When you own or purchase an older home, rental property, or condo in Florida, you will likely need a 4 point inspection before purchasing a homeowners policy. Most insurance companies will require a 4 point inspection when a home is older than 25 years. You can typically get an insurance quote without an inspection, however, you will need the inspection before actually purchasing the policy. We discuss below what a 4 point inspection looks at and what will cause a home to not "pass" a 4 point inspection. Every Florida insurance company has slightly different guidelines on when a 4 point inspection is required, so check with your Insurance Agent. A newer home does not need this inspection. You do not need this for a renter's insurance policy.
What is a 4 point inspection in Florida? A 4 point inspection looks at the 4 major systems (Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC) in an older home. An insurance company wants to know that an older home has been well maintained, and that the major systems are in good working condition. This is not a safety inspection. They are done by a licensed home inspector or a building contractor.
Here is what a 4 point inspection looks at:
Roof - Type of Roof Covering (shingles, tile, rolled). The age and condition of the roof. Are there missing shingles or leaks?
Electrical System - The type of wiring in the home (copper, aluminum, knob and tube). The brand of electrical panel. The condition of the home's electrical system.
Heating and Cooling - Is there central heat and air in the home? The age and condition of the system. Are there signs of leaking?
Plumbing System - Type of supply and drain lines found in the home (copper, CPVC, galvanized, lead, polybutelene, etc.). Is there evidence of current leaks? The age of the hot water heater.
Some insurance companies require the inspector to use their form. Other insurance companies allow the inspector to use their preferred format. In addition to the written report, the inspector will take photos of each of the major systems to provide to the insurance company.
Can I use my regular home inspection instead? You can provide your insurance company the full home inspection in lieu of a 4 point inspection, however, we strongly recommend that you do not do that. We ask clients to provide only a 4 point inspection to their insurance company rather than the entire inspection. Often, a home inspection will also list other minor and/or cosmetic damages. We don't recommend sending all the minor issues to your prospective insurance company (unless you have been asked to do this).
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