about installation, do not hesitate to contact your local contractor or engineer. Likewise, if you have questions about wind mitigation credits, talk to your insurance agent immediately.

Sources

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