YOU ASK:

What do insurance company’s house inspections involve?

WE ANSWER:

The insurance company will perform inspections on your house on two occasions:

  • When you first applied for your homeowners insurance policy
  • When you make a claim

The purpose of the first is to check whether the house you want to insure is indeed insurable. The purpose of the second is to check whether the claim is valid and how much claims should be paid.

The first inspection depends on the insurance company. Some insurance companies require it, some just ask you for pictures of the home. For those who require a home inspection, this is part of their underwriting process to determine what premiums to set for your home. The inspection can go two ways - either it can result in increased premiums or lower premiums

Here are the things that an insurance company's house inspector will look into:

  • The make and age of the house. The inspector will check what materials were used to build the house, whether it's primarily made of cement, bricks or wood, as well as how long ago the house was built.
  • Electrical and plumbing system. The inspector will look into these systems to see if there is overloading, frayed wiring or any potential for burst pipes. The inspector will look for exposed pipes and wiring.
  • Roofing. The inspector will check if the condition of the roof, if there are several layers or if there are missing shingles, wear and tear or holes. He will also check chimneys and flashing.
  • Walls and ceilings. The inspector will look for signs of leaks such as water spots and peeling paint.
  • Water connections. The inspector will see the condition of rubber connecting hoses of your washing machine and dishwasher.
  • Safety and security systems. The inspector will look for the presence of fire alarms, smoke alarms, dead-bolt locks and motion sensors. He will check to see if you have made measures to make your house safer and more resistance to thieves and fire.
  • Possible areas of liability. The inspector will check for the presence of dogs and safety measures such as anti-slip floors. This is for the homeowners liability insurance - they will want to check whether the risk of liability is great for your home.

The inspector will check to see how well your house is maintained and whether it is safe or not. The safer your house, the more possibility of discounts. On the flip side, if your house holds plenty of safety risks and security threats, this may increase your premiums. The older the house, the more expensive the premiums.

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