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Insurance Coverage Issues Affecting Older Homes

Homebuyers have expressed concern over home insurance policies being denied or being unable to obtain home insurance as a result of knob and tube wiring, galvanized plumbing and empty basement oil tanks. A number of transactions have fallen through on closing as a result.

 According to Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Ontario Branch (IBC), most insurance companies will insure a basement oil tank provided it is less than 20-25 years old (depending on the insurer) and has been inspected by an inspector approved by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA). Tanks older than 20-25 years are difficult to find insurance coverage for and the TSSA recommends their removal or replacement. 

IBC also advised that, to their knowledge, very few insurance companies in Ontario provide coverage for knob and tube wiring and galvanized plumbing.  Realtors may advise their clients to contact Genmark Insurance at (416) 482-2089. Genmark provides home insurance coverage, across Ontario, for homes with knob and tube wiring and galvanized plumbing. Genmark also insures homes with empty basement oil tanks.

 Genmark’s coverage for knob and tube wiring is dependent upon presentation of a safety certificate issued by an inspector approved by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). To locate an ESA inspector, contact (877) 421-2228. Coverage is also available for homes with galvanized plumbing provided there have been no previous plumbing claims, the piping has been inspected and, if necessary, pieces of corroded piping replaced.  

Carson Dunlop has an exclusive relationship with David Slack of Liberty Mutual to provide insurance coverage for knob and tube wiring and galvanized plumbing, if Carson Dunlop inspects the home. Carson Dunlop can be contacted at (800) 268-7070. Mr. Slack can be contacted at (800) 971-1363.

The Insurance Broker’s Association of Ontario (IBAO) indicated that their members are having somewhat increased difficulty finding insurance coverage for the above three issues but coverage is still available from more than one “specialty” insurance company. 

 For more information please see the following:






194 Lockhart Drive
St. Catharines, ON
L2T 1W4

JustShelter Development Consulting 

  Tel: 905-905-687-1010

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