We get a lot of questions from new and existing homeowners concerning the FORTIFIED™ program, so we’d like to take a moment and answer the most common ones:
What is a Fortified™ home?
A FORTIFIED™ home is one that utilizes uniform building methods designed to improve & strengthen new and existing homes based on more than 20 years of testing and field research by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). By upgrading your existing or new home to meet FORTIFIED ™ standards, Homeowners may be able to reduce maintenance and insurance costs or qualify for preferred coverage* while gaining the peace of mind that comes with a safe and stronger property.
(*Preferred coverage is risk management & exactly as the name implies– an example: if you drive a car with a high safety rating, your auto insurance rates will be lower because you’re driving a preferred vehicle, in this case, homes that are certified to meet the FORTIFIED™ standards are stronger, safer, and more desirable to insure).
Is it expensive to upgrade a home to the FORTIFIED™ Standards?
In most cases, the cost to upgrade your home during a re-roof or new construction is minimal. For instance, in areas with an enforced building code, the cost of upgrading is less than $1500 during a roof replacement. Most of that cost is associated with the evaluations fee and the upgrade of items like the nails, roof vents, etc. The overall costs when combined with loss reduction and insurance credits will, however, reduce your annual costs, meaning that it’s actually less expensive to upgrade your home as you perform major remodeling projects, like replacing the roof.
We need a new roof, should I call you before or after we get a new roofer?
The best way to get all the facts and set a scope to pursue a FORTIFIED™ designation is to call us before you even begin talking with roofing contractors.
A simple Home Review will allow us to assess at your current features and create a scope or plan to reach a FORTIFIED™ Roof designation.
So…Is this only for my roof?
The roof of a home is its first line of defense from the elements, as such the process begins with your roof, but the program is top-down.
Once you have a FORTIFIED™ Roof you can advance to the Silver designation. If the property is new construction, then it makes sense to include all the standards for Roof, Silver and then advance to the Gold designation for the strongest and safest home.
Are there any programs to help with cost?
For existing Homes, there are grant programs in several states. Florida has the My Safe Florida Home Program, Alabama has the Strengthen Alabama Homes Program, and South Carolina has the SC Safe Home program.
Depending on what state you are located in, there may be options to assist with cost for upgrading your property, but there are currently no programs for the new construction of a home.
I already have a Fortified Home, I’m good right?
Fortified designations are valid for five (5) years and expire on the 5th anniversary of the award date that is shown on your designation certificate. If you have reached the 5-year mark for your Fortified home, you will need to re-certify to receive an updated designation*. Note if any updates to the windows, doors, roof, or structural elements of the home, they require recertification at the time of those improvements. If you add onto the home, make repairs after a storm or hurricane, or make other improvements you could VOID your FORTIFIED Certificate unless you engage your FORTIFIED Evaluator to re-certify the home once repairs or improvements are made.
Should you need to re-certify, please complete this survey form and a team member will contact you to begin the process.
What type of credits can I receive?
Savings are dependent upon you state and insurance carrier, however, there are mandated insurance discounts in many coastal states including Alabama and Mississippi for homes that have achieved a FORTIFIED designation. Contact your agent today to see how having a FORTIFIED home can provide you with savings (up to 25% or more) on your wind insurance premiums. Visit our website for the incentives available in each state and shop around with insurance agents to determine which ones offer these credits.
Your home is your largest investment, and not having a place to live after a hurricane can be so stressful that most of the deaths caused by hurricanes occur long after the storm has passed. It only makes sense to consider upgrading your home to the FORTIFIED™ Standards for peace of mind and protection of your family and personal property.