Homeowners Insurance Inspection: What to Expect and How to Prepare

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Updated: May 22, 2024

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During a homeowners insurance inspection, a professional inspector meticulously assesses your property's interior and exterior for any potential risks. This thorough evaluation plays a crucial role in influencing the insurance company's decisions regarding adjustments to your coverage and policy continuation. Because of its impact, it’s important to proactively inspect and fix any issues in your home to enhance the likelihood of positive outcomes in terms of insurance coverage adjustments and overall policy terms​.

Key Takeaways

Homeowners insurance inspection is where an inspector checks your home’s interior and exterior for potential risks or hazards.

Insurance inspectors examine the roof, plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems of your home to assess the overall safety of the property.

Prepare for a homeowners insurance inspection by inspecting exterior and interior systems yourself and ensuring safety measures are in place.

What to Expect During a Homeowner Insurance Inspection

Home insurance inspectors typically look for potential risks or hazards in the home, including the condition of the roof, plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, as well as the overall maintenance and safety of the property​​. They assess these to verify the accuracy of the application information and to determine the property's insurability​. During a home insurance inspection, the inspector will examine both the exterior and interior of your home.

Interior Inspections

Interior inspections involve a detailed check inside your home to make sure everything is up to date and follows the latest building codes. Inspectors look at different things in your home to see if there's anything that might affect your insurance cost and coverage. For instance, they check the house's overall condition, including things like the structure, wiring and plumbing.

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    Structural and General Maintenance

    Since homeowners insurance policies cover structural damage, interior inspections involve checking for structural integrity, including foundation, walls and roof condition, as well as overall maintenance and signs of neglect or disrepair.

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    Electrical and Plumbing Systems

    Assessing the condition of electrical wiring, circuit breakers, plumbing systems and potential water damage risks.

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    Heating, Cooling and Fire Safety

    Evaluating the HVAC system's functionality and age, along with fire safety measures like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

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    Potential Hazards and Security:

    Identifying any potential hazards that could cause injury or damage, and reviewing home security features like alarms and secure locks.

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    Recent Updates and Renovations

    Noting any recent home improvements or renovations that might affect the home's value and safety.

Exterior Inspections

Exterior inspections are all about checking the outside of your home to make sure it's safe and well-maintained. Generally, inspectors look around to see if there are any problems or hazards, like a worn-out roof or cracks in the walls, that could lead to bigger issues later. They also take a close look at your yard and anything near your home, like big tree branches, that could be risky. Here's what they usually focus on:

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    Roof Condition

    This involves assessing the age, condition and type of roofing materials, looking for any signs of damage, wear or need for repair.

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    Exterior Walls and Foundation

    This entails checking for cracks, damage or deterioration in the exterior walls and foundation, which could indicate structural issues.

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    Landscaping and Grounds

    This is evaluating the condition of the landscaping, including trees and their proximity to the house, to identify potential risks like falling limbs or root damage.

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    Additional Structures and Features

    Inspecting other structures on the property, such as garages, sheds, decks, pools and fences, for condition and safety.

What Is a 4-Point Inspection for Homeowners Insurance?

A 4-point inspection for homeowners insurance is a focused evaluation often required by providers, especially for older homes, that assesses four critical areas: HVAC systems, electrical wiring and panels, plumbing and the roof. The primary goal is to identify any major issues or potential risks in these areas that could affect the home's insurability and the insurance provider's risk.

Often required for homes over a certain age, the 4-point inspection provides insurers with a concise overview of the home's current state, helping them make informed decisions about policy issuance and pricing. In particular, it covers:

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    HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

    This part of the inspection assesses the state and functionality of the home's heating and cooling systems. Inspectors look at the age, maintenance history, and overall condition of the HVAC system.

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    Electrical Wiring and Panels

    Inspectors evaluate the electrical system, including the wiring, circuit breakers, and electrical panels. They check for any outdated wiring, safety issues, or signs of potential electrical hazards.

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    This includes examining the pipes, faucets, water heaters, and other parts of the plumbing system. Inspectors look for leaks, outdated piping materials (like polybutylene or galvanized steel), and the overall condition of the plumbing.

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    The inspection of the roof involves assessing its age, condition, and any signs of leaks or damage. Inspectors evaluate the life expectancy of the roof and any immediate repairs that might be needed.

Can You Get Homeowners Insurance Without an Inspection?

It is possible to get homeowners insurance coverage without a home inspection, although this largely depends on the insurance company's policies and the specific circumstances of the home. For instance, if a home has been recently purchased and inspected during the closing process, or if the previous owner had the home inspected within the last year with an insurer, a new inspection might not be necessary.

New customers, those living in older homes or homes that need repairs that are difficult to determine without an inspection, may still be required to undergo one. Always consult with your insurance broker or agent to determine if an inspection is necessary for your situation.​

Who Requires a Homeowners Insurance Inspection?

A home insurance inspection is often required by first-time homebuyers or those with old homes — but it isn't always required when purchasing a homeowners insurance policy. Typically, your insurance company may require an inspection within the first 30-60 days of the policy’s effective date to ensure the application was completed truthfully and accurately to the value and risk of the home.

The inspection results could be used to make changes to your coverage amount and may require you to address issues before implementing the policy. Here are some situations where a home insurance inspection may be required:

  • If you are a first-time buyer/customer
  • If you own an older/outdated home
  • If you have a high-value home
  • If you live in a disaster-prone area
  • If you had structural changes or major home renovations
  • If you are renewing your policy
  • If you are switching to a new insurance company
  • If your home’s replacement cost is difficult to determine

How to Prepare for a Homeowners Insurance Inspection

Preparing for a homeowners insurance inspection is a crucial step in ensuring you have the right coverage for your property. This process involves a thorough examination of your home by an insurance inspector to assess its condition and any potential risks. By following a few key steps, you can make this inspection go smoothly and potentially benefit from better insurance terms. Follow the homeowners insurance inspection checklist below.

Clean and Declutter

Ensure your home is clean and free of clutter. This not only makes a good impression but also allows the inspector to easily access all areas of your home.

Check Your Home's Exterior

Inspect the exterior of your home for any damages, such as loose roof shingles or siding. Make sure gutters and downspouts are securely attached and free of debris.

Inspect Interior Systems

Verify that all your home's systems, including electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling, are in good working order. Replace any outdated or malfunctioning elements.

Ensure Safety Measures Are in Place

Check that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. If you have a security system, make sure it's operational.

Document Updates and Repairs

If you've made any recent updates or repairs to your home, have the documentation ready to show the inspector. This can include receipts, contracts and before-and-after photos.

Review Your Personal Property

Create an updated inventory of your personal property, especially for high-value items. This can be helpful in case you need to update your coverage limits.

Prepare Your Questions

Finally, be ready to ask any questions you may have about your coverage or the inspection process. This is a great opportunity to understand more about your policy and any potential changes.

What Happens if You Fail a Homeowners Insurance Inspection?

If you failed a homeowners insurance inspection, your insurance provider may refuse to renew your policy, or they could increase your premiums or deductibles. This situation arises when an inspector identifies significant risks or hazards in your home that make it a high-risk property for insurance coverage. Some scenarios that could cause you to fail a homeowners insurance inspection include:

  • Having an outdated electrical system that poses a fire hazard
  • Lacking basic safety measures like smoke detectors and fire exits
  • Neglecting a plumbing system that could lead to burst pipes
  • Failing to maintain a roof that is susceptible to water damage

In some cases, the insurance company might offer conditional renewal, requiring you to make specific repairs or improvements within a set timeframe. If these conditions are not met within the given deadline, the insurance company might then choose to cancel the policy.

Moreover, if the inspection uncovers previously undisclosed risks or hazards, the insurance company could deem the policy void from its start date. This could leave you without coverage and potentially face back charges for the period you were insured under false pretenses. Therefore, it's crucial to address any known issues before the inspection and be transparent about your property's condition.


Preparing for homeowners insurance inspections is essential to reduce risks and fix minor problems in advance, preventing a potential hike in policy premiums or failing the inspection, which could lead to policy cancellations. We've tackled common queries about home insurance inspections, providing clarity on their purpose and identifying who requires them.

Do you need an inspection for homeowners insurance?
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About Mark Fitzpatrick

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Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.