Insuring Your Home: What You Should Consider Before You Buy an Older Home

If you’re buying a home in Toronto, the rickety floorboards and the original plaster walls of an older home often mean the potential to renovate and increase in market value. After all, who can resist the charm and character of an older home, not to mention the larger lot and mature trees. Thanks to HGTV and guys like Scott McGillivray or Bryan Baeumler, home buyers are much more open to tearing down walls and taking out the fake wood paneling to create a space that is design magazine photo worthy. If you’re able to see the potential in a property that looks like it’s been frozen in time, you are much closer to finding your dream home. But before you buy, keep in mind that you may face issues that may prevent you from securing home insurance. Here are five to consider when buying an older house.

WIRING – knob and tube wiring may be considered a fire risk, especially if it’s deteriorated, damaged or mixed with another type of wiring. If a home inspector finds knob and tube wiring in the home, your insurance company may ask you to update the electrical system before the provide coverage.

HEAT SOURCE – some older homes may still be heated using oil. Most insurance companies will require details about the age and condition of your oil tank before they will provide insurance.

GALVANIZED OR LEAD PIPES – this type of piping usually means that the plumbing in the house is more than 50 years old. Older pipes are more susceptible to rust build-up, which could cause blockages, or burst pipes. Because of the risk of flooding from bursting pipes, your insurance company may request that your plumbing be upgraded to copper or plastic pipes.

WOOD STOVES – these are often the source of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, especially if not used, maintained or properly installed. Wood stoves will likely need to be inspected before an insurance policy is confirmed.

AGE OF ROOF – if the house has a roof that is older than 20 years and encounters damage down the line, your insurance company (if your policy covers roof issues) may only pay the depreciated value since the roof is considered to be at the end of its service life.

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