‘Knob-tube Wiring’ – This type of electrical wiring in residential homes was introduced in the late 1800’s and phased out in the 1940’s. Bare copper wire is stretched between porcelain insulators, and then long tubes that look like plastic straws with a slit down them, are snapped over the bare wires for safety (before wiring came with a rubber/plastic coating). Due to age, a lot of the ‘tube’ material is now brittle and falls off. Two other major concerns are that when new attic insulation is blown-in, the old wiring retains heat and may over-heat and, the fact that there is no third “ground” wire for added safety. In Arizona, homes built before 1930 are suspect if they have not been re-wired. A good home inspector will usually alert you. Virtually all insurance companies will decline to insure a home that still has active knob-tube circuits in use…and there are many homes that do.
‘Screw-In Fuses’ – Before homes were built with ‘circuit breakers’, there was the fuse box. This is a metal box with screw-in fuses to protect the various electrical circuits in the house. The fuse contains a special metal alloy that will melt or ‘blow’ if the electrical current moving across the alloy is greater than a specific amount. Three disadvantages are (1) when the metal alloy melts or ‘blows’, you must have a supply of spares on hand to restore service. (They cannot be re-used.) and (2) there is live electrical current in the fuse box and touching the wrong piece of metal can be dangerous…even fatal, and (3) people would sometimes replace a 15 amp fuse with a larger capacity fuse, like 20 amps, and by so doing, defeat the protection against overheating the home’s wiring. It was simply too easy to create a serious problem. Also, most service panels with screw-in fuses had 60 Amp capacity…very low by today’s standards of electrical usage. Insurance companies today want homes to have circuit breaker panels because they are safer, more reliable, and cannot be easily defeated. Fuse boxes were used in some areas until the 1960’s. Most insurance companies will decline to insure a home with screw-in fuse boxes or with electrical service capacity below 100 amps.
Burglar Bars On Windows – If you have ‘burglar bars’ on the windows of the home where you live, your insurance company doesn’t care. The reason is “you can’t sue yourself!” But there are countless cases where a tenant was injured or died in a house fire because burglar bars prevented their safe escape. For this reason, most insurance companies do not allow burglar bars on any windows of a home that is tenant occupied. Some will make an exception for special bars that are hinged and have an interior “quick-release” for easy exit. Insurance companies have their agents or an outside inspection company, look at the houses they insure, to screen out burglar bar homes.
Dangerous Dogs – The law in most states says that if a dog bites someone, the dog is automatically guilty. Even if provoked or teased, the dog is always guilty. With ground rules like that, it’s easy to understand how one large insurance company paid over $60 million to settle dog bite claims in a single year. Not too many years ago, insurance companies kept a list of ‘dangerous breeds’ of dogs that they would not allow. But due to the current controversy over assistive and therapy animals, most (if not all) insurance companies have quit screening dogs by breed or type. However, they can and do ask about specific dogs that have a history of biting.
* * * * * * CLARK SANCHEZ has been an Arizona insurance agent for over 39 years and has been a Vendor-Affiliate with AZREIA for over 16 years. You can contact Clark if you have any insurance related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 803-2179