Homeowners Insurance Inspection

A Homeowners Insurance Inspection is a crucial step taken by insurance providers to evaluate the replacement cost and potential risks associated with a new or existing homeowners insurance policy. This process enables the insurance company to thoroughly assess the property and determine the appropriate premium for the policy. It is important to note that a home insurance inspection is distinct from a comprehensive home inspection that is typically conducted when purchasing a property.

During a home insurance assessment, the insurance company will examine the property to identify any potential risks or hazards that may lead to a claim. This may include evaluating the condition of the roof, plumbing, electrical systems, and other key components of the home. The results of the inspection will then be used to determine the appropriate insurance premium for the policy.

Homeowners Insurance Inspection

Unlike a full home inspection, which is typically more extensive and focuses on identifying safety and structural issues, a home insurance inspection is tailored to the specific needs of the insurance company. This means that the scope of the inspection may vary depending on the insurer’s requirements and the unique characteristics of the property being insured.

What you should know about a Homeowners Insurance Inspection

During a home insurance inspection, you can expect a qualified inspector to evaluate your property, either through a drive-by assessment of the exterior or an in-person visit to the interior of your home. This inspection is usually conducted within a few weeks of the start of your policy, and you will typically be covered under a provisional policy while any adjustments to the policy are made based on the inspection results.

If an interior inspection is required, the inspector will focus on examining the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems of your home. They may also assess safety features such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and anti-theft devices to ensure that they meet the necessary standards for insurance coverage. It is important to note that the scope and nature of the inspection may vary depending on the specific requirements of your insurance provider and the unique characteristics of your property.

What Does a Homeowner Insurance Cover?

  • During a home insurance inspection, the following elements are typically assessed:
  • Condition and age of the roof
  • Interior and exterior drainage systems
  • Condition of the basement and foundation, if applicable
  • Plumbing systems
  • Age and condition of the home’s electrical system
  • Home appliances
  • Condition of flooring and walls
  • Attic spaces and crawl spaces
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Age and condition of the HVAC system
  • Chimneys and fireplaces, if applicable

The primary objective of the inspection is to evaluate both the risk and the replacement cost of the property in the event of damage. The inspection may be conducted visually. This could be either through a drive-by assessment of the exterior or an in-person visit to the interior of the home. The duration of the inspection can range from approximately one to two hours. Also, you may not need to be present for the exterior portion of the inspection if the insurance company only needs to assess the exterior.

How Frequently Are Homeowners Insurance Inspections Conducted?

The frequency of home insurance inspections varies and is typically at the discretion of your insurance provider. However, there are specific circumstances that may prompt an insurance inspection, including:

  • Residing in an older home
  • Changing insurance companies
  • Difficulty in determining the replacement value of certain items
  • Lack of inspection within the last ten years
  • Significant remodeling of your home, leading to a reappraisal and potentially requiring another home insurance inspection

What to do Before your Homeowners Insurance Inspection

To prepare for a home insurance inspection, consider taking the following steps:

  • Basement: Check for cracks in the foundation and signs of mold, mildew, or water damage.
  • Attic: Look for water damage and indications of insects or rodents.
  • Roof: Remove debris, replace missing shingles, and examine the chimney for cracks or missing bricks.
  • Gutters: Clean out waste and ensure all units are securely attached.
  • Doors and windows: Test locks and check for broken seals.
  • Walls and ceilings: Examine for any cracks, stains, or water damage.
  • Safety: Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and check the expiration dates on fire extinguishers and the last radon test performed.

It’s important to note that the insurance inspector may or may not provide notice before arriving. If your home is in a gated community or considered high-value, the inspector will typically give notice so you can let them in. Failure to cooperate with the inspection process may result in the cancellation or non-renewal of your policy.

What do Home Insurance Inspectors Check for During an Inspection?

What a home insurance inspector looks for goes beyond the essential areas like electrical, plumbing, roof, structure, and HVAC systems. They also seek out potential red flags that could heighten the likelihood of future insurance claims, a practice common in full buyer inspections as well. Ensuring your home’s structure is free from visible damage and addressing any safety hazards is crucial. Exterior elements are equally important, as issues like cracked steps or walkways can pose injury risks and potential liability concerns.

Key aspects the home inspector may focus on include:

  • Water damage
  • Structural cracks
  • Rot or decay
  • Infestations of animals or insects
  • Mold or mildew
  • Ventilation deficiencies

Additionally, the inspector may verify factors that could lead to discounts on your home insurance, such as the presence of a home security system or residing in a secure, gated community.

What To do if your Homeowners Insurance Inspection is denied

If your home insurance application is denied due to significant property issues discovered during the inspection, you may have several alternatives to consider.

Firstly, you can address the issues identified by the insurance company as a prerequisite for coverage. This may involve replacing the roof, water heater, or driveway, among other repairs.

If this approach is unsuccessful, you can explore coverage options through insurance providers that specialize in high-risk properties. While the premiums may be higher, this could be the only viable path for insuring a home with damage or structural problems.

A third option is to seek coverage under Fair Access Insurance Plans (FAIR). These are state-run programs that provide insurance for high-risk homeowners or assist them in finding coverage. This could be a viable solution if you have exhausted all other options. However, it’s important to note that not all states offer FAIR plans.


Can I be present during a home insurance inspection?

In most cases, homeowners can be present during a home insurance inspection. Being present allows you to address any concerns or questions the inspector may have about your property. However, it is not always necessary for the homeowner to be present, especially for exterior inspections where access to the interior is not required.

How long does a home insurance inspection typically take?

The duration of a home insurance inspection can vary depending on the size and complexity of the property. On average, an inspection may take anywhere from one to two hours to complete. Factors such as the condition of the home, the thoroughness of the inspection, and any specific areas of concern can influence the length of the inspection process.

What happens after a home insurance inspection?

After a home insurance inspection, the inspector will compile a report detailing their findings and recommendations. This report is then used by the insurance company to assess the risk associated with insuring the property. Depending on the results of the inspection, the insurance company may adjust the policy premium, request repairs or improvements to the property, or, in some cases, deny coverage if the risks are deemed too high.