Why Do I Need a 4-Point Inspection?
Before an insurance company will cover your property, they will need information about the home’s condition to assess the risk of insuring it. One of the ways an insurance company decides about a home’s insurability is with a 4-point home inspection.
Information Gathered During a 4-Point Home Inspection
The 4-point home inspection is not the same as the inspection you get when you first purchase a home. The full home inspection is a lot more extensive.
A full inspection will examine all areas, features, and appliances of the home. This includes the siding, septic system, roof materials, plumbing and electrical systems, fixtures, heating and air conditioning system, doors, windows, grading and drainage, insulation, and the foundation. The inspector will also look for safety concerns such as loose electrical outlets and handrails that aren’t secure.
In a 4-point inspection, the inspector examines four primary areas for the insurance company: the roof, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), and the electrical system.
Inspectors will examine the roof covering of the home for overall quality and condition. The inspector will note the approximate age and the type of roofing material in place.
Flushing the toilets and turning on the water are the only ways to determine if the plumbing works correctly. The home inspector will look for leaks, make note of the plumbing materials, and try to determine the age of the pipes.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
The home inspector will verify that the home has a functioning HVAC system. If so, the inspector will test the system to make sure it is working properly.
The inspector will make sure the electrical system provides adequate power to the home. Inspectors will verify that the house has the proper wiring and will note the age and type of wiring. The inspection also includes a test of ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected outlets.
When to Order a 4-Point Home Inspection
The insurance company may request the 4-point home inspection. An application for homeowners’ insurance generally means you’ll need to schedule the appointment soon. If you know you will need a 4-point inspection, ask the home inspector if they can perform the 4-point inspection at the same time as your regular buyer’s inspection.
What if the Findings Aren’t Good?
The short answer is that the insurance company will not insure your home. However, insurance companies usually give homeowners a certain amount of time to correct any deficiencies. If the house passes a reinspection, it may be insurable.
A good inspection report does not necessarily guarantee that the insurance company will cover the home. Some insurance companies will not insure a home because of an increase in the number of claims in a particular area after a national disaster. Other companies require additional inspections, such as a wind mitigation inspection or full roof inspection to make sure the property is not a high risk.
When purchasing a home, check with your insurance company to determine their criteria for providing coverage. Your insurance provider will let you know if they will require a 4-point inspection.