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A homeowners insurance without inspection is possible. However, insurers may require inspection depending on certain circumstances. For example, homes older than 25 years old need an inspection to see if there are any liabilities in the property. Some insurance firms may even do a 4-point inspection to qualify interested individuals for a standard home insurance coverage.
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There are three basic things inspectors check for before property owners may gain homeowners insurance coverage. These things are:
Inspectors will check walls, ceilings, and floors for potential hazards. These professionals will also examine the dwelling for liability risks in the premises.
Home insurance inspectors will also bring measuring tools during inspections as they will scan for special features. They will also check for the quality of the materials used in home construction. Inspectors may suggest further improvements to the dwelling for the insurance firm to qualify the homeowner for standard coverage. They may also take photos during the inspection for documentation and evidence.
Insurance inspectors will also check for maintenance and updates in different areas of the property. The areas to survey into include: electrical systems, heating and plumbing units, windows, roof, and areas that may need maintenance or repair later on.
Homeowners should prepare the following items for an upcoming insurance inspection:
Homeowners and members should also ensure that the premises are tidy before the inspector arrives. Take the time in looking at potential fire hazards and other liabilities that may reduce the chances of getting approved for homeowners insurance coverage. For example, staircases may require fixed guardrails or there shouldn’t be any hazardous obstructions blocking hallways.
Home insurance companies may accept appraisals when preparing policies. Remember it’s not a requirement and insurers still have discretion if they need an appraisal. If the house is old, then the appraisal may no longer be of any use. Old home insurance companies may require property inspections for interested and existing policyholders with old dwellings.
In many cases, insurance firms already have their appraisers to send to properties. The reason behind companies to offer their appraising services instead of accepting the help of third-party appraisers is risk mitigation. Insurance companies conducting loss prevention appraisals check for a property’s structural soundness. These professionals will also check for defects and liabilities that may exist within the property in question.
Appraisers examine several areas around the home. These locations include chimneys, foundations, and the underlying brickwork. Appraisals may also include the checking of appliances for potential weaknesses or moisture damage.
Applications for mortgages or HELOC typically require home appraisals. However, the goal of appraisers isn’t to check for the safety of the premises but to check the home’s value. Home inspections, on the other hand, looks for potential safety and security hazards in the property. Homeowners insurance companies may also require or suggest improvements in dwellings before approving or updating policies. Some insurers may accept appraisals instead of home inspections.
Homeowners may do a personal check for the value of their homes without the help of professional appraisers. However, conducting appraisals without expert help should only be for reviewing insurance policies. For instance, some insurers may over-insure the dwelling, which is a sign that the coverage premiums are too expensive.
Did your homeowners insurance get denied after inspection? Failure to comply with the standards of home insurance inspections isn’t a cause for worry. President of WIN Home Inspection in Nashville, Tennessee states that inspection reports are a portrait of the integrity of the property as opposed to a grade. He says his company sees it as a snapshot of the functional condition of a house’s major systems as compared to a pass-fail event.
If a house fails an insurance inspection, homeowners should take the advice of inspectors to heart. List all possible liabilities and risks mentioned by inspectors. Hence, it’s always important to be present during inspections as homeowners can get a first-hand walk-through of the instructions laid out by experts.
The next thing to do is to secure the house and remove most or all hazards and risks mentioned by inspectors. After repairs, replacements, and updates, homeowners may go back to negotiating for approval of their desired coverage. Remember, home inspectors are an unbiased entity which may be a third-party professional working separately from insurance companies. Hence, these experts can only give estimates for appliance replacements and other weaknesses.
Last, always expect the unexpected and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make any last-minute preparations to ensure that inspections go as smooth as possible.
Inspectors will look at four major points of interest which are most likely to cause an insurance claim. These systems are:
During the inspection, inspectors may ask questions to verify the integrity of each system. These questions may include but are not limited to:
Remember, 4-point inspections only relate to getting homeowners insurance policies and nothing else. The entire scope of the inspection will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete for most cases. It’s different from a real estate inspection as this form of property checkup is more comprehensive than inspections relating to insurance.