When you start looking into home insurance, you may find the terms “full home inspection” and “four point home inspection” listed by your insurance agency. It’s possible that you thought they were the same thing or you hadn’t even realized another type of home inspection existed.
Although both are home inspections, they are different, and your insurance company will likely prefer one over the other, so you’ll often only see one listed. Your insurance company will require at least one, but not both.
Here are the differences between them:
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4 Point Inspections
As you can guess from the name, four point home inspections only focus on four things: electrical wiring, plumbing, roof and structure, and your HVAC system.
Most home insurance companies will require a four point inspection because it gives them a clearer idea of possible expenses. The inspector will make notes about how old your HVAC or roof is, if your electrical wiring looks hazardous, or what kinds of pipes are used in your plumbing.
Often, four point home inspections are used for homes that are more than 20 years old or for homes that have been empty for several years.
Full Home Inspections
During a full home inspection, the inspector will give you a comprehensive report of every aspect of your home: HVAC functionality, appliances, plumbing, basement and attic, roof, fireplace and chimney, electrical system, interior and exterior surface condition, and structure.
As you can imagine, a full home inspection is much more thorough and offers a lot more information on the condition of your home. Most homeowners choose to do a full home inspection because it gives them a better idea of what parts of their home will need updating or any current problems.
Most insurance companies won’t require full home inspections, but they will accept them. However, it isn’t always recommended to offer a full home inspection in place of a four point inspection.
Which One Should You Choose?
If your insurance company gives you the option to choose which inspection you get, which one should you choose?
In most cases, homeowners will choose a full home inspection because it’s more comprehensive and provides both them and the insurance company with more information.
A four point inspection will only cover the four aspects of your home that insurance companies are most concerned with, meaning that you will be able to give the company what they want, but you won’t have a complete picture of your home.
While you may be tempted to choose a full home inspection, it’s not recommended. Home inspections can uncover extra problems that your insurance agency doesn’t need to know about. This can lead to higher rates.
When you’re deciding between inspections, it’s better to opt for a four point inspection. This will give insurance companies the information they want without giving them too much. On the other hand, full home inspections provide them with a lot of information and, therefore, many reasons to raise your premiums.
However, it is possible to do both if you would like a comprehensive report of your home. Hire an inspector for a full home inspection and while they’re there, ask if they’d be willing to also do a four point inspection. Much of the time, you’ll get a discounted rate as both inspections can be done at once. When you get the reports, only send the four-point inspection to your agency.
Home inspections are good for informing yourself about the condition of your home. Full home inspections will cover everything from the electrical wiring and sockets to the quality of your interior paint. They really do give you a complete report of your home and can help you keep up to date on routine maintenance.
However, four point inspections should be your go-to choice when it comes to insurance. They’ll provide insurance companies with the information they want and are more precise.