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InspectorPro Insurance

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  1. InspectorPro Insurance

    2019 | Top 5 Claims Against Home Inspectors

    Happy New Year, inspectors! We wish you all success in 2019. To start off the new year, we wanted to revisit our earlier article on the Top 5 Claims, which we've also been addressing in the ASHI Reporter. We thought it would be helpful to share real claims from our archives so that you could see that types of allegations coming in, how they're addressed, and what you can do to protect your business. Check out an excerpt below. Best, Stephanie --- Last year, we published an infographic featuring the top five claims home inspectors face each year and what you can do to mitigate your risk. One year later, those allegations--water damage, roof issues, foundation defects, mold, and plumbing problems--continue to be common. We revisit each claim type by looking at recent claims from our archives and the lessons we can learn from each of them. 1. Water Damage A year and a few months after the inspection, a home inspector received an attorney letter demanding thousands in repair expenses. The claimants, a married couple, alleged that the home inspector failed to report significant defects to the property's front stoop. Since the inspection, water had entered the basement between the front porch and the vinyl siding, causing damage to the home. The claimants argued that they could have avoided this damage had the inspection report provided more information. By the time the inspector received the attorney letter, the claimants had already removed and replaced the stoop. The construction company that repaired the stoop had written a five-page letter on the claimants? behalf. In that letter, the company argued that the inspector had failed to perform an adequate inspection. The inspector should have noticed the "musty smell" in the basement, the company argued. He photographed but did not call out the water stains on the exterior siding, the company wrote. Lastly, the company stated, the inspector should have made recommendations to prevent future water intrusion. But the construction company's letter was inaccurate. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors' (ASHI) Standard of Practice (SOP), the home inspector was "NOT required to determine the strength, adequacy, effectiveness, and efficiency of systems and components." The home inspector was only required to report on and describe the type of materials used, which he did. Further, the home inspector identified that the owners had made repairs to the stoop. He then recommended that the claimants monitor those repairs to ensure they were sufficient. Thus, the water staining the inspector photographed and reported was redundant; the owners had already disclosed the damage, so the staining provided no basis for further action. Find out how the above claim and four others were resolved and what you can learn from them by clicking "Read More" below. [READ MORE]
  2. Hi TJI Readers! Stephanie here with InspectorPro Insurance. We've been putting out a bunch of educational material for home inspectors, and we'd love to share it with you. You don't have to be insured with us (or insured at all) to benefit from most of the articles, which focus on risk management and business growth. Read our latest article by clicking here, or start with the excerpt below. The article discusses the power of inspection photos and suggests a few often overlooked shots you can be taking to protect your business. We even share several examples of actual claims to show how inspection photos can help stifle allegations. I'll make a point to post excerpts and links to the articles more in the future. Enjoy! Stephanie Jaynes Content Marketing Manager InspectorPro Insurance ### 3 inspection photos you should take to manage your risk In North Carolina, a home inspector performed an inspection on a property that had been vacant for about 18 months. During the home inspection, the inspector ran the water in the various fixtures, including the shower directly above the kitchen. The inspector photographed the kitchen, including the ceiling, which, at the time, showed no signs of any deficiencies. Upon moving in, the clients found a large water stain above the kitchen sink and below the master bath?s shower. The fact that the stain was dry created some suspicion as to how long the stain had been present. The claimants alleged that the stain must have been there all along. However, the inspection photos showed the exact area now exhibiting a water stain. The photos revealed that there was no staining at the time of the inspection. It was possible that the shower test caused the water damage. However, the inspector could not be responsible for the damage caused during the course of normal inspection operations. In case you haven?t heard it enough, here?s the old adage again: A picture is worth 1,000 words. In an industry like home inspections, photos can do wonders. They can help inspection clients understand your findings and put them into context. They can bring reports filled with descriptions laced with technical jargon to life. .... In this article, we go over a few of the essential but often overlooked inspection photos you should take at your inspections. While not technically exhaustive, this list serves as a reminder of what a powerful risk management tool inspection photos can be. After all, one of these inspection photos could help you stifle a claim. [READ MORE]
  3. InspectorPro Insurance

    3 inspection photos you should take to manage your risk

    Good points, @Marc. Performing home inspections and resolving claims are different animals. While our article focuses on inspection photos, "well chosen [words]" and overall proficient inspections are also important to both inspecting and mitigating risk.
  4. InspectorPro Insurance

    3 inspection photos you should take to manage your risk

    @John Kogel, both the things you mentioned are great risk management techniques. We've seen several claims dismissed with photos not from the report itself but in the inspector's records. Similarly, the notes that we've seen home inspectors take for themselves to clarify pictures or findings have helped them remember properties 100s of inspections later.
  5. InspectorPro Insurance

    3 inspection photos you should take to manage your risk

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Fair point, @ejager, that it's not so much 3 photos as it is 3 types of photos or even methodologies. However, other than that, I think we're more on the same page than you realize. We also don't advocate further skewing client expectations by going far beyond the scope of an inspection with things like pictures of all sides of pristine appliances and unnecessary measurements of the property. Instead, we encourage home inspectors to take photos as they go that create a solid record of what the property looked like on the day of the inspection. Doing so helps them to explain and defend their inspection findings. (See @Mike Lamb, @inspector57, and @Jim Baird's replies as they are good examples of the principle we described in action.) At the end of the day, risk management is all about what you can do to protect your business. Inspection photos are one of the many avenues inspectors can and should take to mitigate risk. It's up to each individual inspector's best judgment to decide what is and isn't relevant when they're taking photos and putting them in the report. However, in our decade's worth of claims experience, we've found that home inspectors do best when they take more photos rather than less and when they have at least a few "big picture" photos and/or photos that show what they observe.
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