An inspection of this type is typically required by insurers for homes that are 25 years or older. It is not always required with newer homes and the buyer pays for the inspection. If any of the systems do not pass, you’ll be unable to get homeowners insurance until the problems are fixed.
What Does a 4-Point Home Inspection Examine?
A four-point inspection gives the insurance company an overview of the main components of the home being purchased. It is often required for older homes to ensure that, despite their age, everything is still in good condition. It covers these four main systems of the home:
- HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning)
- Electrical wiring and panels
- Plumbing and fixtures
The HVAC unit, your central air conditioning and heating system, will be inspected. This includes your furnace and air conditioner. Some companies will not insure a home that does not have a working HVAC system in place.
The electrical system includes the home’s wiring, circuits, and electrical panel. Outdated or faulty wiring is a major cause of house fires in older homes. The inspection will assure the insurance company that everything is wired correctly and meets the building code requirements.
Plumbing components will be inspected, including the condition of the pipes leading into and out of the home. The report will also list the type, as in copper pipes or polybutylene which are known to burst if they get too cold or freeze. You can still get insurance if the home has polybutylene pipes but may have to sign an exclusion for water damage in case the pipes burst later.
The roof should be in good condition without missing shingles or tiles and less than 40 years old. The company may deny coverage if the roof is damaged or has leaks.
How is it Different From a Regular Inspection?
A regular home inspection is a more in-depth look at the home’s condition. It includes things like doors, windows, walls, ceilings, and even termite infestations. Issues with these items can be fixed and do not affect the structural integrity of the home or safe operation of the climate-control system. A 4-point home inspection is all the insurance company needs to understand their risk and be sure that the home will not become a liability any time soon.
How Long Does a 4-Point Inspection Take?
An inspection of this type generally takes 25 to 30 minutes, where a full inspection can take several hours to complete. The inspector will complete the inspection and sign off on it, certifying that it meets the requirements for coverage.
Insurance companies will deny coverage if the home doesn’t pass the inspection and will require that repairs are made before insuring your home.