HELP - Advice on cloth wiring in Florida Homes

Hi, I hope it’s okay to post this question on here. I’ve found lots of helpful information while browsing the NACHI forums.

I’m a first time home buyer in N.E. Florida (Clay County). I’m buying a great mid-century modern house built in the early 60s. It’s beautifully refurbished, but it does have some cloth wire coverings. I understand this can make obtaining insurance a little more challenging and costly.

I’m wondering if anyone here (with either first-hand inspecting, insurance or home owning experience) could share whether you were able to secure a home owners insurance policy for a home with cloth wire coverings – especially in Florida. Could you share the name of the insurance provider?

I’ve already had the full house inspection and everything was fine – the inspector said all the wiring was in good condition, he just noted the cloth wire coverings as a potential watch-out for securing insurance.

I’m working with an insurance broker and we’ve got a 4-point inspection scheduled for later this week. But, he’s already warned me that my options on insurance providers will be very limited due to the cloth wiring plus the trademark mid-century modern low-slope roof, so I’m trying to shop around beyond whatever the broker is able to find. The roof is what it is. It was replaced a few years ago and in good condition, but it’s the nature of MCM design to have a near-flat roof. My bigger concern is about finding insurance providers that will accept cloth wiring. Here is how the full house inspection described the wiring:

Service: Aluminum

120 VAC Branch Circuits: Copper

240 VAC Branch Circuits: Copper and aluminum

Conductor type: Romex, BX, Non-metallic sheathed cable, and Non-metallic wires with cloth wrapping

Cloth wrapped wires noted in good condition. Be aware, some insurance providers charge higher premiums or refuse to insure homes with cloth wrapped wires.

Welcome to our forum, Connor!..Enjoy! :smile:

1 Like

Connor, call around to different agencies and ask them, before purchasing.

My niece had aluminum and cloth wrapped wiring and no problem with insurance. However, she has since sold the home 4 to 5 years ago. So things may have changed.

Some FL guys will be along to help you more.

Good luck.

1 Like

@lkage - Thanks for the welcome! Oh, I’m definitely calling around, but figured I’d see if anyone in FL had first-hand experience so I could narrow down my call list. Cheers!

1 Like

Hey Maude!
Do you have a pic of where this wire is stripped & connected to a terminal? If no take a few pics & post it if safely possible.
Perhaps it is not cloth wire, could be cloth jacketed wire.
There’s a big difference for insurance binding.

1 Like

@mgoldenberg - I do not have any additional pics. The description and the pictures I included in my original post are the extent of the home inspection report’s information specifically related to cloth wiring. Sorry, total novice (aka lifelong renter) here. Would you mind explaining the difference between “cloth wire” and “cloth jacketed wire”? The inspector did not use the term “jacketed” but her description was of “cloth wrapped wires.” See the last part of my original post for exact word-for-word descriptions from the inspection report as well as the referenced pics.

I can submit follow up questions to the home inspector. Any specific questions you recommend I submit to her?

I’m not from Florida, but the picture of that wiring looks like old fabric insulated NM wire to me. I renovated my garage in my 67 home and had the same wiring.
Most likely 14/2 with an 18 gauge equipment ground.
Nothing wrong with that wiring as far as I am concerned.
This is what I found when I renovated my garage. Good wiring practice. Wish I could go back in time and fire that electrician. That was not acceptable even in 67. LOL

1 Like

Maybe someone can define what is meant by the term cloth wire in the report. Depending on who wrote the report that could mean more than one thing.

1 Like

Sounds like a “soft inspection”. Wonder how long the inspector’s been around… … …

1 Like

The 1960’s saw the introduction of what we now refer to as Romex wiring.
It is a sheathed cable with a ground wire added for safety.
This wiring has served as the backbone for our electrical needs and
should have no insurability issues.
This wiring is generally mistakenly called out on the 4 point forms as “cloth covered wiring” even though the wire itself is covered in pvc rubber, and is actually “cloth jacketed wire”. In the truest sense of the word it is technically cloth covered, but the hazard of the older wiring is that the older rubber became brittle, whereas this wiring has a more covering around it, which, to date, GENERALLY has not shown the degredation issues as with its predecessor.

image

1 Like

So, I am an electrician in Florida. I speak with many insurance companies every day just on this specific issue.

So first hand; most allow branch circuits and will insure as long as you install GFCI breakers if there is no ground wire with that circuit.

Moreover, the only thing they usually require you to change is the feeders from the meter to that panel if they are cloth to something new be it copper or aluminum that is modern.

My advice, is have an electrician check them and ensure the voltage is good and no elements that would hurt the integrity of your electrical system and write they are in good working order. This will be enough for insurance companies.

3 Likes

Read what Josh said above and call an electrician (LICENSED) and make sure he knows before going out you WANT a letter stating whether the wiring is good or bad. They do this all the time and it’s worth the money. Keep that letter forever and you should be able to find insurance but devote the two hours to calling different agents. It’ll pay off in the long run.

Oh yeah… Find another inspector for the 4-Point, not the one who did your home inspection!

Good luck

The 1960’s saw the introduction of what we now refer to as Romex wiring.
It is a sheathed cable with a ground wire added for safety.
This wiring has served as the backbone for our electrical needs and
should have no insurability issues. This wiring is generally mistakenly called out on the 4 point forms as “cloth covered wiring” even though the wire itself is covered in pvc rubber, and is actually “cloth jacketed wire”. In the truest sense of the word it is technically cloth covered, but the hazard of the older wiring is that the older rubber became brittle, whereas this wiring has a more covering around it, which, to date, GENERALLY has not shown the degredation issues as with its predecessor.

@mgoldenberg - thanks for entertaining all my dumb questions. So, perhaps I’m missing something, but isn’t this what the inspector describes in this line from her report, which I included in my original post? (see below)…

Conductor type: Romex, BX, Non-metallic sheathed cable, and Non-metallic wires with cloth wrapping

Most definitely not using the same house inspector for the 4-point! Thanks.

These descriptions are not great. As a professional electrician IMO the report should not use the words Romex or BX. Romex is a brand name for type NM cable, and BX is an old slang term for type AC cable. The description should say NM cable and AC cable. What “Non-metallic wires with cloth wrapping” actually is is anyone’s guess. I’ve never seen a non-metallic wire.

1 Like

It’s a new nano wire technology for 21st century.

What Robert said.
Your inspector was non-descriptive.
Is it true cloth wires or jacket wire.

And I thought I was the only one where the names drove me crazy

You’re not alone. :grinning:
Correct terminology is important, you want to ensure that the next person or persons reading the report understand exactly what you mean. If you’re in Home Depot and want to buy some NM cable then asking for Romex is fine but on a professional inspection report the proper terminology should be used. By doing so you’ll guarantee that everyone involved in the process is on the same page.

1 Like