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Hi TIJ Readers! Wondering how you can better prevent claims? Or what it would be like to have a claim? To try to help answer these questions, we publish details from actual home inspection insurance claims every few months. We hope you enjoy our latest case study. Best, Stephanie The Sinking Yard: A Home Inspection Insurance Claim The following is a real home inspector case study from our insurance claim archives. In order to protect the insured's identity, all identifiable characteristics?including names, associations, and locations?have been omitted or removed. "You have been sued. You may employ an attorney. If you or your attorney do not file a written answer with the clerk who issued this citation by 10:00 a.m. on the Monday next following the expiration of twenty days after you were served this citation and petition, a default judgment may be taken against you." That was how home inspector Nathan Cross' letter from the state began. According to the state, former home inspection clients Patrick and Miranda Spence were suing Cross and the sellers for "deceptive trade practices," "breach of contract," "economic and actual damages," and "intentional damages by omissions." The Complaint Unbeknownst to Cross, the property used to have a swimming pool. The sellers had filled the pool in and covered it up prior to putting the house on the market. The sellers did not disclose the pool's existence to either the Spences nor Cross. So, when Cross performed his inspection, there were no visible signs of a pool in the backyard, nor were there any visible defects. Thus, Cross' inspection report did not indicate any issues in the backyard. About a year after the inspection, indentations began to appear in the backyard. Upon investigating the property's tax records, the Spences discovered that a pool had existed prior to them moving in. (The covered pool was not in the sellers' disclosure.) They surmised that the sellers must have improperly filled the pool, which led to developing indentations. Now, a full year and a half after Cross' inspection, the Spences were taking legal action. The Spences demanded "monetary relief of $100,000 or less, including damages of any kind, penalties, costs, expenses, pre-judgment interest, and attorney fees." [READ MORE]
Hi TIJ Readers! For the first article of the month, we really wanted to address an industry pain point: fear of the insurance company. Most of the time, if inspectors delay or avoid reporting complaints, it's because they're afraid that the insurance company will mishandle them and/or up their premiums. But, there are lots of reasons why reporting claims early is important?and many of those reasons involve home inspectors saving money. We hope to shed some light on a few of those benefits. Enjoy! Stephanie How To Save Money By Reporting Claims Early Let's face it: Insurance companies have a bad reputation. Most people don't trust insurance carriers (let alone like them). And, while many people learn this distrust from others, some learn it from bad experiences with the insurance companies themselves. With a culture of skepticism surrounding insurers, it isn't surprising why home inspectors don't want to report complaints to their providers before they turn into claims. After all, isn't free legal help with no effect to your premiums too good to be true? Not here at InspectorPro. In fact, not only do most policies come with free pre-claims assistance, but most policies also have a Waiver of Deductible Endorsement. In Part 2 of our deductible discount series, we break down how Waiver of Deductible Endorsements like the one we offer here at InspectorPro can save you money. (For those of you who missed Part 1, you can check it out here.) You can save money by reporting claims early. When you report a claim, the most you will owe your insurance carrier is your deductible. However, there are ways to pay less. You can receive discounts by reporting your claims promptly. In a recent article for the Insurance Risk Management Institute (IRMI), risk manager Christopher Mandel explained the importance of reporting claims early: "All insurance claims must be 'reported' to be investigated and resolved. The timing of this most important first step in the claim administration process is critical as it is well established that the more quickly claims are reported, the more likely it is that all relevant evidence can be secured, and the more efficiently the claim will be resolved. And, often, doing so often leads to lower claim costs." Since timing can play a pivotal role in claims handling, many insurance companies offer early reporting incentives in the form of deductible waiver endorsements of up to 50 percent off to encourage insureds to quickly report potential claims to the insurance company. Let's go over some of the key characteristics of early reporting incentives. [READ MORE]
Hey TIJ Readers! Long time since I last posted. National Home Inspection Month was a busy one for us with our funny home inspection story contest and our first-ever guest-written article. (You can read the top stories from the contest here and Randy's article here.) Since so many of our articles focus on errors and omissions issues, we decided it was time to share a story from our archives that addressed a general liability problem. What makes this one interesting, too, is that it addresses not only the power of pre-claims assistance but the power of a well-written report. You can read the full story on our website here. Or, feel free to check out that preview below. Have a great rest of your inspection week! Stephanie How one inspection report saved thousands of dollars The following is a real home inspector general liability pre-claim from our archives. The inspector has given us permission to reveal his identity and to use direct quotes from our post-pre-claim interview. Pre-claims assistance is exactly what it sounds like: It's free help responding to unhappy clients in a way that may prevent said clients from making any demands. Here at InspectorPro, we define a claim as a written demand for money, which Latham had yet to receive. However, for readers who don't insure with us yet, do keep in mind that every insurance company is unique and definitions can vary. Be sure to read a copy of your policy to be sure of how your company defines a claim. To learn more about pre-claims assistance, read this recent article. The cracked tile While performing a routine home inspection in Oregon, Aaron Latham of Sunrise Inspection, Inc. made what he described as "a very rookie mistake." He set a round, metal flashlight on top of the property's kitchen island. As round objects do, the flashlight rolled off the island. It hit the ground and put a hairline crack in one of the tiles. Realizing that he'd made a mistake, Latham documented both the existing tiles that were cracked and the one tile he cracked with his flashlight in his inspection report. Shortly after purchasing the house?for several thousand dollars less than the asking price due to inspection findings, according to the real estate agent?the agent called about the tile. Latham agreed that he did, in fact, damage one tile, and asked the agent to obtain an estimate. At the time, Latham guessed that they'd quote about $100. "Well, here's the issue," the agent said. "We can't find tile that matches the existing tile, and the seller didn't have any spare tile on hand. What we were hoping is that you would replace the entire floor." That's when Latham called our pre-claims assistance team. [READ MORE]