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  1. #1

    Exclamation What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I have been hearing for years that certain issues/components are "uninsurable" and their mere presence in a home will prevent the buyer from obtaining Homeowners insurance.

    I have made a few phone calls and found that many of the things I thought would be issues are ignored, and others are bigger issues than I thought.

    I am asking for CONFIRMED topics that prevent getting a homeowners Policy. Not something you have HEARD about, but something that you either have the letter/email about or you have PERSONALLY spoken with the insurance underwriter about that prevented coverage.

    Examples

    Knob & Tube wiring is almost an universal show stopper
    No one cares about polybutylene
    Some won't write aluminum wiring
    one won't write anything less than 100A service

    I have these in writing or have personally spoken to the insurance carriers about these. If you have CONFIRMED show stopper issues, please reply back with as much detail as you feel appropriate. I will compile a list and distribute it back out.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Galvanized water piping.
    Oil tanks above grade older than 15 years.
    Some insurers question cast iron.
    60 amp service.
    Woodstove is not installed by WETT technicians.

    From a Canadian POV.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    What is your reason behind making such a list? Insurance companies obviously vary in the things they consider make a residence uninsurable. Saying they "don't care" about polybutylene is wrong. It may not automatically make a "risk" uninsurable, but they do in general consider it a Major Hazard.

    These are from my training for Mueller Services, which gathers data for underwriters:

    "Pit Bulls and Rottweilers in particular are considered to contribute the most to the serious injuries caused by dog attacks. They are also the 2 most common breeds that insurance companies will refuse to insure."

    Referring to solid fuel burning appliances (e.g. freestanding wood stoves, NOT fireplaces): "Although fairly common, homemade units are generally unacceptable to our customers' underwriting criteria." Companies consider SFBA in general 95% risk and 5% value, while fireplaces are 95% value and 5% risk, according to Mueller.

    Raymond - insurers question cast iron used for what?


  4. #4

    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    My reason for compiling the list is easy: To add weight to my reports comments.

    If I write "Knob & Tube wiring is obsolete and should be replaced for safety" it is one thing, and the sellers can ignore it as it "is in working condition today"

    If I write "Knob & Tube wiring is obsolete and should be replaced for safety and because most insurance companies will not issue a policy for a home containing it" This means the buyer now knows he may have troubles ahead and that the Seller may have trouble selling to anyone unless they replace the wiring.

    Similarly
    "60A service is considered inadequate for modern living and should be upgraded" has no weight

    "60A service is considered inadequate for modern living and will be difficult to obtain insurance for."

    I also don't like crying wolf...if most insurance companies don't care about Polybutelyne, we shouldn't represent otherwise.

    I also don't want to get a phone calls about "you told me about <insert issue> but you didn't tell me they wouldn't insure it...I lost the house/deposit (could get ugly here...)

    The more I know the more I can CHOOSE to write about, with authority....


  5. #5
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    My feeling is that you're opening a can of worms. It could get you into trouble if clients go and spend a lot to replace something (or don't buy a house), then find out that, in fact, many insurers will write a policy for whatever hazard it was. Just because one company won't insure for whatever reason, it's a mistake to generalize. If you tell them that knob and tube wiring is a significant fire hazard and they ignore that, it's their responsibility - you shouldn't have to add weight to your argument by speaking for the insurance industry. You could say that if they have a specific company(ies) in mind they might want to check out such and such issues with them, as it may affect their premiums and/or insurability. Take the dog example - though some companies may not insure where there's a rottweiler, obviously some do. People will look for a company that does before getting rid of their family pet.

    There are plenty of companies out there to choose from, and people are much worse off buying a house that has a lot of what insurers in general think of as hazards (such as polybutylene) than a single thing that a few companies won't insure. If you really want to get a perspective on insurability and what makes premiums high, you should research all the things that are considered major hazards by the industry, and there are many!

    Saying the things you suggest to sellers could actually harm your image, since their response could very well be, well we got it insured, so what's the problem?

    That's my take on the issue. Since I collect hazard data for many different companies, this is one area I know something about.

    BTW, insurers don't have a problem with 60 Amp service because it's inadequate for modern living, it's because it's a fire hazard.


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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    In Canada no public authority has condemned knob and tube, Alu, or 60 amp service.
    The insurers are dictating the coverage based on their stats that indicate these items are a fire hazard.

    There is a conflict there which pits a code authority against the insurance industry. If these items are high risk how come the authorities have not condemned them?

    In my case I always try and tell my clients about insurance issues before the inspection when they first contact me. Some are aware and others are not.

    What appears to be the problem - is the insurer is making assumptions, and its easier to deny a risk than it is to accept it. Or send it to a higher facilitator.

    I would be interested in seeing any stats you can provide that these items of concern foster more claims as the result of fire for instance.

    Thanks very much.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    It is a good idea to tell your clients these items could be a concern to their insurance company, possibly making insurance more expensive or even difficult to get. That allows the client to contact their insurance company and find out if they have a problem. Nothing wrong with that. Just do not be definitive, you can not be certain it will be a problem, whatever it is. We supply information, and if our information is that certain items have been known to be of concern to insurance companies, then we should impart that information to our client. My 2 cents anyway,,,


  8. #8
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    There are cases were insurers will carry over the existing policy for new owners in some cases.


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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I agree with Tom. It's good to know what might be problematic, just stay away from generalizations about how all companies will handle those problems.

    I should make it clear that I don't work directly for the insurance companies - they contract out the service to my employer, Mueller. I am privy to very few stats. The only ones I know of are about dogs:
    1. Dog attacks account for one-third of all homeowner liability claims.
    2. Dog bites cost insurance companies $250 million in liability claims each year.
    3. Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are involved in over 50% of all dog attacks.
    4. 60% of all dog bites occur in or near the owner's home.
    (From Mueller Services, Inc. Training Modules)

    "If these items are high risk how come the authorities have not condemned them?" Not sure why. My guess is that they are only a problem under some circumstances. For instance, if Al NM is properly used it becomes much less of a fire hazard. Also, isn't a lot of code meant for new work (the "grandfather" clause)? People aren't installing Al NM, knob and tube or 60 Amp service anymore anyway.

    Insurance companies don't want to turn away business, so there must be statistical validity behind their underwriting practices. Some things they look at aren't obvious hazards, but are indicators of how well managed and cared for a property is - for instance, non-owner occupied is a hazard, or having lots of junk in the yard. I don't think that creates a conflict with the code authorities, it's just the insurers covering their a$$e(t)s.

    Please note: just because I work for the industry doesn't make me a fan!

    Last edited by Kristi Silber; 11-04-2011 at 03:45 PM.

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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Thanks Kristi.

    As to Al wiring if I understand correctly its making a come-back due to the cost of copper.
    And Al is still used as overhead wires and underground feeds.


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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Yes, true that Al service entrance cable is often used today (FWIW, just read that 95% of new homes have Al SEC, according to an aluminum manufacturer). I'm talking about NM, though, and I'd be surprised if Al is making a comeback there. Feel free to prove me wrong! It requires special switches and outlets to handle the expansion and contraction of the metal, and/or pigtailing copper with special connectors to be safe(r).

    This is a very good link Bruce Ramsey was kind enough to post for my edification in another thread http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/516.pdf .


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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Interesting Stats from Ontario Fire Marshall Office.
    It doesn't report fires due to AL unfortunately.

    Fire Loss Causes Trends Issues


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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I agree with Kristi. Each insurance company is going to have different "uninsurable" items. There is no way for a home inspector to know each insurance companies items.
    But here is a list of items I've seen different insurance companies have issues with:
    Galvanized water pipes
    PB water pipes
    Lead water service pipes
    Free standing wood stoves in the garage
    incinerators
    aluminum branch wiring
    knob and tube wiring
    fuses instead of breakers
    any service under 100 amps
    flat roofs

    And the big one in this economy: Damage that the previous owners have filed a claim for and has not been repaired. Companies are running C.L.U.E. reports on the houses then sending adjusters out to look at the exterior. If the damaged roof / siding hasn't been replaced they're denying coverage.

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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Insurance companies don't like solid fuel burning appliances (=wood stoves) anywhere. That doesn't include fireplaces or wood/coal/pellet/whatever-burning furnaces.

    A couple things I see over and over that are "Major Concerns" and usually easily fixed are downspouts that drain onto walkways or don't drain away from the foundation and combustibles/flammables stored within 36" of a furnace or water heater, even in the summer. Seems a bit extreme, but considering the data in the link Raymond posted it makes sense (thanks, Raymond!).

    There are at least a couple hundred "Major Concerns" and the more a risk has, the higher the premiums and less likely to be insured.

    (EDIT: Was just looking at hazards in my training module. EIFS is one that some companies won't insure.

    Some companies won't insure when the house is too far from a fire station.)


    Ken - I keep looking, still haven't found any Al NM. Is it pretty uncommon in the TC? I guess I don't get many 60s-70s houses, but still, with additions and renovations and stuff, I'm surprised I haven't found any yet.

    Last edited by Kristi Silber; 11-05-2011 at 03:44 PM.

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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I agree with Tom and Kristi, I have a note in my report boilerplate to the effect that the buyer should check with his/an insurance company about the insurability of the property in general. If there is a condition that may effect insurance that I'm aware of, I'll note to check with insurance in the same area I note the condition/defect in the report. I want to make sure the client is able to live comfortably and securely in the house.

    Gary DeWitt
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post


    Ken - I keep looking, still haven't found any Al NM. Is it pretty uncommon in the TC? I guess I don't get many 60s-70s houses, but still, with additions and renovations and stuff, I'm surprised I haven't found any yet.
    I answered in a PM.

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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    One thing the insurance companies check for on my rental properties are trees and limbs that are too close to the house. I've had to cut down one tree and several limbs before the insurance company would insure them.
    One of the houses had an FPE panel, no problem, but the tree had to go.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Vacation properties can be interesting from an insurance point of view. A client purchased a multimillion dollar lakeside winterized cottage.

    The road was owned by the cottagers along the narrow access road. It wasn't open in the winter. The clients cottage was at the dead end single lane almost 3/4 miles off the highway.

    The insurers wanted in the ten's of thousands dollars to insure the house, boats, guest cabins, contents if the road wasn't plowed for fire access.

    They had the road plowed, paid a lower premium.

    The other house they owned is a rural century limestone farm house.
    One insurer would insure the house if they didn't installed a 15,000 gallon cistern for fire fighting purposes. A large deep pond was 100' from the house.

    They opted for another insurance company.

    I have also heard that some insurers will look favorable on rural properties with swimming pools for fire fighting?

    I know that on my rural property the insurers have given us a premium reduction because of the great response time by the fire department which is volunteer.

    On that note Kristi ... what info do you have about rural property insurance issues from your pov?


  19. #19
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    My training didn't go into rural properties much, besides noting that livestock is a hazard. I have a feeling there is extra training for those; there is for commercial properties in general.

    Year-round access is a big deal. It's also a hazard if a house can't be seen year-round by at least three other houses, if it's not visible from the main road, or if it's more than 100 ft off a paved road. And yes, access to water is also important. If a hydrant is more than 1000 ft away, they want to see an alternative water source that the trucks can drive right up to. I wouldn't think a pool would qualify, unless it's Olympic-size.

    Pools are great sources of hazards - unfenced, no lock, diving board, slide, empty.

    Being next to a commercial property with a lot of foot traffic is a hazard.

    A below-ground fuel tank is a hazard.

    Yes, trees or overgrown shrubs posing a threat to the roof/siding/structure of a house are hazards (with good reason - I had 3 huge limbs fall on my house this fall, and am reroofing because of it. Only one hole in the sheathing, fortunately. Wish one had taken out my chimney, which is gradually spalling away. Tree is gone!).

    I'm trying to think of others you all might be interested in. A lot of them are the same kind of things you would write up, problems with the dwelling itself.

    I should emphasize that these are generalizations. Every insurance company is different. Some have entirely different lists of hazards. The ones I'm talking about apply to most companies, but don't take anything I say as definitive for the industry.


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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Thanks Mike, Excellent post.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    First let me apologize, this post might offend a few folks but I'm feeling a little crotchety today..

    Mueller is not very well respected in the home inspection profession. Why?

    They pay their folks crap and expect their work product to be as if they were paying them $300 per job, and if it is not then they use every excuse to not pay them. I just had to get that off and out in the open. Sorry Kristi, you are new and seem like a good and intelligent person and I hate to see folk being taken advantage of by 3rd party jobbers like Mueller.

    When a "home inspector" is reporting on items like K&T, 60amp service, fuse panels, cast iron/galvanized pipes and the like they are reporting on old components and systems. The word "Old" is the key as most insurers do not like to insure old our of date systems. Add into the mix items like FPE or Zinsco panels, they give some insurers a good case of heartburn. A basic rule of thumb is any home that is over 30-40 years of age is looked at with scrutiny when it comes to issuing insurance on it.

    The home inspector is also dealing with their client who in the vast majority of the inspections is the prospective buyer. The buyer needs to know that some of the items mentioned above can be expensive to insure or might make the home uninsurable. Why? Well if the buyer can't get homeowners insurance they can not get a mortgage on the home.

    OK, so you say that this like a failsafe for everyone, but the problem is that insurance is the last thing to be applied for when a person is buying a home. It is usually 2-5 days before the scheduled closing date! By this time it is too late and the buyer is screwed as well as everyone else in the transaction. This is why it is best to know about these possible problems via the home inspection before the deal is finalized.

    Again I'm sorry for stepping on a few toes, but I just thought that this needed to get out in the open so our newer home inspectors do not get the wrong idea of what and how insurance providers look at older systems.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    First - Thanks, Mike, for that link. Interesting what they say about less than 10 ft. between dwellings - I wasn't taught to look for that. Or for vacant lots next door. I just a couple days ago tried unsuccessfully to find any indication that was an issue (I'm still new enough at this that I still have to refer to my training stuff sometimes).

    Funny they use that phrase, "It passed inspection." As was noted in Jerry Peck's thread about the Claritin commercial, pass/fail isn't something HIs should really be saying, no?

    Scott, you certainly didn't step on my toes. I'm well aware of Mueller's faults! As long as it's the company and not its field reps you don't respect, no skin off my back. I don't think it's just Mueller, but as the biggest employers of field reps in the country, they may set the (low) standard. I think it's crazy - how do insurers expect to get good data when the people gathering it are rushing through jobs just to make a half-decent living? ...But that's not me. I decided a couple weeks ago that I'd rather take a bit more time, do it right, enjoy and learn from the job. Fees are sometimes raised for people who do quality work, and I intend to be one of them.

    "...they use every excuse to not pay them" I've personally seen no evidence of this.

    The "rule of thumb" Scott mentioned of whether a house is 30-40 years old is, as he suggested, about hazardous systems and components (particularly electrical and HVAC) - they don't like to see a lack of upgrade since then.

    Whether it was built pre- or post- 1940 is another factor. That, too, reflects hazards, but also replacement costs.

    Other than that, Scott seems to be saying what I and others have said - HIs should be aware of things that might affect premiums and insurability.

    Last edited by Kristi Silber; 11-06-2011 at 02:14 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I forgot to thank Scott for his kind words, on the heels of an apology as they were. That's nice to hear. It's quite a crowd to find myself in, a little intimidating, and it's a pleasant surprise to find I do have knowledge to share.


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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I had an irate buyer/client of mine call me back a month after my inspection to ask me what I had told the insurance company about his roof because they refused to insure it. I told him I had not been in contact with anyone concerning his inspection. After that experience I add a note when I feel its necessary under the Roof Covering section that reads: "Have your insurance company inspect the roof prior to closing for insurability." I may use that same sentence with other issues; I'll just change "roof".


  26. #26
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Have been inspecting for several years, this is standard in my inspection template concerning insurability:

    Notice: The inspection of this roof may show it to be functioning as intended or in need of minor repairs. This inspection does not determine the insurability of the roof. You are strongly encouraged to have your Insurance Company physically inspect the roof, prior to closing, to fully evaluate the insurability of the roof.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    This isn't the concern of an H. I. Commenting on insurability puts us into the business of other firms. Do your best to describe the adverse conditions found and make recommendations. Going beyond that is not our role. There is NO WAY you can know what an underwriter would say about any issue in any specific case. If the customer has questions direct them to your report and their insurance agent. A well written H. I. contract excludes any duty to report on insurability (as well as many other duties)

    It troubles me that new inspectors are being mis-directed by this forum.


  28. #28

    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    To Roger's point...well sort of...

    I would say that we should inform our clients to ask their agents if any of our findings will affect their insurability as they might...

    Even if we don't say "<topic> is an issue, we should tell them to ask their agent if any of the things discussed might be an issue going forward... they might never think to ask otherwise and be in for a rude surprise later...

    I have had underwriters bring up HI issues THE DAY OF CLOSING when it is too late to do anything about them... very ugly...

    Most underwriters don't care...some ask for the HI report and will give LOWER rates because of things, but will also flag other stuff...but for-warned is for-armed


  29. #29
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Addressing Roger's post...

    Not being an HI myself, I don't have detailed knowledge of the business. But it seems to me that HIs are in the business of identifying problematic features of a house: safety issues and aspects that could prove costly. Part of the cost of a house is insurance, and premiums and insurability reflect its condition - exactly what you are there to investigate.

    Roger is right that there's no way to know how a particular underwriter will treat a house. But it doesn't hurt to be aware of a few things that the majority of companies are leery of. Some are easily fixed, like putting on downspout extensions.

    "Commenting on insurability puts us into the business of other firms." Am I wrong in thinking insurance firms do not usually advise their clients of problems that increase their premiums? I do not share my findings with the homeowner. You are not there to judge insurability, no, but that doesn't mean you can't advise your client to check with their insurer about something. Who is in a better position to do so than a HI?


  30. #30
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Before anyone gets in high dudgeon over this post, keep in mind that it's not my opinion. It's the opinion of an attorney with twenty-five years of experience working with home inspectors.

    Kristi asks rhetorically, who is in a better position to advise home buyers regarding insurability issues?

    The answer is, the homeowner insurance agent, the real estate agent, or attorney who is working with the buyer(s) is in a better position. A home inspector may have years of experience in investing or in tax preparation; however, that inspector isn't going to provide or offer to provide information regarding either to his or her home inspection customer.

    It's beyond the purview of home inspection to offer such advice. While it's understandable that home inspectors want to provide their customers with as much information as possible, they have to rein in their zeal with regard to offering advice in areas outside their contractual scope of inspection, training, knowledge, and experience.

    Their job isn't to "save" their customers from anything. Rather, it's to examine specific systems and components for conditions which adversely affect their normally intended function or operation, to document those conditions, and to recommend action to address such conditions, i.e., to have an appropriate qualified individual evaluate them and take any necessary action to mitigate them. It is not their job to do the work of code enforcement officials, appraisers, insurance agents or adjusters, real estate agents, or attorneys.

    When home inspectors make recommendations pertaining to insurability or advisability of purchase, or when they advise customers to address adverse conditions prior to closing or purchase, they are directly advising customers regarding contracts to which home inspectors are not parties. Not only could this be construed as the practice of law without a license, if the real estate transaction is terminated based on such recommendations, the home inspector is open to potential litigation on the part of the seller and any real estate agents involved in the failed transaction for tortious interference.

    If homeowners insurance providers are concerned with conditions which would make a home uninsurable according to their specific policy criteria, they should have the home inspected for those conditions by a qualified individual under contract to the insurance company instead of hoping to piggyback on the report provided by a home inspector.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    While Roger and Kevin make some interesting and quasi logical comments I do not agree with them.

    If a home inspector knows that K&T wiring in a home will be an issue for their client when it comes time to get insurance, I feel that they should tell them so. Tell them that "K&T wiring is old and and it might be an issue with their insurance company", you don't have to say they will not insure it!

    Keep in mind that I'm also one of those home inspectors that backs up my findings at times with code cites in new construction inspections. If you are comfortable providing the information then do it, if not then don't!

    I would love to see a lawsuit cite that involves a home inspector for telling their client that they might have trouble getting insurance coverage. I have a sneaky feeling that it might be kind of difficult to find a case like that.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  32. #32
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Why the adjective "quasi.?" There's no explanation regarding what makes the comments referred to "quasi-logical." As for finding a lawsuit of the kind mentioned, whether such a suit has ever been filed or taken to trial is if no importance. What's important is reducing the potential for such a suit being filed. It's not necessary for home inspectors to discuss issues of insurability, particular when doing so can increase their legal exposure. Further, we all ignore legal opinions at our own risk.

    The I-35 W bridge over the Mississippi in Minneapolis didn't collapse and result in multiple deaths and injuries until it did. It was all well and good to determine that a failed gusset plate was the cause, but it didn't help those who died or were injured. Forewarned is, indeed, forearmed.

    The best thing home inspectors can do is to bring the issue of homeowner insurance insurability to the real estate profession and encourage real estate professionals to address such issues with their clients at the time the contract to purchase is executed.

    Every time home inspectors raise customer expectations beyond the contractual scope of the inspection, they open the door to misunderstanding, dissatisfaction, and litigation. Ask an attorney about the concept of "reasonable expectations." When home inspectors discuss some code issues but not all code issues or some possible insurability issues but not all such issues, it is not unreasonable for customers to expect that inspectors have, in fact, brought all such issues to bear.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin O'Hornett View Post

    The best thing home inspectors can do is to bring the issue of homeowner insurance insurability to the real estate profession and encourage real estate professionals to address such issues with their clients at the time the contract to purchase is executed.
    That would be great if it would happen. In the real world we all know that this is just not going to happen. Very few agents want to get involved to this extent.

    Every time home inspectors raise customer expectations beyond the contractual scope of the inspection, they open the door to misunderstanding, dissatisfaction, and litigation. Ask an attorney about the concept of "reasonable expectations." When home inspectors discuss some code issues but not all code issues or some possible insurability issues but not all such issues, it is not unreasonable for customers to expect that inspectors have, in fact, brought all such issues to bear.
    Ask an attorney about almost anything and all you will get is an opinion. That and $3 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks!

    Our profession is so worried about disclaiming this and that and beating around the bush so the apple cart is not upset, it is a wonder that some inspectors even report if the sun is shining for fear of being sued.

    Kevin, it sounds like you have been in academia too long. When was the last time you inspected a home and really worked with clients buying a home?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  34. #34
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I routinely state in my report that a component/item/system be serviced/repaired prior to close of title in order that my client be protected.

    I routinely inform my clients of insurance issues that may affect their purchase particularly older homes. Simply put if an inspector is aware or knowledgeable about an issue such as insurance, asbestos, moulds, wells then the inspector obligated to bring that information forward in aid of the client in order for him to carry out his due diligence.

    If the inspection was done with a standard of care and to the SOP and there are no negligent misrepresentations made by the inspector then the vendor will have a very difficult time proving tortious interference. But like most things any one can be sued at any time under mere allegations of a civil wrong.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    As soon as the HI says "have corrected prior to close" the reader can correctly state that the HI has assumed that the customer will decide to go forward with the purchase. I do not want my customers get that message.

    I do not want to "protect" the customer. I want to do an excellent job identifying any adverse conditions and make recommendations as to their correction. I do not want to assume that the customer will proceed with the purchase. If they do great, if not I'm ok with that as well.

    Our role is limited, and tough enough to do well. I want to focus on what I can do well and if other issues (insurability, etc.) come up, I can recommend that the customer consult other professionals to provide information on those issues.

    To the newcomers: Do your best on the home inspection. Stay focused on the condition of the house. Any other issues are best handled by others.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    As soon as the HI says "have corrected prior to close" the reader can correctly state that the HI has assumed that the customer will decide to go forward with the purchase. I do not want my customers get that message.
    I don't understand how you come to that conclusion. How is the inspector assuming the client is going to go through with the purchase based on that sole caveat?

    The client is the sole person at his sole discretion making the decisions which best suits him.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    There are several conditions in which I recommend the client takes action "prior to the expiration of your inspection contingency" or "prior to occupancy", for example when I recommend that they obtain quotes for corrections likely to incur a major expense, or when I discover a significant safety concern.

    However, I do think the point is well taken that we should not lead a client to assume that they should or should not (or will or will not) buy a property.

    Though even then, there are occasional exceptions, as for example when I will offer to terminate an inspection early if there are very serious deficiencies.

    ___

    WRT insurance issues, I would agree that inspectors should not make determinations or representations with regard to the insurability of a property (even when they are quite certain as to the insurance implications of the conditions they are reporting, on the other hand I'm quite willing to recommend clients seek such advice from insurers or lenders when I suspect this may be appropriate.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  38. #38
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    "Dudgeon" - Great word!

    I want to focus on what I can do well and if other issues (insurability, etc.) come up, I can recommend that the customer consult other professionals to provide information on those issues.
    Who are those other professionals though? Do you really think an insurance company or real estate agent is going to do an on-demand inspection and provide the homebuyer with unbiased info about issues that might affect insurability? Do you think it's fair to expect homebuyers with concerns to hire an attorney to reinspect the house, or even to pay another couple hundred to have that attorney review your report and make the same recommendations you could easily do yourself? Is that their job?

    All there is to it is pointing out issues that the buyer might want to discuss with the insurer...in other words, suggesting they seek further advice. Your clients most likely won't know what to inquire about unless someone tells them, and there simply isn't anyone they could get better able (and ideally, willing) to tell them what to ask about than you.

    I, too, fail to see how that could result in a lawsuit - and if it hasn't been successfully sued in this day and age, chances are it never will be. Stay away from judgements, stick with the facts (e.g., "Some insurance companies don't like to see EIFS"), and you're doing your job.

    I expect newcomers can make up their own minds how to deal with these issues based on the arguments put forth and their own judgement.

    (I'm curious - do HIs generally report liability issues? Lack of railings on steps, downspouts draining onto walkways, unfenced pools, that sort of thing?)


  39. #39
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Thanks for making my day. I predicted an ad hominem response to my post. It seems that it's not possible to remain collegial in this forum. All ad hominem responses do is demonstrate a weakness in one’s arguments. As for my being in academia for too long and questioning my continued active involvement in home inspections, where do such implications arise? Are my words too big? Also, why demean attorneys and real estate professionals – to what end? We pay them for their opinions. Whether or not we heed the advice attorneys give us is our choice. As Roger points out, our job is neither to "protect" our customers nor to "save" them from anything.

    I'm not in academia and I continue to perform home inspections with other active inspectors both to assist them and to help new inspectors better understand the inspection process, i.e., what to inspect, how to inspect, and how to remain consistent in their documentation of their findings and their recommendations to their customers. I have no dog in this fight. I simply want to bring up the potential implications of what is done, what is said, and what is written with regard to the question which initiated this thread.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Thanks for making my day. I predicted an ad hominem response to my post. It seems that it's not possible to remain collegial in this forum. All ad hominem responses do is demonstrate a weakness in one’s arguments.
    So no one else is allowed to have an opinion contrary to yours? Your arguements are not borne by facts other than what you opine based on hearsay.

    And your arguments can be construed as weak too.

    I found this thread to be congenial in the replies, regrettably not everyone buys into the same arguments. That is one thing I do know about this forum.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Our profession is so worried about disclaiming this and that and beating around the bush so the apple cart is not upset, it is a wonder that some inspectors even report if the sun is shining for fear of being sued.
    This is your observation, not what I advocate. To be completely clear: I do a thorough inspection, report all adverse conditions that I find and make clear recommendations. I use a comprehensive contract that explains the limits of the inspection (those are not disclaimers). I stick to the duties outlined in that contract.

    I don't beat around the bush and if my findings upset anyone, that is their problem. I report those findings in neutral factual language based on what I found. If the sun is shining through the roof and there is no skylight, then the opening in the roof will be reported as an adverse condition and I will recommend correction by a qualified roofing contractor. Nothing about insurance or other side issues will be mentioned in the report.

    I do not fear being sued since I do a thorough inspection, write a clear concise report that sticks to the facts, and I have a contract that clearly defines and limits my obligations. Customers give me high ratings for customer service. In the unlikely event that a customer attempts to sue me, my attorney and I have many resources for defeating the plaintiffs claims even before the matter reaches the courts.


  42. #42
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Methinks Kevin was responding to Scott's post, which made me, too, wonder where he got the idea that Kevin was in academia (and what's wrong with academics, anyway? ).

    I find this forum to be at least as respectful of others as most I've participated in. There are some jibes now and then, hopefully mostly good-natured. Pays to have a thick skin and a sense of humor in any forum, I reckon.

    If an attorney can't take a joke about his/her profession, he/she is destined to a life of resentment!

    Also, why demean attorneys and real estate professionals – to what end? We pay them for their opinions.
    It's not their job to decide on insurability any more than it is yours. Why should an attorney be involved in such a question, even if they were qualified to answer it, when it just means the client has to shell out more money? Realtors have a vested interest in properties being bought/sold; it's too much to expect that they point out potential problems. That's the inspector's job!

    As I see it, people hire HIs to protect them from buying a house with lots of hidden costs and/or safety issues. That's what I paid mine to do.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    If I understand correctly, Kevin and Roger are advocating that home inspectors should NOT report issues deemed to be deficient by home owners insurance companies when those issues are not specifically required to be reported according to various inspection standards of practice? This would include things like missing handrails, the presence of knob and tube wiring, and more.

    Did I get that right? If so, I don't agree and I don't agree with the notion that Realtors should be responsible to report these issues to clients. We, as inspectors, are in the best position to report these issues. We have the expertise and I believe our clients expect it of us.

    Inspection SoP are minimum guidelines, they are not a do not cross line.

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

  44. #44
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Show Stoppers.

    Oil Tanks that are about 15 years old . Installed in basements. This is an insurance show stopper, and all my clients know it. I take about a dozen pics of the tank and data plate.
    I have discussed with my broker about this and she responded with, oil tanks will probably be phased out (indoors), period. Gas and Propane and ASHP are the new kids and wont flood your house like oil.

    New furnace $$$, remove old tank $$$, Dispose of old oil $$$, clean up where required $$$

    I dont stand there and freak out that they have an oil tank. I explain that their insurance company needs to know that they have a fuel tank inside. Follow their guidlines and direction.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Comb View Post
    If I understand correctly, Kevin and Roger are advocating that home inspectors should NOT report issues deemed to be deficient by home owners insurance companies when those issues are not specifically required to be reported according to various inspection standards of practice? This would include things like missing handrails, the presence of knob and tube wiring, and more.

    Did I get that right? If so, I don't agree and I don't agree with the notion that Realtors should be responsible to report these issues to clients. We, as inspectors, are in the best position to report these issues. We have the expertise and I believe our clients expect it of us.

    Inspection SoP are minimum guidelines, they are not a do not cross line.
    No, Fred, perhaps I was not clear. I recommend reporting any and all conditions that in your knowledge, experience, and judgment are deemed adverse. Reporting adverse conditions was never the question. The questions is whether or not to ALSO indicate that they may be part of the underwriting decision of the home owner's insurance firm. My recommendation was to not make any statement about insurability or the underwriting policies of any insurance firm.


  46. #46
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Methinks Kevin was responding to Scott's post, which made me, too, wonder where he got the idea that Kevin was in academia (and what's wrong with academics, anyway? ).
    Check out his website Home Inspection Consulting Seems he has dabbles in teaching.

    He also states he is a Retired ASHI Member, yet he is doing inspections? Last time I looked that was not allowed if you had a retired status, you are either active or retired.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  47. #47
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Check out his website Home Inspection Consulting Seems he has dabbles in teaching.

    He also states he is a Retired ASHI Member, yet he is doing inspections? Last time I looked that was not allowed if you had a retired status, you are either active or retired.
    Kevin, as he stated, does inspections with others inspectors. His role is mentoring / coaching. He is retired and does not do fee based inspections.

    Kevin does not "dabble" in teaching. He is a respected advisor and teacher. His service is available on a subscription basis for those who want a ready resource for information and advice from an "on call" service. He has decided to redirect his service to those who are entering the field or have recently entered the field.

    Thanks for directing forum members to his website.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    It looks like Kevin is making good use of his knowledge and experience. You have to know your stuff well to teach well, no matter what the field. I applaud that. It's something that deserves respect, not denigration.


  49. #49
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    Default What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Wow, this question got a lot of good discussion. Ken Rowe comment about FLAT ROOF is often a show stopper, is right on. I ought to know because I live in a 50 year old with with a flat rubber membrane roof. It was originally "built-up" gravel / tar system and was converted to rubber about 14 years ago. I've had incidental ceiling spotting but never a bona fide leak. I've been with SAFECO Ins Co for ~22 years (at the time they'd take a flat roof - but no longer after merging with Liberty Mutual) and could not find another company to take a flat roof home at a competitive price - so . . . . leave well enough alone and I'm staying with SAFECO.


  50. #50
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Kevin's arguments for what the function of a HI are and what the HI should be doing as part of the contractual agreement are those which have been espoused by ASHI from the time SOPs were created. Using ASHI as an example only due to Kevin's relation with that organization. It is a common mantra that the HI only perform to the SOP as delineated by your contract or your state's license law. The purpose of which is to limit the liability exposure of the inspector first and foremost. Which allows for a standard yet weak report, in the view of some. Those who teach courses in Home Inspections stress adherence to the SOP with a religious zeal. There are many with a long career in home inspections that have adhered strictly to a SOP without the least deviation. Evolution shows that something comes along and replaces the older form with a stronger and more aggressive form. A form which strives to extend itself past the old status, evolves The entire issue of informing the client of a home inspection revolves around the experience, expertise and knowledge that the HI possesses. The first thing that seem to be taught to new HI is to not exceed expertise, which most have none. HI exposure to liability has been expanding despite adherence to a SOP. Maybe its the increase in Lawyers.

    Kevin seems to speak to the concept of self protection and minimal adherence to SOP, which is understandable from his perspective. The dissemination of information to a client is where the rub comes and the evolving nature of the HI. As HIs are changing so have Insurance Companies. The insurance companies work harder today at reducing their exposure to claims to the point that as many potential risks have been removed and that probability is on their side. Its about profit with as little risk as possible. It is amazing that any of have survived this long with all of the perceived hazards that we have lived through.

    The HI may be the first person that mentions the possibility of not being able to insure a property, through regular carriers. Agents do not want to talk about it, for killing a sale. The client does not even think about it unless they have had a problem in the past. I would not be surprised that in the near future contracts for sale have a contingency for insurance as they have for a Home Inspection.

    Getting an agent out to quote a policy on the property as part of the purchase contingency should not be a problem. Knowing that you need to may be the issue.


  51. #51
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I did not look and did not want to look at every responce. In saying that I tell my clients many things at an inspection and in my reports that many home inspectors do not.

    Knob and Tube. First off with proper levels of insulation the knob and tube will be buried. Secondly the knob and tube in my area and most thru out the country make it extremely old and in most case well tread upon. I certainly point it out when ever I find it and inform my clients that the cost to rewire can get quite high considering most of the time the main is as old as the wiring.

    To not mention such things to your client is criminal at best.

    What do those write up that do find it.

    "It's there and thats all folks" If you mention it in your report and go over it verbally with your client and make any statement at all about it then that statement should be in your report.

    This idea that knob and tube is just dandy and no need for replacement?????? It can last for many more years???? I see it all the time and really think nothing of it.??? Its OK with the city so its OK with me.

    Of course I am just singling out the knob and tube right now but there are many items I bring to my clients attention for future concerns. Again, if you open your mouth why would you not put it in the report????

    Your clients are not paying you to just hear what TREC or any other governing body says you must write. They are paying you for you well learned knowledge and experience as a professional and if you have the background to go with it then I suggest youn thorw all that in as well.

    There is no cut and paste as far as I am concerned. It is a full narative of concerns now and the known concerns for at the very least near future. Or evn down the road a bit.

    19 year old HVAC system. Looking good and for what it is, running good? You best tell them that it is beyond it normal life span or far beyond the average for living etc etc etc. Not

    It looks good and runs


  52. #52
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin O'Hornett View Post
    Thanks for making my day. I predicted an ad hominem response to my post. It seems that it's not possible to remain collegial in this forum. All ad hominem responses do is demonstrate a weakness in one’s arguments. As for my being in academia for too long and questioning my continued active involvement in home inspections, where do such implications arise? Are my words too big? Also, why demean attorneys and real estate professionals – to what end? We pay them for their opinions. Whether or not we heed the advice attorneys give us is our choice. As Roger points out, our job is neither to "protect" our customers nor to "save" them from anything.

    I'm not in academia and I continue to perform home inspections with other active inspectors both to assist them and to help new inspectors better understand the inspection process, i.e., what to inspect, how to inspect, and how to remain consistent in their documentation of their findings and their recommendations to their customers. I have no dog in this fight. I simply want to bring up the potential implications of what is done, what is said, and what is written with regard to the question which initiated this thread.
    Not even old hat

    Teaching, retired, inspecting?

    The inspection process.

    Way too many new home inspectors are coming out of schoools taughting "The Inspection Process". That will get them into trouble.

    Sticking to standards, because that is all they know, will get them in trouble. To walk around a home like a robot clickity clicking on some hand held thinking they are performing a home inspection sticking to the "process" is certainly not what a nhome inspection is all about.

    Home inspectors are looking at a jumbled bunch of pieces of a puzzle in a box and have to take that jumbled mess and understand it and know what to tell their clients, that are paying them to help reduce their risks in the home buyiong process. Use any words you like such as "protect" or "save". We are also not ading in the home selling process with the Realtors. We are not part of that process. It is not and should not be our concern whether they buy the home or not but put our knowledge to work for them To help reduce that risk in the home buying process. Saving them? Protecting them? If thats what you want to call it, feel free. To me it sound like helping to reduce the financial risk.

    I also never think of liability when I inspect and absolutely never have. If I had to worry about getting sued every day I went to work think I would have found a way to stop working a very long time ago.

    I enter a home to inspect with an open mind and an open mouth and a loaded camera. I look at everything I can get to and comment on just about anything my clients ask me.

    One of the biggest questions, especially from single younger woman (which I get a very serious amount of referrals from) is....."could you please look at this home as if your daughter were buying it". My answer is always the same....."Don't worry. I inspect all homes as if I were buying them or anyone of my family members and will inform you as such".

    If you cannot inspect and inform as if you or a family member were buying it then you need to get into another line of work.

    Just saying.

    That is what they are paying you for. Not for SOPs and processes.

    Geesh. I should not drink coffe so late!


  53. #53
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Just a little late to the party...didn't see the original post and earlier responses. Two issues that I have had personal experience with regarding non-insurance. Living in So. California, brush fires are a significant problem in certain areas and close proximety to open space/brush or greenbelt can be a reason for some Ins. companies to decline coverage. I had one co. issue a policy binder, which was used during escrow only to discover they cancelled the policy a week or two later because the property backed onto a greenbelt. Probably not an issue in many parts of the country but may well be a concern in others. OTH I soon found insurance with another company, without problem. The house location was not an issue to them.

    On another occasion an insurance co. declined coverage for me because the address I was living at during escrow (temporarily moved in with my son while between house sale and purchase) was documented as having a claim against it. A few months earlier, my son had claimed against his own Ins. co for major water damage following a malfunction of his dishwasher. The insurance companies obviously share data and used his claim to deny my coverage because I used his address as mine during escrow.

    Though the latter issue is not one which would generally come up during a HI. However, if the client has made past claims on a previous property, an insurance company may 'look' for other reasons not to provide coverage on their new home if certain issues are already 'red-flagged' .


  54. #54
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    It may simply be a computer thing, not something anyone actually "looked for" or "used" to deny your insurance. There's probably a search built into their system looking for recent claims at current addresses, and it popped up. The size of the claim, when it happened, along with any other concerns go into a risk analysis that determines your insurability.

    Did you explain that you were living there temporarily?

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  55. #55
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Kristi
    Computer search or otherwise, 'I' was still shown (though incorrectly) as a risk and coverage denied. After which, I did explain that my son was the claimant and and my wife and I were living at his home temporarily. After several days (by which time I had otained coverage from another agent and company), the Agent offered coverage but with a different company at a much higher premium.

    Both my son's agent (and carrier) were completely different to the one I had contacted - even in different parts of Ca. so obviously there is some tracking system in place. The point is the initial coverage was denied without explanation until I delved into the reason. One of the questions - as on (I presume) all applications for coverage is - "Have you ever been denied coverage by another insurance company." I answered truthfully but again had to explain etc.


  56. #56
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    That's interesting that the companies share info. I guess it's to all their benefit to do so, and it's no great surprise.

    Also interesting that they denied coverage without telling you why. I've often wondered what kinds of things from my reports were revealed to the policyholder. (Not that this situation can be extrapolated to a generalization, but still.) I'm not suppose to tell the HO anything I find, but it concerns me that some safety issues I write up are never passed on.

    Garry said,
    "The insurance companies work harder today at reducing their exposure to claims to the point that as many potential risks have been removed and that probability is on their side. Its about profit with as little risk as possible."
    I think it's true that insurance companies have changed. I believe it's partly due to the many natural catastrophes that have struck in the last few years, and I've heard that companies are finding they've underinsured many properties. I imagine that this could result in two strategies: some companies may have become very choosy in who they insure to minimize their risk (and offer lower premiums), while for others it's not so much about removing risk as balancing it with premiums high enough to cover loss. I suspect many concerns (risks) aren't reported to the HO because follow-up measures to see whether the HO has eliminated those concerns are in themselves an expense. Cheaper to just account for them in the premium.

    I've been thinking about this insurance stuff, and the statistics behind it. I don't know for sure, but I would imagine that the data are fed into a program that takes into account the replacement costs on one hand, and the dwelling and liability risks on the other, giving each risk a "weight" (importance). Then it spits out a number for a premium, or rejects the policy.

    This means that, while there are "red flags," risks that some companies consider too great to take, it can be hard to single out a factor that dealt the final blow to a policy, or made it particularly expensive. Even things like surrounding properties (if vacant, subject to fire, business with high volume foot traffic) neighborhood (reflecting rates of crime) and region (storm/earthquake probability) may affect the outcome.

    Policyholders should always ask what hazards counted against them in the determination process, since some are cheaply and easily fixed, and may escape the notice of a HI.

    Companies sometimes accept a policy for a house in the process of being sold, basing it on the sellers policy, then after sending someone like me out to evaluate it once the sale goes through, reject or change the policy.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  57. #57
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I wonder how long it will be before insurance companies request a copy of the Inspection Report?


  58. #58
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    It's already starting, Ian. I have had a call from an insurance company asking what I had reported about a certain roof. Easy to answer, I simply referred them back to my client.


  59. #59
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    I wonder how long it will be before insurance companies request a copy of the Inspection Report?
    May already do here, Ian.


  60. #60
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I just found out a few days ago that at least one insurance company won't insure a home that doesn't have at least 100' of defensible space if it's in a rural fire hazard area, which basically is all of the rural area in San Diego County. The law now requires 100' of defensible space so the insurance companies are probably looking at that. I suspect this isn't the only one.


  61. #61
    Russel Ray's Avatar
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    The insurance company that refused to insure the home was AAA. The insurance company that insured them was Foremost.


  62. #62
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    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    I don’t think you want to go there. It’s not your job to determine insurability. Only to report on conditions observed.

    Your suggested wording implies you are trying to force an issue / replacement / correction. Ultimately though it’s up to the buyer what they are willing to accept.

    For questionable items our reports say, “…recommend checking with your insurer for acceptability.” That’s sufficient IMHO. You’ve met your fiduciary duty by raised the concern / awareness of a potential issue.

    Saying more (doing quasi underwriting) is stepping outside of the bounds of what a HI is qualified to do.

    Besides, there is no such thing as “uninsurable.” For a price somebody somewhere will insure anything.


  63. #63
    Russel Ray's Avatar
    Russel Ray Guest

    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Harbeck View Post
    Besides, there is no such thing as “uninsurable.” For a price somebody somewhere will insure anything.
    Not true. Insurance is regulated in all 50 states, so even if an insurance company wanted to charge $500,000 to insure a $25 million home, and the homeowner was willing to pay it, the Insurance Commissioner would probably consider it gouging and not allow it.

    Insurance companies have regulations that they have to abide by if they want to maintain their state licenses.


  64. #64
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Sounds to me like you HI's are helping the loathsome Insurance Industry by spreading fear as though they are the AHJ.
    If the existing home in question is in good repair and all was code the time of installations, then there is no need to make mention of anything else.

    Let the damnmed Insurance Industry do their own dirty work.
    I love it when I am consulted by a new owner that has an issue with an Insurance Co..
    If the issue of concern is in good repair and meets code for the time of installation, I report that just. Furthermore, I write a certificate of approval and state that the issue 'does not' need to be repaired/replaced.
    That usually shut the greedy mouths of the Ins. Co.


  65. #65
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: What issues are insurance Show stoppers?

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    Sounds to me like you HI's are helping the loathsome Insurance Industry by spreading fear as though they are the AHJ.
    If the existing home in question is in good repair and all was code the time of installations, then there is no need to make mention of anything else.

    Let the damnmed Insurance Industry do their own dirty work.
    I love it when I am consulted by a new owner that has an issue with an Insurance Co..
    If the issue of concern is in good repair and meets code for the time of installation, I report that just. Furthermore, I write a certificate of approval and state that the issue 'does not' need to be repaired/replaced.
    That usually shut the greedy mouths of the Ins. Co.
    So, out of curiosity, why do you characterize the whole industry as loathsome? I don't really have an opinion on the subject, but for the sake of argument: insurance companies are for-profit like most other businesses, they perform a very valuable service, and they have their share of risk.

    "Spreading fear"? How so? Like it or not, there are some things that many insurance companies are wary of, and it would be better all around if homeowners knew what they were. I see the same easily-fixed hazards (by insurance definition) over and over.

    I agree that it's not an HI's job to know about such problems, but if one happens to see something that is likely to be an insurance problem, why not report it as such (or even casually mention it), and suggest bringing it up with the insurer?

    It's not "dirty work" to accurately assess replacement costs and hazards, it's how the business needs to be conducted.

    "If the existing home in question is in good repair and all was code the time of installations, then there is no need to make mention of anything else."

    And what about the grandfathered safety issues, or ones concerning certain products? Stab Lok panels, K&T wiring?

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

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