PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Building your home stronger is now not only smart, it's also a way to save a lot of money on insurance. A good example of that can be found on 12th Street in Pascagoula, where Habitat for Humanity is constructing a fortified home.
Outside, it looks like any other house. But inside there's a big difference: Stronger doors and widows, and special hurricane straps. The roof gets most of the attention, put together with not only shingles and wood, but also with special tape.
"It takes a standard code built house, makes some pretty minimal improvements, specifically to the roof and the openings, some of the vulnerable areas of the home and beefs them up a little bit," said Alex Caray with Smart Home America.
Caray said there's another advantage, as well.
"We've seen a lot of insurance companies come back to the area to insure, specifically insure fortified homes, where they may not be insuring other homes in the area," she explained.
Want more proof? Remember Hurricane Ike that hit Galveston in 2008? Darius Grimes, the CEO of Disaster Smart does.
"There were 13 fortified homes on Bolivar Peninsula. Three of them got swept off their pilings by other houses hitting them, but the other 10 remained and they only had minor interior damage," Grimes said.
Fortifying your house, either during new construction or after the home has already been built, will not only make it more storm resistant, it will also save you a lot of money on insurance bills, according to Grimes.
"The life of a house, which is generally considered in the United States to be 50 years, that can actually add up to tens and tens of thousands of dollars of savings."
John Armstrong was so impressed by what he saw during the open house, he'll look into fortifying his own home.
"Some of these things would have a made a big difference for me during Katrina, as well. That's our benchmark and our guide now. So we can see firsthand and know firsthand what these features can do for us," Armstrong said.
And those features could make sure your home will still be around after the next hurricane.
To learn more about fortifying your home, or new construction, visit: http://www.disastersafety.org