What is a Four-Point Inspection?
Insurance companies have become increasingly wary of issuing policies to Florida home owners in recent years. Older homes can be a huge liability for insurers. Old roofs are an item of particular concern as they tend to fail more frequently towards the end of their useful life. If a roof fails while under insurance coverage, the homeowner may seek reimbursement from the insurance company for damage to the home or its contents. Similar problems can arise from the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems of older homes. That’s why insurance companies require a four-point inspection before insuring older homes.
A four-point inspection has far less scope than a home inspection and can usually be done by a certified home inspector for an additional $100-$150. It is a limited, visual survey of the roof, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems. When inspecting the roof, the inspector will look at its age and the type of construction used. They will look for defective or overly worn shingles, the condition of the roof trusses and decking, and missing or damaged sheathing. They will also look for evidence of leaks.
For the HVAC portion of four-point inspections, the inspector will look at what types of heating and air-conditioning systems your home has and how old they are. They will also note the condition of the systems and if any upgrades have been performed.
In a plumbing inspection, leaks or any evidence of water damage from a prior leaks will be a key focus of the inspector. They will also be checking the age of the water heater and, specifically, for the existence of polybutylene pipes (which crack and fail with age)
For the electrical inspection, the inspector is looking at faulty electrical systems that may present a fire hazard. They will look to see that the size of the service is sufficient, whether the panel uses fuses or circuit breakers, the location of the main panel, whether aluminum wiring or knob-and-tube wiring is present, and for exposed or unsafe wiring.
If you are shopping for older homes, make sure you make a four-point inspection part of your plan.