An electrical panel, commonly known as a breaker box, plays a crucial role in controlling the electrical power in your home. Despite its relatively small size, this device serves as the central hub where electricity is directed to power your lighting, appliances, and various electronic devices. The electrical panel for your home acts as the nerve center of your electrical system, regulating the flow of electricity to different circuits throughout your house.
The electrical panel is also equipped with safety features that automatically shut off the power to circuits when potentially hazardous conditions are detected. For instance, if there’s a short circuit or an overload, the circuit breakers within the panel will trip, cutting off the power supply to that specific circuit. This instantaneous response protects your home from electrical fires and helps prevent damage to your electrical appliances.
While an electrical panel may seem like a small and inconspicuous device, it’s a significant component of the operation of your home. It not only controls the flow of electricity to power your everyday appliances and devices but also ensures the safety of your electrical system. As a result, you’ll want to take care of your service panel and ensure it’s covered under your insurance policy. In many cases, homeowner insurance policies will cover electrical panel replacement if damage occurs as a result of an unexpected event. However, there are some things to consider.
Electrical Panel Maintenance is Expected
In general, your homeowner’s insurance may cover damages to the electrical panel caused by covered perils. However, your electrical panel is typically not protected against wear and tear or damage caused by improper maintenance or use. In the case of other areas around your home, your home insurance company expects you to take responsibility for maintaining features that keep the structure safe. For example, you’re expected to keep dead tree branches trimmed away from your roof and have working smoke detectors. If an event is determined to be caused by improper maintenance or attention, it might not be covered.
Similarly, you’re also expected to ensure a well-maintained electrical panel to prevent fires and power surges. If you have an old or otherwise dangerous panel, your insurance policy might not cover electrical fire damage. As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to check your circuit breakers regularly and ensure they’re maintained. There could be noticeable signs when you need to replace your circuit breaker, such as a failing electrical panel cover that has allowed the equipment to rust and degrade. Also, if you notice the electrical panel tripping frequently, it can become more susceptible to power surges and will likely need some attention.
If your breaker box is more than 20 years old, you’ll want to consult with a qualified electrician like SALT Plumbing, Air & Electric to see if an electrical panel replacement is needed. Outdated panels may not be able to handle the electrical demands of modern appliances and electronics effectively, increasing the risk of electrical fires or other electrical issues.
As long as your electrical panel is up to the latest electric code, you’ll be covered by homeowners insurance. Regular maintenance and upgrading of your electrical panel not only protect your home from potential hazards but also provide you with peace of mind knowing that you’re adequately covered by your insurance policy.
If an electrician determines that your panel needs to be replaced, you might talk to your insurance agent. An old or damaged panel is so high-risk that you may be able to get the cost of replacement covered.
Homeowners May Cover Panel Replacement in Some Instances
As discussed, your homeowner’s insurance can provide coverage for damages to your electrical panel under certain conditions. Damages that result from covered perils, such as fires, windstorms, or vandalism, will generally be covered. As long as the damage is legitimate, your insurance should cover the repairs or replacement costs. However, you should be aware that there are limitations to these covered situations.
One limitation to keep in mind is that your home insurance policy will not cover damages to your electrical panel if it isn’t regularly maintained. As discussed, if the damage is a result of neglect or lack of maintenance, you may not be eligible for coverage. It’s crucial to inspect and maintain your electrical panel regularly.
Another important factor to consider is that your insurance coverage for electrical panel damages may have a specific limit. This means the insurance company will only pay up to a certain amount for electrical panel replacement or repairs. It’s advisable to review your insurance policy and understand the coverage limits so you’re not caught off guard in the event of a claim.
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. For example, your insurance company might require you to place handrails on stairways before issuing a policy.
Likewise, the insurance company will want to ensure the breaker box is in good working order. The inspector will very likely ask to see your electrical panel. They’ll look for signs of age, damage, or other hazards. They may even research the model number to get a better idea of your specific service panel. In order to get coverage, your electrical panel must be up to standard. Similarly, to continue home insurance coverage, your panel must be maintained. Working with a qualified electrician like SALT Plumbing, Air & Electric to maintain your electrical panel will limit any issues with your home insurance coverage.
Make Safety a Priority
If your electrical panel is outdated, damaged, or unable to handle the electrical load in your home, consider replacing it as soon as possible. Neglecting this essential task can potentially lead to disastrous consequences, such as fire hazards and damaging power surges. Investing in an electrical panel replacement is a much wiser and more cost-effective decision compared to having to replace an entire home in the aftermath of a fire.
If your insurance company is willing to help with the replacement cost, great. If not, don’t let that stop you from having your panel replaced with one that’s safer and can accommodate modern appliances and devices. 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
If you’re experiencing issues with your electrical panel or if you have an outdated panel, it’s important to seek the help of a qualified electrician. Working with a professional will ensure the replacement of your electrical panel is done safely and efficiently. SALT Plumbing, Air & Electric has been chosen as The Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” electrician, and we’ve been providing top-notch electrical services since 1984. Our team of skilled electricians is experienced in servicing and replacing electrical panels.
We understand the importance of a properly functioning electrical panel, and we strive to meet the needs of our customers. We can handle your electrical panel replacement to ensure your panel is up to code and can handle the power demands of your household. By choosing our services, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home and family are safe. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.