POSTED WITH PERMISSION:
Probably every inspector who has been in business for any amount of time knows that it is only a matter of time before we get sued, are threatened to be sued, or the inevitable happens and we miss something that we feel we are responsible for and pay out of our own pockets.
Many of us carry E&O insurance, which as you well know, is very expensive. Many of us also offer personal guarantees for our work, promising to pay up to a certain dollar amount for items that may have been missed during a inspection. Many of us offer limited third party warranties with our inspections.
*The sad truth is that none of these warranties, insurance, or guarantees work out well for us. *
Most of us have a high deductible for E&O insurance and quite frankly are scared to turn anything in to them, afraid our already high premiums will escalate. In our company, we include a third party limited warranty with every inspection. We have had two claims turned in to this home warranty company in the past three years and sadly they have found a way to exclude the problem and not take care of our customer, leaving us to do what we thought we were paying them for! Personal warranties are fine, but don’t carry the marketing clout that an insurance or home warranty company provides to guarantee our work.
I think all of us have paid for something out of our own pockets that falls into one of the following categories:
1. We made a mistake or missed something, feel bad about it, and pay for it.
2. We feel we didn’t make a mistake, but are being threatened by legal action, knowing that any legal action will cost us more in the long run than the claim, and we pay for it.
3. We feel like we didn’t make a mistake, but it is not worth fighting about, let alone damaging our reputation, and we pay for it.
Sometimes its just a cracked roof tile or some other $50 disaster that comes back to bite us, but sometimes its a $1500 roof repair where it really hurts to write that check, especially when it is slow or out of season. Many of us are not part of big companies or franchises with deep pockets, we are small business owners and entrepreneur’s just making a living for our families. In our minds, we are helping people, doing our jobs to evaluate their prospective home and help set their minds at ease.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that is highly litigious and almost anyone will sue us at the drop of a hat for some perceived wrongdoing, real or imagined.
I am proposing creation of an organization, run by Home Inspectors for Home Inspectors to fill this Grey area between our checkbooks and our E&O insurance. For a small monthly fee or a yearly fee, we could pool our resources and take care of our brothers and sisters in our profession when these unexpected claims happen.
As the founder of NACHI, I believe you saw a need and acted on the need for the benefit of all inspectors. As a Home Inspector, I see the need for this type of organization, and am asking for your opinions on acting on this need to benefit our brothers & sisters in our profession. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
NACHI member # 04111683