How do I get my home ready for a four point inspection for insurance?
Friday, August 31, 2018
To understand how to prepare for a four point insurance inspection, let’s start with why the insurance company is requesting one: older houses statistically have more insurance claims. Many of the claims are related to the deteriorated condition of old building components and major appliances. Insurance companies don’t like claims, so they want an inspector to check the condition of the home’s four major components—which are 1) roof, 2) electrical system, 3) plumbing system, and 4) heating/air conditioning system—looking for things that might cause a claim, due to their poor condition.
You cannot do the inspection yourself. It must be completed, and signed, by a licensed home inspector, building contractor, architect or engineer. The inspector must use a standard form that asks specific questions. There is a generic form that many companies accept, but others insist that the inspector use their company’s form. Citizens Insurance, State Farm, and Tower Hill Insurance are three companies in our area that require use of their own form, and each one is slightly different. Here’s a link to the Citizens Insurance form, as an example:
So, think about what might cause an insurance claim in your home due to its condition. That’s what you want to fix before the inspector arrives, if possible. Here’s ten examples:
- 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.
- An electric panel with screw-in type fuses, or a circuit breaker panel with amateur wiring modifications inside.
- Newer 3-slot type electric receptacles connected to old wiring that does not have grounding.
- Older knob-and-tube wiring that’s still “live.”
- Exposed, unprofessional electrical wiring, especially open electrical splices.
- Lack of an installed heating system. Window a/c units or plug-in portable heaters are not considered “installed.”
- Any evidence of plumbing leaks or other water intrusion into the home, even previous ones.
- Deteriorated, damaged, or unvented plumbing piping. Older galvanized steel water pipe is a red flag for some companies, and they may require replacement.
- An older water heater, typically more than about 25-years old, or one with visible deep corrosion.
- Deteriorated washing machine hoses.
It’s not a complete home inspection like you would get when buying a home. The inspector does not look at things like the condition of kitchen cabinets, carpet, paint finishes, or windows. Think “potential insurance claim” and you will have the mind-set of the inspector, and will be ready when he (or she) arrives.
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