Homeowners Insurance Issues with Cloth Covered Wiring

South Florida is home to a thriving population of historic preservation enthusiasts. By and large, most of the homes and buildings that have been bought up in the last few years have been completely renovated. However, sometimes the people who are renovating and then selling these homes – in other words flipping them – have been less than honest in their renovations. In some cases inspections uncover something known as “knob and tube wiring.” This kind of wiring was in use from the 1880s until the 1930s, and under proper conditions this kind of wiring can still function today.

What is the problem with Cloth Covered Wiring?

 Let’s say that you’re renovating a 1920s beach bungalow. That knob and tube wiring has now been operating in that house for nearly 100 years. Over time, the cloth cover over the wires can dry out, and the coating on the wires can crack. This creates a fire hazard to both a wood frame of the house, and to any insulation that you might want to introduce.

 Insurers do not like fire hazards. Not even little ones.

Additionally, the electrical demands of the typical home have increased not only from wiring installed in the first third of the last century or half-century, but just within the last 10 to 20 years. In order to operate our homes, we typically have a clothes washer and dryer, a refrigerator, dishwasher, and on-demand hot water heater, HVAC, wall air-conditioners, fans, computers, tablets, home entertainment centers, and other types of electronics. Wiring as old as K and T simply cannot handle the electrical loads the modern home requires. In addition to the wiring catching fire, there is also a risk of fires at the outlets where you’re plugging in your modern appliances.

 If you are going to be living with 1920s and 30s appliances, lighting, and a cathedral radio instead of an entertainment center, computer, refrigerator, and washer and dryer you might be all right. However, if you are planning to live in your home with modern conveniences, you’re going to have to rip out the old K and T, and install modern wiring and a breaker box.

Do You Really Want to Take That Chance?

Old wiring, no matter what type or when it was installed, can present hazards that will obstruct your request to obtain a homeowners insurance policy on your property. If you are absolutely determined to go ahead with the purchase and renovation, you may want to look into purchasing a builders risk policy. This will cover the home while your renovation is going on, and an additional policy for completed operations coverage will make sure that your coverage keeps you a snug as a bug in a rug. If you’re considering purchasing an older home, our independent insurance agents at E&L Insurance can make sure that you are covered from front to back. In order to have that historic home of your dreams, call us today!