An electrical panel isn’t a very big device, but it controls every bit of electrical power in your home. You may refer to it as a breaker box, and it is the point where electricity is routed to your lighting, appliances, and devices. Your board has safety features to shut power off to circuits when unsafe conditions are detected. If you need to work on your home’s electrical systems, you can also use your circuit breaker to turn off the electricity.
An electrical panel is essential for preventing electrical fires in your home. Because of this, you must cover it with home insurance. In many cases, policies include electrical panel replacement. However, there are some important details to keep in mind.
Electrical Panel Maintenance is Expected
In general, your home insurance company expects you to take responsibility for maintaining features in your home that keep the structure safe. For example, you are expected to keep dead tree branches trimmed away from your roof and have working smoke detectors.
You’re also expected to have a well-maintained electrical panel to prevent fires and power surges. If you have an old or otherwise dangerous panel, your policyholder may not cover electrical fire damage. You must have your electrical panel serviced as needed. This includes electrical panel replacement.
Homeowners May Cover Electrical Panel Replacement in Some Instances
If your electrical panel gets damaged in some sort of catastrophic events, such as a fire or vandalism, you may be able to have it replaced under your home insurance policy. However, it’s important to distinguish between damage done to an electrical panel and damage resulting from electrical panel neglect. If you do have a reason to file an insurance claim to pay for electrical panel replacement, you may have to prove that owner neglect wasn’t a factor.
There may also be another way to get your home insurance company to pay for electrical panel replacement. Talk to your insurance agent. Because an old or damaged panel is so high-risk, you may be able to get it covered.
Electrical Panels and Maintaining Insurance Coverage
The condition of your breaker box doesn’t just impact whether insurance will cover fires or other disasters. It can also impact your insurability in the first place. When you apply to have your home insured, your agent may send out an inspector to look for anything that could be a risk factor. Basically, they want to avoid any liability that could result in their having to pay out an expensive claim. For example, your policyholder may require you to place handrails on stairways to prevent falls.
The inspector will very likely ask to see your electrical panel. They will look for signs of age, damage, or other hazards. They may even research the model number. That is to see whether your panel brand is known for being unsafe. If the inspector doesn’t like what they find, they may refuse to provide coverage until you’ve taken care of electrical panel replacement.
Make Safety a Priority
If your panel is outdated, damaged, or unable to safely handle the electrical load in your home, you need to replace it. Remember that electrical panel replacement is much less expensive than replacing an entire home after a fire. A replacement will reduce your risk of fire or damaging power surges. The latter can render televisions, computers, and other devices absolutely useless.
If your insurance company is willing to help with this, great. However, don’t let that stop you from having your panel replaced with one that is safer and can accommodate modern appliances and devices if they won’t. Once you do that, your home will be safer. Additionally, you may qualify for better insurance coverage at lower prices. That could make paying for this upgrade worthwhile.
Find an Electrical Panel Expert
Are you reading this because you need a new electrical panel? Don’t bother with the “electrician near me” Google search. You’re already here with SALT Light & Electric, The Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” electrician.
No matter who covers the costs, SALT Light & Electric has a team of skilled electricians who have been doing this work for years (since 1984, to be exact). We will replace your existing electrical panel with one that is safe and meets your needs.