The purpose of a 4-point inspection is to show your insurance company that the house is worth insuring—either determining that the home is “healthy” or a high insurance claim risk. A 4-point inspection covers (you guessed it!)—4 primary areas of a home: the roof, electrical system, plumbing system, and the HVAC system. These four parts of a home are often the most expensive to repair and the most common to have an insurance claim filed for.
Whether a 4-point inspection is required is up to your home insurance company. They may request a four-point inspection over a traditional home inspection or in addition to one to provide a more accurate representation of the insurability of the home. Often, insurance companies require a 4-point inspection when the home is 30+ years or is a foreclosure or has sat vacant for a long time as these conditions often can mean major repairs are necessary. Some insurance companies, like State Farm, require a 4-point inspection to be completed on homes that are 10 years or older. This is because many of parts inspected are close to needing replacement after the 10-year mark.
- The average lifespan of an air conditioning unit in Florida is 10 to 15 years; although if it is not well-maintained, it may not last 8.
- The most common type of roof—an asphalt shingle roof has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
- While a well installed electrical and/or plumbing system can last for decades, changes to building code standards occur all the time. Within a 10-year period, how your systems were installed, or the type of materials used may be considered outdated or unsafe.
4-Point Inspection vs Standard Home Inspection
While a standard home inspection covers and inspects the same areas that are apart of the 4-point inspection, the 4-point inspection is actually a completely separate inspection. A home inspection is often requested before a client buys a home in order to learn everything possible about the home. A four-point inspection is requested by a client who is informed by the insurance company that one is needed. A 4-point inspection is conducted separately because it is a more detailed inspection and reporting; we can’t copy and paste details from the standard home inspection onto the four-point inspection report.
If your insurance company requests the 4-point inspection, do not provide them with the full standard home inspection report. It includes more information than they are focused on and could identify other areas of concern that the insurance company wouldn’t normally care about.
However, if during your standard home inspection, we notice that one or more of the four parts of a 4-point inspection are unlikely to “pass”, then we will provide you with a list of necessary repairs and inform you of the following options:
- If you are a homeowner and your home has reached an age at which your insurance company wants a four-point inspection before they renew your coverage, then have the necessary repairs conducted first and then have the 4-point inspection done—your insurance company wants an inspection report that passes. Turning in one that lists all of the repairs needed may lead to your coverage being dropped.
- If you are buying a home then negotiate with the seller to replace or repair what is listed on the standard home inspection report and then have a 4-point inspection conducted after the repairs are complete.
- If you are a homebuyer and the seller refuses to makes the repairs but offers to lower the asking price, then you will need to find a high-risk insurance company that provides coverage for properties that are deemed “uninsurable”. This will allow you to close the sale, receive the mortgage funds, and then make the necessary repairs. Then you can have a 4-point inspection done and use it to get normal homeowner’s insurance.
- Some insurance companies will accept a “failed” four-point inspection on the condition that the repairs will be completed within 90 days (or less depending on their policy). Home buyers should check with their insurance company on their regulations for this.