Joined: 04/03/2018 11:51 AM EDT
Location: American Fork, UT
Hi Home Inspection Forum Readers!
As many of you have reached out with feedback on our risk management articles, we've discovered that many of the same questions and concerns keep coming up. Many of those ideas have inspired the articles we plan to write in 2020. And we explore just a piece of one in this case study.
The concept: When is it appropriate to exceed the Standards of Practice? And what increase in liability, if any, will I experience when I exceed the SoP?
In this case study, we see an argument against a relatively common inspection practice: moving seemingly harmless objects to conduct a more thorough inspection. While we're sure there are many cases in which inspectors did something similar without incident, we hope this claim can serve as an example of worst case scenario. And, with that example, we hope that readers like you are more equipped to make judgement calls on the job.
The Domino Effect: A Home Inspection Insurance Claim
The following is a real general liability insurance claim 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.
While performing a routine inspection, a home inspector stumbled upon a common problem: Some of the seller's belongings were inhibiting him from performing his inspection duties. Specifically, one of the seller's suitcases was obstructing the attic entrance.
Wanting to give his inspection clients, the buyers, the best service possible, the home inspector decided to move the suitcase. It was just one suitcase, he reasoned, and it made the difference between inspecting an entire area of the property and omitting it from his report.
Unbeknownst to the home inspector, the suitcase wasn't the only thing on the shelf. A stored- pressure fire extinguisher sat beside the suitcase and out of view. As the home inspector moved the suitcase, he bumped the out-of-sight fire extinguisher, sending the extinguisher crashing to the floor. Upon impact, the fire extinguisher cracked the tile floor and discharged into the cold air return of the running HVAC unit. The discharge blew throughout the house, leaving a fine layer of extinguisher dust in every room of the property.