Is this insurance company inspection legit?
January 21, 2005 11:24 PM   Subscribe

I just got a letter from my home insurance company (US) saying I need to have an inspection. I've been with them for over 3 years, no claims. Should I be worried? Are they setting me up to cancel my insurance? I've not heard of such a thing before. I'm considering calling my mortgage company, and asking if this is SOP.

I live in a working class town, house built in 1926, in decent shape. I've been making repairs as I could afford them (and figure out how to do them). Because of the age of the house, I'm sure they could find something nasty, if they were really looking.
posted by QIbHom to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Have you considered cloaking your Klingon vessel?;-)
More practically, the insurance dudes never asked for a tour of our previous house, but the same company did ask for access to this house. We did not respond to their request, and one day a stranger with a camera came and snapped some pics of the outside. He was quite friendly and quick to identify himself when quizzed. Then he went away and we have heard no more about it. Our rate did not change.
The request may be an industry-wide attempt to have on file real records of insured properties. If you are worried, ask the insurer for an explanation.
We have no mortgage, so checking with a lender was not an option.
posted by Cranberry at 12:01 AM on January 22, 2005

I have never heard of an insurance company doing an inspection of a house. This sounds like one of those routine things no one has ever heard of a la Air America. Sounds like a setup to me.
posted by krisjohn at 4:00 AM on January 22, 2005

The question is, Is there any clause in your home owner's policy that requires you to do this? I've lived in my house for 8 years and had 2 claims, one over 5K... never been axed for an inspection.

Sounds fishy...
posted by pissfactory at 6:27 AM on January 22, 2005

it's becoming more common. they have been known to cancel based on old plumbing..etc
posted by glenwood at 6:33 AM on January 22, 2005

I've been with them for over 3 years, no claims. Should I be worried?

Probably. If you haven't had any claims, that means you haven't given them any reason to increase your rates, which means you're a deadbeat. Kind of like credit card companies getting rid of customers who always pay their bills on time. Unless you've got some clause in your contract, I wouldn't let them in. No good can come of this.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:46 AM on January 22, 2005

Seems a bit strange to me as well. I think I would just call your insurance agent and find out what the deal is.
posted by rglasmann at 6:48 AM on January 22, 2005

In South Africa it is not uncommon for such inspections. In part, they want to make sure you're not under insured, perhaps also over insured. But here, they have fabulous insurance that even covers accidental damage to important things like computers and other electroncis. Yet, my current insurer required no inspection, and wasn't even interested when I semi-requested it (I was answering questions about things I was uncertain).

Mind, I only get renters insurance, I move too often to own, and owning wasn't an option here for a couple reasons (like, 50% down for foreignors and a high rand against a low dollar).
posted by Goofyy at 7:20 AM on January 22, 2005

When I worked for an insurance company in college, it was quite common for the underwriting department to send an inspector out to older homes to take pictures of the roof, dwelling, etc. This was pretty common and triggered by the underwriting system when the policy was getting ready to renew. Usually, nothing came of them. Sometimes, though, the inspectors found things that hadn't been disclosed when the policy was written, like swimming pools without fences, certain breeds of "dangerous dogs", and unoccupied residences. At this particular company, it was common and usually didn't result in anything but a note on their files that said something like "dwelling as insured reported". I would guess that the inspection clause is somewhere in the wording of your original policy.
posted by cj at 9:30 AM on January 22, 2005

Mine did an inspection when I moved in and gave me a list of stuff to fix. When my sister refinanced her house, they came by to do an inspection. At least in the New England area, it seems fairly routine. Mostly they are looking for fire hazards, unsafe things that could hurt people [stair railings, rotten porches], and structural stuff like checking the roof and foundation. My understanding of this based on my limited experience is that they are making sure you haven't changed your house in a way that makes it unsafe, and that the place is still holding up pretty well. I had to fix some minor stuff on my place [cut down grass near barn, install stair railing, get another fire extinguisher] and my sister needed to replace some rotting porch wood in a specified amount of time [six months? somethign pretty reasonable] and that was it.
posted by jessamyn at 10:51 AM on January 22, 2005

Mine (Nationwide) just came by to do an inspection about 6 months ago. I have lived in the house since 1997 and have been with them the entire time -- this was the first time they did it.
They did not ask for access inside the house nor did they tell me when they were going to do it, just that they planned to do it and then they left a note saying they'd stopped by the day it happened.
I was kind of a bit creeped out by it as well -- but since I didn't have to physically do anything, I ignored it (was very busy at work at the time).
No recommendations were made, my premium did not change. So, not really sure what happened. maybe I keep my house in decent enough shape?
posted by j at 12:11 PM on January 22, 2005

This isn't the right time of year to eyeball the roof - we've got 8" of snow today, and it is still falling. On the other hand, only a masochist would go into the crawl space in this weather. They know about my dog and his breed, and charge me extra because he is half "vicious dog" (he is a chow cross).

It sounds like I shouldn't worry if they just do an external inspection, but that an internal inspection may be looking for reasons to cancel me.

I appreciate folks relating their experiences and advice. I'll call my insurance broker Monday, and ask him what is going on. Maybe I'll call the insurance company after that. I'll post back.
posted by QIbHom at 1:55 PM on January 22, 2005

Cranberry, my Klingon scout craft got towed for being a zoning violation. Seems one can't have a motorized vehicle in the yard around here, even cloaked.

Probably just as well. The electric bills for running the cloaking were really expensive.
posted by QIbHom at 1:58 PM on January 22, 2005

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