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Dec 28, 2011

Home Inspectors Insurance – How to Avoid Claims – Part 2

This post is a follow up to our previous post for claim avoidance. Here are 2 more claim prevention tips…

3. Report of Observations: A common cause of lawsuits comes from assuming the sample inspection represents the whole structure. It is a fairly frequent occurrence for property owners to intentionally obstruct areas that may have defects. For example, faulty window flashing may be evident on three out of the fifteen windows in the home. If the property owners have prevented inspection of those windows state that in the report (3 of the 15 windows were obstructed from inspection). Documenting with photographs can help confirm your report and visually validate the reason for lacking an inspection. In addition, it is important to provide your expert opinion of the structure and not a definitive statement as to the condition of the structure. For example, with a well flow inspection, do not state the plumbing is in perfect condition; you haven’t seen all of the pipes. You can, however, state the plumbing system appears to be in proper working order based upon the well flow analysis.

4. Standardized Inspections: Using a standard template for all your inspections is important. If you perform multiple types of inspections (pest, residential, FHA, 1004D, etc.) having standardized templates for each class of inspection may make sense. Using such templates helps reduce potential errors. Having standardized documentation, photography, procedures, etc. reduces these errors. Property inspectors, whether part of a multi-inspector group or a sole-proprietor, need to have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). In a lawsuit this can help establish uniformity in your services and reduce the perception of inconsistency. Additionally, quick access to information can help curb a small concern before it grows into legal action. Standardized archiving and record keeping is essential for this as well.

As we mentioned earlier, even the best inspector can have an incident or claim. That’s why we carry insurance. Even the best of us can make mistakes and when they occur our insurance company can step in and defend us through to resolution. If you want to see what we have to offer submit an application for home inspector insurance. Or give us a call at 801-610-2700.

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