When purchasing a home, most buyers order a home inspection. Depending on where you live, the age of the home, and your homeowners insurance company, you may be required to provide documentation from a 4-point inspection. Both types of inspections are designed to identify damages, issues, and safety concerns with the property. Read on to learn about the differences between a regular home inspection and a 4-point inspection.

Understanding a 4-Point Home Inspection

What is a 4-Point Inspection?

Your homeowners insurance company may require you to order a 4-point inspection before they’ll provide insurance coverage for your home. Each homeowners insurance company has different policies, but typically they want to see a 4-point inspection on homes that are older than 20 years. These may also be requested in areas that are susceptible to harsh weather, such as near the coast, or on houses that have been unoccupied for a long length of time.

What Does the Inspection Entail?

This type of inspection examines four major systems in the home: roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC system. Damages to these systems can be dangerous or costly to fix, so your homeowners insurance wants to know that these systems are in good condition and fully functional. Things an inspector will look for include:


The inspector will look for signs of roof damage, like missing or damaged shingles and leaks. He or she will note the type of roofing material and the estimated age of the roof. Methods for inspecting a roof include walking on the roof and using a drone to capture high-resolution images of hard-to-access areas. Ask the inspector what technologies he or she has available when making the decision on who to hire.

Electrical System

The inspector will look at the types of electrical wiring used in the home like aluminum, copper, or knob and tube, and will examine the electrical panel. Problems like overloaded circuits and damaged wires could cause a fire. An insurance company will likely want them to be fixed before underwriting an insurance policy.

Heating and Cooling

The HVAC system should be free of leaks and fully functional. Your home inspector will note how old the system is. Some homeowners insurance companies won’t approve the policy on a home that doesn’t have heating or cooling.

Plumbing System

During the 4-point inspection, your inspector will look at the condition of the water heater and make a note of its estimated age. He or she will also examine the pipes and list the materials used in the home, and other plumbing fixtures. The pipes may be CPVC, galvanized, lead, copper, or polybutylene.

What is a Full Home Inspection?

This type of home inspection is also known as a buyer’s inspection. It’s the inspection that is typically ordered when a house is under contract. A regular home inspection will be significantly more in-depth than a 4-point inspection. The buyer will receive a copy of the inspection report and can choose to renegotiate the price of the home based on the findings in the report. During a home inspection the inspector will inspect everything covered in the 4-point inspection and more, including:

  • The chimney, roof, and fireplace
  • Foundation and structural components
  • Exterior and interior surfaces
  • Basement, attic, and crawl spaces
  • Driveways and walkways
  • Ventilation and insulation systems

The inspector will produce a final report outlining the findings for the buyer to review and take further action on.

When you’re in the process of purchasing a home, ask your homeowners insurance company if they will require a 4-point inspection. You can then hire a home inspector who offers this service.

Maven Home Inspection provides inspection services, including 4-point home inspections, to customers in Orange County, California. Contact us to schedule an appointment.