Apr 6, 2021
Why Are Home Inspections Necessary For Insurance?
You may be required to have a home inspection completed to obtain your homeowner's coverage in some situations. If you are buying an older home, or your current one has not been checked in over 20 years, and you’re planning for renovations, you should consider an inspection.
Here’s what you need to know about why inspections can be required and how to find a reputable inspector for your home.
Why Do Insurers Require Home Inspections?
Although a home inspection may not always be required, professionals are trained to focus on loss prevention. They help locate liabilities and safety concerns inside and outside of a house. Working with a qualified inspector can help determine the property's updated value and assess any areas that need to be updated or repaired. They can see what is currently wrong and what could go wrong in the future.
If you are a new customer or are investing in a home with an older build date, you may need an inspection. They usually happen 30-90 days after your home insurance begins. The insurer will specify if they need the interior, exterior, or both looked at.
What Do Home Inspections Look For?
The number one priority is to find any opportunities where safety or security can be improved. Inspectors will search for fire hazards and liability risks inside and outside your premises. If your home has water damage, mold, or structural damage, you will be advised on the best action to fix it. Other areas where they are looking include :
- Confirming the building's measurements, unique features, and the quality of materials used in the construction. High ceilings, marble counters, specialist floors and additional structures may need attending to from specialized builders.
- Plumbing, electrical, heating, windows and the roof are also areas of interest. If these areas are not well maintained, they can lead to severe damage.
What Are The Benefits To A Home Inspection?
Although you may be tempted to skip on it, here is why inspections are beneficial :
- Identify risks : To limit your chances of submitting a home insurance claim, inspections can find potential hazards or risks.
- Find discounts : You may find new areas where you are eligible for discounts you don’t currently have.
- Confirm home value : Ensure you are adequately covered for your home replacement cost, resale value, and weather-related risks.
Tips To Prepare For A Home Inspection
Being adequately prepared before an inspection can make the process an ease. Here’s how you can prepare :
- Make sure your house is tidy. Look for any fire hazards and areas where you can minimize accidents. (Some suggestions: clear walking areas, staircases with guardrails, or a WETT inspected fireplace)
- Detailed documents about your alarm system, water sensors, water damage prevention and security features
- Have documentation that shows the square footage of your home and property
- List of any costs and documentation of updates to heating, electrical, windows, roof, and plumbing
- Check exterior surfaces and finishes for cracks, mold, rot or mildew
- If you have a chimney, make sure no bricks are missing and look for any damage
- Take a look at your foundation – do you see any cracks or uneven foundation?
- Check your gutters to make sure they are attached and remove any debris
How To Find A Reputable Home Inspector
When you are looking to hire a home inspector, always look for one yourself. Although real estate agents will suggest some, you are not obligated to choose one from it. Check with family members and friends if they have any recommendations.
As of 2017, Ontario now requires home inspectors to have insurance and abide by a code of ethics. It is highly recommended to search from reputable sources such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors and the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors.
Home Inspection For Condos
If you are buying a condo, home inspections are still necessary, even if it is brand new. Scheduling an inspection for your condo or apartment can help identify issues such as :
- Incorrectly installed electrical or appliances, including the exhaust and ventilation systems
- Excess moisture or humidity, which can lead to mold
- Structure of the unit, including the balcony being up to building code or any external issues that could affect you.
Unlike a home inspection where a professional looks at the entire property, a condo inspection will critically study the stand-alone unit. Some inspectors will look at the entirety of the building (roof, air condition, garage) but often focus on safety within your space. If you have any individual heating or cooling units, you may be accountable for any updates or repairs before you move in.
What To Do After A Home Inspection
After the inspection is complete, you will receive a detailed report of their findings and suggested timelines when repairs or updates need to be completed.
You may notice an increase or decrease in your Ontario home insurance. Your insurer will be able to provide a list of mandatory issues that need to be fixed. If your home is at risk and you do not make the suggested repairs, your coverage could be cancelled.
Home Inspection FAQs
In Ontario, home inspections cost between $300-$500, depending on the house and property's locations, age, and size. Typically, the buyer is responsible for these costs, but if a seller commissioned to have it done before selling, you can ask for a walkthrough with the inspector ($100-$150) or hire a new one.
They are not mandatory unless your insurer asks for one. However, buying a home without an inspection is risky because not all sellers will disclose issues, and others simply do not know. Having a third party is the best way to get an informed opinion.
In Canada, a home inspection is not always necessary for you to get approved. If your house is more than 25 years old, most providers will require proof of inspection.
Homeowners or real estate agents may require an inspection before putting the house on the market. It will show any flaws or damages that need to be done. It will educate buyers and sellers ahead of time if any work needs to be done. Buyers can book an inspection before the offer date to ensure there are no hidden repairs.
Even if you are buying new, a home inspection can help spot unexpected issues. It’s a good idea to have another set of eyes on the property before moving in to check water lines, electrical outlets, and crooked walls. Even if you’re the first owner, an inspection could help save you costs down the road.
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