DEAR BARRY: Our home was built in the 1960s. Recently, a wind damage report caused our homeowners insurance company to raise the premiums. Our insurance agent says it's because the house doesn't meet code. When the house was built, standards for bracing a home to resist wind forces were not the same as today's codes. Is there any way for my home to be grandfathered, rather than having to comply with new codes?
DEAR CORA: Your home is already grandfathered as far as compliance with the building department. No one can compel you to make your home comply with newer codes, not even your insurer. However, insurance companies provide a service for a fee, and the fee is based upon their assessment of the risk for claims. They can't compel you to modify your home or to buy their insurance. But they can raise your premiums if they believe there is greater risk of damage because of older construction standards.
Your options are to find another insurance company that will not charge as much or to get a report from a structural engineer certifying that your home is stable and secure. Hopefully, you can find a less demanding insurer.
To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at www.housedetective.com.
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