When looking to get your home insured, you will need to get some form of inspection. An inspection helps your insurance company know what coverage you need and whether or not they should cover your home at all. There are different kinds of home inspections, from a full home inspection to wind mitigation inspections, but a 4-point inspection is a popular option.
Your insurance company will need to know certain information about your home before promising to insure it, so a four-point inspection is essential for showing your insurance provider that your home is a good investment for them. The four main systems of your home are covered to determine this.
Let’s talk about what a 4-point inspection involves and everything you need to know about getting one.
The 4 main systems of a home
A 4-point inspection is a thorough examination of your home’s four main systems to help your insurance company understand the well-being of your home. If you do well on your inspection, this shows that your home is in good shape. If you do poorly, there are probably a few things to fix.
The four main systems of your home that are covered during this inspection are:
1. HVAC system
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The inspector will likely look at how the system works to ensure it functions properly and isn’t at risk for fire or damage. Your insurance company will want to know the condition of this system before they agree to pay for any reparations or damages.
It’s also important to note here that your insurance company may not agree to insure you if you installed your heating and air system by yourself. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent about this if you didn’t have it professionally set up in your home.
2. Electrical system
The electrical system powers your entire home and is also examined during a four-point inspection. Your inspector will probably take a close look at the wiring throughout your home and the electrical panels to get an idea of what condition your home’s electricity is in.
In addition, they will examine switches, outlets, and smoke detectors to make sure they work and are properly covered. They may also look for potential electrical hazards such as fire or shock.
3. Plumbing system
The third system your inspector will take a look at during a 4-point inspection is the plumbing. If your plumbing is compromised, it can lead to severe damage to your home. For instance, if a pipe bursts or your toilet malfunctions, you may end up having to replace your floors due to water damage completely or even fix the infrastructure of your home.
Your inspector will look for leaks and cracks in the plumbing to make sure everything is up to code. They may also look at your water heater to make sure the safety features are accessible and that your water has an emergency shut-off valve.
The last and most crucial part of your 4-point inspection is the roof.
Your roof is what keeps your home a home. It keeps the weather and elements outside while keeping your home safe inside. If your roof is compromised, it could become damaged or entirely collapse from weather or a storm. If your roof breaks during a bad storm, your home won’t have protection, and you could be left with serious water damage to fix.
Your inspector may look at the age of your roof, its wear and tear, materials, and for signs of cracks or leaks. After looking at the other aspects of your home, your insurance will review it if your roof is up to code.
Does a 4-point inspection include a wind mitigation inspection?
A wind mitigation inspection is an analysis of how well your home can withstand strong winds. This inspection covers structural integrity, roof shape and structure, window and door stability, and water resistance.
This inspection also looks at garage doors to make sure they shut properly, glass windows to make sure they won’t break from the wind, and how securely your roof is connected to the walls of your home.
A 4-point inspection does not include a wind mitigation inspection, but some factors overlap, such as structural integrity of the walls and roof. Ask your insurance agent about whether you need a wind mitigation inspection to be insured.
4-point inspection vs. full-home inspection
A full-home inspection is much more detailed than a 4-point inspection.
A 4-point inspection is typically faster, less thorough, and only looks at the four main systems within your home. This inspection is also usually used for changing insurance providers. It is a way for your insurance provider to understand the risks involved with your home before they agree to insure it.
A complete home inspection is an excellent tool for those looking to buy a new home. It is much more detailed and thorough and takes a look at everything in your home to help you understand any potential risks or concerns before purchasing a home.
Here are some areas inspected during a complete home inspection:
Structural integrity, including the walls, floors, roof, and any supporting structures
Electrical systems such as outlets, wires, and panels
Plumbing fixtures, pipes, and drainage
Doors and window reliability
Appliances and safety
Site conditions around and in your home
Both inspections are used by insurance companies and individuals alike to understand the integrity of their homes and reveal any potential concerns before insuring or buying.
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What if my house doesn't pass inspection?
A 4-point inspection helps an insurance provider decide whether or not they want to cover you.
Think of it this way—if someone asked you to help them pay for their home’s damage, but their roof was broken, their plumbing leaked constantly, and their electrical system experienced issues regularly, would you agree to help them pay?
Your insurance company wants to make sure they are putting their money in a reliable home. If you don’t pass inspection, they may decide not to insure your home. They may also give you a list of things to fix before they revisit insuring your home, in which case you will need to get another inspection to prove you have fixed specific issues.
If you don’t pass your home inspection, it’s not the end of the world. You can fix the issues (which will increase the safety of your home) and revisit getting home insurance.
Here are a few of the most common reasons homes fail inspection:
The roof is too old or has lifting, peeling, or damaged shingles
Wires are exposed or not adequately covered
You don’t have central heat or air conditioning
If your plumbing system is made of polybutylene
If your electrical system’s brand is not insurable (Zinsco or Federal Pacific are no longer insurable)
If your water heater is too old or damaged
If there is a safety hazard that could harm your family or damage the home
How much does a 4-point inspection cost?
The cost of a 4-point inspection can be anywhere from $50 to $150.
The cost is usually covered by the homebuyer. If you need a 4-point inspection, get a few quotes to get the best price.
Do I have to get a 4-point inspection?
The short answer is—sometimes. Some insurance companies require a 4-point inspection before they will agree to insure your home. This is so the company can accurately weigh the risks and benefits of insuring your home. However, depending on your insurance company, they may not require you to get a 4-point inspection.
Getting a 4-point inspection can involve many different factors and can sometimes be confusing. Plus, getting an inspection is occasionally necessary for being able to protect your home and your family.
If your insurance company requires you to get a 4-point inspection before agreeing to insure your home, it may not be a bad idea to take a look at the four main systems yourself to get an idea of which systems are in good shape and which ones may need a little bit of work.
It’s also important to note that a 4-point inspection will not show you and your insurance all of the issues. If you’re looking to purchase a new home, consider getting a full home inspection to reveal potential safety concerns.
And don’t worry. Even if your home fails inspection, you can still find the best homeowners insurance for you!