When researching home inspectors, I encountered the “Four (4) point inspection” (another topic not covered in any of my high school classes).
This is not the same thing as a home inspection. So then what is a four point inspection? This type of inspection includes the 4 main systems of the home: roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. It is usually required to get home insurance, typically in an older home, especially in places prone to hurricanes (think Central Florida), flooding, earthquakes, etc.
- Roof – What type of roof covering is it (shingles, tile, rolled)? How old the roof? Is there any damage? Are there any leaks?
- Electrical System – What type of the wiring is in the home (copper, aluminum, knob and tube)? What brand is the electrical panel? What is the condition of the home’s electrical system?
- Plumbing System – What type of supply and drain lines are found in the home (copper, CPVC, galvanized, lead, polybutylene, etc.)? Is there evidence of current leakage? How old is the hot water heater?
- HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning System) – Is there central heat and air in the home? Does the home allow for proper ventilation? How old are the heating and cooling systems? What is the condition of each system? Are there signs of leaking or other damage?
A full home inspection covers the entire home and is mainly used to provide information for buying or selling a home. Unlike the home inspection, you can “pass” or “fail” a 4 point inspection. Some things that may cause you to fail would be:
- a shingle roof that is over 19 years old
- a tile roof or metal roof over 40 years old
- a damaged roof
- aluminum wiring or knob and tube wiring (due to fire hazards)
- certain brands of electric panels including Federal Pacific, Zinsco, Challenger, and Sylvania (due to fire hazard)
- a home without central heat and air
- polybutylene plumbing (due to the high risk of plumbing bursts)
- a hot water heater over 18 years old.
If you know you have any of these issues, tell your insurance agent up front so you can get an accurate quote.
Just like hiring a doctor with a degree or a licensed electrician, your Home Inspector should be certified by an organization such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) or InterNACHI, (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.)
So if you’re getting a new home insurance policy in Florida, you will likely need a 4 point inspection that checks roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. This will give the insurance company and your family peace of mind about the state of my home’s most important systems. Just like a medical check up.