So they are going to inspect my property. What do I do?
Each year or when you get a new policy, the carrier will send out an inspector that looks at the outside of property. You or your tenant may or may not be home. If you are they may introduce themselves and may ask some questions. They are given a check list from your insurance carrier and have to report back to them what they observe or what they are told. The reason is to make sure that the property meets the carriers underwriting guidelines. Usually this is done within 60 days after a policy is put in place and 60 days before or after your renewal depending on the carrier.
Here are some common issues you can take care of ahead of time.
1. Trees overhanging the roof. This one happens pretty often. Trim the tree limbs away from the roof ahead of time. Tree limbs could fall and damage the roof, or if the tree catches fire it could easily spread to the roof and the rest of the dwelling. Rodents and other critters could use it to infest your home.
2. Peeling paint / damaged stucco. If you have peeling paint on roof overhangs, trim or walls the carrier will often want you to paint it. Paint acts as a barrier for moisture and wind and helps prevent the material underneath from rotting and spreading to the rest of the structure. Many clients paint the trim themselves in a few hours.
3. Personal items / debris in the yard and on patios. Ok, I know it hard to keep the yard clean with the dog, the kids, etc. But what carriers are looking at is 2 things. 1. Do you store stuff in your yard? If so, there’s a higher chance it will be stolen or damaged resulting in a claim. 2. It makes it harder for emergency personnel to get to you if they have to vault the stove, dirt bike, and sofa to get to the front or back door. Tidy the yard up once a week at least. Store what you can in the garage or a shed. Throw out, yard sale, recycle or better still donate old furniture, appliances etc. Many communities have a free dumb day where you can bring things to them to dispose of. Contact your city or local newspaper.
4. CALL IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS! Getting an unsatisfactory inspection notice can be unsettling and confusing. Call your agent or carrier. Often times the fixes are simple and can be cleared up with just a little work.