Image of exposed knob and tube wiring within the framing of a home's wall.

Does Homeowners Cover Electrical Wiring?

Updated March 4, 2024 . 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 Out-of-date wiring can lead to big issues.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.

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Learn all about what causes power surges and how to protect yourself and your property with this helpful review.

Can you get homeowners insurance with knob and tube wiring?

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 Wiring Dangers

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:

  • The wiring is unreliable. Pay attention to warning signs like flickering lights, warm switch plates and sparks upon unplugging. The circuit may be overloaded or in danger of starting a fire.
  • As it ages, the wire’s insulation can deteriorate, dry and crack which can lead to exposed copper wiring.
  • When a line is overloaded, it can heat up and start a fire within the framing of a home.
  • DIY adjustments can lead to errors that which exceed the capacity of knob and tube’s ability to safely carry a load.
  • A grounding conductor (ground wire) is not typically present in knob and tube electrical systems.

Can you get homeowners insurance with aluminum wiring?

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.

The Dangers of Aluminum Wiring

Electrical systems that contain aluminum wiring can deteriorate over time.

Here are a few common aluminum wiring issues:

  • Connections to outlets and light switches are at risk because aluminum heats up at a greater rate than copper.
  • Improperly connecting or splicing aluminum wires to copper with standard wire nuts can result in oxidizing. This can result in a fire. Aluminum oxide can lead to increased resistance which can produce excessive heat.
  • There’s an increased risk of electrical shock in homes with aluminum wiring.
  • Aluminum wiring expands and contracts which can lead to loose connections, arching and electrical fires.
  • It’s key to verify that all breakers, switches and outlets are AL/CU (aluminum/copper) compliant when both wire types are in use.
An electrician fixing up the wires and measuring volts

Electrical Wiring Safety Tips

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.

Equipment Breakdown Coverage for Protection from the Unexpected

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 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.

This article is for informational purposes only and based on information that is widely available. We do not make any guarantees or promise any results based on this information.

This information represents only a brief description of coverages, is not part of your policy, and is not a promise or guarantee of coverage. If there is any conflict between this information and your policy, the provisions of the policy will prevail. Insurance policy terms and conditions may apply. Exclusions may apply to policies, endorsements, or riders. Coverage may vary by state and may be subject to change. Some products are not available in every state. Please read your policy and contact your agent for assistance.

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