Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 23, 2021

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The Lowdown

  • A four-point inspection takes less time to complete than a full home inspection, and the former is cheaper
  • You may only need to get a four-point inspection for home insurance by law in a state like Florida, but some insurance companies have the requirement anyway
  • To “pass” a four-point inspection, perform regular maintenance, plus rid your home of dangers like exposed wiring

Is a four-point inspection for home insurance necessary, and what does the process include? Also, how long does a four-point inspection take, and how much does a four-point inspection cost?

If you own a home, it is a good idea to get an occasional four-point inspection done to examine the structure of your home. Depending on your state, getting a four-point inspection of your home may be mandatory. Of course, home insurance companies may add more requirements.

Read on to know more about this type of home checkup and when you may need to get an affordable four-point inspection for home insurance. To see rates from top home insurance companies in your area, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool above.

What is a four-point inspection?

And how does it differ from a full home inspection?

A four-point inspection is a practice in which a home inspector quickly looks at specific areas of your house to identify any vulnerabilities.

Specifically, the inspector will look at your home’s electrical writing and panels, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system, plumbing, and roof.

A four-point inspection differs from a complete home inspection in the following ways:

  • A four-point inspection is purely visual, while a complete home inspection is more involved.
  • Four-point inspections are requirements for the home insurance underwriting process. A total inspection may also be required based on your state and insurance company, but it usually comes before a home purchase and is a mortgage requirement.
  • Four-point inspections last about 30 minutes, and full checkups may take about two to three hours to complete.

Additionally, a four-point inspection is cheaper. It can cost between $50 and $150. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, home inspections can cost between $300 and $500. Of course, the cost for each depends on how intensive the process is.

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What should you expect from a four-point inspection?

Here is a breakdown of the process:

Electric Wiring and Panels

When the inspector looks at your electrical system, they want to know that it is up to code. Specifically, they want to know the following:

  • Are your electrical outlets grounded?
  • Is the size of your electrical system appropriate for the size of your home?
  • Does your electrical system have any uninsurable elements?

Regarding the last question: The inspector may look to see whether your home has aluminum, cloth, copper, knob-and-tube, or sheath wiring, which presents a fire hazard. Fuses, fuse boxes, and a double tapped breaker can also lead to uninsurable code violations and risks.

HVAC System

A properly maintained HVAC system promotes energy efficiency, improves ventilation, and helps prevent breathing problems. When the inspector is surveying your HVAC system, they want to know the following:

  • Do you have a central heating and cooling system in your home?
  • Are your heating and cooling units fully functional, properly installed, and the right size for your home?
  • How old is your HVAC system?

You should note that fireplaces and window air conditioning units do not count as central heating and cooling for your home. You are more likely to pass inspection if your home has central air conditioning and heating.

The age and current condition of your HVAC system might not determine whether you pass the inspection. However, the inspector must know this information to determine the lifespan of your heating and cooling units. You will need to replace an HVAC system every 15-20 years.

The inspector will check for other HVAC issues that you need to address.

Plumbing

The inspector looks at your pipes to determine the likelihood that they will burst. During the plumbing system portion of the four-point inspection, the inspector will try to find:

  • Any signs of leakage among the drain and supply lines to your house.
  • Pipe materials.
  • The current condition of your water heater.

If you have polybutylene plumbing, you are less likely to get home insurance. However, if you are approved, your insurance company will exclude coverage for water damage.

Roof

The roof checkup is the most intricate part of the inspection. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), home inspectors look closely at these three elements when inspecting roofs:

  • The roof itself. The inspector will look at the roofing materials, like wood shingles or slate tiles, and see if they are lying flat. The inspector will also look for missing shingles and tiles and look at the gutters.
  • Flashing (when applicable). Your house should have flashing around a chimney or a skylight, for example. The inspector will look for any signs of rust or physical damage.
  • Your chimney (when applicable). Your chimney must withstand severe weather changes, and it can indicate problems with the roofing system. The inspector will look for any missing bricks, signs of rust, and the condition of the chimney cap.

Three questions this inspection will seek to answer are:

  • Hold old are the roof materials?
  • Are there any signs of deterioration?
  • Does the roof’s shaping protect the home from weather conditions like high winds and snow?

Ultimately, the inspector will examine your roof to find any signs of leakage. The inspector will also check your ceilings (including your closet ceilings) and walk-up attic as part of their examination.

Home insurance companies usually do not cover shingle roofs older than 20 years old or metal or tile roofs more than 40 years old. Insurance companies may also deny coverage if a younger roof has apparent outside damage or if you are experiencing roof leaks inside the home.

Do you need someone to perform a four-point inspection for home insurance?

It depends on a few factors. New homes generally don’t require an inspection, but home insurance companies often require four-point inspections for houses at least 20 years old.

In most states, you may not necessarily need someone to perform a four-point inspection on your home as a prerequisite for home insurance. However, Florida requires four-point inspections before any homeowner can purchase home insurance.

It is also becoming more common for people living in coastal states like Texas to get four-point inspections.

Regardless of your state’s requirements, it may be a good idea to have your home inspected now and then. Keep your home’s structural integrity in mind for safety reasons.

How to Pass a Four-Point Inspection

What can you do to pass a four-point inspection, and what can you do after a failed four-point inspection?

First, know that you cannot pass or fail a four-point inspection, in all honesty. However, the results can tell you if various parts of your home are up to code and whether a home insurance company will grant you a policy.

That said, to prepare for a four-point inspection, you need to do a primary checkup of your home but do it as safely as possible.

  • Look for any exposed or faulty electrical wiring in your home.
  • Check your filters in your HVAC system to make sure they are clean.
  • Visually inspect your roof, ceiling, and plumbing for any damage or leaks.

Also, ASHI has a four-point inspection report sample that you can use, so you know what to expect.

Ultimately, you can get a greater insight into what you need to fix after a preliminary inspection report from a certified inspector. Whether you “pass” or “fail” a four-point inspection, get professionals to help repair your roof and electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems, as needed.

We hope that this information has helped you in any way if you need to get a four-point inspection for home insurance in the future. To see rates from home insurance companies near you, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool below.