A four-point inspection is occasionally required by an insurance company in order for a homeowner or future buyer to obtain insurance coverage. When examined by a licensed professional, a four-point home inspection allows the insurance company to see the status of a property and determine the associated risks before providing or denying coverage.
The four major components that are examined during a four-point inspection are:
1. The Roof
A property’s roof is checked for a variety of things. Aside from its age and type of material it is made out of, this portion of the inspection looks at how the roof has held up over the years as well as examines for any damages. It is an extremely important part of the inspection and the property itself. A four point also looks at the condition of roofing shingles, if they are warped, worn out, or missing. The inspector will also check for possible water pooling on the roof or potential leaks that may exist.
The plumbing is examined to look at what material the pipes are made out of and if any leaks are present. A leaking pipe can go unnoticed and can turn into a big problem quickly! The property’s plumbing infrastructure is often hidden behind the walls making this portion of the inspection a bit more time consuming. Many insurance companies are also inspecting the existing hot water heater, if it is damaged or if it needs to be replaced.
3. The visible HVAC system that includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
The HVAC unit is inspected for its age and location within the property. A system in an attic may be looked at differently than one on the bottom floor of a two-story house. The inspector will also look to see if there is any water leaking from the unit as well as any other common problems.
A property’s wiring and the electronic panels installed during initial construction can tell you the age of the home and when it was manufactured. This part of the inspection looks at dangerous panels, inferior wiring material (aluminum as opposed to copper), and how well the wiring has held up. Shoddy wiring will need to be repaired or replaced.
While every property is different from architecture, size, and location, the four-point inspection is often considered a universal language between insurance companies, the agent, and the homeowner. The inspection is straightforward with a pass or fail result. It is also minimally invasive as it only looks at these four main visible systems. Many insurance companies focus a four-point’s attention on older homes as well as homes that are located in high-risk flood or evacuation zones, which applies to many Florida properties.
The licensed inspector will be examining these components to determine the condition of each system as well as the age of various components. They look for any repairs, damages, and deficiencies while recording the information onto an official inspection form. A four-point may also uncover any safety issues related to the property but it is not categorized as a safety inspection.
Do I Need a Four Point Inspection?
In 2018, regulations changed to require a four-point for Florida homes over 30 years old but every insurance company has different requirements for underwriting. If your agent suggests a four-point, it is because the company they are working with requires it or advises it.
How much does this cost?
The average cost of a four-point inspection from a certified professional inspector can range from $50 - $100. It is worth noting that inspectors can also provide a wind mitigation inspection with their four-point and give you a bundled or discounted rate. More information on wind mitigations and how they affect homeowners insurance can be found here.
Should I prepare for a four-point inspection?
It certainly won’t hurt to check the property out yourself and see if there are any potential hazards or damage prior to an inspection. If there is visible wear-and-tear to the property or problem areas that could use a repair, it can be beneficial to fix them up before the inspection. It can be to your benefit as the inspection may prove how diligent and responsible you are as a homeowner while reassuring the insurance company that your home is well worth their coverage.
Should I be home for this inspection?
Someone over the age of 18 should be at the property. Inspectors will need access onto the property with additional clear access to the electrical panel, water heater and the AC unit.
Will I see the result of the inspection?
Yes. Not only do you see the result in either physical or electronic form, your agent and insurance company will see this result too. The insurance company will make a final decision to cover your property when they review the inspection form.
Will a four-point inspection satisfy the need for a real estate inspection?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. A four-point inspection is not as thorough as a real estate inspection will be. There are many more items that are examined which take a longer period of time.
What’s the difference between a four-point and a full (or buyer’s) inspection:
One major difference between the two inspections is the time it takes to complete them. A typical four-point inspection takes anywhere from twenty to forty-five minutes but a full inspection can take up to four hours to complete. In addition to the four components we have looked at, a full inspection will continue to examine a property’s interior, exterior, structural integrity, door and window functionality, upgrades, garage, overall site conditions, land grading and so much more. Since homeowners insurance is a necessity that protects one of the biggest investments a buyer can make, both inspections will help you get the right homeowners insurance policy.
If you are looking for a new home or one that is 30 years old or older, shopping for another homeowners insurance policy, or renewing current coverage, a four-point inspection will be required. This crucial inspection document plays an important role in obtaining homeowners insurance coverage. Additionally, when a homeowner makes updates or repairs to a home and notifies their agent or insurance company, this form serves as additional verification of these updates and repairs.
Harris Insurance is your local agency for all of your insurance needs.
We are happy to provide you with a recommendation or reference to some local contractors that perform four-point inspections and wind mitigation inspections.
For additional information, feel free to call us at 850 244 2111 or text us at 850 244 2112.