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Changes to Florida Building Code and Citizens Insurance. Opening Protection for Windows and Doors Now Required!

BE PROACTIVE ABOUT HURRICANE PROTECTION.

TOP REASONS WHY YOU MAY WANT STORM SMART SCREENS INSTEAD OF HURRICANE SHUTTERS.

By Leslie Griffin-Tampa, Fl

Who needs hurricane protection?

For existing homes, Citizens Insurance is notifying its policyholders that any home with an insured value over $750,000 will NOT be renewed unless they get opening protection. Think of the impact this will have on places like South Tampa, Davis Island, and the Gulf beaches!  New construction homes do NOT have a choice. Florida Building Code changed 3/2012, any new home constructed after that time MUST have opening protection in order to get insurance. So does any remodel of over 50% of the building. This new code applies to all homes in the wind-borne debris region, which in our area extends from the Gulf of Mexico to I-75. That’s all of Pinellas, all of Tampa City limits, and a large chunk of Hillsborough County.

Citizens Guide to Opening Protection requirements can be found here, however they don’t supply a list of approved vendors.

If you are looking for an approved vendor you can fill out our contact form here.

What exactly is Opening Protection?

Opening Protection are wind-borne debris protection devices installed to protect structure openings (windows, skylights, doors, etc.).  That means on ALL openings – doors, windows, garage doors, and skylights. For a consumer it means purchasing costly impact rated windows and doors, or Hurricane rated shutters or screens. Shutters are not as expensive as impact windows/doors, but can be costly and bulky to store – insurance carriers require that all protection be stored on site.

An alternative many homeowners are using are low cost Storm Smart screens.  Since the building codes changed in 3/2012, all new construction has to have opening protection, and to put in all impact rated windows would be upward of $70,000 for a typical 4,000 sf high end home.

Tampa Bay Shield is approved as one of the few Storm Smart Screen companies in the Central Florida area for this amazing product. We are very excited about this new niche for our business – Frank Griffin has long been licensed as a building contractor, an appraiser, a home inspector and insurance agent. Frank is also a certified Wind Technician for Citizens and other insurance companies. We saw the need the builders in our area would be facing so we have expanded our niche into Hurricane protection, because there is a huge gap for this kind of product here in Tampa Bay.

Our products give people the same approved protection, but at a fraction of that cost. Frank uses a unique anchoring system that is almost invisible (as opposed to the products sold at local building stores which sell a similar, but inferior product, and have anchors that are unsightly). Plus, we usually beat their price!  Our hurricane shields are very attractive to the high end customers, who must have this protection in order to get insurance, but don’t want to have an eyesore, or have to store large bulky panels, or spend $70,000+ for impact doors and windows. Our products are unique! They store easily, they can hang on a wall, or roll up in bags and can be stored in a closet or under a bed – they take up minimal space!

Finally, we provide all completed jobs with a certified 1802 Wind Mitigation report which is required by Citizens Insurance, guaranteeing the policy premium insurance discount, along with all FBC NOA approval documentation. I don’t know of any other company does that!

To find out if your home is located in a wind-borne debris region and to receive pricing on Storm Smart Hurricane Screens, please contact us here.

Being proactive in protecting your home is one of the best investments a homeowner can make!

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Written by Rae Catanese, Realtor

Licensed Realtor since 2002, Tampa Bay’s own Rae Catanese regularly gives expert advice and insider tips about the Tampa Bay real estate market via her blog, The Tampa Real Estate Insider. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater areas-then this blog is for you. I typically post articles once a week. To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe here! Have a real estate question? Email me here!

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