If you own a House of Condo, your Insurance Company may soon be letting you know theyre sending out an inspector to check out your property.
Its part of the Industrys efforts to better know the amount of risk they have in your property, and what itll cost to rebuild.
But in most cases, it end up leaving you with higher insurance bills because the inspectors may cancel Mitigation Credits like storm shutters and roof reinforcements that have saved you money on your Bills.
Those credits, and the way homes are inspected, have been changed following intensive lobbying by the Insurance Industry to find ways of raising rates to better Capitalize their Florida Business. In simple language critics say, that means raising rates so they can earn bigger profits.
As it stands today, the Insurance Company picks its inspectors to check out your house. You have no choice. You cant refuse the inspections, or the company will probably cancel you or jack up your rates. If you disagree with the findings, you still have the right to contract your own inspection.
But under current law there is no independent mediation process, and companies are under no obligation to even read your inspectors report, much less over-rule their own inspectors.
Why should you care?
Because once the inspection report finds you cant prove your home meets the latest codes, your Insurance Companies will raise your rates and your bills will grow by hundreds of dollars a year.
I know, it happened to me.
An Insurance Company Inspector disqualified my storm shutters because he didnt find a small acceptance decal showing they were Code-Approved. He also said my roof wasnt built according to code because he couldnt see the extra roof bracing I had installed.
But my inspector found both with no problem and told me a qualified iosnweopctor would have been able to find both deficiencies.
Remember again, the Inspector is hired by the Insurance Company and NOT the homeowner.
The insurance company raised my rates about $1200 a year.
I dumped them and went with Citizens.
So how does the States Insurer of Last Resort handle its inspections?
We talked with Christine Ashburn, director of legislative and external affairs for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
Q. Can a homeowner challenge an inspection and ask that their inspection report be used instead of Citizens Inspector?
A. homeowner can dispute Citizens inspection findings by submitting documentation that clearly refutes the information collected during Citizens inspection. The findings of an inspection purchased by a homeowner generally will not supersede the findings of a Citizens inspection because a majority of homeowner purchased inspections do not include the same level of detail that a Citizens inspection contains nor the same documentation such as photographs to support the inspection findings. Photographs were only recently required to be submitted with wind mitigation inspections on June 1, 2010, so many of the homeowner inspections Citizens has on file have no supporting documentation accompanying them.
Citizens inspections go through a thorough quality review process and will document all of the wind mitigation features of the home including photographs of each feature where applicable. The inspection will also include the inspectors comments on each mitigation feature, which provides Citizens and homeowners insight into how the inspector arrived at his findings. This is not normally found in wind mitigation inspections purchased by homeowners.