The 2020 hurricane season was one of the most active in history, And meteorologists predict that 2021 will be the same. While hurricanes are one of the most catastrophic weather events, the good news is that homeowners have effective and affordable options to help minimize the damage.
Adding protection to window and door openings of a home is the most common mitigation technique for dealing with storm damage, but it can also cause a lot of confusion. Learn the truth about some common myths to help limit damage to your home:
myth number 1
Opening protection is required only on the side of the house that faces the water.
Believing this myth can leave a homeowner dangerously exposed. Hurricanes rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. Studies conducted after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 focused on conditions specific to South Florida. With hurricanes rotating in a counterclockwise rotation and storms coming from the east and moving north along the Atlantic coast, the initial wind field usually results from strong easterly winds – winds blowing through the water.
However, as additional storms came in, further study showed that the counterclockwise rotation meant the winds could come from any direction. As hurricane activity has increased in the Gulf of Mexico over the past 15 years, it has become clear that wind does not always come from water. Winds can come from any direction due to the rotation of the storm, so the house should be protected from all sides.
During Hurricane Irma, the Tampa Bay area received the strongest winds from the south, east, and north. The winds from the north were so strong that they actually blew the water off tampa bay.
With opening protection being the most common and important mitigation technique, it is imperative that it be done correctly. To properly protect a house, All Glass windows and doors should be protected, in whatever direction they are located.
myth number 2
Impact-rated windows do not break.
Impact-rated windows and doors are designed to block flying debris and keep water out of the house. That said, they can still break, just as they are. No Designed not to break. Many homeowners believe that because they have impact-rated windows, the windows will not break, and will have no claims. This thought can expose them to extremes.
In a strong wind event with lots of debris in the air, it would not be unusual for many windows to break, resulting in a huge claim. Debris and water may remain outside, but windows will still need to be replaced. Depending on the size of the home, a complete window replacement can run upwards of $250,000. Impact-rated windows offer great convenience and security, but they should not be viewed as the superior product of impact-rated opening protection shutters.
Myth No. 3
My windows and doors or garage doors are “hurricane-rated” so my property is protected.
Neither the building code nor the window and door industry recognize the “hurricane-rating” designation. As defined by building codes, your windows, doors, and garage doors can have two different ratings: a wind rating and an impact rating. All windows, doors and garage doors have an air rating, no matter where in the country they are. For coastal areas, this rating is clearly too high.
Windows, doors and garage doors can also have impact ratings. This rating includes a different set of tests based on the likelihood of debris flying into the window or door. Local building codes define the required wind rating for a specific area and determine whether an impact rating is required. Obtaining items such as wind mitigation forms or window and door specifications from a supplier can clearly determine the level of wind rating and whether that window or door is also impact rated.
Hurricane season in the Northern Hemisphere traditionally runs from June 1 to November 30, but more recent active seasons have seen Storms in May and December. Homeowners in hurricane areas should be prepared for hurricanes whenever they strike.
This loss control information is advisory only. The authors assume no responsibility for the management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local, independent insurance agent for coverage advice and policy service.
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