We are fortunate in Massachusetts to have beautiful colonial and Victorian architecture. Many buildings and homes were built in the 1800s or early 1900s. Building codes have evolved over time. If you own property that is not up to current code (even if built as recently as ten years ago), your local building inspector may require upgrades in the event of a loss. The required upgrades may apply to parts of your property that are not damaged. For example, you have a small kitchen fire but since your home was built in 1950, the building inspector may require you to re-wire your entire house. Your policy may not provide enough coverage since the wiring itself was not damaged. To cover these kinds of losses, it is imperative that you have sufficient ordinance and law coverage on your policy.
The definition of ordinance and law according to IRMI:
Coverage for loss caused by enforcement of ordinances or laws regulating construction and repair of damaged buildings. Older structures that are damaged may need upgraded electrical; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC); and plumbing units based on city codes. Many communities have a building ordinance(s) requiring that a building that has been damaged to a specified extent (typically 50 percent) must be demolished and rebuilt in accordance with current building codes rather than simply repaired. Unendorsed, standard commercial property insurance forms do not cover the loss of the undamaged portion of the building, the cost of demolishing that undamaged portion of the building, or the increased cost of rebuilding the entire structure in accordance with current building codes. However, coverage for these loss exposures is widely available by endorsement. Standard homeowners policies include a provision granting a limited amount of building ordinance coverage; this amount can be increased by endorsement. Also referred to as building ordinance coverage.