4-POINT INSPECTION: Meaning and All You Need To Know

4-point inspection

When looking for Florida home insurance, you may come across the 4-point inspection. A four-point inspection is an important part of home insurance since it informs the insurance provider about the type of liability they are taking on before insuring your home.
So, what is the 4-point inspection? How much does it cost? Do I require one? Let’s go through that now.

What Is A 4-Point Inspection?

A 4-point inspection is a study of a house or condominium’s present condition that includes a review of four essential systems: roofing, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.

Homeowners’ insurance companies require this inspection before someone may renew or be qualified for their preferred coverage plan. Due to increased liability, insurance firms have recently been unwilling to provide coverage to residences on the real estate market that are more than 20 years old.

For example, someone looking for coverage for a 30-year-old home may have electrical or HVAC system issues that will occur within the next several years. Insured homeowners will almost certainly seek payment for such situations, which will cost insurers more in the long run. The results of this exam are used by insurance carriers to get a clear picture of the financial risk associated with the insured property.

What Does a 4-Point Inspection Cover?

An inspector will look at the following items during a 4-point inspection:

#1. Electrical Wiring and Panels:

What type of wiring do you have in your home? If a home has copper, aluminum, or knob-and-tube wires, it is unlikely that it will be insurable owing to fire hazards. Faulty wires cause over 90% of residential fires, thus insurance companies take this very seriously. If your home is discovered to be uninsurable owing to wiring problems, it is critical to budget for essential renovations. If you don’t, your chance of fire is greatly increased.

#2. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning):

Do you have central heating and cooling in your home? What state are the units in? Is there any evident damage, such as leakage? When insuring older homes, keep in mind that each insurance company selects what it considers “appropriate,” but it’s not uncommon to see coverage canceled due to a lack of central air and heat.

#3. Plumbing:

Inspectors examine the sort of pipes in your home to assess their proclivity to burst. If polybutylene piping is discovered, coverage may be denied since it is more prone to rupture. Some insurance providers may still insure you, but water damage will be excluded. In that case, if there is a flood caused by bursting pipes, you are fully liable for the complete cost.

#4. Roof:

Roof inspectors look for the age, material, and condition of the roof. Insurance companies often do not insure shingle roofs that are more than 20 years old, or tile or metal roofs that are more than 40 years old. However, if your roof is newer but has visible damage outside or water leaks into your home, your insurance company may deny coverage.

What is a Full Home Inspection?

A comprehensive inspection, often known as a buyer’s inspection, is far more thorough.

When a home is under contract, a clause allows the purchasers to obtain a comprehensive home inspection. If an inspection reveals something that the purchasers are unhappy with, this clause permits them to cancel the contract and obtain their earnest money back.

This criterion is not legally satisfied because a four-point inspection only looks at four points (the ones specified above). As a result, even if the four-point inspection reveals that the roof is 20 years old, the buyers may be unable to cancel their contract.

However, buyer’s inspections should be viewed as a buyer relying on a professional home inspector’s informed and professional abilities to help preserve the buyer’s interest in the property, rather than as a legal necessity.

It’s an old proverb to “buyer beware.”

Full Inspection vs. 4-Point Inspection

So, what’s the distinction between a four-point inspection and a buyer’s inspection?

A thorough buyer’s inspection normally takes two and a half to three hours, whereas a 4-point inspection takes 20–30 minutes. A 4-point inspection just looks at four things, but a comprehensive inspection looks at the entire house.

Among the items investigated are:

  • exterior,
  • interior,
  • appliances,
  • structural stability,
  • garage,
  • plumbing,
  • The HVAC system,
  • system of electricity,
  • roofing materials,
  • site circumstances,
  • outlets,
  • plumbing fittings,
  • Plumbing leaks or moisture ingress,
  • damage caused by water,
  • toilet and sink operation,
  • site preparation (which can affect drainage),
  • door and window operation,
  • cladding issues on the outside (siding),
  • fascia rotting,
  • and much more

As you can see, a full home inspection is significantly more comprehensive than a 4-point inspection.

What Should I Do To Prepare For A 4-Point Inspection?

The licensed professionals conducting the inspection look for obvious evidence of health and safety hazards in the four systems described above. Preparing your home entails inspecting it for obvious safety hazards in the areas that an inspector is obligated to record.

Here are a few things to keep an eye out for before your inspection:

  • The HVAC system should be operational. You are not permitted to use fireplaces, oil furnaces, or window air conditioners as central heating and air conditioning in your home.
  • Examine the wiring for any exposed or ungrounded connections. Double-tapped breakers, fuse boxes, and aluminum wiring are red flags. These are obvious fire dangers that must be repaired or addressed.
  • Keep an eye out for leaks, water-damaged walls, and pipe corrosion. Plumbing difficulties will preclude you from acquiring homeowners insurance because of the severe damage they can create.
  • Allow a roofing professional to evaluate the state of your roof at your home. Replace or repair any shingles that are cracked, missing, or warped. Water damage or holes that are visible must also be repaired.

Will it help me save money on my insurance?

No, whether your home “passes” or “fails” a four-point inspection has no bearing on the cost of your homeowners’ insurance. This inspection basically evaluates whether or not an insurance company will cover your older home.

Can Your Home Fail a 4-point inspection?

You may be refused if your home has malfunctioning systems or does not fulfill an insurance company’s underwriting requirements. If this occurs, you can either rectify the problem or contact another insurance carrier. Insurance companies frequently refuse to insure older properties for the following reasons:

  • A shingle roof older than 19 years.
  • A tile or metal roof that is more than 40 years old.
  • A leaking roof
  • Due to fire concerns, aluminum wiring or knob and tube wiring should be avoided.
  • Certain brands of electric panels, including Federal Pacific, Zinsco, Challenger, and Sylvania, are recalled due to a fire hazard.
  • A home without central heating and cooling
  • Because of the significant risk of plumbing bursts, polybutylene plumbing is preferred.
  • A hot water heater that is more than 18 years old

If your home has one of these difficulties, tell your insurance agent right away so you can get an accurate price.

Is a 4-Point Inspection Required for All Homes?

A 4-point insurance inspection is not required for all homes. If you want to buy an older home, you’ll almost certainly require a 4-point inspection before you can get homeowners insurance.

The requirements for a home inspection differ by state. For example, in order to obtain homeowners’ insurance in Florida, you must undergo a 4-point inspection. In addition, regardless of your state, certain insurance firms may need an inspection before granting insurance coverage. This is far more typical in residences older than ten years.

What Happens If You Fail a 4-Point Inspection?

There is no grading system for four-point inspections; the sole outcomes are “pass” or “fail.” If a house fails a 4-point inspection, it is usually because the central heating and air conditioning system is missing or inoperable, the roof is damaged, or aluminum wiring or polybutylene pipes are present.

If you are considering purchasing a home that fails a 4-point inspection, you have three options:

  • Negotiate with the sellers to have the repairs done.
  • Find insurance that does not require a 4-point inspection.
  • Inquire whether the insurance provider will accept a failed inspection and offer you 30 to 60 days to restore the damage.

A building contractor can provide cost estimates for repairs, which can be useful during discussions with the seller. Insurance companies are the primary users of four-point home inspections. However, you may have to foot the money or locate an inspector to complete the report.

Can you still receive insurance if your home fails a 4-point inspection?

If your home has one of these difficulties, tell your insurance agent right away so you can get an accurate price.

Insurance companies respond differently to problematic properties. Some insurance firms refuse to insure these problematic houses at all, while others take a different approach.

There are insurance firms that will provide coverage but not for the malfunctioning system. Most insurance companies, for example, will not provide coverage for a home with polybutylene plumbing. Only a few insurers will cover a home with polybutylene plumbing if all water damage is excluded. This means that if the plumbing bursts and floods the home, the repairs will be at your cost. Accepting this severe water damage exclusion is frequently the only option to obtain insurance on a home with polybutylene plumbing.

Consider updating your home’s systems if they haven’t been updated or if they are old and inefficient. Before purchasing an older home for the first time, make sure you can obtain reasonable insurance. When buying an older home, we recommend getting a four-point inspection and consulting with a reliable independent insurance agency beforehand. They can assist in determining the cost of insurance and determining whether the home is insurable.

Expect to pay more for insurance or have a more difficult time obtaining insurance if your home has not been upgraded.

Conclusion

If your insurance underwriter from the insurance companies requires you to have a four-point inspection, don’t expect it will take a full home inspection. Before acquiring a home, buyers should always engage a professional home inspector to complete a thorough inspection. The cost is a minor price to pay to know you’re investing wisely and understanding the state of your home.

Although all home inspections must adhere to minimal state-mandated criteria, not all home inspectors are created equal. The inspection is usually necessary on homes older than 30 years, but it can be as young as 5 or 10 years.

Based on the findings of the 4-point inspection, homebuyers, sellers, and owners may be required to make repairs in order to qualify for home insurance.

If you have any further queries, please leave them in the comments section.

4-Point Inspection FAQs

What are the four major components of an inspection report?

The structural, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems are the most important components.

How much does a house inspection cost?

According to Realtor.com, the average home inspection for a single-family home will cost between $300 and $500 – the current national average is $337. This amount, however, might fluctuate depending on a variety of circumstances, including location.

How long does a home inspection take?

It is determined by the size of the home and the number of rooms. A typical inspection lasts 2–21/2 hours (1–11/2 hours for a condo). Given that the average home contains over 500 components, the time spent is well spent.

What is an inspection checklist?

When utilized correctly, an inspection checklist provides assurance that a specific piece of equipment has been inspected. The person performing the inspection ensures that each component of the equipment is in proper working order by ticking off each item on the checklist.

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