living room in older home with painted exposed brick walls

January 26, 2016

Buying an older home? Here’s what you need to know

1 min read


No matter the age of the your home, home insurance is a very important part of property ownership. This is especially true in older homes, where building codes and materials may not be up to modern standards. If you own or are looking to purchase an older home, there may be unexpected insurance issues to consider, creating the potential for complications in securing a homeowners insurance policy.

Upgrades may be needed to secure home insurance

If your home is 30 years or older, your insurance company may require upgrades to plumbing, electrical, and heating systems before agreeing to renew or issue your policy. Additional property features, such as the ones described below, can also impact policy premiums, requiring repairs or replacements before coverage will be issued.

    • Galvanized steel plumbing: Common prior to 1950, galvanized steel plumbing lasts roughly 40 to 50 years before corrosion begins to cause serious issues. If you are considering a home with galvanized steel plumbing, your insurance company may require upgrades or replacements.
    • 60-amp electrical service: After 30 to 40 years in use, a 60-amp electrical system can pose a serious fire risk. Many insurance providers will require an upgrade to 100-amp systems before issuing or renewing coverage.
    • Knob-and-tube electrical wiring: Like 60-amp electrical service, knob-and-tube electrical wiring can also pose fire risks since they are very susceptible to wear and exposure. Adding further risk, knob-and-tube wiring does not have a ground wire. Some insurance companies will not insure homes with this kind of electrical wiring, but homes inspected by electrical experts and deemed safe may be eligible for coverage.
    • External oil tank: After 25 years of use or more, many external fuel oil tanks begin to rust, deteriorate, and leak, creating an environmental hazard that can harm your property. You may have to replace it with a modern gas or electric furnace in order to get home insurance.
    • Wood-burning stoves: Wood-burning stoves are a greater fire risk than gas or electric models, adding an additional safety risk to a home. In order to insure a home with a wood-burning stove, you may need to have your stove inspected and deemed safe by a certified technician. This process may need to be repeated on an annual basis to ensure continued coverage.

Owning an older home can be rewarding, but there are numerous challenges that can impede home insurance. By understanding those risks, you can do what is necessary to obtain the best possible coverage.

Finding home insurance for older homes

The experienced home insurance brokers at Mitch can find you the right coverage at the lowest rates possible. For a no-obligation quote, give us a call at 1-800-731-2228 or email us at

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