What You Need to Know About Florida Senate Bill 76, Home Inspections, and Insurance

The passing of Florida’s SB 76 has made home professional inspections more important than ever. In our neck of the woods, increasing storm and hurricane damage is the leading contributor of major homeowner’s insurance claims, while our west coast counterparts have homes going up in flames.

Insurance companies have taken a huge hit due to increasing natural disasters nationwide. Insurance carriers’ lobbyists are working hard to change the legislature to support responsible homeowners who follow their recommendations.

SB 76: The Basics & How They Apply to You

The recently-passed Florida SB 76 is dedicated to insurance reform. Insurance rates have gone up exponentially in the past decade, largely due to homeowners and contractors who took advantage of the system and building owners who carried insurance policies on structures that were not up to par.

SB 76 is devoted to keeping homeowners and insurance providers honest, so homes that deserve to be insured can be, and those that don’t qualify are ineligible for benefits that drive up their neighbors’ policy premiums. The basic premises of the bill are as follows:

  • Insurance companies have the right to refuse or restrict policies or claims for homes that do not pass roof and home inspections, have roofs that are 15 years old, lack proper wind mitigation, and homes where an inspection report cites a roof or has five- or fewer years left.
  • Limits the time building owners can file a claim after the damage occurred
  • Restricts contractors’ ability to solicit roof repairs or replacements or other forms of storm damage repair or replacements.
  • It gives insurance companies the right to refuse or limit policies for buildings that lack adequate storm protection.
  • Allows insurance companies the right to refuse or restrict claims if homeowners can’t prove their home and its structural systems weren’t maintained as per the manufacturer’s (or the insurance company’s) recommendations.

The goal of these and other changes to the insurance industry is to create a healthier balance between premium policy payments and buildings worthy of insuring. That’s the juncture where the professional home inspection industry enters the picture.

A Home Inspection Pass is Your Ticket to Affordable Insurance

Your clear home inspection pass is a first-class ticket to affordable homeowner’s insurance. The second-class ticket proves to your insurance company that you’ve made the changes, repairs, or replacements recommended on a “red flag” inspection report. 

The good news is that reputable companies offer 24-hour turnaround times, which means you have virtually instant access that can instantly shift policy payments or gets you the info you need to hire qualified contractors that can help.

Here are specific examples of how scheduling a home inspection supports your home insurance policy, not to mention occupant safety and peace of mind.

Home inspections lead to more affordable premiums

Insurance companies reward home and business owners who abide by their rules and recommendations when it comes to building systems, maintenance, repair, and replacement. Your ability to comply with their recommendations means lowered premiums that exponentially add up over the years and decades of your home’s lifetime.

Visit our post, How to Lower Your Home Insurance Premiums, for more specifics.

Schedule the right type of inspection

Speak with your insurance policy representative and ask what they’re looking for. If you just moved into an older but new-to-you home, they may request a full home inspection report. Or, insurance carriers may specify they want your inspection to include infrared inspection technology that “looks” at interior spaces of the home for rot, mold/mildew, moisture, or other structural damage that may not be visible from an exterior roof/wall/crawl space inspection.

If, however, you’ve moved into a newer home or you’ve just finished a custom home build, carriers may recommend scheduling an inspection that looks at specific areas of your home’s structural system rather than a whole-home inspection. For example, a newer home may only need a wind mitigation inspection solely geared to proving the home has properly installed wind mitigation features.

NOTE: Even a brand new home benefits from a wind mitigation inspection. Most reputable insurance providers want to have a third-party inspector verify the quality of the roof, roof-to-wall connections, garage door, adjacent landscaping, etc., to ensure your home is protected. Unfortunately, even the best roofers can miss accidental nail penetrations or seemingly small installation errors that lead to a roof failure in hurricane-force wind and rain conditions.

Read 10 Key Elements of a Wind Inspection to understand why they are essential regardless of whether you own a new home or one that is decades old.

Insurance isn’t the only way you’ll save money

Insurance premium savings are compelling. However, investing in a four-point or full home inspection saves homeowners money in additional ways. 

  • Improved energy-efficiency. Our four-point and full home inspections evaluate all of the major players in a whole-home energy system. We include roofing systems and insulation checks, a look at the HVAC system and components, home ventilation system(s), and the electrical system. Any inefficiencies due to age, wear-and-tear, or lack of maintenance cost you money in terms of wasted utility spending.
  • Reduced maintenance. Your inspection report provides detailed information about necessary annual and routine maintenance to keep your structural and heating/ventilation systems working efficiently. Maintaining your home as per the builder’s, manufacturer’s, and insurance company recommendations means less overall money spent on heavier repairs or parts replacement.

    Ask your preferred roofing and HVAC contractors if they offer customer membership programs. These are a great way to ensure your home’s structural systems and HVAC system are inspected and maintained regularly. Their resulting proof of maintenance documentation is exactly what insurance companies want to see to renew your policy at the lowest possible rates.
  • Lifetime savings on major home repairs and replacements. The better you maintain things, the less often you’ll need larger repairs or replacements that cost more than the little items contractors can fix along the way. The membership programs we mentioned above typically include notable discounts for program members. But, even without that benefit, your routine attention to maintenance catches small items before they become larger and costlier to repair.

Are you unsure of which home inspection makes the most sense for you? Then, read our post on How to Decide Which Home Inspection to Order.

You can also contact Super Inspection Pros at 386-279-0802 to learn more about how our fast, professional, and honest home inspection reports can help you get the best deal on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

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