Homeowner’s shouldn’t be surprised if their insurance company wants to inspect their home. This may occur if you’re a new customer, if your home hasn’t been inspected in some time, if it’s hard to determine its value, or if you own an older home.
A home insurance inspection usually occurs between 30 and 90 days after the start date of your insurance policy and takes between 30 and 90 minutes. The inspection helps the insurance company assess the replacement value of your home and potential risks. They may inspect the interior or exterior of your home, or both.
The results of the inspection could decrease or increase your insurance premiums, depending on the results. The insurance company may also provide a list of deficiencies and a timeline for repair to avoid policy cancellation.
Here’s what your insurance company may look at during the inspection and what you can do to prepare.
Your insurance company should provide the date for an exterior inspection. You do not need to be present as this usually involves a third-party taking photos of the outside of your home.
Underwriters will reference the photos and recommend changes to your policy. Typically, they look at the condition of the following items:
- Roof & Gutters
- Windows & Doors
- Detached Garage & Other Outbuildings
- Pool, Hot Tub
- Exterior HVAC Units
- Anti-Theft Systems
Older homes often require interior inspections and you’ll need to be present while they conduct their assessment.
The inspector will look at any component that may present increased risk, such as an outdated electrical system. Typically, they look at the condition of the following items:
- Walls & Ceilings
- Basement & Attic
- Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical Systems
- Living Space
- Room Types
- Quality of Materials
- Special Features
- Safety & Security Devices
Preparing for a Home Inspection
Since a home inspection directly affects your premiums it is important to be prepared. If you perform regular home maintenance, you’ll probably be alright, but it never hurts to give your property a once over.
Check the condition of the roof, flashings, and vents. Clean the gutters and ensure they’re securely attached. Take a close look at the seals around doors and windows and ensure every door can be locked securely into its frame.
Take a walk around the exterior of your home and outbuildings to ensure materials are free from cracks, rot, mold, or mildew. Look carefully at the foundation too as a bad foundation can render a home uninsurable.
Prune away branches from your home, eliminate dead branches, and remove clutter.
Inside, check the date on your fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. If your detectors are more than 10 years old they’ll need to be replaced. Also check that the fireplace flu and damper are operating properly. If you have a wood burning appliance, ensure it has been cleaned recently.
Walk through your home and look for any issues such as pests, rot, mold, mildew, or water damage, particularly in the attic, basement, and bathroom. Verify the last inspection date on plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems and have them re-inspected, if necessary. Remove clutter and ensure your house is tidy.
Have any documentation regarding renovations, upgrades, and security devices on hand for the inspector too.
Home Insurance Inspection Benefits
You may be thinking they’re can’t possibly be an upside to a home inspection, but there are actually a few.
First, the inspection could pinpoint problems that you didn’t know about so that you can correct them to avoid claims, inconvenience, and paying a deductible.
Second, inspectors don’t just look for problems. They also note positive features in your home such as home security, wind-resistant roofing, smoke detectors, and more. This can lead to insurance discounts.
Finally, the inspection will provide an accurate value for your home so it is properly protected.
Once the inspection is done, your insurance company may send recommendations to improve the safety of your home. Read them carefully and if you don’t understand something or disagree with one of the insurance company’s recommendations, give us a call – we’re happy to help you through the process.