(TNS)—Q: We are buying a home and had a “four-point” inspection done for the homeowner’s insurance. The insurer declined to cover the house due to the brand of the electrical panel fuse box. What gives? -Dan
A: Most insurance companies require a “four-point” home inspection before insuring a property. The inspection focuses on the four main causes of most insurance claims: HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning); electrical wiring and panels; the roof; and plumbing. This inspection doesn’t concern itself with cosmetic or other issues outside of the four listed systems.
Certain brands of electrical panels, particularly those installed before 2000, have been found to cause problems and not perform as they should. A fuse is supposed to trip when there is a problem in order to prevent a much larger problem. Many home fires are caused when fuses or panels malfunction.
If the insurer is denying coverage due to a suspect panel, the worst solution, in my opinion, would be to try a different insurer. Just because another company will give you the coverage doesn’t make the panel any safer.
If you are faced with this situation, speak to the seller about replacing the panel before the deal goes any further. If the seller won’t budge, your best bet is to find a different, and safer, home.
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar.
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