25 Apr NEW FOUR-POINT INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE
APRIL 26, 2018 – Citizens Property Insurance Corporation was created by the Florida Legislature in August 2002 as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, government entity. It was created to provide insurance protection for Florida policyholders who are entitled to, but are unable, to find property insurance coverage in the private market. The required Citizens inspections have become a standard amongst insurance companies prior to granting coverage, as well as for determining premiums.
If you have ever had a home inspection done, you know that the majority of licensed inspectors doing their job properly are very thorough and comprehensive. But recently, Citizens has decided that this is not enough. A new “Four-Point Inspection Form” has been instituted, effective immediately, that requires inspectors to provide a great deal more information.
Less than a welcome change by inspectors, the new policy will likely affect some real estate deals and will surely be used to decide whether or not insurance will be provided, and at what premium.
There isn’t a specific number of photos required, but expect your inspector not to be camera shy. The inspections have called for more photos. Photos of every slope of the roof, every valve, every drain and each and every hazard or deficiency that is noted in the report will be taken.
The other increased inspection points include:
Electrical – Is the amperage of your system sufficient for current use? Inspectors are asking themselves how they are supposed to accurately report this information. They must sign off assuring that the amperage at the panel is sufficient for the use the property requires, without direct knowledge of any changes or extra draw that has been placed on the system. Additionally, there are more than 20 other electrical check points inspectors must certify, including exposed wiring, empty fuses, outdated wiring, signs of scorching and so forth.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning or “HVAC“ – Many of these requirements are consistent with what has been expected over the years including any signs of leaks, water damage, blockage or safety issues. But the question that inspectors feel will trip them up – When was the system last serviced? If the sticker from the last technician is deemed unacceptable as sufficient proof, the previous owner would need to have receipts and service records from the previous years.
Plumbing – With all the recent issues concerning rusty pipes and faulty plumbing, it’s no wonder why they have upped the extent of plumbing inspections. While most requirements have the buyer and homeowner’s best interests in mind, there are some that inspectors feel they will have a hard time providing, and that the findings will possibly kill real estate deals.
General inspections include certifying a temperature relief valve on the water heater, noting if there are any signs of past or active leaks, and verifying everything is in working order. Under the new 4-point requirements, inspectors must certify every place water is connected to an appliance, including toilets, sinks, sump pumps, showers, refrigerators, dishwashers, tubs and more. Additionally, and possibly one of the most complicated requirements, each type of pipe material must be identified and documented – all supply, waste, attic, underground, in-wall and overhead.
Roof – While inspections throughout recent years identify existing and potential roof leaks and life expectancy, the new inspection points call for even further reporting. Inspectors must now research and document: cracking, curling, excessive granule loss, hail damage, all materials used and more.
While expectations for the purchase of a new property is crucial, it’s important that the rules are put in place to protect homeowners and home buyers, and not simply put in place so that the insurance industry has even more reason to deny coverage.
If would like to learn more about the standard homeowner’s or condominium insurance requirements in Florida, especially when mortgage financing is involved, contact Ross for more information.