What Inspections Are Required For Homeowner's Insurance?

Dated: April 21 2021

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What Inspections Are Required For Homeowner's Insurance?


When entering into a purchase contract in the state of Florida, there is an Inspection Period for the prospective home buyer to do their due diligence and hire a home inspector. Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you can make in your lifetime, so getting the home inspected should be a priority. The Inspection Period is to protect your best interests and well-being!

The 3 most common types of inspections are:

-Residental Inspection
-Four-Point Inspection
-Wind Mitigation Inspection

There are also "WDO," or Wood Destroying Organism Inspections (also known as a Pest Inspection), Water Quality Inspection, Air Quality Inspection, Septic, and those covering homes with Pool & Spa. For homes older than 1978, it's optional to perform a risk assessment or inspection for lead-based paint or hazards. For Cash, Conventional, or FHA contracts, these assessments are generally optional. Although the WDO may be required by FHA if the presence of an active infestation exists, or if your insurance company requests it.

For VA buyers, the WDO Inspection is always required and a Water Quality Inspection will be necessary if the home's water source is a well instead of public.

Inspections are paid for by the home buyer. Prices generally start around $300-350 for the basic Residential Inspection, and the total cost is determined by the size of the home as well as any additional inspections performed. Four-Point and Wind Mitigation can add additional cost but some inspectors include them in the Residential. Septic, Pool & Spa, or other types are specialized inspections that will usually require companies in those fields. Most home inspectors do not perform the WDO Inspection, as those are done by pest control companies and generally run $75-$150.

What Is A Residential Inspection?

A Residential Inspection is an evaluation of the overall condition of the residential property. It will help the home buyer to understand the functions of various systems and components of the home, as well as maintenance issues. This is a comprehensive look at everything in and around the home, even the doors, windows, and cabinets. The "basic" Residential Inspection may uncover items that weren't noticed during the initial showing or that might not be readily visible.

While most purchase contracts for resale homes in Florida are "As-Is," the Residential Inspection can be used to negotiate repairs during the Inspection Period. Ultimately it is the prospective home buyer's decision on what they will accept, but generally I recommend sticking to repair requests that are related to Safety, Health, or the Structure. Anything that could be unsafe should be always be addressed. If it's cosmetic in nature or something minor, this is common in any resale, or "used" home. There are likely to be imperfections.

The Residential Inspection is for the home buyer and Realtor to review. It is not required to divulge this information to the insurance carrier, lender, or the seller.

So, what inspections are required for your homeowner's insurance? These would be the Four-Point and Wind Mitigation inspections.

What Is A Four Point Inspection?

The Four-Point Inspection is specific to 4 important items for both you and your insurance company. It will help to assess risk for fire, flood, water damage, and even mold.

Electrical Wiring and Panels

What kind of wiring is in your home? If a home has copper, aluminum, or knob-and-tube wires, chances are it will not be insurable due to fire hazard risks. Faulty wires cause nearly 90 percent of residential fires, so this is something insurance companies take very seriously. If your home is found uninsurable due to wiring issues, it is vital to budget for necessary upgrades. If you don’t, your risk of fire is significantly amplified.

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) 

Does your home have central heating and air conditioning? What condition are the units in? Are there any signs of obvious damage such as leakage? Remember each insurance agency determines what it considers “acceptable” when insuring older homes; however, it’s not uncommon to see coverage denied for lack of central air and heat.

Plumbing

Inspectors at the type of pipes in your home to determine how likely they are to burst. If polybutylene plumbing is found coverage can be denied as these are more prone to bursting. However, some insurance companies may still insure you, but will exclude water damage. In that scenario, if there is a flood due to pipes bursting, you are 100 percent responsible for the total expense.

Roof

Roof age, material, and condition are what inspectors look for. Generally, insurance companies do not insure shingle roofs more than 20 years old or tile or metal roofs more than 40 years old. However, if your roof is younger but has apparent damage outside or water leaks inside your home, that might be cause to deny coverage.

What Is A Wind Mitigation Inspection?

A Wind Mitigation Inspection is the only inspection that can significantly reduce the cost of your insurance policy. That’s because this inspection can determine whether your home has features that drastically decrease severe property loss from hurricane wind. As always, the safer and stronger your home is, the lower your premiums may be.

All the features the inspector looks for may seem like minor details, but they make a world of difference when a windstorm or hurricane strikes. The appropriate wind mitigation features can be the difference between your home weathering the storm and a total rebuild.

The Wind Mitigation Inspection has 7 items that are addressed. Each question asks what type of wind mitigating material the home has:

Age Of The Home

This is to determine if the home permitting was applied for after March 1st, 2002, as Florida Building Code was updated at that time.

Age Of The Roof

This is to determine if the roof was permitted after March 1st, 2002. Newer roofs have higher wind standards.

Roof Decking Nail Size And Pattern

This is to determine the size of the nail used to hold your home’s plywood down against the truss system. The highest available discount is an 8d (2.5 inches) nail spaced every 6 inches. Typically, if your roof is installed after 2007, you will receive this discount.

Roof To Wall Attachment

This is where your exterior wall meets your roofline. On average, homes have a piece of hardware, known as a clip, that is nailed to your exterior wall and is also nailed to your truss system. Every truss that meets the exterior wall should be clipped. Some older homes just have the trusses nailed down to the walls.

Roof Geometry

How your roof is shaped overall. It is better for a home overall if wind pressures can easily be released over the roof system rather than creating more drag/resistance.

Secondary Water Resistance

What type of underlayment does your roof have? This can be seen between plywood connections or roof penetrations in the attic. If it is a “peel and stick” or self-adhering underlayment, this qualifies for a discount. Most newer roofs have an SWR.

Opening Protection

This is the rarest discount that is received and is the most difficult. Every glazed (window) opening must be covered by an impact-rated shutter that is structurally attached to the home (or be an impact-rated window) to receive a discount named “A3”. Every glazed and solid opening (doors and garage doors) must be covered by an impact-rated shutter (or be impact-rated themselves) to receive the discount known as “A1."


Where Do I Find The Right Home Inspector?

As you can see, there's a lot that goes into the Inspection Period that will protect you and your home purchase! If you're wondering how in the world you'll figure out how to hire the right inspectors for the job, that's all a part of how I will ensure your transaction goes smoothly and without any issues. I work with solid professionals that I trust, and use them for my own home. It's important to me to work with partners that have integrity, that will be responsive to our contractual deadlines for the Inspection Period, and keep costs reasonable.

If you have any questions, I'm available to help!

Give me a call or text today at 407-476-1559

Sean Rooney, Realtor
EXP Realty LLC



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Sean Rooney

Focused on Results for You! Your veteran real estate agent serving Orlando and all of Central Florida. First time home buyers, military & veterans, retirees, investors, and home sellers - I'm here fo....

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