What to Expect From a Home Insurance Inspection
If you just applied for new homeowner’s insurance, the company might request a home insurance inspection. Don’t worry, it’s nothing major. It’s just a way for the insurance company to protect themselves against loss. Just like the mortgage company required an appraisal to make sure the home is worth at least the amount they are loaning you, the insurance company needs to make sure the home is worth the amount they insure.
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The insurance company also needs to ensure that there aren’t any major hazards existing in the house. For example, if the roof is in poor condition and needs replacing soon, that’s a risk for the insurance company as homeowners often claim that on their insurance. They also look for any other hazards that may cause issues with the home and insurance.
The home insurance inspection is different from the appraisal or inspection you paid for when you bought the home. The insurance company will likely look at some or all of the following:
- Measure the size of the home to ensure that it matches up with the county’s tax records
- Inspect major systems, such as plumbing and electrical
- Look at the roof and gutters
- Ask questions about the ages of the major systems and roof/gutters
- Inspect any exterior buildings on the property
- Ask questions about any hazards on the property, including any dogs you own as they can be a liability
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So what is the inspector looking for when going through your home? Their main job is to make sure the replacement value they figured is accurate based on their findings. This is where the insurance company’s main liability lies. If your house burned to the ground, the insurance company would have to cover the cost to rebuild it. If there’s not enough coverage based on the insurance company’s findings, they may need to increase the coverage and the premiums you pay.
Aside from the value though, they look for hazards that put the home and the insurance company at risk. For example, they inspect the electrical systems to determine if there is a risk of fire. This is especially risky for older homes. They also look closely at the plumbing system to determine the risk of leaks, cracks, or complete system breakdowns. Lastly, they look for any type of liability claim, such as those that a dangerous dog could cause.
Having a conversation with the homeowner and seeing the home in person can help an insurance agent get a better feel for the liability a home poses. This way the insurance company has a good idea of what they are insuring and what type of risk they take. It’s not a concern when the insurance agent tells you that you need an inspection. Instead, consider it a way to protect you since if you don’t have enough coverage for the home, you could have trouble rebuilding the home should something happen down the road.
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