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"Tornado-Resilient" Homes Qualify For Insurance Discounts

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Some Oklahoma insurance companies now offer discounts to homeowners with "Tornado-resilient" or "Fortified" homes.

The new incentives go into effect this week and some people could save up to 40 percent on their homeowner’s insurance.

The insurance discounts are thanks to House Bill 1720 that passed last year.  That bill requires insurance companies to pass savings on to the consumer if their home meets specified construction standards.

These kinds of homes don't look any different on the outside, but it's what's on the inside that gives them their name.

When severe weather hits in Oklahoma, the property damage can be extensive.

John Madden is a Tulsa builder who offers fortified homes.

Fortified, or "tornado resilient," means the home can withstand up to an EF-2 tornado because of the materials and standards used in the construction process.

All the way from the shingles on the roof down to the structure itself.

“At the end of the day, it's just a better built home," said Madden.

Graham Brannin owns a fortified home built by Madden and says he wanted one after seeing storm after storm cause damage to homes all around him.

“To me, it's all about peace of mind," stated Brannin.

Brannin says he's excited about the new insurance incentive and hopes more people consider fortified homes and tornado resilient retrofitting to protect their property.

“Granted, they are just things, but protecting those things and those memories is real important to me and I'd like to pass that on to my kids," said Brannin.

Madden says that “for that homeowner, at the end of the day, they are definitely going to recoup their additional expenses moving forward."

But Madden stresses that a "fortified" home is not a storm shelter, but fortified home builders can install safe rooms inside the storm-resilient houses to keep families safe.

Right now, 17 insurance companies here in Oklahoma offer the discount.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department has a summary of what HB1720 requires to qualify for the insurance discount. You can also find more information here.

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