What to expect from a home insurance inspection

Posted in Home

Inspector writes a note on his checklist while inspecting a home’s wooden deck

While a home insurance inspection may sound intimidating, it’s actually common for insurance companies to request an inspection of your property while insuring your home.

Home insurance inspections are different than inspections a homeowner might do when purchasing a new home. A home insurance inspection is initiated by the insurance company to assess the home’s replacement cost and risks that could cause future insurance claims. It can be used to help calculate your insurance premium costs.

Not everyone will experience a home insurance inspection. They are more common if you’re buying an older home, buying a high-value home or you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters, like wildfires or hurricanes. Insurance inspections are often done at the beginning of a homeowners insurance policy or at renewals.

As a homeowner, you do have the right to refuse someone from entering your property, including insurance inspectors. However, the result could be a bigger financial burden on you than accepting the inspection. If you refuse an inspection, your homeowners insurance company could choose not to write your new policy or it could cancel your existing policy for failure to comply with its policy contract or because the company can’t see enough of the property to accurately assess its potential risks and replacement value.

What to expect during an insurance inspection

Insurance inspectors will typically contact you to schedule an appointment and get your permission to enter and inspect your property.

If the inspection is only external, you do not need to be home, but you’ll need to be there for an interior inspection.

Standard, in-person inspections review the exterior of your home. Typically, you would receive a letter in the mail letting you know an inspector will be coming to your property to take photos. After the inspection is completed, the inspector sends a copy of the home inspection report to the insurance company and if there are any concerns or additional information is needed, your insurance agent would get in touch with you.

High-value homes usually require both an internal and external home insurance inspection. In this case, you would likely receive a phone call to schedule a time for the inspector to visit your home. You must be present during this type of inspection, and an insurance inspector will never enter your home without your permission. Similar to a standard in-person inspection, the inspector will send a copy of the inspection report to your insurance company and your agent will contact you with any questions or concerns.

In some cases, an insurance company might provide an option for you to perform a digital home insurance inspection. For example, some Grange home insurance customers can use our DIY Inspection app to take photos of their home using their smartphone and submit them directly and receive a discount on their home insurance. Afterward, your independent insurance agent would reach out to you with any questions or concerns regarding your home inspection.

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Home insurance inspection checklist

Every insurance inspection is different. Here are some of the most common items on a home insurance inspector’s checklist:

Exterior Home Inspection Checklist

  • The roof – age and condition
  • Exterior hazards – such as overhanging trees that could lead to damage
  • Exterior property – such as light fixtures or separate structures that could be damaged
  • Drainage systems – interior and exterior
  • Basement and foundation
  • HVAC system – age and condition
  • Chimneys and fireplaces

Interior Home Inspection Checklist

  • Plumbing systems
  • Electrical systems – age and condition
  • Home appliances
  • Walls and flooring
  • Attic spaces and crawl spaces
  • Anti-theft systems – such as a home security system
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Benefits of a home insurance inspection

Maintaining your property and having adequate insurance coverage is in the best interest for you and your insurance company.

After an insurance inspection, you may be informed that some issues were detected and you have a certain amount of time to make improvements to your property or make updates to your insurance policy. Often, these improvements will also improve the health, safety and well-being of you and your loved ones, so they are worthwhile to pursue for everyone involved.

As a bonus, if your home has certain safety features, such as a home security system, the home insurance inspection could potentially help you earn a discount on your home insurance.

Consequences of failing an insurance inspection

If you fail an insurance inspection, the best-case scenario is that your insurance company gives you a certain amount of time to fix any issues that were detected, and by making those fixes on time, you’ll be able to maintain your home insurance coverage.

The worst-case scenario is that your property is deemed uninsurable due to the number of issues detected during the inspection. In this case, an insurance inspection could cause your homeowners insurance to be cancelled or non-renewed.

Furthermore, if you have a mortgage and your home insurance is cancelled, you could be at risk of force-placed insurance or foreclosure. Many mortgage contracts have a clause about maintaining home insurance, so if you’re facing a cancellation or non-renewal, it’s important to replace your homeowners insurance immediately and provide your new insurance declarations page to your mortgage lender.

If you’re having trouble acquiring homeowners insurance coverage, you may need to look for coverage through an insurance company that specializes in high-risk properties or have your home covered under Fair Access Insurance Plans. The cost can be more than a traditional home insurance policy, so it’s recommended to look into one of these options to insure your home after you’ve exhausted all other options.

How to pass a home insurance inspection

The best way to ensure you pass your home insurance inspection is to complete routine home maintenance and to fix any issues, such as a leaky roof or cracked foundation, as soon as possible to minimize damage to your home.

It’s also important to let your insurance agent know when you plan to make changes to your home or property, including:

  • Home renovations
  • New structures on your property (e.g., shed or fence)
  • Adding a pool or trampoline
  • Adopting a dog

These are examples of things that could require additional insurance coverage or put you at risk of being out of compliance with your current home insurance policy.

If you ever have questions about your homeowners insurance policy, your independent insurance agent is an insurance expert that’s ready to help. Ask them to walk you through your insurance policy and answer any questions you have about your insurance.

This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. Implementing one or more of these suggestions does not guarantee coverage. If any policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. For full details on Grange’s home insurance coverages and discounts, contact your local, independent Grange agent.

- Insure.com
- Investopedia

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