How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

Why do I need a four point inspection?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Insurance company statistics show that homes more than 30-years old have more claims than newer homes. Plus the claims are often due to a deteriorated condition of older building components. So, as a loss-prevention measure, many insurance companies now require an inspection of key home components of an older home before they will issue a policy--to see if they are in serviceable condition or have been replaced/upgraded since the home was built.

   Most established town have numerous homes dating back to the early 20th-century and beyond, plus a plentiful supply of 1950s and 1960s era houses, we are often asked to prepare 4-point inspection reports for homebuyers. The age of the home at which a 4-point inspection is requested depends on the insurance carrier. More than 30-years old is the threshold for some companies, while others are more lenient and start at 40 or 50-years old. One company,  Citizen’s Insurance, now requires a four-point inspection for both new policies and renewals of homes or mobile homes over 30-years old.

   There are a few companies out there that will write insurance on an older home without a 4-point. But the policies are for created primarily for short-term use for an unoccupied home under construction, and are much more expensive, so being able to provide an underwriter a 4-point inspection report without any defects means you will save money.

   The four points are: 1) roof, 2) plumbing (including water heater), 3) electrical, and 4) heating/air conditioning system. Because the inspection is provided for the benefit of the insurance company, not you, it only covers the areas they are concerned about. It is not a full home inspection and should not be relied upon to determine the condition of a home you are considering buying. In essence, it is an abbreviated inspection of the key components of a home which, if they fail, will likely lead to an insurance claim.

   You cannot do the inspection yourself. It must be completed, and signed, by a licensed home inspector, building contractor, architect, or engineer. If the inspection uncovers deficiencies, sometimes the company will go ahead and issue the policy, giving you a grace period to complete the necessary repairs. Then again, they may also refuse to issue a policy until they are satisfied with the condition of the home, and another inspection may be necessary.

   Each insurer has their own standards, and what one company accepts may be required to be repaired or replaced by another company. So there are no set standards, but certain deficiencies almost all insurance companies require to be repaired. Here’s our “Top 10” list:

1) A roof with any leaks at all, or an older roof, typically over 15-years old for a 3-tab asphalt shingle roof, for example. An estimated additional roof life of 5-years is the usual standard for a roof to be acceptable.
2) An electric panel with screw-in type fuses.
3) Newer 3-slot type electric receptacles connected to old wiring that does not have grounding.
4) An older water heater, typically more than about 30-years old.
5) Lack of an installed heating system. Window a/c units or plug-in portable heaters are not considered “installed.”
6) Any evidence of plumbing leaks or other water intrusion into the home, even previous ones.
7) Older knob-and-tube wiring that’s still “live.”
8) Exposed, amateur electrical wiring, especially open electrical splices.
9) Deteriorated, damaged, or unvented plumbing piping.
10) Deteriorated washing machine hoses.

   If you are purchasing a home and have already had a home inspection done, unfortunately you cannot submit the home inspection report as an alternative to a 4-point inspection (also sometimes called a “4-point letter). But the good news is that many home inspectors, including us, offer a discounted price for a 4-point inspection report done at the same time as a home inspection.

   And the inspection is not as daunting as you might think. About 40% of the older homes that we inspect have no deficiencies that require repair, and a significant portion of the rest of them need only minor repair or replacement work. 

   The big-ticket item and #1 obstacle to getting a good 4-point report is an older roof that needs replacement. If your roof is in good condition, you will likely have little or no problem with an insurer that requires a four-point inspection. 

    To learn more, see our blog posts Should I fix all the defects listed in a four point inspection report right away or submit it to the insurance company first? and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Four-Point Inspections and How do I get my home ready for a four point inspection for insurance?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about INSURANCE:

* Could faulty work or lack of a building permit for home improvements cause an insurance company to deny a claim?

Why is a fuse box/panel an insurance problem for homebuyers? 

How is Citizens Property Insurance different from other Florida homeowners insurance companies?  

Do I need a home inspection to get insurance? 

Is the 4-point insurance inspection strictly pass or fail? 


Which building permit date is used for the Building Code section of the wind mitigation form? 

What are the different roof deck attachment discount categories for a wind mitigation inspection? 

What determines the year of a house? 

What is the difference between a toe nail, clip, single wrap, and double wrap for the wind mitigation form?

Should I give a copy of the home inspection report to the bank or insurance company? 


Can I do my own wind mitigation inspection?  

Will a house without air conditioning pass a 4 point inspection?  

• What’s the difference between a gable and hip roof for my insurance? 

 • What is the wind mitigation inspection for homeowner's insurance? 

Which water pipes are an insurance problem and possibly uninsurable? 


Why does my homeowner's insurance want a roof inspection? 

• Is it common for an insurance company to require an inspection? 

• How do I get insurance if my home can't pass a 4-point inspection? 

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

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

"What Are The

Signs Of..."

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests

Sinkholes

Stairs

When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes

Site

Shingle Roofs

Safety

Stucco

Remodeling

Wind Mitigation

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home

Inspector...?"

Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."

Radon

Brick

Plumbing

Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs

Foundations

Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants

Condominiums

Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile-Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil

Insurance

Floors

Insulation

Toilets

Exterior Walls

& Structures

Generators

Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers

Electrical

Kitchens

Doors and Windows

(placeholder)

Cracks

Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps

Appliances

Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.

Bathrooms

Lighting

AFCI, CAFCI,

DFCI, & GFCI

Sinks

Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size

Attics

Electrical Switches

Siding

Search

This

Site

Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete

(placeholder)

Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

About Us

(placeholder)

Wells