If you own an older house and want to renew your homeowner’s insurance, you will almost certainly need to complete a four-point inspection. Every insurance agency has its method of doing it. There are specific guidelines for conducting these inspections. However, agencies don’t have to abide but those guidelines. Every agency has the right to conduct a four-point inspection in any way they deem appropriate. With that said, if you are wondering when you do need a four-point inspection, we are going to tell you all you need to know.

What Does a Four-point Examination Entail?

Before granting a homeowner’s insurance, most insurance companies demand a four-point inspection. The inspection allows the insurer to obtain a professional opinion that is not biased regarding the condition of the house. It also gives the insurer a better understanding of the risks associated with the property they will be responsible for insuring.

Insurance companies act in this manner because of the possibility that particular housing conditions will result in a claim in the future. Because of this, they rely on a four-point inspection to guarantee that the house is in satisfactory condition for insurance purposes. In many modern homes, it is not necessary. Still, it may be required for older homes because they are more likely to be in a state of disrepair or to have undergone renovations that do not adhere to the necessary building standards.

The Elements of a Four-Point Inspection

1. A Roof Inspection

The main elements that inspectors will look at here are the age of the roof, the material it is made of, and how well it’s holding up. Most insurance companies will not insure you if your roof is older than 25 years and it’s a shingle roof. Other than that, it will be hard to pass the inspection if you have a tile or metal roof over 45 years old. Still, just because your roof is not old, it doesn’t mean it will pass the inspection. Like with any other roof inspection, if it shows signs of damage, it will not pass. Therefore, you should consult roofing experts to see what you can do to improve your situation. 

2. An Inspection of the HVAC System

The next step in the four-point inspection will be the inspection of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. The first thing inspectors will look at is if your heating and air conditioning systems are functional. After that, they will check if the system causes any damage. When insuring older houses, remember that each insurance company selects what it deems “appropriate.” You need to be aware that, while it doesn’t happen often, people have lost insurance coverage due to a lack of a property heating and air conditioning system.

3. A Plumbing Inspection

During this step, inspectors will look at what type of pipes you have, how old they are, and if they are in good condition. If you have old lead pipes, you will almost certainly need to replace them if you want to pass this step of the inspection. They will also look for any potential areas where water intrusion could occur. Some insurance companies may cover you even if your system is not entirely sound. In those cases, the majority of them will refuse to cover flood damage if it occurs.

4. An Inspection of the Electrical Wiring and Panels

This step of the four-point inspection will cover what sort of wiring you have in your house. In most cases, insurance companies will not cover a home with outdated wiring. That includes wiring such as copper, aluminum, or knob-and-tube. The primary reason is that these types of wiring pose a fire hazard. Faulty wiring cause over 90% of home fires, so insurance companies take this seriously. 

The Difference Between a Four-Point and a Home Inspection

The four-point checkup differs significantly from a standard home inspection in two ways. The four-point inspection is for the insurance company, while the home inspection is for you and your peace of mind. A comprehensive home inspection is an in-depth analysis of the property’s current condition. You can use it to see what needs improvement. If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, it can be useful, too. However, the four-point check is solely for the benefit of the insurance provider. A four-point inspection won’t tell you very much about the condition of your home. It’s just a generic form that inspectors fill out.

Is It Possible To Fail a Four-Point Inspection?

As we’ve already discussed, there are no strict rules for performing a four-point inspection. Whether you “pass” or “fail” will depend solely on the insurance provider. You may be refused if your house has malfunctioning systems or does not fulfill an insurance company’s underwriting requirements. However, if one insurance provider decides to reject you, you have two options. You can try to fix the issues that they’ve found or go to a different insurance provider.

When To Do a Four-Point Inspection

So, when do you need a four-point inspection? The best time to get one is if you need to renew your insurance plan or are planning on selling your home. Other than that, your insurance company will require you to do a four-point inspection if your house is over 40 years old. However, If you are in a rental property, they may require an assessment if it is more than 30 years old.

Author bio: Mark Michaels’s career as an architect and real estate advisor spans over ten years at this point. Lately, he has been primarily writing educational and informative content on those subjects. Currently, most of his writing has been for The Gentleman Mover and similar companies related to real estate.