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Is Your Electrical Panel Standing in the Way of Good Insurance Coverage?

By November 30, 2020No Comments
A man inspects an electrical Panel to insure good insurance coverage.

There are plenty of reasons for denial of home insurance coverage. You probably know about the most common reasons like roof condition, high flood risk, or poor plumbing. But did you know your electrical panel might be cause for your insurance company to deny coverage as well? If your insurance provider doesn’t approve of the type or brand of electrical panel, they might only offer partial home coverage or even deny coverage outright.

It might sound strange, but they have some pretty good reasons. Here’s what you need to know to expand your insurance options as much as possible.

What’s So Important About Electrical Panels When it Comes to Insurance?

Your electrical panel (or breaker box) is the heart of your home’s power system. It’s what controls the distribution of power throughout your home and protects it from surges and bad circuits. Handling all that power is really important. If something was wired incorrectly or a circuit overloads, it could result in a fire.

If your insurance provider determines your home is too much of a risk, they’ll deny coverage. Contrary to what many believe, insurance isn’t designed to cover everything, particularly situations that give rise to a high number or amount of losses.  Electrical panels are the third leading cause of housefires, so if your home uses an electrical panel that’s known to have issues, your insurance provider will likely deny coverage. The chances of your home catching on fire are simply too high for the insurance company to accept.

The Difference Between Good and Bad Electrical Panels 

Determining whether an electrical panel is good or bad comes down to two things: age and brand.

Potential Insurance Coverage Issue: Electrical Panels from the 1960s and 70s (age)

Electrical system regulations have changed dramatically over the years. Back in the 1960s and 70s, many electrical panels used aluminum wiring. While it might have gotten power to your appliances, aluminum wiring goes bad much faster than copper wiring and creates more heat when electricity passes through it. And too much heat inside your walls can lead to fires.

At Erwin, one of the most common situations we see with electrical problems when it comes to insurance is aluminum wiring. If your electrical panel uses aluminum wiring, you’re probably not going to be able to get insurance coverage for your home. Homes 40 years or older are more likely to have aluminum wiring than modern homes. If you live in (or are considering purchasing) an older house, make sure you get your electrical system checked out before applying for insurance coverage.

Potential Insurance Coverage Issue: Brands with Recalls

The brand (aka, the manufacturer) of your electrical panel may also play a major role in getting insurance coverage. Some brands of electrical panels are known to have poor designs or even recalls. 

While it’s by no means a comprehensive list, here are a few of the electrical panel brands that are most commonly not accepted by most insurance providers:

  • Challenger
  • Federal Pacific
  • Zinsco (which is no longer in business because of a major recall and lawsuit)
  • Sylvania

If your home’s electrical panel is manufactured by any of these brands, you should think about calling an electrician for an inspection. It’s not just an insurance issue: you might also be at higher risk for an electrical fire.

Don’t Let Your Electrical Panel  Stand in the Way of Good Insurance Coverage

The best way to be sure your electrical panel is up to modern codes — and simultaneously expand your insurance coverage options — is with a professional inspection. A trained electrician will take a thorough look at all your electrical systems and make sure you’re not at risk for electrical fire. If needed, they can also help you swap out your old or poorly made electrical panel for one that will meet insurance requirements.

If you’re not sure how to check if your electrical panel will prevent you from getting insurance coverage,  consult the experts at Erwin Insurance. We can help you determine your risk and even recommend an electrician in your area for an inspection. For all your personal insurance needs, the pros at Erwin Insurance are always here to help.

Erwin Insurance Agency® is an independent insurance agency offering a comprehensive suite of business and personal insurance solutions to cover the things that matter to you most. Serving Florida, New York, and beyond, with offices in Jacksonville, Fleming Island, and New York City, and licensed in 17 states.

Adrienne Unverferth is the Group Director of the private insurance arm of Erwin Insurance Agency®