Insurance: Inspections

Another option: Hiring a private inspector

Is strengthening your home a way to save? To qualify for home mitigation discounts outside the My Florida Safe Home Program, insurers usually require an inspection of your house by a contractor, engineer or other certified inspection personnel. Check with your individual insurance company or agent for specifics.

Insurers must file a scale that offers meaningful discounts for owners who upgrade roof, wall-to-roof connections, and windows and doors to better ensure their residence withstands a hurricane. Whether you get a partial state grant through the My Safe Florida Home Program or pay for the repairs yourself, you should be eligible for a discount.

Insurers are supposed to provide a copy of their discount scale to their customers and indicate what discounts, if any, homeowners are receiving at policy renewal time.

You should also get a form with your policy renewal detailing the discounts available under your policy and whether or not you are receiving them.

Don’t automatically assume you are getting all applicable discounts. Some homeowners qualify for savings of hundreds of dollars because they have home features, such as a “hip” roof, considered less susceptible to hurricane damage.

Low-income aid

Local agencies and volunteer groups helping low-income homeowners:

Palm Beach County Housing and Community Development Residential Rehabilitation Program: Offers low-income, single-family homeowners help with repairs on their homes, which could include hurricane protection. As of May 25, 2011, no new applications were being accepted. Call (561) 233-3624. www.pbcgov.com/hcd/rehab.htm

INTACT (Inspired Network to Achieve Community Together): (772) 462-1777, www.stlucieco.gov/community/intact.htm