Updated: Feb 25, 2021
When buying a home and applying home owner’s insurance, or shopping for a new policy on a home you already own you may be required to get what is known as a 4 -ponit inspection. This inspection can influence your ability to get insurance which is required in Florida, and needed to qualify for the home loan.
What is an 4-Point inspection?
A 4-point inspection is a visual snap shot of the home’s condition. It is called a 4-point because it focuses on 4 major systems of the home: HVAC, electrical, plumbing and the roof. This inspection gives the insurance company a good look at it’s current and future risks if it is to insure the property.
Newer homes often do not require this inspection, but older homes could have products or building practices present that can lead to future liability or do not meet building codes. A 4-point gives the insurer a look at these potential risks in a report written by an unbiased professional, most often a licensed home inspector like Cosmos Inspections.
The 4 systems of a
HVAC: Air conditioning and heating including age of the system(s)
Electrical: Service entrance, electrical panels and wiring
Plumbing: Hot water heater, visible valves and type of piping including any leaks
Roof: Roof covering condition and age
Cosmos Inspections will fill out a standardized 4-point form to send to your insurer of what current or future problems were observed, always guaranteed same day of the inspection.
Is a 4-point the same as a General Home Inspection?
In short, no. Though these 4 systems are also covered in a general home inspection, a
4-point is a specific form used by insurers to aid in writing policies but isn’t nearly as detailed and comprehensive as a general home inspection.
Cosmos Inspections strongly recommends a general home inspection if you are purchasing a home, and offers bundled rates when the two are done at the same time. Besides the 4 systems looked at for a 4-point, a general home inspection also looks at but not limited to:
All plumbing fixtures like toilets and sinks
Openings like doors and windows
Pools and related equipment
A general home inspection is to determine if the home is safe AND up to your standards but this level of detail isn’t required by insurance companies to issue a policy.
Can you fail a 4-point?
A 4-point has two possible outcomes: “pass” or “fail”. The failing grade is usually due to roof damage that has or can lead to leaks, a faulty HVAC system, poor wiring practicing like double tapping breakers, or products in the home no longer permitted like polybutylene pipes and aluminum branch wiring.
If your home fails while under contract you may be able to negotiate repairs from the seller to save the deal, or see if the insurer is willing to work with you to get temporary coverage while you get it fixed.
Who pays for a 4-point?
It is usually up to the policy applicant to pay for the inspection so make sure to add it into the budget when shopping around.
What is a wind mitigation and is it included?
A wind mitigation is a separate inspection that details how a home stands up against strong winds such as those present in a hurricane. This inspection may warrant some discounts on your policy depending on building practices and products present in the home. Though this inspection is not included in a 4-point, Comsos offers it at bundled rates when completed together with other inspections. For more information in wind mitigation click this link for a full explanation.
In Florida older homes often need a 4-point inspection for homes owner’s insurance which is required to qualify for a loan but is not as thorough or comprehensive as a general home inspection. Cosmos strongly recommends the general home inspection when buying a home so you have a much better idea at the condition of the home before you make it yours.