Be your own boss!

Liability & The Umbrella Philosophy

A good home inspector should be thorough enough to identify the need for a specialist (or technical expert) without becoming one.  Members of the American Institute of Inspectors® have a tool that sets a high standard and still limits liability.  A.I.I.™ members call this the “Umbrella Philosophy.”  In every aspect of operating your inspection business, you have first defined what a proper inspection includes. That definition is detailed in our Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics.

The “Umbrella Philosophy” is simply our shorthand for remembering to stay within the guidelines of those Standards. By staying under the umbrella of the definition of a reduced liability inspection, each member diminishes his/her exposure.

Reducing our liability means skillfully dealing with the most frequently asked questions about our report: “How to?” and “How much?” without stepping from under the umbrella. It also means staying out of the area of expertise of other professionals such as the:

  • Termite Inspector
  • City Building Official
  • Appraiser
  • Lender
  • Realtor®

And technical fields that may require other licensing such as:

  • Roofer
  • Electrician
  • Heating Contractor
  • Plumber
  • A/C Technician
  • Engineer
  • General Contractor

It is often this issue that separates those inspectors with longevity from those whose businesses struggle in the inspection industry.  We believe it is the ability to provide a useful report without becoming a “technical expert” that is key to a successful home inspection career.