Many homeowners think of inspections as something that only happens when buying or selling a home. In some instances, like when the home is older than 25 years or if a home could be a liability, an inspection is necessary for a homeowners insurance policy. The 4-point home inspection focuses on four main systems of a home: HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and roof. Insurance companies in coastal states often have this inspection requirement.
What Is a 4-Point Inspection?
A 4-point inspection focuses on the areas that have an increased risk of failure due to age or wear. For example, an old roof could allow water to leak into the property, outdated wiring could cause a fire, and aging plumbing pipes might burst and flood the home. Should this happen, the necessary repairs must be calculated with the cost of replacing the aged system. Further, homes constructed several decades ago may not be built to the same standards as modern homes.
An inspector will look at the wiring to determine the type and age of the electrical panels and the breakers, the materials used for wire and insulation, and if repairs have been made. They will note the general condition of the system and if there are any safety concerns with the current electrical system.
The home inspector will examine the heating and cooling system and will make notes if it’s in working order and professionally installed. He or she will record the age of the system and its components.
For plumbing, the inspector will assess the water heater for function and leaks along with fixtures and appliances such as refrigerators and dishwaters that are connected to the plumbing. Showers/tubs, sinks, toilets, and sump pumps will also be inspected.
The condition of the roof will be inspected in depth. This includes the age of the roof, the materials, dates of maintenance/repair, signs of deterioration, and any leaks.
What Form Do I Need for a 4-Point Home Inspection?
If your insurance company requires a 4-point inspection, they may provide their own form for your inspector to complete. Ask the insurance company if you can use forms provided by the inspection company, as long as a qualified professional fills out the forms. Make sure you use the correct form so your homeowners insurance company has the information they need to provide a quote for coverage.
Can I Use the Home Inspection From When I Bought My Home?
Buyers who recently purchased an older home may be required to supply a 4-point inspection to their insurance companies. However, the companies typically do not want all of the information that is included in a standard buyer’s inspection report. The company that performed the inspection may be able to provide a form with only the needed information so that an additional inspection does not have to be completed.
How Do I Choose the Right Inspector For the Job?
Do your research before hiring an inspector. Remember, your inspector works for you. You’ll sign an agreement about the scope of the inspection. Because this inspection is more focused than a full home inspection, it doesn’t take as long — plan for a 4-point inspection to take 30-45 minutes, depending on the home inspector.
After the inspection, you’ll go over the findings together. If the inspector notices a problem during the inspection, homeowners may have to fix it to qualify for home insurance. However, these costs are typically less than repairing any damage such an issue may cause if left unaddressed.