As a Realtor in Southwest Michigan, I find it important for homeowners to know something about homeowners insurance, particularly when it comes to inspections. Most of the time their home is inspected and they never see the inspector. The main reason is that home insurance inspections are mainly done from the exterior, and the inspector dropped by during a weekday when they were not at home.
An insurance inspector is the eyes and ears for the insurance underwriter, the professional person behind your homeowners insurance policy. The inspector will take note of the distance your home is from a fire hydrant, and also the distance from the fire department. If you are home, they will ask you whether there are fire extinguishers and smoke detectors on each level of the home. They will also ask whether there are deadbolts on the exterior doors, and whether or not you have a wood burning stove.
On the exterior of a home, they are going to take a front and back photograph of the house and any out buildings. They will also photograph the roof. Among other things they are looking for are hazards. Hazards are essentially anything that can place another at risk of injury, or cause damge to the property.
Hazards can include swimming pools without a fenced, or locked gate. Also things like
treehouses, vicious dogs or even a trampoline without a protective net. They will also note hanging electrical wires, missing gutters, missing downspouts, trees overhanging the roof, and flaking paint. There could be numerous types of hazards, but these are the main ones that will draw attention to the inspector.
Other things that can get noted as a hazard is abandoned vehicles in the yard, flamable chemicals stored next to a house or structure and junk in the yard. With regards the roof they are looking for missing, curling or lifting shingles. Also moss on a roof, or missing flashing on a chimney will be noted. If the chimney is missing tuck pointing, or is leaning, it will also be noted.
All of these things can have a negative impact on your premium, and in some cases may even result in being denied for coverage. That all depends on the insurance carrier that is writing the policy, and thus one can see that having hazards on a property can limit the field for you in terms of shopping for a policy. So if you want to reduce your costs, consider addressing these things if they exist in your home, and talk to your insurance agent.