What is a 4 Point Inspection?
A 4 Point Inspection form is an inspection report that checks four specific systems in your household that may qualify your older home for Home Insurance. Most insurance companies will require that you get a 4 Point Inspection if your home is more than 40 years old; some may even require you get one after its reached 30 years old. 4 Point Inspections are not required when purchasing Renters (HO4) insurance or Condominium (HO6) insurance policies. If your home is older, it's up to your insurance agent to inform you whether the insurance company is requiring one or not. It's their job to check each company's underwriting guidelines before binding a policy. This inspection must be done by a licensed contractor; the homeowner can not perform their own.
What are the 4 Points that are Inspected?
These points include:
- HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning)
The 4 point report indicates to the company whether or not these systems are in good working order and how much remaining life is left on each system. An insurance company does not want to insure a property that's in poor condition. If the inspection shows a deficiency in any of these 4 categories, the company will ask you to repair that deficiency before insuring your property.
For example, let's say your prospective company requires a 4 point inspection. You hire the inspector to conduct the inspection and they list a deficiency comment under "Electrical System". The comment reads:
"Disconnect panel has missing knock-outs. Outlet in attic needs cover plate. Improper grounding and bonding."
This deficiency will have to be repaired by a licensed electrician before the insurance company will agree to insure your property. ***Keep in mind*** Some insurance companies will conduct their own 4 point inspection after binding. Ask your agent if they do - it will save you the cost of purchasing the inspection, which can range between $75-$150 per report.
4 Point Deficiencies to be Wary of:
- Remaining Life on your Roof - most insurance companies will not insure a property that has less than 5 years of remaining useful life.
- Unacceptable Circuit Breaker Brand - there are specific brands that have been known to cause fires due to poor product quality. Some of these brands include:
- Federal Pacific (includes Stab Lok), Zinsco, Sylvania-Zinsco, or Challenger-Zinsco Boxes
- Polybutylene Piping - Polybutylene piping consists of a form of plastic resin and was commonly used for plumbing U.S. homes built between 1978 and 1995. It was later discovered that the plastic negatively reacted to water-soluble oxidants found in tap water that slowly caused the pipes to deteriorate.
(Image via bestplumbers.com)
- Knob & Tube Wiring - commonly installed in North America between 1880 and 1930 was a household system that ran wires across the ceiling to cloth and rubber insulation tubes drilled through the wall. Later this system proved dangerous when they discovered that the rubber and cloth insulators could lead to a potential fire hazard. In addition, these wires were often exposed to rodents and did stretch over time.
(Image via Wikipedia.org)
If you have any questions regarding four point inspections, be sure to contact one of our agents and we'll be happy to assist you.
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