Insurance companies base rates on risk and part of determining that risk for your home insurance is by way of an insurance inspection. Whether you are purchasing a new home or switching insurance companies, an inspection may be necessary if your home is older or has not been inspected recently. This article will explain what to expect from a home inspection and how you can prepare.
What is a home inspection?
A certified inspector will inspect your home for potential liability and future claims during a home inspection. To create a valuation of the property, the inspector will need to inspect the house. This is necessary to ensure that the dwelling insurance coverage is sufficient in the event a major loss occurs. The inspector will share the findings with your insurer. They will decide if you need to adjust your coverage and continue writing property insurance.
A home insurance inspection is different from a regular home inspection. Home inspections are a way for you to make an informed decision about whether to purchase the property. Just like you can use standard home inspection results to decide whether to purchase the property, an insurance company can use an insurance inspection to adjust your premium, require you to fix issues and even cancel the policy if it deems your home too risky to insure.
Who needs a home inspection?
Home inspections are usually required by insurance companies for older homes or areas that are more vulnerable to natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires. However, it is possible to order them for other reasons, or even just randomly. If you are a homeowner with the same insurer but have not had your house inspected in a while, you might be required to have one done before the next policy renewal. You may need to have a home inspection completed by the new homeowner insurance company if you’re switching carriers.
Although lenders don’t technically require home inspections, they will require you to purchase home insurance as part of your mortgage approval process. You must provide proof of homeowner’s insurance before you can settle on a home or refinance an existing loan. A home inspection could be required if you are purchasing a new policy of property insurance or updating an existing one.
A home inspection is required by insurance companies within 30-60 days of the policy’s effective date. This inspection ensures that the application was accurate and truthful to the property’s value and risk. You may need to correct any issues found during the inspection.
Home insurance companies in some states may perform specific home inspections. For example, if you live in hurricane-prone states along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, an inspector may need to complete a wind mitigation inspection. If you make your home more resistant to windstorms with storm shutters, roof tie-downs and a wind-rated garage doors, this type of home inspection can result in lower insurance premiums. A wind mitigation inspection is not required by the state, but your insurer might require it depending on where you live.
What does a home inspection cover?
Some home inspections, such as an exterior-only inspection, do not require homeowners to be present. To complete their report, the inspector will take photos and measure the exterior of your home. Interior inspections require you to be present. This will include photos and measurements of the interior. The report will be reviewed by your insurer’s underwriters to determine the next steps based upon the home’s condition.
Inspect your home for insurance.
- Appliances (oven, stovetop, microwave, refrigerator, etc.)
- Carbon monoxide/smoke detectors
- Exterior structures (barn, garage, shed, pool, etc.)
- Garage doors
- Hot water heater
- Security system
- Infestation signs
A home insurance inspection focuses on the property and its maintenance.
How to prepare for a home inspection
You have many options to prepare for a home inspection. You can inspect your home from both the inside and outside to identify potential problems and make repairs before the inspection begins.
These are some areas you should consider when planning for a home inspection.
- Roof shingles missing or loose
- Gutter openings that aren’t secured or visible debris
- Cracks and loose bricks in a chimney
- Hanging branches above the homes’ structures, especially dead limbs,
- Cracks and leaks around doors, siding, and windows
- Safety hazards include uneven sidewalks and chipped stairs.
- Check that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
- Water damage or pest infestation in the basement or attic
- Leakages around plumbing fixtures
- Water damage could be indicated by cracks in the walls or bubbling.
- Change the filter in your HVAC system. Run it to ensure it is working properly.
What happens if your home insurance inspection fails?
Your insurance company may give you a deadline to repair any problems found by an inspector after conducting a home inspection. Your property insurance policy may be cancelled if the insurance company deems your home to be too dangerous. If this happens, you have several options.
You will be given a time limit if the inspection identifies any fixable issues. Insurance companies will require proof of repairs. This could include receipts for work done and photos showing the final project.
Your insurer will notify you when your home insurance policy is to be cancelled. This will allow you to search for coverage elsewhere. If you cannot find a private insurer to insure your home, you may have to contact your state’s department of insurance to find programs available for high-risk homes. Fair Access to Insurance Requirements in some states is available to assist those who are unable to get coverage through the voluntary market.