25 Apr 7 Home Insurance Questions Answered in your Inspection Report
Home insurance companies want to know the condition of your home before insuring the property.
When purchasing home insurance, you will be asked a series of questions about the building. Some of these, you will be able to answer with ease, for example, you’ll likely already know the year the building was constructed, and the neighbourhood.
Other questions can be a little more challenging. For example, you might be asked about the year or condition of your furnace, heat pump, water heater, roof and more. If they are outdated and/or at the end of their life span, you could be liable to pay a large deductible if there is a fire, water damage or other claims you want to make on the building.
When calling the insurance company, keep your home inspection report handy. Most of the questions you will be asked will be answered in the report. Take note – it’s a good idea to be aware of the age of the equipment in your home, and what needs to be replaced, and when.
These are the items your insurer is very likely to ask about:
If the date and expiry is not apparent on the water heater, your home inspector likely consulted a chart. Check the Plumbing section of your home inspection report. If you still can’t find it, try consulting the Building Intelligence centre.
Much pre-1960’s plumbing was installed using galvanized steel. These are usually corroded and plugged up. The hot water pipes are usually the first to go, and you’ll notice the most when you realize how low the water pressure is. Insurance companies prefer you update the plumbing. If the pipes are visible, your home inspection report will indicate that you galvanized steel in the Plumbing section.
The insurance company will likely want to know if your electrical system is at least 100 amp. If your house was built before 1940, it could have a 60 amp service and knob and tube wiring. 60 amp service is inconvenient, but not necessarily a danger. Knob and tube wiring however, if overloaded, can catch fire. Find this information in the report under the Electrical section.
A sump pump ensures your basement doesn’t flood by removing water from around the basement foundation. A sump pump needs to be tested on a regular basis. Find out if your building has a sump pump in the Plumbing section of your home inspection report.
The insurance company will want to know when the roof was installed or last replaced. The condition of the roof can be found in the Roofing section of the inspection report. No comment likely means it’s okay. You can also look in the vendor declaration to see if the seller has reported on the year the roof was installed or repaired.
If you’re heating with oil, the biggest concern is that your oil tank may be reaching the end of its life, and leaking could be a risk. This can lead to soil contamination. It can also cause a fire. The year and condition of the tank will be indicated in your home inspection report if it can be identified. Find this information in the Heating section of the report. You can also look in the vendor declaration for information.
If you have no plumbing fixtures in the basement, you won’t likely have a backflow valve. A recent renovation where a basement bathroom was added is a classic example of this being a problem. A backflow valve ensures wastewater from sinks and toilets flow out of the home, and prevents a backup of sewage going into your plumbing from the city’s sewer system. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to install this, not the city. You will find information about your backflow valve in the Plumbing section of your home inspection report.
Fire, Theft and Water Leak Alarm
Note: We often get asked about fire and theft alarms. Fire alarms and theft are not in your report. Water leak alarms have only been on the market for a few years; these battery-powered water alarms can be installed in bathrooms near toilets, under sinks, near hot water heaters or washing machines and when water touches the built-in sensor, an alarm will sound. The AIBQ (Quebec Association of Inspectors) does not require these being noted in the inspection report. Check with the vendor about information on the alarm systems.