A 4-point inspection looks at the 4 major systems (Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC) in an older home. An insurance company wants to know that an older home has been well maintained, and the major systems are in good working condition. This is not a safety inspection. They are performed and written by a licensed inspector or building contractor.
Here is what a 4-point inspection looks at:
Some insurance companies like Citizens Insurance, require the inspector to use their form. Other insurance companies allow the inspector to use their preferred format. The Citizens Insurance form is widely accepted, so Inspector Damon always uses this form. In addition to the written report, the inspector will take photos of each of the major systems to provide to the insurance company. Required photos include all exterior sides of the building (elevations), all roof slopes, all electrical panels with doors open and with panel covers removed, central furnace and AC units including data labels, water heater and data label, all exposed plumbing valves, and all under sink plumbing. Photos of any additional structures, pools, spas/hot tubs, trampolines, and swing sets are also required.
When you own or purchase an older home, rental property, townhome, or condo in Florida, you will likely need a 4-point inspection before purchasing a new homeowners insurance policy. Most insurance companies including Citizens Insurance will require a 4-point inspection when a home is older than 20 years. You may get an insurance quote without an inspection. However, you will need an inspection before actually purchasing the policy. Each Florida insurance company has slightly different guidelines on when a 4-point inspection is required, so check with your independent insurance agent. A newer home usually does not need this inspection. You may not need this for a renters insurance policy.
You can provide your insurance company the full home inspection in lieu of a 4-point inspection. However, many agents strongly recommend that you don't do this. Most independent insurance agents ask clients to provide only a 4-point inspection rather than the entire inspection. Often, a home inspection will also list other minor and/or cosmetic damages. We don't recommend sending all the minor issues to your prospective insurance company (unless you have been asked to do this).
If your home has problematic systems, or does not meet an insurance company underwriting guidelines, you may be declined for that policy. If this happens, you can fix that issue, or contact another insurance company. Common reasons that insurance companies won't insure older homes include:
If your home has one of these issues, be sure to tell your insurance agent so you get an accurate quote.
Insurance companies vary in their responses to homes that have issues. Some insurance companies won't insure these problematic homes at all, while others take a different approach.
There are insurance companies that will offer insurance but exclude coverage for the problematic system. For example, most insurance companies will not offer coverage on a home with polybutylene plumbing. Those few insurers that will cover a home with polybutylene plumbing exclude all water damage. This means that if the plumbing bursts and floods this home, the cost of repairs will be out of your pocket. Often the only way to get insurance on a home with polybutylene plumbing is to accept this significant water damage exclusion.
If your home has not been updated or has an older problematic system, consider updating them. Before purchasing an older home, be sure to check that you can find insurance that is affordable. When purchasing an older home, we recommend getting a 4-point inspection done first and working with a reputable independent insurance agent. They can help determine the cost of insurance and advise whether the home is insurable.
If your home has not been updated, expect to pay more for your insurance or have a more difficult time obtaining insurance.
No. whether your home "passes" or "fails" a 4-point inspection, it does not change the cost of homeowners insurance. This inspection simply determines whether an insurance company will offer insurance on your older home.
A different inspection known as a wind-damage mitigation inspection, often called a wind-mitigation inspection or "wind-mit", is needed in Florida to qualify a home for insurance premium discounts.
In a hurricane or other severe storms, homes are battered by heavy wind. Wind-damage mitigation features protect against wind damage by helping your home withstand these forces. Documenting the presence of qualifying mitigation features on your home through a wind mitigation inspection may save you money by helping you qualify for mitigation discounts on your insurance policy.
Documenting the presence of these features on your home through a wind mitigation inspection conducted by Inspector Damon, LLC may save you money on your insurance policy by qualifying your home for wind-mitigation discounts.
The following areas may be inspected:
Property owners who apply for wind mitigation premium discounts must have a wind mitigation inspection performed by a Florida-licensed, authorized inspector. Florida insurance companies must provide premium discounts, when requirements are met, which include a properly completed wind-damage mitigation inspection report.
To be clear, wind-mitigation inspections are highly recommended because they can save you money by lowering your premiums, but they are not necessarily "required."
There are several ways you can prepare for an inspection:
Yes. You must provide a new Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection form because the current property owner must be present and attest to the validity of the inspection.
The Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection form was developed by Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, which includes a fraud statement that the current property owner is required to sign and date.
This statement reads as follows:
I certify that the named Qualified Inspector or his or her employee did perform an inspection of the residence identified on this form and that proof of identification was provided to me or my Authorized Representative.
Mitigation credits cannot be transferred from a prior owner.
Yes. An authorized representative, such as an agent, condominium building owner, property manager or a member of the condominium association can sign the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form [OIR-B1-1802 (Rev. 01/12)] as an authorized representative of the homeowner or applicant, and must use the exact statement below on the signature line:
[Representative's signature] as authorized representative for [homeowner's or applicant's name]
Note: Representative signatures are not allowed on the Building Type II and III Mitigation Inspection Form.
Provided no material changes have been made to the structure, wind mitigation inspections are valid for up to five years from the date of the inspection.
A Florida-licensed inspector conducts an inspection of the roof to check for any visible signs of damage or deterioration. The inspector will complete a Roof Inspection Form verifying the roof is in good condition.
Roofs older than 15 years or roofs that are missing documentation of their age (no permit information available) may require documentation showing at least three years of remaining useful life.
When a roof has less than three years of remaining useful life, the property owner may be required to provide proof of a full-roof replacement to the inspector before any policy is written on the property.