When it comes to owning or purchasing an older home, rental property, or condo in Florida, a 4 point inspection is often required before obtaining a homeowners insurance policy. Insurance companies typically mandate this inspection for homes older than 40 years or rental properties older than 30 years. Although you can obtain an insurance quote without an inspection, you will need to conduct one before purchasing a policy. In this article, we will discuss what a 4 point inspection entails and why it is essential for homeowners in Florida.
What is a 4 Point Inspection?
A 4 point inspection focuses on four major systems – the roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC – in an older home. Its purpose is to determine whether these systems are well-maintained and in good working condition. Unlike a safety inspection, a 4 point inspection is conducted by licensed inspectors or building contractors. Here’s what the inspection entails:
The inspector will assess the type of roof covering (shingles, tile, rolled), its age, and its condition. They will check for missing shingles or signs of leaks.
The wiring in the home will be inspected to determine whether it is copper, aluminum, or knob and tube. The brand of the electrical panel and the overall condition of the system will also be assessed.
Heating and Cooling
The presence of central heat and air in the home will be evaluated, along with the age and condition of the system. The inspector will also look for signs of leaks.
The supply and drain lines in the home, such as copper, CPVC, galvanized, lead, or polybutylene, will be inspected. The presence of current leaks and the age of the hot water heater will also be assessed.
It’s worth noting that different insurance companies may have their own specific requirements for the inspection. Some may require the use of their own inspection form, while others allow the inspector to use their preferred format. Additionally, the inspector will take photos of each major system to provide evidence to the insurance company.
Can I Use My Regular Home Inspection Instead?
While it may be tempting to provide your insurance company with a full home inspection in place of a 4 point inspection, it is generally advisable not to do so. Full home inspections often include minor or cosmetic damages that may negatively impact your insurance rates. In most cases, insurance agencies prefer to receive only a 4 point inspection that focuses solely on the major systems mentioned earlier.
How much does a 4 Point Inspection Cost?
A 4 point inspection is typically done at the homeowner’s expense and usually costs between $50 and $100. To find an affordable and reputable inspector, it is recommended to consult with your insurance agent, as they often have lists of recommended inspectors. In some cases, if you are purchasing an older home, your home inspector may provide a 4 point inspection at no extra cost, alongside the regular home inspection.
Will a 4 Point Inspection Lower My Insurance Premiums?
No, a 4 point inspection does not directly impact the cost of homeowners insurance. Its purpose is to determine whether an insurance company is willing to offer coverage for your older home based on its condition.
Can a Home Fail a 4 Point Inspection?
Yes, a home can fail a 4 point inspection if it has problematic systems or fails to meet the insurance company’s underwriting guidelines. Several common reasons for a failed inspection include:
- A shingle roof that is over 19 years old
- A tile or metal roof that is over 40 years old
- A damaged roof
- Aluminum or knob and tube wiring
- Certain brands of electric panels with fire hazards
- Lack of central heating and air
- Polybutylene plumbing
- A hot water heater over 18 years old
If your home has any of these issues, it’s important to inform your insurance agent upfront to ensure an accurate quote.
Can You Get Insurance if Your Home Doesn’t Pass a 4 Point Inspection?
Insurance companies may respond differently to homes with issues. Some companies may refuse to insure problematic homes altogether, while others may offer coverage with exclusions. For instance, a home with polybutylene plumbing may still be insurable, but coverage for water damage may be excluded. In such cases, repairs resulting from plumbing bursts would be the homeowner’s responsibility.
If your home has not been updated or has older problematic systems, it’s advisable to consider updating them. Before purchasing an older home, it’s essential to confirm that you can obtain affordable insurance coverage. We recommend getting a 4 point inspection done first and working with a reputable independent insurance agent to assess insurability and associated costs.
For more information and assistance, feel free to reach out to our Florida Home Insurance Experts at [phone number]. We understand that each home is unique and can help you find the best price and value for your homeowners insurance.