Home Inspectors and Wind Mitigation Liability
A new and growing service for home inspectors is a Wind Mitigation Inspection (also known as a windstorm mitigation inspection). Home insurance companies offer discounted rates if an inspector assesses a home to be able to withstand high winds brought about by a hurricane, tornado, or other weather related phenomenon. But as with any inspection, there is liability for wind mitigation inspectors.
The Need for Wind Mitigation Inspections
Homeowners, especially those in the Southeastern United States, have strong incentives to have a wind mitigation inspection performed by a home inspector.
- Deductibles can be excessively high for homes in high wind prone areas
- The price of insurance coverage for wind damage can be up to 70 percent of the total cost of the home insurance premium
- Substantial credits and discounts (sometimes up to 30%) are offered to home owners whose homes utilize wind resistant building features.
Florida was one of the first states to offer incentives and enact legislation. Others are following suit, depending on how prone the area is to high wind. Certain states, or areas within those states such as coastal Texas, now mandate a Wind Mitigation Inspection before a new building is certified.
A home inspector performing a Wind Mitigation Inspection will look for features such as concrete block construction, gable end bracing, proper shutters, roof to wall attachments, hip roof, and property topography.
Wind Mitigation Inspection Liability
A home inspector who performs a Wind Mitigation Inspection can be held liable just as with any other inspection. But because Wind Mitigation is a fairly new area, definitions and terms are still being defined and can cause confusion.
In a recent lawsuit, an inspector incorrectly showed a home as possessing a mitigating building feature on the Wind Mitigation Inspection form due to a confusing definition, causing the home to pass inspection. The owner then received the insurance discount. Three years later the home was re-inspected, the mistake was found, and the discount was cancelled. The home inspector was then sued.
Lawsuits like this underscore the need for home inspectors to limit their liability with Wind Mitigation coverage as an additional part of their Home Inspectors Professional Liability/Errors and Omissions insurance through RISKPRO.
Unfortunately, an inspector can perform 99 out of 100 inspections error free, but one mistake can result in a lawsuit. Secure the coverage you need today.