Why Insurers Inspect Basements: Inspections and Insurance Matters

When you apply to insure your house, the insurance company will likely inspect the property to set premiums. This kind of home inspection thus hinges on the property’s age and condition in line with the weather of the area. You can expect the inspector to cover the exterior and interior parts of the house, including your basement, which is prone to flooding.

Indeed, home inspections are critical to checking defects and repairs. They are prerequisites to insuring your home and protecting your assets. This leads you to the importance of understanding the finer workings of your homeowners insurance. How can it protect your basement as you’ve worked hard to convert it into a living space with bathroom and amenities?

Read up on inspections, insurance intricacies, and basements here.

Home Inspections for Various Purposes

When you buy a house, you need to hire a home inspector who will check the house’s structural and mechanical aspects. This professional will conduct a general assessment, also known as real estate home inspection. The goal is to apprise you of issues that need to be fixed and the possible costs for such repairs. If you are financing the purchase, the lender wants to know that the house is worth the mortgage money.

On the other hand, an insurance company inspects for loss prevention and possible liability risks. Called insurance home inspection, home insurance inspection, or four-point inspection, the evaluation centers on these aspects of the house:

  1. Roof
  2. Plumbing
  3. Electrical system
  4. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)

If your house fails real estate home inspection, you may not be eligible for homeowners insurance. You may be given time to fix these defects and comply with the insurer’s conditions.

It’s also possible for insurance companies to conduct random inspections to check on your property. As with the scenario above, they may ask you to resolve the detected issues or not renew your policy at all.

Basements and Insurance Policies

Flooded basements are a common occurrence. Your homeowners insurance covers water damage, right? The answer depends on the circumstances and distinctions set out in your policy.

Examples:

  • The water damage has to satisfy the conditions of being sudden and accidental (e.g., a burst pipe).
  • You may be reimbursed for costs associated with replacing your damaged basement floor, but not the value of the washing machine or appliance that malfunctioned.
  • Insurance won’t pay for water damage arising from neglect or poor maintenance. Water seepage is considered a maintenance problem, so it’s not covered.
  • The swimming pool overflows, and your basement gets flooded. A standard homeowners insurance covers this event.
  • Flooding because of natural forces like heavy rains is excluded from standard homeowners insurance like HO-3. The disaster is not among the 16 perils. You have to take out separate flood insurance for this damage and another for earthquakes.
  • Sewer backup is not included in typical homeowners insurance because it involves costly repairs. However, you may get an endorsement to add it to your home insurance.
  • Toilet overflow may be covered if it’s not related to sewer backup, but that still depends on the insurance carrier.

It’s critical to read and look into how your insurance company views claims. The company can assert that the cause of the water damage arose from a maintenance issue and will find proof for it. This will not bode well with your intention to recoup losses from property damage.

What are the extent of the coverage, exclusions and inclusions, and procedures for filing claims? Focus on familiarizing the basics of your insurance policy.

Protecting Your Finished Basement

Your basement demands that you have the right insurance policy(ies). The next time the insurance home inspector comes around, discuss the work you’ve done in the basement to protect it adequately. You may also ask your insurance agent about it.

From your end, you can do these to protect your investment:

  • Install a sump pump, which removes water and prevents flooding.
  • Use a toilet with discharge system meant for basements. For as long as you don’t flush hard-to-grind materials for the macerator, your toilet won’t clog and overflow.

Now, you know the deal about insurers inspecting basements and insurance matters concerning your property.

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