I think you are missing my point. In my area, no one would have any paper trail to prove if the work was "shady" or not. If the house burnt down, I don't see how they could prove anything one way or the other in a majority of cases, and if they refused to cover damages they would at the very least have a potential PR mess.
And then we are back to how can the insurance companies treat the customers on an unlevel playing field.
Originally Posted by ack_bk
We all know that people don't always pull permits and I would venture to say the vast majority of the time there are no issues with not pulling permits. If you know what you are doing and do the work to code, I would not worry too much. But there are lots of people out there (some of them claim to be general contractors and are unlicensed) that do shady work to make a quick buck and cut corners that are very dangerous. Why should an insurance company payout when someone hires somebody under the table to do work that is not to code and was not inspected and the result is major damage/loss?
I don't think everybody understands "rural". My subdivision has houses as close together as any subdivision you would find in a large city. Even when they started enforcing some distances between structures with zoning a few years back (nowhere near 150ft and we didn't even have zoning until the 21st century), they've allowed certain residential areas to have houses literally feet apart. With the already mentioned lack of code enforcement included in your purchase. . . and nobody is paying weird premiums on insurance here or having to have goofy riders. And surely no insurance companies refusing coverage that I know of.
Originally Posted by longtimelurker
it really comes down to the permit in my opinion....a well documented, well drawn permit generally speaks to the quality of the finished product. Applying for a permit with foundation plans, framing/wall plan, hvac plan, electrical fixture plan (including smokes), plumbing plan....and they are not going to bother you further. You walk in with a room scribbled on a piece of loose leaf paper and they will likely be giving you special attention during the build.
The process/system is flawed, but to play devils advocate, i would RATHER HAVE the permitting process in highly populated areas (reference Mrs. Oleary's Cow)....but in rural areas or if some basic distance is met (150ft from any other house/structure?) then the permitting process should be waived (as you are only going to hurt yourself in that case).