How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
Can you fail a four point inspection?
Monday, May 4, 2020
Yes, you can fail a 4-point inspection, because its purpose is to prove to an insurance company that there are no problems with your home that might lead to a claim in the near future. Examples of problems would be an old, leaking roof, water heater in poor condition, corroded pipes, or unsafe electrical wiring.
Although the inspector that comes to the house can tell you if the home is likely to be unacceptable, an underwriter at the insurance company has the final say. It is a moving target from the inspector’s point of view because each company has slightly different standards for acceptability, and they change over time. So the inspector cannot precisely tell you what the underwriter will determine unless it you have a major defect such as one of the ten listed below.
- 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 of 3- to 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 most companies, and they may require replacement.
- An older water heater, typically more than 30-years old, or one with visible deep corrosion.
- Deteriorated washing machine hoses.
There are three possible outcomes when a 4-point report is submitted to the company:
- It is approved.
- Coverage is denied because of one or more significant defects that are likely to cause a claim in the future, such as an older roof with an active leak.
- Coverage is approved with the stipulation that specific defects be repaired or replaced within a certain time frame, usually 30 days.
While one company may decline to insure a property because of a defect, another insurer might issue the policy and stipulate a deadline for submitting proof of repairs for the same defect.
Also, see our blog post How long is a four point inspection valid?
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