Do I need a home inspection to get homeowners policy?

29 May
Do I need a home inspection to get homeowners policy?

Many insurers will send out a representative to do a quick visual inspection and take a few photos to ensure that the house is properly represented.

Homeowner’s insurance will protect you from a variety of losses and damage. Everything from fire, theft, storm damage and injuries on your property will be covered by your policy. In order to provide this protection, insurers rely on an accurate assessment of your home. They have to take into account all risks associated with your property. In the majority of cases, insurers do not require an inspection before writing a policy, but in some cases an independent inspection may be required.

Most homeowners insurance policies will be calculated and written using only a computer program. They will input the age of your house, roofing materials, distance to the nearest fire station and a number of other variables and the computer will kick out your premium. No inspection required. The computer calculates just how much it will cost to rebuild your home should it be destroyed by a fire, storm or other disaster.

Many insurers will send out a representative to do a quick visual inspection and take a few photos to ensure that the house is properly represented.

It is important that you provide your insurer with the most accurate information possible. If you mislead or outright lie about the condition of your property or other questions on the application, it is possible that a claim could be denied if it turns out that you were less than honest with your insurer.

When you get your quote, review all of the information for accuracy. You want to be confident that the square footage is correct and you are comfortable with the calculated replacement cost. If any features of your home have been left out, be sure to correct the information and have the quote recalculated.

It’s key that you make sure that your home is fully covered for the replacement cost of your house. You may also want to consider adding an extended replacement cost endorsement on your policy which will pay out an additional 25 percent over your policy limits if your house is completely destroyed

Some Homes Have to be Inspected

There are some locales where a more detailed inspection may be required. This is often the case for houses in coastal areas that are prone to hurricanes, water or humidity damage. South Florida insurers currently require an inspection of houses that are over 30 years old when the policy comes up for renewal.

Older homes and homes with unique architectural features may also require a complete inspection before a policy will be issued. When an inspection is required, insurers will be looking at the condition of the plumbing, heating/cooling systems as well as the condition of the electrical systems in the house.

They will also have a close look at the roof, foundation and siding materials. If the home is deficient in any or all of these areas, as many older homes are, it could lead to a higher policy rate. Insurers must take into account all risks when writing a policy and failing electrical and an ancient heating system present a much bigger risk to the house.

Regardless of whether an inspection is required on your home, be sure that the entire house is completely protected. In certain parts of the country that are prone to wind or hail damage, some insurers do not offer protection against these perils. A separate policy is required in these situations.

A standard homeowners policy does not provide flood or earthquake protection so if you live in an area where floods or earthquakes are common, you will need to carry an additional policy to ensure your home is 100 percent protected

While an inspection can be a hassle, in some cases you may be able to qualify for a discount. Insurers in Florida will often provide discounts to homeowners who disaster proof their homes. The house must be inspected before the discount will be applied.

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