Knob & Tube wiring

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Knob & Tube wiring

Post by bosconova »

I am looking for feedback as to how the presence of Knob & Tube wiring in a home influences the underwriting decision in a homeowners policy. I am seeing fairly consistent resistance to the writing of new policies where this is present from refusal to write coverage to inspect and bring up to some standard.
Any industry specific guidance, publications or insights would be most appreciated.
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Re: Knob & Tube wiring

Post by yoyowordup »

Getting Insurance for a Home with Knob and Tube Wiring

Though you may be able to get financing for a home with knob and tube wiring, getting insurance for it can be difficult and the cost will likely be more than double. If the knob and tube wiring is active, most insurance companies will require that it be removed prior to closing or 30 days after closing.

If the system is inactive, an insurance company might agree to write a policy. The company may either require that the wiring be removed first or in some cases will allow from 30 to 60 days after policy inception to have it professionally removed. If the home buyers can’t take it out, or are unable to do it within a certain time frame, or if it is active, they can still get insurance through the Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association (MPIUA). The MPIUA provides basic property insurance on eligible property for applicants who have been unable to gain insurance through the voluntary market. Keep in mind rates for MPIUA tend to be higher (between 30-60%) higher than a standard insurance company in Massachusetts.

When buying a home with knob and tube wiring you should have a licensed electrician look the system over to determine the overall condition of the wiring. Any circuits that has been modified, damaged, or covered with insulation should be replaced.
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Re: Knob & Tube wiring

Post by jtownagent »

I have been told the problem seems to be higher amperage appliances and other electical apparatus that overload and overheat this type wiring. Also the fact that it is older may indicate a potential wear and tear problem just from old age. Some electricians will swear this type of wiring is safe...but then again no one will install it now either. Even "newer" type wiring is a concern with many companies if not updated in the last 30 years or so. By the way most companies do not like screw in fuses as well. Circuit breakers are a must with most companies. Knob and Tube and screw in type fuses seem to go hand an hand. Replace them both, or pay more.

Any electricians out there to comment? Would be interesting to hear from a pro.
d's insurance store
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Re: Knob & Tube wiring

Post by d's insurance store »

In my market, this used to be a more frequent problem. An electrician whom I insure says knob+tube isn't necessarily dangerous, but is representative of an electrical system that hasn't been completely updated and although the system may have worked well for years, it just doesn't have the capability of handling the demands of a modern household with all of the electrical needs that are considered standard today.

Same thing with fuses.

As real estate values increased over the past decade in many areas, more and more homeowners who bought the older homes almost immediately had them remodeled with modern electrical and plumbing systems.

I can't think of a carrier any more who doesn't ask the question about knob+tube and fuses and when the dwelling has either, the risk is declined.
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Re: Knob & Tube wiring

Post by OhioInspector »

Short answer is that it is at the end of it's economic life. As stated above if it has insulation around it, it is unsafe.

Here is where it get complicated. Let us say that you are using the 2011 NEC or newer and you need to replace a receptacle.

The new receptacle will have to be TR (tamper resistant, no problem) and AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter) protected. If it is K&T the receptacle will require a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) installed also because there is no EGC (equipment grounding conductor).

This is almost impossible to do. So the Homeowner will replace the receptacle incorrectly, even if they knew the codes, causing an unsafe condition.

I could explain this to you but I would almost have to show you in person how to do this and in most cases it would not be possible to do so.

Old rusty pipes have to be replaced. Well just think of K&T as old rusty pipes. Time to replace.
Mike Parks
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