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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Electrical Wiring?

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If your electrical wiring gets damaged in a sudden and accidental way by one of the covered perils, your home insurance will cover the repair or replacement of the wiring. Standard HO-3 insurance covers all risks except for the perils specifically mentioned as exclusions in the policy.

Your electrical panel is a vulnerable area that will often be exposed to perils, but this can be fixed easily when you make a homeowners insurance claim. There are certain instances not covered by your policy, so learning more about them will allow you to further protect your electrical wiring in ways that are helpful and necessary.

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Key facts
  • Homeowners insurance does cover electrical wiring in many cases
  • The excluded cases can be protected by other coverages
  • Having good wiring already in place will reduce the risk of damage taking place

How does homeowners insurance cover electrical wiring?

Your electrical wiring is an integral part of your home. It controls many necessary functions you need daily. Getting to the bottom of what homeowners insurance will cover can help you decide if you need any additional coverage in place.

If your electrical wiring gets damaged in a sudden and accidental way by one of the covered perils such as lightning, fire, snow storm, tornado, and many others, your homeowners insurance will cover the repair or replacement of the wiring. If the damaged wiring was located in your main house it will be covered by the dwelling coverage A. If the wiring is in one of the outbuildings like a detached garage or a shed it will be covered by other structures coverage B.

Post-1980s modern electric wiring is covered

The newer your electrical wiring is, the more likely your insurance company will be to provide coverage. This means homes with wiring newer than 40 years old are generally in good standing. If the wiring has not been updated since then, it is probably using one of the older wiring styles and might not be covered.

Does home insurance cover electrical panels?

The electrical panel in your home is almost always covered under your homeowners policy. As long as the damage has occurred in a sudden or accidental way, the dwelling coverage will kick in. Some examples include fire damage or a lightning strike that shorts out the system. In the case of your electrical panel needing a complete replacement, your home insurance will likely cover this. As long as the insurer can see you are taking care of the home, they will recognize the risks involved with having a broken or damaged electrical panel and should be willing to help you replace it.

Proper electrical wiring maintenance is key

Getting your electrical wiring serviced regularly will make you less of a liability to your insurer. They will see you are taking preventative measures to keep the system in great standing and will be more likely to cover damages that occur because they will be out of your control.

When will homeowners insurance not cover electrical wiring?

Older homes are typically harder to get coverage for when it comes to electrical wiring. This is because many are fitted with knob and tube wiring or aluminum wiring. Both of these are known for being more susceptible to damage and malfunctions. Most homeowners insurance policies also don’t cover damage if it was caused by flooding and earthquakes.

Aluminum and cloth wiring

If you have aluminum wiring in your home, this can result in the insurer charging a higher premium for your homeowners insurance. This happens because they understand the pre-existing risks involved. Aluminum and cloth wiring was common in the 1960s and 70s. It is best to replace this wiring if possible.

Knob and tube wiring

Knob and tube wiring is usually found in older homes built between the 1850s and 1940s, but it is also possible to get insurance for these properties at a higher premium. With this type of wiring, fire damage is more prevalent. While insurance does protect against this kind of damage, it is still seen as a liability because of the condition of the material.

Wiring that is out of date or needs maintenance

Another area in which the insurer will be reluctant to provide coverage is when the wiring is out of date and has not been properly maintained. This is seen as the responsibility of the homeowner and can often be declared a preventable circumstance in case damage does occur.

To confirm you are getting the coverage you need for your electrical wiring, finding out the type of wiring you have is a great start. You can then determine what maintenance you need to perform to make it as stable as possible. This will also show the insurer that your home is not at as much risk of being exposed to damages.

Homeowners insurance will not cover the upgrade of your outdated aluminum or knob-and-tube electric wiring.

How to get extra coverage for electrical wiring

If you find that your homeowners policy is not comprehensive enough, looking into a home warranty is helpful. This is not a type of insurance, but it is offered to homeowners in case certain systems break down. There are many benefits to having a warranty if you are concerned about your electrical wiring.

  • A home warranty does extend to provide you coverage against wear and tear. This happens naturally over time, and you might not be aware of it occurring. If this does happen and you have a warranty, you should be able to successfully fix your electrical system.
  • There are many different components that a home warranty will cover that align with how your wiring operates. Aside from the electrical panel and the wiring itself, the warranty can protect you against damage done to light fixtures, circuit breakers, garage door openers, ceiling fans, smoke detectors, and electric motors that are part of appliances.
  • Getting a warranty will not protect you from issues that are a result of circuit overloads, lightning strikes, or power surges. This falls into the realm of your homeowners insurance policy. Having both will cover any gaps and should give you the type of comprehensive coverage you are looking for.

Even when you have a warranty in place, you should always double-check the coverages being offered. This will allow you to compare it to your homeowners insurance policy. There are many perils that can damage electrical wiring, so it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your home.

Signs that your home needs electrical rewiring

If you think that the electrical wires in your home need rewiring, you are probably right. However, there are sure-fire signs that your home is really in need of electrical wiring. First, you will notice a burning smell that rarely goes away. If you notice a persistent burning smell, it is important to turn off the power from the main source to prevent fire.

Another warning sign is constant flickering light and tripping circuit breakers. This means that your electrical source can no longer handle the amount of electrical flow around your home. It is also essential to check your outlet as it may uncover your need for electrical wiring. Your outlet may show signs of wear and tear or it may become discolored. You may think that electrical shocks are common when plugging your appliances, but it is not. It is one surefire sign that your wires need to be changed.

The danger of early electrical wirings to your home

If your electrical wiring is older than a decade, you need to have them rewired. It is also important to rewire if your wiring is knob-and-tube wiring or if it is made with aluminum. This is because this type of wiring is more prone to fire. Aluminum wires tend to overheat, which can easily lead to a fire.

On top of that, aluminum wires deteriorate easily due to oxidation. It is also prone to excessive vibration and they are also less ductile. Aluminum wires come with high electrical resistance, but it even becomes more resistant due to aluminum’s high malleability. In case you are planning for electrical rewiring, it is better to use copper wires as they carry less risk of fire.

Keeping your electrical wiring safe and functional is easier than ever when you know what coverage you have in place. There are many ways you can increase the safety of your home by properly maintaining this wiring and all components that contribute to it. Having insurance is always going to be the best way to maintain a solid foundation in case an unexpected peril occurs. Your electrical wiring can be fixed efficiently, and your home will remain in great condition.

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Kristen Nadel has worked as an insurance agent for 4 years and has an extensive background in writing homeowners insurance content. She is also a published author residing in Oklahoma. Her creative spirit and tenacity for excellence allow her to stay inspired. Writing is more than just a task to her — it is a lifelong passion.
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