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4 Point Inspection For Homeowners Insurance Qualification
A 4 point inspection is not the same as a proper home inspection. It is less detailed and typically provides just an overview of a few areas of a house.
To put in perspective, it is like an executive summary of selected sections of a comprehensive home inspection report.
The purpose of it is for insurance companies to qualify a house and underwrite or renew a basic homeowners insurance policy.
This is because older houses are understandably more likely to suffer problems linked to deterioration and thus submit more claims. So this report will give an insurer an overview of the general condition of a house.
The 4 point inspection report is in a form format and requires 4 main sections:
- Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC)
- Plumbing system
- Electrical system
If you are to conduct the inspection and produce the report yourself, it will be rejected by the insurer as they require qualified experts in the specific fields to endorse them.
Leaving you no choice but to hire qualified home inspectors, structural engineers, architects, or building contractors, etc. They can be either independent or appointed teams by the insurer. In case you are wondering, they can be quite affordable for this specific job.
But if you want to improve your chances of a glowing 4 point inspection report, here are some of the things inspectors will look for.
And yes. They are going to take photographs too. So get that selfie stick ready if you want.
1) Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC)
The lack of an professionally installed heating system can be friendly to your wallet, but it can also increase the risks of hazards.
This is because when households don’t install such systems they usually alternatives like wood burning stoves, gas powered fireplaces, plug-in portable heaters or air-conditioning units.
If you have an installed HVAC system, ducted or ductless, then the priority is to look for signs of defects while noting the age and general condition of the system.
Were repairs made to it recently?
When was the system last serviced?
Is the system in relatively good shape and standing?
Any odd material used? Insulation?
2) Plumbing system
We naturally associate water with good things like taking a bath or quenching your thirst. But it can really cause serious damage to a house. And in severe cases, even total damage.
This is why the plumbing system of a house is of particular concern for insurers.
Any evidence of leaks or water intrusion into the house will be noted and assessed by the licensed inspector.
So are deteriorated piping and plumbing fixtures. Corroded pipes are more prone to damage while galvanized steel pipes tend to be of particular concern. You might be requested to replace them.
Water heaters tend to last for a long time. But don’t take that durability for granted. They typically last between 8 to 12 years and visible sign of corrosion start to show after a few years.
If you have had a look at a corroded water heater, you’d probably think twice before using it.
An inspector will very likely take note of the type of material used for pipes.
Is it copper? PVC? Galvanized? Polybutylene? Or something more exotic?
Is there an active leak?
Are there signs of prior leaks?
Are hoses cracked or leaking? For example, the washing machine hose.
Weird sounds coming from the piping?
General condition and age of water heater?
3) Electrical system
The most common cause of household fires other than mischievous behavior of both adults and children, is defective electrical sources.
Most homeowners should innately understand why this is an important element of a home inspection.
Electrical panels will be analyzed for type. Some houses come with screw-in fuses, while other have circuit breakers installed. Some even have DIY wiring modifications.
You can also expect the power to be tested and old hazardous techniques of wiring that are still used.
Exposed electrical splices are a definite no. And wiring without grounding is suicidal.
What types of fuses are being used?
Are there hazards present? For example, empty breaker sockets, double taps, or loose wiring, etc.
What type of wiring is installed?
Is the overall electrical system in good working order?
Has any fire ever broke out from faulty mechanisms?
As water can cause a lot of damage to a home as previously mentioned, how well a roof is holding up needs to be looked at by an expert.
A professionally installed roof can last for at least over a decade. While you would be lucky for shoddy work to last a year. It’s a wonder why there are homeowners who don’t get the roof done right the first time around.
There are various types of roofs these days and also various types of shingles with different methods of layering.
The main concern regarding the roof is as you might expect. Leakage.
An inspector will typically evaluate the roof and make a diagnosis or judgment call of how long the existing roof could last if no additional maintenance work is done.
If it is judged to be able to last for at least the next 5 years minimum. You are very likely in the clear.
How old is the roof of the property?
What is the covering material made up of?
What is the projected useful life?
Was it updated recently?
Be mindful that an insurer is not particularly interested in the cosmetic or flooring defects of a house. They are primarily interested in the probability claims within the period of coverage.
And these 4 areas are usually the main source of claims.
Since the policy has to be renewed when the coverage period expires, and they have the right to call for a new updated 4 point inspection, their tolerance can be actually quite lenient.
If there are deficiencies that the insurer simply cannot accept, you will usually be asked to rectify the issues within a specified time frame. This can occur for application of both an existing or new policy.
And please… don’t ask a friend who is a licensed home inspector to sign off your report without conducting a property inspection. Because should a claim be filed, he might be held liable by the insurer when they find out that he was, in effect, false reporting.