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Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Home Insurance Inspections?

kjofkwkjofkw 761 replies91 postsRegistered User Member
We are in the process of switching insurance companies (or so we thought). As advised, it was time to re-assess our policies. Thought we found one from a highly rated company, that even saved enough to make a switch worthwhile. THEN, we learned a home inspection is required as part of their process (evidently because our home is over 50 years old). How common is this? I’ve never had a company request this in the past.

I have no problem with a visual inspection. It is understandable they want to protect their interests too. I’m not particularly happy that they take and store photos of the exterior and interior. Information is too easily shared via computers these days. I’m especially bothered that they will not do their inspection until after the policy has started (even by months), and we’ve cancelled our old one. I don’t expect issues, but if there are, we can’t go back to our old company without new underwriting as if we were a new client (with higher costs expected).

I feel that the company is asking a client to agree to something they can change after you’ve agreed to the costs. Now you’re temporarily stuck, or risk higher costs if you decide to return to your former company. Anyone else have an insurance company require an inspection? Do they use this as a means to get you in the door, only to change the terms? Or is it more common than I know?
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Replies to: Home Insurance Inspections?

  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1114 replies1 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It’s extremely common. If you’re having an interior inspection, i’m Guessing your home is valued pretty high?
    Most inspections are just outside, getting measurements, etc. For an older home replacement cost will be higher than a newer home - wood floors, moldings,etc... if you have full replacement cost, it can be very expensive to rebuild. You do run a risk of the value coming in much higher (especially if the market value is low). It can result in higher premiums. You can also opt for removing the full replacement cost and insure for a lower amount, it varies by company.
    Any chance this is Chubb?
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  • thumper1thumper1 73800 replies3218 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    We switched homeowners (and car) insurance...and the new company sent a home inspection person to our home. Really, they were looking to make sure things were as represented on our policy...size, condition, no code violations, etc. It all seemed reasonable to us. I don’t think they took pictures of the interior...but might have of the exterior (to document condition of roof, siding, windows). But no big deal there...the house is clearly visible on google.

    We said our house had a certain replacement value...and that is what we insured for. The company was protecting their own interests by verifying what we reported was correct.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38589 replies465 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 12
    Very common. For most part, they are looking into things like replacement costs (how good the finishes etc. are) plus any issues like an old roof that is about to kick the bucket. Our policy went up a little bit because the inspector decided that our house was a bit more upscale than we all originally thought. Still it was a fair number.

    We ditched a carrier we had for almost 25 years because the "inspector" they sent, a little punk still wet behind the ears, decided that our roof was shot (a pro roofer said it was good for 10 plus years), and the insurance required a hard-wired home alarm using the landline because... who knows why.

    Back at House1, the "inspector" was mostly concerned about meeting our dog (was he a danger to people?) and luckily for us, declared him a big mutt. :)
    edited August 12
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20616 replies209 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    We just went through this for the first time a few months ago after changing our homeowner's insurance since we built our home 21 years ago. We have full replacement cost insurance. The insurer (well-known and reputable) said it was to make sure the evaluation on the replacement cost was accurate although the sceptic in me knows it was forth their protection more than mine. So, a few weeks after we switched, a 3rd party appraiser/inspector came to our home and looked both inside and outside. He was there for less than 30 minutes. His report came in slightly lower than the estimated amount that was derived using the online tool.

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  • kjofkwkjofkw 761 replies91 postsRegistered User Member
    Not Chubb @ NJRestlingmom. USAA and Amica -- both required inspections including interior photos. Home value just barely above average for our (modest) city, so nothing particularly unusual or expensive. I read a complaint on GlassDoor (which I realize are usually complaint-heavy), from a previous inspector who said insurance companies typically use the photos to deny future claims. So that concerned me too.
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1114 replies1 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @kjofkw personal insurance does not get better than USAA. I would be very surprised to see a company like that use the photos to deny claims, unless there was a valid dispute where the homeowner was trying to claim more than seemed reasonable. USAA has the best customer satisfaction in the industry.
    Just remember if you ever do major renovations to keep your insurance updated (you’re supposed to, but many people don’t realize that). A new kitchen, finishing a basement, etc... it may increase premium a bit, but if there’s ever a major loss you shouldn’t have issues.
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  • anomanderanomander 1661 replies4 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Interesting to hear this is a common practice. We’ve only had one company request an inspection across three homes in the past 25 years. That inspection was quick and painless, though.
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  • iaparentiaparent 266 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    You have likely had them in the past and just didn't know it. I know one very large insurer has college interns drive around all summer and take pictures and measurments of houses most often without telling the homeowner. Today they can often calculate the replacement cost of the home from the web and then just pay someone to drive out and take pictures to verify the condition.

    As NJwrestling said if you are with a high value carrier or in a $1M+ house it gets a little more invasive as they want to get inside to see the finishings which really drive the value. Two 5,000 sqft homes can look the same on the outside but the interior can generate a replacement cost of anywhere between $1,000,000 to beyond $7,000,000 which obviously the company wants to get as accurate as possible.

    I have thought this before but I am guessing @NJWrestlingmom and I have crossed paths somewhere in our careers.
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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 16808 replies156 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If I owned a home owner's insurance company, doing interior and exterior inspections would be exactly what I would require. Why wouldn't they? Unfortunately, though insurance companies don't always operate on the up and up, neither do other human beings, some of whom are potential customers.
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  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens 992 replies59 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It’s extremely common. If you’re having an interior inspection, i’m Guessing your home is valued pretty high?
    Most inspections are just outside, getting measurements, etc. For an older home replacement cost will be higher than a newer home - wood floors, moldings,etc... if you have full replacement cost, it can be very expensive to rebuild. You do run a risk of the value coming in much higher (especially if the market value is low). It can result in higher premiums. You can also opt for removing the full replacement cost and insure for a lower amount, it varies by company.
    Any chance this is Chubb?

    I don't know about that -- we just bought a tiny bungalow at the Jersey Shore and I have to have a total inspection inside and outside - seems a bit much for a glorified cabin that may be work (without the property) all of $35k
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  • EconPopEconPop 91 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @kjofkw ,
    I've changed homeowners insurers twice in ten years with my personal home, and I own a few rental properties. With every policy, the insurance company sent someone to inspect and take pictures of the exterior.

    I've never had an insurance company ask to inspect the interior, but I can see why they might require an interior inspection above a certain dollar value.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8513 replies247 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 13
    Do not worry about insurance home inspection, as long as you are NOT making any majore renovations or it is vacant for rent. We were in the middle of an addition when our home inspection took place. We completed the framing and the subfloors at the time of inspection. The inspector took some pictures, in a week, we got our cancellation notice. As a result, we had to buy very expensive home insurance, it was sold in 6 month interval and the cost is about 3~4 times of the regular insurance.
    The insurance companies also will not insure a vacant home, we had to send in current leases in order for them to insure the rental home. And the inspector is expeceting furnished home and parked cars in the driveway.
    edited August 13
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1114 replies1 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Homes under construction/renovation are a huge increase in exposure - if a company know about it, expect extremely high rates until work is done.
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  • Bromfield2Bromfield2 3554 replies35 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 14
    We rent our vacation home for the month of August because we get crazy amounts of money (resort area) and the rental pays a good part of our expenses/real estate taxes for the place. Our agent recommended we not use Air B&B, VRBO, or another do-it-yourself site, but rent through a local real estate agency. We've lucked out because the agent we used connected us with a family that now has been renting from us for the last 7 years. Has anyone else heard this about renting through Air B&B and others?
    edited August 14
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  • MassmommMassmomm 3860 replies79 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    We have had to do this every time we bought a house. I just assumed it was a normal thing. And I have personally found the photos handy when moving to another house, because it helps me remember how stuff was arranged.
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  • Dave_NDave_N 804 replies15 postsRegistered User Member
    I had a similar experience with my existing insurance company. I've been their customer for 30+ years. 15+ years without a claim. A month or so ago, I got a letter saying that they were going to inspect "several" homes in my neighborhood by drone and they would let me know if I could renew my policy.

    Even though I made the cut, I was non-plussed.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38589 replies465 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Inspect by drone?! Lovely. :) Not.
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  • csshsmcsshsm 211 replies52 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Our first policy on our current house was obtained in the early 1990s and because it was replacement cost, they sent an inspector even then. He even went through our drawers, which our agent denied he would have done, but my housekeeper caught him in the act. Fast forward over 20 years and that company withdrew from our market, so we had to undergo the inspection again for a new company. This time the inspector took cell phone photos of almost everything. We then got a report with many complaints. Most of them were water spots. The repairs already had been made to the offending roof or AC to stop the leaks, but the new sheetrocking had not been done to remove the evidence of the former leak. We had 60 days to do them or the policy would be cancelled. A storm had just come through our area that caused no damage to our house, but made it hard to find a reputable contractor because everyone was booked up. I finally found someone and we were able to get pictures to them of the repaired locations just in time to prevent cancellation. I dread the call that they have to do it again. Also, they came up with a replacement value that is totally ridiculous, so that I feel we are grossly over-insured. I finally had to raise our deductible so high that we basically have no insurance in order to be able to pay the premium!
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20616 replies209 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    csshsm wrote: »
    Also, they came up with a replacement value that is totally ridiculous, so that I feel we are grossly over-insured. I finally had to raise our deductible so high that we basically have no insurance in order to be able to pay the premium!

    Sounds like maybe you should shop around for quotes from different insurers.

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  • greenwitchgreenwitch 8707 replies41 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @csshsm - we shopped around for new insurance this year. I always thought our replacement cost and valuation was too high, but this year, they upped our premium by $4000! We've never had a claim, and have been with them for 5 years. Since we've had them for more than 3 years, they are not allowed to drop us (state law) but they managed to do it anyway by raising rates drastically.

    Our old agent was upset and said our house is now under insured, but I'd rather save that money than gamble that our entire house would be reduced to matchsticks and this insurance company would magically hand over the inflated value they came up with. So far, no inspection with the new company.
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