Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
Your home consists of many important systems. The average house depends on the proper functioning of these different utilities to keep your home safe and habitable. Although most homeowners policies cover electrical wiring through dwelling insurance, there are cases where coverage may not apply.
Depending on your home insurance choice, electrical wiring may need upgrading. You may have to make some changes for your new coverage to go live. When homes have old electrical wiring types like knob and tube or aluminum wiring, insurance companies may deny coverage. Out-of-date wiring can lead to big issues. So it’s important to know what the warning signs are and how to fix them quickly.
Sometimes, insuring an older home can be a challenge. Knob and tube wiring (also known as K&T wiring) is an antiquated form of electrifying a home. It uses porcelain mounts and tubes to carry wiring through a home. The wire’s insulation can fray over time. And the wiring itself can become unreliable as the home continues to age. It typically uses copper wiring with cloth and rubber insulation. The knobs act as mounting points for the wiring while the tubes protect the wiring as it passes through the framing.
As heavy electrical loads stress these lines, they can heat up and ignite nearby insulation or other materials. Some providers will offer coverage for knob and tube wiring while others will deny you outright. If you do find a group willing to insure your home, you could face higher premiums. This is due to the increased risk of fire and damage to your personal belongings. Homeowners insurance in a home with knob and tube wiring is possible, but it may cost you.
Knob and tube was a common form of wiring in homes dating back to late 1800s and through the 1940s. It’s considered a hazard because:
Common in the mid-1960s and 1970s, homebuilders began to use aluminum wiring when the costs for copper wiring skyrocketed. Aluminum wiring is known to be a safe alternative to copper when installed correctly, but home inspectors may call out aluminum wiring because it’s considered a higher risk than copper wiring.
Compared to homes with copper wiring, aluminum wiring and home insurance allowances are more liberal than knob and tube. But some groups may deny coverage depending on the condition or age of the aluminum wiring.
Electrical systems that contain aluminum wiring can deteriorate over time.
Here are a few common aluminum wiring issues:
Whether you’re shopping for a new house or already a homeowner, there are many steps you can take to keep your electrics safe. To help ensure that your electrical system is working properly, hire a qualified electrician to inspect and assess your home’s electrical system. Be sure that the electrician is referencing national electric code standards when assessing your home.
Get bids from several groups on upgrading your electrics. Consider installing a smart home Wi-Fi-enabled load monitoring system like Leviton’s IoT Load Center. You’ll get real time updates on circuit breaker usage and overload warnings too — sent right to your smartphone. Household wiring and electrical safety has never been easier.
Another important way to protect your home, appliances and valuables is to pick up additional equipment breakdown insurance. With it, you’ll get protection for your home appliances and equipment in the event of mechanical breakdown. It also covers power surges or system breakdown. For as little as $30 per year, you’ll get coverage that can help you pay for the cost to repair or replace expensive appliances. And your home’s equipment can be covered too, up to the policy limit after your deductible’s been paid.
Remember to reach out to your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) as you’re considering your electrical upgrade options. You’ll get their expert guidance on the safest way to proceed. Additionally, you’ll find peace-of-mind with a custom-tailored policy that meets your home’s exact needs.