How do I get insurance if my home failed a 4-point inspection?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Most insurance companies require a satisfactory 4-point inspection report be submitted to them before they will insure an older home—typically more than 40 to 50 years old or so, depending on the company. The purpose of the inspection is to determine if there are any deteriorated or unsafe conditions in the home that have developed due to its age, which have the potential to cause an insurance claim in the future. The four “points” are: roof, plumbing, electrical, and heating/air conditioning. To learn more about 4-point inspections and what are the most common 4-point defects, we suggest that you read one of our other blogs at Why does my homeowner's insurance want a four point inspection?

   But if the inspector turns up so many defects during the 4-point inspection that the insurance company declines to insure the property until they are fixed, there is another option. It’s called a “builder’s risk” or, sometimes, a “vacant property” or “surplus lines” policy, and is often purchased by remodelers that buy uninhabitable houses in order to have insurance while they are repairing them for resale.

   One company that writes this type of policy is Tapco Insurance Underwriters. You cannot buy the policy directly from the company, and need to find a local independent insurance agent that represents them.

   There are virtually no requirements, other than providing an address, in order to secure this type of insurance. The downside is that it’s expensive; so you only want to use it for as long as it takes to get the house improved sufficiently to pass a 4-point inspection. The minimum policy term offered is usually 6-months.

   As far as we know, no company offers this type of policy for a manufactured/mobile home. Also, many policies include a clause that does not allow you to get a refund for the unused portion if you complete your repairs quickly, and want to cancel and switch to standard homeowner’s insurance before the end of the policy term. 

    Also, see our blog post Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Four-Point Inspections.

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

If we already looked at the house very carefully, do we still need a home inspection?

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure? 

What should I look for when buying a former rental house?  

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What should I look for when buying a house that is being "flipped" by an investor seller? 

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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