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chrisberg

Signed contract for insurance

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I just found out I am not covered by my insurance without a signed contract. I have a tough time getting clients to sign my contract due to the fact I do not have contact with 90% of my clients as they are buying property out of state. Is there a way to get a digital signature

before a client opens the inspection report? Would that satisfy the insurance company? Any recommendations on how to get the client to sign the contract? Sorry if this post is a little off topic.

Thanks in advance

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Clients have been signing my contract electronically for years, but that's done on my signature pad with the client present.

Why not Email the contract to them and have them fax the signed version back to you?

Marc

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I just found out I am not covered by my insurance without a signed contract. I have a tough time getting clients to sign my contract due to the fact I do not have contact with 90% of my clients as they are buying property out of state. Is there a way to get a digital signature

before a client opens the inspection report? Would that satisfy the insurance company? Any recommendations on how to get the client to sign the contract? Sorry if this post is a little off topic.

Thanks in advance

Email the contract to them and have them scan and email it back. If they can not scan it have them fax it. This is how I handle about 75% of my clients. My form also has a place for them to put down the CC information so I have payment up front before the inspection if they are not going to be at it. Makes life very simple....

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Or you could just drop the insurance. Take the amount you pay every year in insurance and place it in an account. In a few years you'd have enough saved to repair / replace or refund most anything you screwed up. Do every inspection like your being secertly investigated by 60 minutes and you won't miss much. Of course you still want a signed contract for other reasons, but insurance would not be one of my concerns.

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Ditto what Scott said. I e-mail all my contracts to my clients and get approximately 75% of them returned well before the inspection. I have copies of the contract as well as my invoice with me at the inspection and the client either brings the signed one with them or I have them then sign it at the inspection.

Payment is via cash/check at the time of the inspection.

I don't mess with Credit Cards and the fees anymore. Dropped that about a year ago and was pleased with not having to pay the fees ... which added up.

I have used PayPal occasionally depending upon the client's availability. I've had some clients in Europe, China or Iraq during the entire process and I just sent an invoice via that mode.

In nine years I've only had to chase two clients for a payment, but I did get it along with "handling" fees. I'm fortunate in that regard from some of the stories I've heard.

Bottom line ... not a big problem getting signed contracts handled.

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I email it to the client, then bring printed copies to the inspection and have them sign prior to the start of the inspection. If they are not attending then it's email, sign, scan and email back and also send a hard signed copy in the mail with payment.

I have also has good luck with payement, two only. One bad check, client came to my office the same day I called him and made good. The other was a check drawn on a closed account and the buyer promised to remit payment again. Never heard from him until an internet search revealed he was being indicted on a straw buying scheme in NJ. That money's history.

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Thanks for the replies! I have been getting my contracts signed before I release the inspection report. Most have faxed them and I have a few emailed ones. Now I have the insurance quote in front of me and the underwriter

has list of conditions. First I have to join a home inspection association. I need to add an exclusion for Chinese drywall to my contract. I also need to add wording in my contract for the $1500 deductable. I did some quick math and the policy and membership add about 40 bucks to each inspection. Are these normal policies of insurance providers?

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Who's the provider?

Nothing is normal in insurance. Their actuarial folks tell them what to say and do. It changes periodically.

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Thanks for the replies! I have been getting my contracts signed before I release the inspection report. Most have faxed them and I have a few emailed ones. Now I have the insurance quote in front of me and the underwriter

has list of conditions. First I have to join a home inspection association. I need to add an exclusion for Chinese drywall to my contract. I also need to add wording in my contract for the $1500 deductable. I did some quick math and the policy and membership add about 40 bucks to each inspection. Are these normal policies of insurance providers?

I've probably switched insurance 5 times in the last 10 or so years. I've never been asked to do more than fill out their multi-page applications.

Are you a newer inspector?

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I guess I need to shop around. I have been inspecting since 2002. I did the fast track inspection class at ITA which is now Kaplan School. I use the ITA Matrix Reporting system on my laptop. I have 24 years in the building industry and the last 15 yrs I have been building custom Spec homes. I have over 650 paid inspections. I am not a member of any home inspection association. I have never been asked about being a member in one. I live on the island of Kauai and do not have any plans to leave to inspect on the mainland. Hawaii has a very different building style than the mainland. We don't have freezing conditions so no heating source to inspect. We don't use insulation in the walls or attics. Mold is not much of an issue. Most home are on post and pier for ventilation. I have not had to inspect a basement. Its very rare that I come across a air conditioning unit. The oldest home I have inspected on this island was built in 1927. Most of the older home have been moved and were required to be brought to current code. Chinese drywall never made it to Kauai. Hawaii has no rules governing home inspections yet. Knock on wood, I have never been called on a error on my reports. I am not a licenced contractor. I just want a little insurance to help me sleep a little better at night. As far as I can tell only 1 inspector on this island is a member of a home inspector association but he is a new franchise inspector.

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Your insurance sounds very expensive. I know there are many variables but my E&0 through BRP costs about $7.00 per inspection. If I had to pay $40.00 I would not carry it.

Here in Michigan we are not licensed or required to carry E&0. I have it for piece of mind because it is reasonably priced. Also, a huge percentage of people in Flint are UAW union members and they receive fee legal services.

It costs them nothing to pursue legal action.

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Keep in mind that E&O is sometimes an attorney magnet, because some E&O venders are wimps...they'd rather pay on a claim in the very beginning than engage in protracted litigation.

Marc

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If you have an Attorney asking about your E&O coverage than you already have a big problem. Of course, the key is never letting a complaint get that far. I know that is easier said than done.

I have often heard inspectors claim that insurance carriers are quick to settle. They are loss mitigators, if it appears to be cheaper to settle than it would be to prove you are right then it makes sense to settle. Wouldn't you do the same thing if you where in that situation without insurance?

Some inspectors prefer to take the chance that some attorneys will go away if there are no deep pockets to dig into. This may be true in some cases but not all. There is no right or wrong answer as to whether an inspector should carry E&O or not. Everyone should make their decision based on their tolerance for risk an what makes them comfortable.

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I have often heard inspectors claim that insurance carriers are quick to settle. They are loss mitigators, if it appears to be cheaper to settle than it would be to prove you are right then it makes sense to settle. Wouldn't you do the same thing if you where in that situation without insurance?

But when the insurance company settles a BS claim instead of fighting to prove the inspector is not at fault costs the inspector his deductable and the next years premium goes up. What is the typicaly E&O deductable? $5000. So an honest inspector that did nothing to be held liable for is screwed out of a big piece of change because the insurance company is in business for themselves and have zero interest in anything else.

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I have often heard inspectors claim that insurance carriers are quick to settle. They are loss mitigators, if it appears to be cheaper to settle than it would be to prove you are right then it makes sense to settle. Wouldn't you do the same thing if you where in that situation without insurance?

But when the insurance company settles a BS claim instead of fighting to prove the inspector is not at fault costs the inspector his deductable and the next years premium goes up. What is the typicaly E&O deductable? $5000. So an honest inspector that did nothing to be held liable for is screwed out of a big piece of change because the insurance company is in business for themselves and have zero interest in anything else.

Don't know much about them other than they have started an E&O Insurance company geared for HI's.... evidently they WILL NOT throw the inspector under the bus at the first quiver of a lawsuit.

I have not checked them out so this is rumor but will prior to next insurance season: Lockton Affinity program for Errors & Omissions Insurance, http://inspectors.locktonaffinity.com or call 800-803-9552.

If anyone has or knows anything else, I would like to know the findings

Jerry

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. . . Don't know much about them other than they have started an E&O Insurance company geared for HI's.... evidently they WILL NOT throw the inspector under the bus at the first quiver of a lawsuit.

I have not checked them out so this is rumor but will prior to next insurance season: Lockton Affinity program for Errors & Omissions Insurance, http://inspectors.locktonaffinity.com or call 800-803-9552.

If anyone has or knows anything else, I would like to know the findings. . .

Is that Joe Ferry's company?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I live on the island of Kauai and do not have any plans to leave to inspect on the mainland. Hawaii has a very different building style than the mainland. We don't have freezing conditions so no heating source to inspect. We don't use insulation in the walls or attics. Mold is not much of an issue. Most home are on post and pier for ventilation. I have not had to inspect a basement. Its very rare that I come across a air conditioning unit. The oldest home I have inspected on this island was built in 1927. Most of the older home have been moved and were required to be brought to current code. Chinese drywall never made it to Kauai. Hawaii has no rules governing home inspections yet. Knock on wood, I have never been called on a error on my reports.

Oh, that's it! I'm moving to Hawaii- who's with me?

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I think E&O is largely a friggin' racket. I had to have it because the state required it, but never even had a threat from a client. I always thought of it as a "keep every Tom, Dick, and Harry out of the business" fee. I figure I paid them somewhere between $20 - 25,000 over my time as an inspector, and never got a damn thing else for my money. Your mileage may vary.

Brian G.

I Want a Refund [:-grumpy]

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I think E&O is largely a friggin' racket. I had to have it because the state required it, but never even had a threat from a client. I always thought of it as a "keep every Tom, Dick, and Harry out of the business" fee. I figure I paid them somewhere between $20 - 25,000 over my time as an inspector, and never got a damn thing else for my money. Your mileage may vary.

Brian G.

I Want a Refund [:-grumpy]

I'm totally with you on this Brian. My state does not require it and I don't pay it. Some of the best inspectors who I know and refer overflow work to also do not carry it. The very fact that they don't is one of the reasons I send work their way.

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If you've never been sued, it seems like a racket.

But it can protect you from financial ruin if you're ever faced with a 6-figure lawsuit. You don't have to make a mistake or do a damn thing wrong to be involved in a game-changing lawsuit.

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Try http://www.echosign.com/ . You set up your contract on their web site, send a link to your client, and your client fills out the form online and signs it electronically.

We've been using this service for a little over a year, and we've been very happy with it. You can try it for free.

Here's the link I send my clients- https://secure.echosign.com/public/host ... AM49586V46

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

If you've never been sued, it seems like a racket.

If you never get sued it IS a racket. But hey, even though I'm out of it now I still have 3 years of liability following me around. It ain't over 'til it's over.

But it can protect you from financial ruin if you're ever faced with a 6-figure lawsuit. You don't have to make a mistake or do a damn thing wrong to be involved in a game-changing lawsuit.

No denying that. I understand why some people want it, required or not, but I would have kept my money if I could have. How much you have to lose in the first place figures in heavily.

Brian G.

Nobody Wants to Slaughter a Bony Pig [:D]

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Try http://www.echosign.com/ . You set up your contract on their web site, send a link to your client, and your client fills out the form online and signs it electronically.

We've been using this service for a little over a year, and we've been very happy with it. You can try it for free.

Here's the link I send my clients- https://secure.echosign.com/public/host ... AM49586V46

What if a client doesn't have a touch screen or digital-based pen tablet with a stylus? Can he still do it?

Do Android devices have a touch screen?

Marc

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