Guest Writer: Tim Smith, President of Windward Shutters, LLC located in Mount Pleasant, SC
Many homeowners of Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Charleston often ask about hurricane shutters and how they can help protect their home as well as help save on homeowners insurance premiums. This article will explain just that.
Hurricane Shutters Explained
Hurricane shutters are installed to protect the building envelope. The main cause of hurricane damage behind storm surge is the penetration of the windows and doors from flying debris. Wind alone can cause damage but it’s mainly caused by the debris breaking windows and doors that allow the wind to enter the home causing lift on the roof and outward pressure on the walls.
By protecting the glazed openings and in-swing doors you are helping prevent the loss of the roof. Many building codes have changed and some form of hurricane protection for your windows are now a requirement. Although plywood and OSB (oriented strand board) are allowed for a Certificate of Occupancy they do not meet testing requirements and will fail much quicker than a rated system.
Many homeowners in Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, and Charleston have plywood but lack the ability to secure it on the home in the event of a hurricane threat. A much more convenient and stronger solution is to have rated shutters installed on all windows and doors. If you have an attached garage you need to make sure your garage door is hurricane rated or you have hurricane protection for your garage door. This is one of the most vulnerable openings in the home. Wind can either blow it in off the tracks or it can be pulled away from the tracks by the extreme pressures in a hurricane.
Due to several years without a true hurricane scare many people have grown complacent about the damage and destruction that will again come to our area. It is not a matter of if, but when another powerful hurricane will strike. Now is the time to prepare your home and make a plan. It only takes one hurricane to make a terrible season if that hurricane damages or destroys your home.
Insurance Discounts Explained
Another great benefit for having hurricane shutters are discounts (or credits) on your homeowners insurance policy. With the passing of the Omnibus Coastal Property Insurance Reform Act of 2007, insurance companies are now required to offer discounts to homes protected with hurricane protection materials. In some cases this can be 20-30% off your insurance premiums…every year. Even if you have hurricane protection material on your home, such as hurricane shutters, this doesn’t mean that you have been given the discount/credit from your insurance company. Many insurance agents do not know what to look/ask for and it goes unnoticed; leave you to pay more for your homeowner’s insurance policy. In order to know that you are receiving the discount/credit you will need to have a wind mitigation licensed contractor complete a wind mitigation certificate form for you to submit to your insurance advisor. Windward Shutters is licensed to perform these mitigation certificates.
Grant Money from the State of South Carolina (including all of the surrounding Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Barrier Islands)
Lastly, also written into the Omnibus Act is that if a primary-home structure is insured for less than $300,000 then you can qualify for a matching grant up to $10,000 to protect your home from hurricane damage. If your income is below a certain level you can qualify for a full grant of $5,000 to protect your home from hurricane damage as well. Click here to learn more at the SC Safe Home website.
In closing, make the smart move and call or email Windward Shutters today for a free estimate and give yourself the peace of mind that you and your home are ready when a hurricane makes landfall in the lowcountry. Windward Shutters is the oldest shutter company in South Carolina and is repeatedly chosen by leading architects, builders and municipal leaders.
Windward Shutters can be reached at 843.881.6262 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Mappus Insurance Agency, Inc can be reached at 843.763.4200 to help you understand your insurance premium discounts. Or, you can simply complete the form below…