Do older homes require more property insurance?

By SmartCoverage Team on February 23rd, 2018

Are you currently looking at the real estate market for a home? Homebuyers have to make many decisions. Which neighbourhood do I want to live in? Should I live in the city or the suburbs? Another key decision is, should I buy a new or older home?

Buying a resale home has its advantages. You can buy a home in an already-established neighbourhood where new homes may be in short supply. Plus, it’s hard to beat the charm and character of an older home. But where you may see “charm” and “character,” your home insurance provider can see risk.

Generally speaking, property insurance is more expensive with older homes than newer homes. This is key for several reasons. Not only do older homes tend to have higher repair and maintenance expenses, many of these homes weren’t built up to today’s building standards, leaving the homeowner, lender and insurance provider all at risk.

Older homes may also have issues around wiring, plumbing and heating, the bones of a home. As such, it’s prudent to check with your home insurance provider ahead of time to avoid being blindsided with higher-than-expected home insurance costs.

Are you buying a home 30 years or older? While it can tempting to focus on more exciting things like installing a Jacuzzi, property insurance should be at the top of your list. If you’re anything like me, you don’t have a whack of cash when you buy a home. So you may be surprised to hear that some property insurance providers may require you to upgrade the dated plumbing, electrical and heating in your home prior to providing you with protection via property insurance.

Here are some common upgrades that may need to be done before your home will be insured.

The Roof

Does your home have an asphalt roof? Is it over 25 years older? Then you may need to get it redone before you can get property insurance. (Besides, you probably want to get it redone, so you don’t have any flooding issues when it rains.)


Home insurance providers also aren’t a fan of dated plumbing. If your home has galvanized plumbing, you’ll more than likely need to get the pipes replaced with modern plumbing.

Galvanized plumbing was popular in homes built in the 1950s and lasts about 40 to 50 years. As time goes on, the pipes tend to rust and corrode, leading to reduced water pressure and possible flooding.

Galvanized plumbing isn’t so obvious to the untrained eye, that’s why it’s helpful to have a home inspector who can spot it right away and save you the headache and expense of replacing it.


Heating can be another source of pain when it comes to your wallet. Property insurance providers may want you to upgrade the heating source in your home if it’s over 25 years old and an older heating source like radiant heating.

Likewise, if your home has an oil tank that’s over 25 years old, you may have to have it replaced if it’s not up to standards. Older oil tanks tend to be susceptible to rusting and leakage, which can damage your home and cost you a pretty penny to repair.

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