Home Insurance For Older Homes

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When it comes to insurance, not everything gets better with age.

In this article, we answer the question, “Why is it so hard to find home insurance for older homes in Florida right now?”

 

For some, having a quaint older home on a picturesque street is a dream come true…until they try to have that home insured. They then find themselves scrambling to find insurance coverage for their Florida abode from a reputable carrier.

While it can be more difficult to find home insurance for older homes in the Sunshine State, it’s not impossible. You just need to understand which features are making it harder for you to obtain coverage.

In this article, we’ll explain why home insurance for older homes is so hard to find at present in mid-2023, which features may be causing your home insurance quotes to skyrocket, and what you can do to find great coverage (without having to move).

 

Why Is Home Insurance So Expensive For Older Homes?

In the insurance industry, a house is generally considered to be an “older home” if it is more than 40 years old. For a person, 40 years isn’t old at all (no matter what the youth say!), but for a home, 40-50 years can make a big difference.

Current market conditions are even dictating that some homes that are just 10+ years old are being treated like relics by underwriters.

For one, all the extra wear and tear of living in a home for decades makes it more likely that you will have to file a claim—something that’s not a problem for most newer homes. Remember, insurance is not a home warranty for things that just wear out. Home Insurance is for sudden accidental/unintentional occurrences.

Another thing to consider is updated building codes.

As technology advances, humans are constantly coming up with new and improved ways to build safer homes. Yet older houses are not updated to meet these standards. Because they retain many of those outdated—and often unsafe—features, they are at higher risk.

Furthermore, it now costs more to rebuild your home, as you will have to abide by the newest building regulations.

 

5 Features That Affect Home Insurance For Older Homes

Other than owning a home that was built before the Reagan Administration, are there any specific features that will cause carriers to hike your home insurance rate or even refuse to cover you?

While every homeowners insurance company is different, there are some features that are more likely to lead to non renewal notices and/or higher rates.

1. Claims History

This may come as a surprise, but insurance carriers don’t just look at your claims history when issuing you a quote, they may be looking at the history of your home as well.

Some insurance companies use something called a CLUE report to give them valuable information about the claims that have been filed for a particular address.

These reports don’t always include the full history, and not every company uses them, but if they see a disproportionate number of claims at a certain address, that can be a “clue” to the home’s insurability.

2. Building Materials

Even when beautiful and in good condition, those old architectural details may lead to higher rates because they are very difficult to replace. If you want insurance that covers the replacement cost of your home—not just the actual cash value—this is something to consider.

3. Old Roof

Here in Florida, the age of your roof often matters a lot more than the age of your home.

Because of our unique weather patterns, many insurers will refuse to cover a home if the roof is 20, 15, or even 10 years old—even if it’s in good condition.

This has recently been made worse by greedy unethical attorneys filing millions—yes, millions with an “m”—of lawsuits that exploited Floridian regulatory loopholes. The good news is that 2022 and 2023 saw meaningful tort reform that should help keep these lawsuits in check and stabilize the marketplace and rates over the next 3-5 years.

4. Polybutylene Pipes

If your home was built between 1978 and 1995, there’s a good chance that its plumbing system is made with polybutylene pipes. So what’s wrong with that?

Over time, polybutylene is known to become brittle, leading to leaks and damage. While some homes may go decades without an issue, there are enough incidences of polybutylene plumbing problems that many home insurance companies refuse to cover it.

5. Old Wiring

Similarly, aluminum wiring, knob and tube wiring, and certain electrical equipment like Federal Pacific breakers all have a history of problems.

As a result, these materials may no longer comply with current building regulations, but more importantly, they are no longer acceptable materials in the eyes of home insurance companies.

Home Insurance For Older Homes

Don’t worry! You can still find coverage options for older homes. You just may have to look outside of standard home insurance.

One type of insurance that may be available is an HO8 policy, or modified coverage form. Unlike the typical HO3, HO8 policies don’t cover all forms of risk, but they do cover the “big 10”: fire, lightning, windstorm/hail, explosion, riot or civil commotion, falling objects (such as trees), vehicles, smoke, vandalism, and theft.

Another major difference is that HO8 policies offer reimbursement for the actual cash value of your home rather than the replacement cost.

You can also look into Ordinance or Law Coverage, which covers the costs of rebuilding your home up to current building standards.

Whatever you do, do not settle for substandard coverage in the name of saving money!

Higher insurance quotes mean that your insurance carrier thinks you are more likely to file a claim. If the odds aren’t in your favor, don’t try to weather that storm on your own!

 

Looking For Great Coverage? We Can Help!

Whether you are looking for homeowners insurance for an older home, newer home, vehicle, boat, or RV, your best bet for great coverage is to use an independent insurance agent like those at Harry Levine Insurance.

For the past 40 years, we’ve been one of Orlando’s top insurance agents and we pride ourselves on matching homeowners like you with reputable insurance companies.

Home insurance is more than just an added expense on your household budget, it’s a way you can protect your wallet in the event of a future disaster.

Call today for a free quote.

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