Why Wiring? Certain Types of Wiring May Not Be Insurable

If you are looking to buy an older home, or live in one, you might not know about a problem lurking inside your walls. As homes are built, bought, sold, and resold there is no requirement in most jurisdictions that the home’s viral systems be brought up to the current code. Those systems are grandfathered in, and even if your home looks great, there can be hazards. In Florida, most insurance companies want a four point inspection before they will insure an older home, and even if you live in your current home, it might be a good idea to have one, especially if your wiring might be out of date or obsolete. Here are some of the things to look out for and correct if you find them

  • Knob and Tube Wiring: This was a wiring method in use from the 1880s to the 1930s. Wires are run through porcelain insulators, knobs and tunnels, leaving the wire in open air to let the heat dissipate. That there are still houses wired this way speaks to its durability, but the electrical load of a modern home, wear and tear, and other factors mean it’s time to update.
  • Aluminum Wiring: Some homes in the 50s were built or renovated with aluminum wiring, but the practice really took off in the mid-60s when global copper prices went into orbit, and continued into the mid-70s. While it is used in avionics and power grid applications, many residential installations were faulty. For instance, pairing copper wire with aluminum wire can cause corrosion problems which cause the connection to become unstable.
  • Two Wire Sheathed Cable: This is an early version of modern ROMEX cabling that began with cloth sheathing, evolved to […]
By |2018-06-09T09:47:48-04:00November 25th, 2015|Insurance|0 Comments

Don’t Zone Out! Your Flood Insurance May Have Gone Down

Recently we noted in one of our blog posts that FEMA issued new flood maps back in August of 2014, and that many people saw their rates and even elevations change drastically from what they had been previously. The method of determining elevation and risk changed from a method that dated back to the early part of the 20th century, and has been swapped out for a more up-to-date method. Let’s talk science!

How Elevated Are You?

Previously, the elevation was determined by using the mean height above sea level. However, the world in 1929 was very different and the mean sea level has risen considerably in many coastal areas. This means that methods of determining elevation were not taking the measured sea level rise into account. In short, the old maps would be assuring folks that they were high and dry despite the need to wear hip-waders to walk the dog. The new method is called the North American Vertical Datum 88 method. Instead of measuring the mean elevation above sea level, it uses a reference point and leveling network that covers the entirety of the United States and Canada.

King Tides and You

King tides is a well-known term for the very highest tides where the moon is at its closest point to earth in its 28 day orbital course, and the Earth is aligned with the sun and moon as happens every two weeks. When this all comes together, what might be a very high tide becomes a king tide, and as the sea level rises these tides become more noticeable – as it was in Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, the Georgia […]

By |2018-06-09T09:47:48-04:00November 18th, 2015|Insurance|0 Comments

Deal Breaker: Be On the Lookout for Bad Breaker Boxes

House hunters beware, there are things lurking in the basement and in the walls that can cause you some insurance problems! If you haven’t had a four-point inspection, and you have your heart set on that older home, it’s time to consider one. You will especially need to consider it since many insurance companies will not insure an older home without one.

Breaker Bad

It’s not anything that the current homeowner has done. Some of these breaker boxes were manufactured and installed as far back as the 1950s, and people have even found homes still operating on their 1920 fuse boxes. It’s also a dangerous item to leave in place, residential fires are caused 89 percent of the time by electrical malfunction. As with all things as they age, wiring and electrical systems are no different. Certain panels, such as the now-defunct Federal Pacific’s Stab-Lok panel were widely installed for decades, but have been implicated as a cause of fires in older homes. Other older brands with a history are Bulldog or Pushmatic, and Zinsco.

Even if your home does not have one of these panels, you need to think about replacing the old box and wiring and the associated expense. Think about the typical electrical load of a modern home, and then think about the typical electrical load at the time your home was built. Even if an upgrade was done in 1995, that box and wiring are now 20 years old. As building codes are updated, older wiring is grandfathered in, and there are few, if any, regulations about bringing wiring up to code. Here are some of the trouble signs to […]

By |2018-06-09T09:47:48-04:00November 11th, 2015|Insurance|0 Comments

Bye-Bye Hurricane Season! Hola, El Niño!

Well, we ducked another one. Even if the “official” hurricane season doesn’t end until midnight on November 30, it looks as if Florida has lucked out again without any named storms making landfall and eleven names left to go on this year’s list. However, away from the Gulf and the Atlantic, Florida could see some pic weather woes as the strongest El Niño in decades continues to strengthen in the equatorial Pacific.

Wild Weather

While El Niño’s antics are currently limited to diversifying California’s fauna with yellow-bellied sea snakeshammerhead sharks, giant oceanic manta rays, and other fun visitors, we shouldn’t be so quick to relax all the way over here. El Niño can cause a lot of less than fun weather here in South Florida. While a lot of people come to Florida for winter sunshine, this winter could be colder and wetter than we’re used to. The warm ocean water has a noted effect in shielding us from hurricanes, however Hurricane Andrew struck in an El Niño year, so it doesn’t always work out that way.

So What?

Since it’s been some time since we’ve had the kind of cold, wet winter that El Niño brings, we’re urging out clients to do some planning in advance. Cold and wet mean that you’re going to be using more heating, whether it’s space heaters or a central HVAC system. More rain means that inland surface water in lakes and rivers will rise, possibly to flood stage. Now, remember the King Tide that we had just a bit ago? Imagine how much worse that could have been with floodwater rushing to meet it. That’s […]

By |2018-06-09T09:47:48-04:00November 4th, 2015|Insurance|0 Comments