single family home hurricane shutters

The Crucial Role of Hurricane Shutters in Florida: Navigating the Legal Landscape

This guide explores the laws governing hurricane shutters in Florida, the different types approved for use, compliance requirements, and the implications for homeowners across the state. In the Sunshine State, where hurricanes are not a matter of if but when, the importance of being prepared cannot be overstated. Florida’s geographical location makes it a prime target for these devastating natural phenomena, leading to stringent building codes and regulations, especially concerning hurricane protection measures such as hurricane shutters. 

Understanding Florida’s Hurricane Shutter Laws

Florida’s approach to hurricane preparedness is among the most rigorous in the United States. After the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Florida adopted the Florida Building Code (FBC), which sets the standards for construction, including the installation of hurricane shutters, to ensure buildings can withstand the impact of hurricanes.

Key Regulations:

  • Florida Building Code (FBC): The FBC requires that all new construction and significant renovations in hurricane-prone areas incorporate windstorm protective systems, including hurricane shutters or impact-resistant windows.
  • High-Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZ): In areas designated as HVHZ, such as Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the building codes are even more stringent. Products used for hurricane protection in these zones must pass rigorous testing and receive approval from the Florida Building Commission.
  • Homeowner Association (HOA) Regulations: In communities governed by an HOA, the association may have specific rules regarding the style, color, and type of hurricane shutters that can be installed, provided these rules do not contravene state laws.

Types of Hurricane Shutters Approved in Florida

Florida law recognizes several types of hurricane shutters, each with its specifications and testing requirements to ensure efficacy and durability:

  • Accordion Shutters: These fold horizontally and are permanently attached beside the windows or doors.
  • Roll-Down Shutters: These can be manually or electrically rolled down and are considered one of the most convenient shutter types.
  • Metal Panel Shutters: Made from steel or aluminum, these shutters are attached to the walls around windows and doors and are removed when not in use.
  • Colonial Shutters: These are two-piece louvered shutters that attach to the wall beside each window and meet in the middle.
  • Bahama Shutters: Mounted above the windows, these louvered shutters are propped open to provide shade and easily closed for storm protection.

Each type of shutter must meet the testing requirements set forth by the FBC, including impact and wind resistance tests, to be certified for use in Florida.

Compliance and Installation

Homeowners looking to install hurricane shutters must ensure compliance with both state laws and local building codes. This process typically involves:

  • Permit Application: Most Florida municipalities require a permit for the installation of hurricane shutters. The application must include product approval numbers or certificates indicating that the shutters meet FBC standards.
  • Professional Installation: While some homeowners may opt for DIY installation, professional installation ensures compliance with building codes and maximizes the efficacy of the hurricane protection system.
  • Inspection: After installation, a final inspection by local building officials may be required to ensure compliance with the applicable codes and regulations.

Implications for Homeowners

Complying with Florida’s hurricane shutter laws has several implications for homeowners, including:

  • Insurance Discounts: Florida law mandates that insurance companies offer discounts or credits to homeowners who install approved hurricane protection measures. Compliance with hurricane shutter regulations can lead to substantial savings on homeowners’ insurance premiums.
  • Property Value: Homes equipped with approved hurricane shutters may have a higher market value due to the added safety and protection these features provide.
  • Legal Compliance: Failure to comply with state and local regulations can result in fines, penalties, and potentially compromise the safety of the property during a hurricane.


Florida’s hurricane shutter laws are designed to protect homes and lives from the devastating impact of hurricanes. By understanding and complying with these regulations, homeowners can ensure their property is better protected, potentially save on insurance costs, and contribute to the overall resilience of their community to hurricane threats. As the climate continues to change and hurricanes possibly become more frequent and intense, adherence to these laws is more important than ever. For those considering hurricane shutters, the key is to choose the right type for your home, ensure professional installation, and verify compliance with all relevant codes and regulations.