When buying a older home, there are some factors that could affect your insurance rates or getting coverage. Most houses that contain these factors are in mature, established neighbourhoods or farmhouses  that have been around for 30 to 40 years.

Heat Sources  

Wood stoves are found in many homes but can be difficult when it comes to insurance. If a woodstove is present, it does not automatically mean you won’t get coverage. You insurer may request an inspection to determine if it was installed and maintained properly. The woodstove will need to pass a WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) inspection by certified installer . They may also ask to have annual cleaning of the woodstove prior to renewal.

Oil tanks are another common heat source that could cause issues, but does not necessarily result in no coverage. However, if the tank is 20 years or older it does have to be replaced. Due to the age, oil tanks become vulnerable to rust, deteriorate and leakage.  For newer tanks, it will have to inspected. Commo requests are a minimum gage of steel, double walled tank and currently they want  the oil tank feeder line to have an orange protective coating.

For further explanations, check out https://elliottinsuranceservices.com/blog/2018/11/27/oil-tanks-and-home-insurance/

Plumbing

Galvanized steel plumbing is common in homes built in the 1950s. These pipes have short life expectancy and is known to rust or corrode over time. This leads to increase in leaks, ruptures and floods. You insurer may require you to replace the piping to match code standards.

Polybutylene plumbing (known as Poly-B) is another plumbing factor is keep an eye out for. Installed in homes built in 1970s-1990s with life expectancy of about 15 years. Poly B piping is known to appear to be in great shape from the outside but deteriorates from the inside and could rupture behind the drywall which results in water damage and mould.  A common place for Poly B pipping to rupture is at the connection point, especially with plastic fittings. Your insurer may request for the pipping to be replaced for coverage.

 Electrical

Today’s houses are built with 100-200 amp electrical panels due to the amount of electricity used in day-day activates (appliances, computers ,tvs, etc) In the 1950’s having a 60amp panel worked considering the usages of electricity then. Now having a 60amp panel could result in overuse, overheating and increase risk of house fire. You insurer may request to up the amps to accommodate modern electricity uses. Although it is not frequently found, another concern is aluminum wiring Ensure all wiring is copper as that is the recommended choice.

Ventilation

UREA Formaldehyde installation was used in house in the 1970s. This insulation cause a huge health risk shortly after completion of insulation. The insulation is a mixture of UREA  Formaldehyde resin, acidic foaming agent and propellent (air). When installing, there was a release of formaldehyde gas on materials in the home and when high temperatures and humidity hit, it cause the gases to be released off the materials. This causes home owners to have health issues such as respiratory problems, eye irritation, headaches, etc. With the installation being long ago and the insulation being banned in Canada insures understand that the toxins would not be as strong but still a risk and can request removal and replacement of new insulation.

Another insulation to be cautious of is vermiculite with asbestos. Here is a link for more information.   https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-identify-dangerous-asbestos-insulation-4119906

These are only some of many factors to consider when purchasing a home to qualify for insurance. Getting the property inspected by a home inspector is highly recommend to assist in locating any issues.

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