Insurance Inspections in Maine : What to Expect

Insurance inspection is common in Maine. Home and investment property insurers routinely inspect properties that they protect. Because of more severe property insurance losses in recent years, insurers have stepped up the rate of inspections. Inspections allow them to make sure that they insure properties that fit their guidelines and that those properties are adequately protected.

Is an Insurance Inspection Mandatory?

Inspections are expensive for insurance companies, so they don’t perform them unless they feel it’s necessary. Often, one of these conditions can cause an underwriter to order an inspection on your property:

  • You bought a new property.
  • You switched insurance to a new company. The new company wants to make sure that your home or business meets their underwriting requirements.
  • You had a recent property claim. The insurance company may want to make sure that you have repaired the damage following your claim. This is especially common after a water damage loss, to avoid mold developing.
  • You own property that the insurance company hasn’t inspected in several years. Over time, DIY renovations; property improvements and additions; or lack of maintenance can create situations that can increase the probability or size of an insurance claim. The insurance company wants to make sure that your policy stays up to date in case they have to pay a claim.

inspectorCan I Opt Out of an Insurance Inspection?

Every insurance policy is a contract. Each policy has an “inspection clause”, which gives the insurance company the right to inspect your property with reasonable advance notice. If you refuse, it’s a violation of the contract. The insurance company can cancel your policy as a result.

Does the Insurance Inspector Need to Get Inside my Home?

There are two types of insurance home and business inspections: exterior only; and interior/exterior. The company underwriter decides which report to order based upon the age and value of your property, your claim history, and other factors. Some inspectors are employees of the insurance company, but many are independent contractors.

What Does an Inspector Look For?

Insurance Inspector Should

During a routine inspection, the inspector looks for features of your home or investment property that can affect the probability or the severity of an insurance claim. Items they typically inspect include:

  • Condition of
    • roof, including age of shingles, overhanging trees and accumulation of debris or vegetation
    • plumbing fixtures, drains and supply lines
    • electrical, including wiring, outlets and breaker boxes
    • heating and similar systems.
  • General property condition, paying particular notice to peeling paint; signs of rot; debris in the yard; and overhanging trees or vegetation close to the property. Because of an increase in deck collapse claims, insurers pay special attention to how your deck or porch is attached to the home, and its overall condition.
  • Special hazards such as dogs; trampolines;  swimming pools; or business operations.
  • Condition of any outbuildings or other structures.
  • Dimensions of structures, so they can estimate the cost to rebuild them.

What Happens During an Insurance Inspection?

The inspector sends their report to the insurance company underwriter. If no deficiencies are noted, you will probably not hear from anyone. If the underwriter has concerns, they make “recommendations” to address them. For more information about insurance recommendations and how to deal with them, read “Can My Insurance Company Force Me to Make Changes to My Property?”

If you have a question about Greater Portland Maine home or investment property insurance,  contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer you a choice of Maine’s property insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.