wiring/code question


Old 10-23-07, 09:22 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
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wiring/code question


I'm purchasing a home built in 1965, but having problems with my insurance carrier who is balking at writing the policy because the wiring in older than 20 yrs. I will add that the home is for "investment purposes" for next 1-2 years and then I plan to move which makes insurance carriers nervous.

In 1965, the wiring was installed above and beyond code at time and the home has not had any hazards associated with sub-par wiring.

Has code from 1965 changed to code for today? Do you forsee potential hazards associated with electrical fires, etc?

How can I confirm the quality/code compliance of the wiring..do I need to get a licenses electrician at the site?

Thanks in advance to all those who reply.
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Old 10-23-07, 09:36 AM
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Find a different insurance company. There should be no problem writing a policy for a home built in 1965 unless there is some evidence of substandard wiring like a report from an inspector.
Old 10-23-07, 09:36 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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I'm not sure why the insurance company would care that you plan to live in the house for a few years and then sell, or why you would tell them this anyway. Also understand that real estate is usually not an investment, at least not in the short term and not in most residential locations. But what's done is done and we're not here to debate investment strategy.

Yes, code has changed since 1965.

Some notable changes include GFCI requirements for certain locations and AFCI requirements for bedrooms. There are other changes to.

But it's more than just the changes. Circuits are now no longer spread across the whole house like they used to be. Some of this is due to code changes, but some is just common sense. People use more electricity than they did in the 60s and 70s, so circuits can no longer serve half the house like they could years ago, or breakers would trip on a regular basis.

Further, aluminum branch circuit wiring was common in the late 60 and early 70s. Many insurance companies won't insure a house with aluminum branch circuit wiring.

Work with the insurance company. See if they will take a report from an electrician. You can easily pay an electrician or an electrical inspector to inspect the house. They will be able to inspect the entire electrical system and tell you what is no longer up to code (which is not a problem if it was originally built to code), what should be changed (for safety), and what is dangerous.

Be prepared, however, that you may have to fix any issues discovered or made known, at least if you want insurance.
Old 10-23-07, 10:56 AM
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Most insurance companies won't have problem insuring a home providing it meets certain criteria. Things I've been asked (and turned down for in certain cases):
- at least a 100A service
- aluminum branch wiring (service entry wire is often aluminum even today)
- knob and tube in use.

In the first house I bought, it only had a 60A service. 2 or 3 insurance companies I called wouldn't insure it, but I finally found one (big name one) that didn't have a problem with it.

If you're living in the house, I wouldn't call it an investment property... it's your primary residence. Whether you decide to sell in 6 months or 60 years doesn't really matter.
If you're not going to be living in it - you either have to lie, or plan to pay up the ... for insurance. Recently flipping a house, I paid about $4k/yr for insurance instead of about $700/yr if it was lived in/primary residence.

Hope this helps!
Old 10-23-07, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
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What other "coverage" does this "carrier" provide to you ?

I'm skeptical as to the "grounds" this carrier cites for his reluctance to write a policy.
Old 10-23-07, 12:47 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 125
Thanks for all responses...

My ins carrier is very conservative - they don't like to write policies for investment properties - especially those with old electrical systems.

I'm going to find a new carrier.....they are very happy to take (steal) your money (15 yrs in my case with ZERO claims) but tell you to go to HE** if you ask them to cover you for something very resonable.

The house is in great condition - with original owners from whom i'm purchasing. Although the wiring is not up to code, I'm not too worried about it causing a fire, etc.

Old 10-23-07, 12:58 PM
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The wiring is up to code so long as it was approved in 1965 and not changed since. Except in rare circumstances, code does not apply retroactively.
Old 10-23-07, 04:41 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northeastern PA.
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Just food for thought....

Ins. carriers can (And usually will) ..Make thier own rules.
Also.. In certain states and localities, It is required that the house meet current code before it can be sold.Not to break to a different topic, But when you find a carrier that will work FOR you instaed of with you, Try to get an "Unofficial" list of whatever it is they dont like. Plumbing, Electric, heating, etc.

Several ins carriers turned me down for less than 200 amp svc, and yet another told me my furnace was 20 yrs old and I have the fuel (propane) tanks on the site......Where Would you like me to put them SIR?????? Remember ---Once it is documented, youre stuck repairing it.

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