What are the benefits of FORTIFIED?
- FORTIFIED homes are stronger against severe weather and suffer less damage.
- The FORTIFIED method involves an inspection and verification process ensuring your home is built or re-roofed correctly.
- A FORTIFIED designation may qualify you for annual wind mitigation credit that could lower your insurance premium. Check with your insurance agent for specific policy requirements and potential wind mitigation credits in your area.
How much does FORTIFIED cost?
While the FORTIFIED standards are available to use as a guide and can be downloaded here for free, there are costs associated with gaining the added protection they offer. Because FORTIFIED requires upgrades from common building codes, there will be extra costs to cover the materials and labor that make homes stronger. These costs will vary based on your home’s individual design, as well as the specific requirements of the building code in your area.
Additionally, there is a cost to obtaining third-party verification of the FORTIFIED upgrades, which is required in order to receive the designation needed for most insurance discounts and mitigation credits. That said, upgrading to a newly constructed FORTIFIED Gold home can add 1%–3% to the total budget. When re-roofing a 2,000-square-foot home, the cost increase is typically between $1,000 and $3,000.
Who can use the FORTIFIED standards?
To earn an official FORTIFIED designation from IBHS, your home must meet certain criteria AND your roofer, builder, or contractor must work with a FORTIFIED Evaluator to document and verify the entire construction process. Without this, you are not eligible to receive a FORTIFIED designation or qualify for its financial benefits.
If you are not seeking official certification, you may still use the FORTIFIED standards to guide construction or re-roofing. FORTIFIED standards are available to the public on this website. Choose the standard that addresses the weather risk in your area (hurricane or high wind) and ask your contractor to follow the FORTIFIED requirements.
Does my home qualify for FORTIFIED?
Homes that qualify for FORTIFIED include:
- Single-family detached homes (including modular homes)
- Two-family dwelling units (duplex)
- (HUD) manufactured homes built after 1994
- Townhouses (each unit must extend from foundation to roof; no “stacked” dwellings)
Can I use the FORTIFIED standards even if I don’t qualify or if FORTIFIED is not available in my area?
If you are not seeking official certification, but still want the added protection provided by FORTIFIED, you may still use the FORTIFIED standards as a guide in construction or re-roofing. FORTIFIED standards are available to the public on this website. Choose the standard that addresses the weather risk in your area (hurricane or high wind) and ask your contractor to follow the FORTIFIED requirements.
Is FORTIFIED the same everywhere in the country?
FORTIFIED requirements vary based on your location and are designed to protect against severe weather common in your area. A FORTIFIED professional can explain which standard is appropriate for your home.
If my home is FORTIFIED, do I have to evacuate from a hurricane or use a storm shelter in a tornado?
Yes! Although IBHS used decades of science to identify the multiple layers of defenses that reduce the chances of a cascade of damage, no home is 100% “hurricane-proof,” “tornado-proof” or even “stormproof.” You should always take necessary precautions to protect your life and your family.
Will FORTIFIED prevent all damage to my home?
No. While lab and real-world experience has proven FORTIFIED to be remarkably effective at limiting storm damage, we do expect some FORTIFIED homes to experience damage during extreme weather. Some elements of a home (like siding) are not addressed by the standards and may experience damage. Other components, even ones included in the standards, can be affected by age, climate and maintenance, and some simply have limitations that prevent 100% protection on 100% of the homes in which they are installed. Understanding that even a well-built home may suffer damage is key to FORTIFIED’s success. It’s multiple layers of defenses significantly reduce the chances of a cascade of damage.
Can I use FORTIFIED for a commercial building?
Yes. Learn more about FORTIFIED Commercial™ at fortifiedcommercial.org.
How do I know if I need a new roof?
Depending on the product and the local environmental conditions, shingle roofs can last an average of 15–30 years.
- Common signs your roof may need to be repaired or replaced include: shingles that are missing, cupped, or curled; shingles with blisters and exposed asphalt; large areas of missing granules; deteriorated flashings; and/or evidence of interior leaking and/or water-stained ceilings.
Metal and tile roofs typically last longer than asphalt shingle roofs.
- Common signs your metal roofs should be repaired or replaced include: when panels and/or flashings show signs of deterioration, and/or evidence of interior leaking and/or water-stained ceilings.
- Common signs tile roofs should be repaired or replaced include: damaged roof tiles, flashings show signs of deterioration, and/or evidence of interior leaking and/or water-stained ceilings.
Hire an experienced roofing professional to do a complete roof inspection. This will help you and your roofing contractor determine if repair or replacement is the best way to maintain a watertight condition.
How do I get started?
Use our directory to contact a FORTIFIED-trained professional who can answer your questions and help you get started.
A FORTIFIED-certified contractor or roofing contractor understands the FORTIFIED standards and is familiar with the strict verification process. Alternatively, you can start by selecting a FORTIFIED evaluator; this independent third-party inspector can lead you through the FORTIFIED process and help you find a contractor who understands the FORTIFIED standards.
Do I have to work with a FORTIFIED roofer, builder or contractor?
No. You can choose any roofer, builder or contractor to complete your building project. But for a complete list of those roofers/contractors who have completed FORTIFIED Wise™–Roofer training, please visit our directory and select Roofers and your state to see a listing of qualified roofing contractors near you.
Note: FORTIFIED-trained contractors will be more adept at building a FORTIFIED home or installing a FORTIFIED roof. They also understand how to work with a FORTIFIED Evaluator, which can make the verification and designation process easier and more efficient.
What is a FORTIFIED Evaluator?
FORTIFIED Evaluators are independent, third-party contractors who have been trained in the FORTIFIED program requirements. They will document and verify the entire construction process to ensure program requirements are met. They work with all parties involved—you, your roofer, builder or contractor, and IBHS—to ensure the process goes smoothly.
How do I find an Evaluator?
Use our directory to find a certified FORTIFIED Evaluator in your area.
Who is IBHS?
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported solely by property insurers and reinsurers. IBHS’s building safety research leads to real-world solutions for home and business owners, helping to create more resilient communities. Learn more at ibhs.org.
What research supports the FORTIFIED requirements?
To understand how homes are damaged by severe weather, IBHS conducts extensive field and lab research to test methods for reducing storm damage. These results are incorporated into the requirements of the FORTIFIED standards. Learn more.
Doesn’t my state have strong building codes?
Maybe. Each state sets its own building code requirements. The code your home is built to depends on your area and the code that is required the year your home is built. But even today, not all states have adopted modern building codes, and your particular area may not require a code at all. Learn more at https://ibhs.org/public-policy/building-codes-by-state.
More importantly, homes built or re-roofed to the FORTIFIED standards will have more protection from severe weather than homes built to virtually any building code in America.
Do insurance companies provide discounts for homes with active FORTIFIED designations?
Sometimes yes. Please contact your agent for more information.
Because FORTIFIED homes meet standards that are scientifically proven to withstand severe weather better than ordinary building codes, insurance companies sometimes provide a discount on the wind premium. To maintain the discounts, many of those companies require the designation to be renewed every 5 years. If you have questions about your insurance coverage, we encourage you to contact your agent directly.
Does my insurer offer a FORTIFIED endorsement?
Most insurance companies in Alabama offer a FORTIFIED endorsement to their policyholders. Other states where FORTIFIED endorsements are known to be offered are North Carolina and Mississippi. Please contact your insurance agent for specific details.
How much coverage does the endorsement usually provide?
All endorsements help to lower the cost of upgrading a new roof to the FORTIFIED standards; however, the specific coverages vary by company. Some endorsements cover material, labor, and certification costs up to a specified limit, while others cover just the cost of the independent third-party FORTIFIED Evaluator. Please contact your insurance agent for specific details.
How much does a FORTIFIED endorsement cost?
The premium charged for a FORTIFIED endorsement is determined by the individual insurer and varies. Please contact your insurance agent for specific details.
Two carriers have elected to provide FORTIFIED endorsements to their policyholders at no cost. Click for more details on endorsements offered by North Carolina Insurance Underwriters Association and Mississippi Underwriters Wind Association.
I have the endorsement and my roof is damaged. What do I do next?
First, make sure your adjuster is aware that you have the FORTIFIED endorsement. Next, find a contractor who can install a FORTIFIED Roof. If that’s not possible, engage a FORTIFIED Evaluator to help you and your roofing contractor through the re-roofing and documentation process. These professionals know the required upgrades and understand the documentation needed in order to get a FORTIFIED designation (typically required for insurance discounts and mitigation credits).
What is a FORTIFIED designation?
A FORTIFIED designation is written certification that a home or business has been built, renovated, or re-roofed according to FORTIFIED standards. The document is issued by IBHS after a review of the documentation provided by a FORTIFIED Evaluator and is generally required in order to receive FORTIFIED insurance discounts and to qualify for mitigation credits available in some states.
How long does a designation last?
5 calendar years. At the end of that period, a re-designation inspection will be required to maintain the home or business’s current designation level. If there have been no substantial changes to the structure and the roof covering is within its life expectancy, the designation will be re-issued for another 5-year period.
How often must FORTIFIED designations be renewed (re-designated)?
Every 5 years.
How do I know if my designation has expired?
The expiration date can be found in the bottom right-hand corner of the designation certificate. If you can’t find your certificate, IBHS can provide you with a duplicate. Simply email a request to email@example.com (be sure to include both your name and the property address).
Why are re-designations required?
A FORTIFIED designation declares that a home met the standards established by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) at the time it was issued. Because the condition of a home will change over time, it is important to periodically confirm the home continues to provide the rigorous protections of the FORTIFIED standard.
What is required to get re-designated?
Most homes can have their designation renewed with a simple inspection.
To renew a designation, a certified FORTIFIED Evaluator must verify the home still meets the FORTIFIED requirements. If the roof covering (shingles, metal, tile, etc.) is in good condition, and no additions or modifications have been made to the home since the last designation was issued, then the inspection is likely the only step that will be required.
Do some homes require more than just an inspection to get re-designated?
Yes. If your home has been modified in the past 5 years―perhaps you enclosed an attached porch or added a new bedroom, or maybe you recently replaced your roof―the evaluator will work with you to determine whether your home still meets the FORTIFIED standards. Typically, this will involve discussing the changes with the contractor who made them and documenting the building materials and construction techniques used. Each situation is unique, and a certified evaluator will be able to provide an assessment specific to your home.
I’m an adjuster. What roofing upgrades are required by FORTIFIED?
FORTIFIED Roof requires a series of beyond-code upgrades to address three main vulnerabilities: roof deck-to-house connections, roof edges, and gaps in the roof deck. Depending on which building code it is compared to, the upgrades will vary. That said, a list of potential upgrades is provided here.
I’m a roofing contractor. Where can I learn more about installing a FORTIFIED Roof?
FORTIFIED Roof requires a series of beyond-code upgrades to address three main vulnerabilities: roof deck-to-house connections, roof edges, and gaps in the roof deck. The requirements are detailed in the Re-Roofing Checklist. Several instructional videos are available on this website, and FORTIFIED Wise University™ offers flexible online training for a very reasonable price.
I’m a roofing contractor. Is there a guideline for repairing a FORTIFIED roof?
Yes. Please see the Roof Repair Checklist.