Voluntary Inspection Program:
Consumers occasionally have trouble finding affordable property insurance because some insurers fear their homes will generate too many claims. Insurance companies may label these homes "uninsurable."
In many cases, these homes are in older rural or inner-city neighborhoods.
Texas´ Voluntary Inspection Program (VIP) offers owners of well-maintained homes a way to show insurers that they deserve coverage.
Under the VIP, a home receives a "certificate of insurability" if it passes an inspection by a credentialed inspector, qualified by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). You can get a list of inspectors by calling TDI´s Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439.
A certificate of insurability creates a presumption your home is insurable. If you have a certificate, an insurance company can´t refuse to sell or renew a policy because of your home's condition unless the insurer reinspects it and describes the deficiencies in writing.
The 2017 inspection fees are limited to $118.99, plus an additional $59.48 if you need a follow-up inspection to verify corrections of problems identified the first time around. An inspector may charge, in addition to the inspection fee and the follow-up fee, a reasonable fee for mileage for each trip to and from the residential property risk, taking the most direct route. The mileage shall not exceed the current federal standard mileage rate for business use as established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) beginning January 1, 2017. The current standard mileage rate for business miles driven is $0.535 per mile.
Once you have a certificate of insurability, it´s good for three years if you don´t make substantial changes to your property. If that happens, an insurer can require an additional inspection. An insurance company may also require a written statement from you that there have been no significant changes to the property since it was inspected.
To receive a certificate of insurability, a home must meet a list of reasonable standards issued by the TDI. These include, but aren´t limited to
- good maintenance, with no unrepaired damage and no accumulation of trash, brush, or debris in the yard
- wiring in good working condition, with no flickering lights or evidence of overheating
- no curled, cracked, or significantly deteriorated roof coverings, or missing shingles
- plumbing, heating, and cooling systems in good condition and free from leaks
- space heaters and hot water heaters properly vented and not too close to walls and furniture
- no unfenced swimming pools, hot tubs, fish ponds, bodies of water, or trampolines
- property accessible to fire-fighting equipment
- no signs of active termites or unrepaired insect damage.
Many homes can easily meet the standards for a certificate of insurability.
For more information contact:
Last updated: 02/02/2017