Have you been asked to have your home inspected for a new insurance policy? Don't be alarmed. The primary reason is to make sure the policy's dwelling amount reflects the cost to rebuild the home in the event of a total loss. When you receive an insurance offer, replacement value calculation software is used by your insurance representative to determine the home's replacement cost. The software is good, and often draws from public records, but every property is unique so the best way to validate the cost to rebuild for the homeowner is through an insurance inspection.
The other reason for an inspection is to see what kinds of hazards might exist, and whether they can be corrected. Inspectors are trained to recognize those conditions that raise the risk of a loss, such as roofs in need of repair or dangerous conditions not known from a phone conversation or web form. But as the entity who has the most to lose when risky conditions exist, many carriers insist on inspections to protect their interests.
It has become common for home insurance companies to conduct insurance inspections within 30 days of a new policy's inception date. Previously, insurance companies or the agent may have taken exterior pictures and or measurements of the property; today these are available on line. Now many of the inspections include a walk through of the interior as well.
The home insurance companies hire licensed independent insurance appraisal companies that specialize in insurance valuations. The home inspection company will contact you directly to arrange for the inspection. Most inspections typically take about 30 minutes to an hour. You will need to be home for the inspection and should expect that the inspector will ask to see each room along with the basement and furnace. They will also take pictures of your home from both inside and outside.
There are two primary purposes of a home inspection:
1. To validate the replacement estimate calculated with a combination of public information and information you’ve provided.
2. To identify conditions where a loss might occur: safety items such as a deck with no handrails; or susceptibility to loss, most commonly water.
What will be inspected?
The inspector will generally measure the home, as sometimes property tax information is not accurate. They will also ask you questions regarding the age of the roof, furnace, electrical system, and plumbing. If you have a dog, they may also ask questions about his temperament and may even take a picture of the pup if he is photogenic (dogs account for about 30% of liability claims payments).
Along with the roof condition, they will also take a look at the gutters and downspouts to see if they are all connected properly. They will also take note if there is debris in the yard.
If you are buying a house, be honest with your insurance agent if you are moving into the home right after the closing or if you are planning to remodel the home. Both situations can be addressed by our agency but it is always best to take this into consideration while setting up the policy. The insurance company can cancel a policy for misrepresentation if there is major remodeling and/or you have not moved into the property. Honesty is always the best policy.
Other benefits of a home insurance inspection can be that discounts are identified by the inspector that the customer was not aware of. For example, some homeowners with central fire and burglar alarms do not realize their system also has a low temperature sensor. This may prompt an additional discount.
When the home inspection is complete, it is sent to the home insurance company. An underwriter reviews the accuracy of the building coverage and also outlines concerns that need to be addressed with the homeowner. It is then forwarded to the agent. The agent, in turn, communicates any changes or concerns to the customer.
Having your home inspected really helps to keep the cost of insurance down. Companies that conduct thorough inspections get discounted rates on reinsurance which this is passed along to customer (reinsurance is the insurance that companies buy to protect themselves from large individual losses or many catastrophic losses).
The home insurance inspection can be a simple process providing peace of mind that your home is properly insured and that losses can be avoided by recognizing risk through the eyes of a professional.
If you would like to discuss Insurance Inspection options, Please call us at 423-360-4089. Prefer to type versus talk? Text, email or send us a message here on our live chat.