If your home has an older garage door that is not reinforced and which does not comply with the current building codes, you do need to be aware of the risks to your home. During a strong tropical storm or hurricane, the winds can cause an excess amount of pressure to build up in the garage.
Eventually, this pressure builds up and is so powerful it can cause the entire garage door to blow off of the garage. In some homes the pressure has been so strong, as we saw with Irma this last year, that it blew off the roof over the garage and knocked down support walls. Aside from this potential damage, once the garage door has blown out, the rest of the home becomes vulnerable to water and wind damages.
Whether your home requires a reinforced garage door or not does depends on your insurance provider. In the past, providers would still offer coverage on Florida homes with one catch: If you did not have a reinforced garage door, then your insurance rates were much higher.
The increase in rates is often enough to justify the costs to invest in a new reinforced garage door. Plus, some insurance providers will offer a discount on coverage rates for homes with reinforced doors.
In addition, after Irma tore through the state, some insurance providers are now requiring homes to have reinforced garage doors. If the homeowner decides not to upgrade, then their insurance can be canceled. If you have any questions about your coverage and requirements, we recommend contacting your insurance agent.
There are two general styles of reinforced garage doors. The first one uses built-in reinforcements that are part of the door. In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, the homeowner simply locks the garage door. The reinforcement requires no additional setup since it is already part of the door. The homeowner can continue to open and close the garage door, if necessary, simply by unlocking it.
The other type of reinforced garage door uses post reinforcements you set up before the storm. The posts are placed in specific locations behind the main door and lock into place. Once installed, the door cannot be opened or closed. After the storm passes, the homeowner has to take down the post reinforcements before using the garage door.
There is always a possibility that reinforced garage doors could get damaged by a major storm. The door could get dents, dings, and other damages. If the storm is powerful enough, it could cause debris to be driven through the door.
The thing to remember is that the primary purpose of reinforced garage doors is to mitigate and reduce the amount of potential damage to your home during a tropical storm or hurricane. As long as you have hurricane insurance coverage on your home, your insurance company will help cover any garage door repair expenses, as well as other home repairs, minus your deductible.