What inspections do insurance companies require?

Thursday, October 25, 2018

It has definitely become more common over the past decade for insurance companies to require an inspection report before insuring an older house.

  • A 4-point inspection is the most often requested. The four points are: roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC system. The report was once a simple, single-page form that could be filled out by hand in a few minutes, but has now grown to four or more computer-typed pages with extensive photo documentation required. Our typical report now runs to about 12 pages with the photos.
       The purpose of the 4-point inspection is to help the insurance company evaluate the risks it is taking on when insuring an older home. They are specifically looking for things like an old, leaky roof, unsafe wiring, and deteriorated plumbing—all of which can lead to insurance claims if left unrepaired.
        Originally, it was only required for homes that were 40 to 50-years old or more, but the bar has been lowered to 30-years at many companies recently. This has caused a flurry of homeowner requests for inspections—at their expense—to evaluate their home for the insurance company. To learn more about 4-point inspections, go to our blog Why does my homeowner's insurance want a four point inspection?
  • A roof inspection is another type of inspection that is beginning to be requested more often for homes that are 20 to 30-years old. It is essentially one point of the 4-point inspection, and after 30-years old the roof condition is evaluated as part of the 4-point. To learn more about roof inspections, go to our blog: Why does my homeowner's insurance want a roof inspection?
  • The wind mitigation inspection, officially called a “Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection,” is not required to get insurance. But your agent may ask you to get one in order to reduce the cost of your insurance, especially the windstorm portion of the policy. To learn more about wind mitigation inspections, go to our blog: What is the wind mitigation inspection for homeowner's insurance?
  • Other inspections that are occasionally requested are an electrical system inspection by a licensed electrician, typically for a homes that have been abandoned for an extended period of time or have been vandalized. Also, an inspection of the plumbing, by a licensed plumber, may be needed for a home with galvanized steel piping in questionable condition.

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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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