If you’re a homeowner and you’re looking for insurance on your Gainesville, Florida home, there’s a good chance your prospective insurer will require to you get an insurance 4 points, wind mitigation, roof certification and/or tie down verification inspection performed by a licensed inspector. Homeowner’s insurance companies in Florida have always been very particular about the homes they insure and the premiums they charge however, in the past two years, insurers have significantly increased premiums and revoke coverage on thousands of homeowners. We get several calls each week requesting new insurance inspections but we’ve found, most people do not understand what these inspections are for. In today’s post, we’re going to break down each inspection so you can understand what they are for, and how much you can expect to be charged.

The Basics

Insurance inspections in Gainesville are not performed by the insurance companies. The reason why is because there is a potential conflict of interest. Insurers will always look for ways to mitigate their liability and sometimes, that will be at the expense of you, the homeowner. For that reason, third party inspectors, such as Greenwood Building Inspection & Consulting, should be called to perform these assessments. Each inspection is specified to either areas the insurer wants information about to proper assess the potential liability, or is mandated by the State of Florida.

1. 4 Points Inspections

If you own a home that is older, there is almost a 100% chance you will need a 4 point inspection. Historically, these inspections are required for homes over 30 years however, some insurers have lowered the age requirement to 20 or even 10 years. A 4 point inspection is a review of the condition of the roof covering, the electrical system, the plumbing system, and the HVAC system.

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For each of these areas, insurers are concerned about the age of the systems, the type of systems installed, and any issues that currently exist that could result in a claim. For example, 3-tab roof shingles that are 20 years old are considered past their life expectancy in Florida. If there are signs of deterioration such as brittleness, missing shingle tabs, or granule loss, the insurer will want to know all of this so they can determine how they choose to insure that roof covering. Age play a large factor in providing insurance on homes. Older roof coverings, water heaters, HVAC systems, and electrical panels are all items that could result in a future insurance claim. A good inspector is able to review each of these systems, note the age and condition, and observe the issues that the insurer will want to know about. For this inspection, a homeowner can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $200 and up. While there are inspectors that charge less, we’ve found, the inspectors that charge in this range will provide you with a faster turn-around time for reports, will be able to provide the details the insurer needs to reduce the chance of them requiring more information later, and will provide a report that is accepted by all insurers and not just a select few.

2. Wind Mitigation Verification (1802) Inspection

Many years ago, the State of Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) found insurers charging outrageous premiums to homeowner because of the potential for wind/hurricane damage to homes. OIR developed the 1802 form which is used to document to wind mitigating features a home has and requires insurers to provide credit and deductions to insurance premiums for specific components.

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For example, The age of the home, the age of the roof covering, the shape of the roof, the methods in which the roof is connected to the walls, and the protection of windows and doors are all documented on the form and can provide you, the homeowner with varying deductions. Most homeowners, when having a new roof covering installed, have found their insurance premiums would drop several hundred dollars per year when the roof system has been upgraded (for roof coverings last installed before 2007). A Type I Wind Mitigation Inspection is for all buildings three stories or less and includes residential homes. A high quality wind mitigation verification inspector is able to provide photographic documentation for all the required areas of the form, look up the pertinent building permit and product approval information, and provide you a completed form that is accurate. Wind mitigation forms are valid for a period of 5 years even if you change insurers. For wind mitigation insurance inspections in the Gainesville area, homeowners can expect to pay $150 and up. Generally, when these inspections are combined with other insurance inspections such as a 4 points, inspectors will charge a reduced fee to complete all of them at the same time.

3. Roof Certification Inspection

Roof certifications come up every few years as insurers monitor the ages of roof covering on homes they insure. If your roof covering is over 10 years old, your insurer may tell you it needs to be certified to continue coverage.

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A roof certification inspection is essentially the same as the roof covering portion of a 4 points inspection and will assess the age, condition, and any visible issues with the roof covering. Insurers are generally concerned with how much longer a roof covering will last and can require anywhere from 3 to 5 or more years left of serviceable life. A high quality inspector will be able to review the roof covering and provide this information for you to give to your insurer. Generally, we are able to document a satisfactory roof covering and extend the homeowner’s insurance however, on the occasion, a roof covering will be in deteriorating condition and the insurer may require replacement. As a homeowner, you should be aware of the possibility the roof covering may be in a condition you do not expect. For roof certification inspections, you can expect to pay $150 and up. A higher quality inspection and assessment can be made by an inspector with roofing and construction experience and they can make an assessment of the roof covering taking into account all the conditions found and not rely solely on age and estimate life expectancies.

4. Tie Down Verification Inspections

Tie down verification inspections for insurance are commonly confused with tie down certifications required by mortgage companies. A tie down certification must be performed by a structural engineer but a tie down verification can be done by an inspector.

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These inspections are for mobile and manufactured homes and assess the condition of the tie downs that aid in holding the home to the ground in the event of strong winds. These assessments are made to the standards outlined by the department of transportation and state highway motor vehicles, not the Florida Building Code. A tie down verification will require an inspector to go underneath the home and inspect the tie down system for condition and installation practices. They will need to measure spacing between tie downs, check anchors, and look for damage and deteriorated straps. A high quality inspector would document the issues found with photographs and descriptions in a report. The insurer may require you to repair any issues found as they could result in damage to the home in the event of a strong wind event such as a hurricane. For tie down verification inspections, a homeowner can expect to pay $150 and up.

Each of the insurance inspections described in this article can be performed by a licensed and insured Gainesville home inspector. While homeowners will find varying degrees of costs for each of these inspections, it is important to identify a high quality inspector who can not only provide you with the documentation you need, but can also discuss the issues identified with you and why they could be a liability to insurers. A great home inspector should also be an educator and help you understand the process of owning and insuring a home for your benefit. At Greenwood Building Inspection & Consulting, it is our goal to provide you with exceptional customer service and ensure you fully understand your home. We provide excellent and detailed inspection reports that are accepted by all major insurers and have never had a form rejected based on completeness or accuracy of information. If you homeowner’s insurance company has requested insurance inspections for you Gainesville home, give us a call and we’ll take care of your inspections!