OK purely academic question and hopfully not dumb
. When I was researching the archives for shop wiring experiences, I would
come across numerous responses to the effect that the "insurance companies
would not be happy when they found out your house burns down due to improper
wiring in the shop" to paraphrase many responses. My question is how would
the insurance company assuming the shop wiring was the cause know if wiring
was there prior to when the house was bought or added improperly by the home
I'm setting up a new garage shop, I had an electrician install the subpanel,
consulted with local inspectors about my plan for wiring the garage, pulled
home owner permit and will have it all inspected. So I'm not taking short
cuts other than to the outlet wiring myself which I actually get
If your job is permitted and inspected I can't imagine how they could refuse
This urban legend comes up from time to time but it always seems to be "a
friend of a guy my buddy knows" who got a claim rejected because of faulty
wiring. Since most electrical fires are caused by stupid things people do on
the user side of the electrical outlet and they get paid, I seriously doubt
most of these stories.
I am not lawyer or an insurance whatever, but my understanding is that if it
passes inspection the insurance company has no basis for denying a claim,
even if it is defective. Maybe they would have a beef with the inspector,
but not you or the electrician.
I'm not sure how they would know the homeowner vs. the electrical
contractor screwed up. Several weeks ago, watching HGTV's house
inspector series with my wife, they showed an example of a house having
problems and wanting the whole house inspected to find any other hidden
problems. The inspector found a couple of circuits in the box with 14
gauge wire attached to 20 amp breakers (max allowable for 14 ga is 15
amp) Homeowner indicated that she had a licensed electrical contractor
add the circuits because she "wanted the job done right"
While doing a little wire work in the attic I found a kitchen circuits
romex pulled twang tight at an angle through staples.
I have one circuit running half the living room and kitchen lights. It
also use to run the range vent. IIRC this is to code but not a good idea
The back hall lights, bathroom and a bedroom were on a 15 amp circuit.
This may have been to code at one time, not now. While eliminating the
bathroom I saw the feed line wires were blued.
Have you ever just staired at something letting the implications sink in?
When we first moved into our current house, I was shocked to find the
previous idiot homeowner had finished the basement and spliced the new
12 gauge wiring into a 14 gauge circuit, and replaced the breaker with
a 20 amp. Then, to top it off, he had the hot and neutral reversed on
half of the outlets. Doh!
In my old house, while installing an overhead storage rack in the
garage, drilling a drywall screw into a roof truss, I got a sudden flash
and electrical pop. Asking myself, "Self, what the heck was that?" I
went up in the attic and discovered that the electricians had run the
auxilliary heat strip power line for the heat pump very loose between
two trusses; the drywallers had pinched the cable between the drywall
and bottom of the truss, just waiting for me to run a screw through it.
Fortunately, all I lost was a drywall screw. I couldn't have aimed for
that wire if I'd tried.
Generally, inspection by the AHJ will alleviate such concerns.
When you have completed the job, including ALL outlets, just have it
inspected. Their sign-off that the work was done properly and to code
gives you leverage against the insurance company trying to renege on
their obligation - should something terrible happen and you shop burns
down - which is unlikely if all meets code.
Most townships have the plans and inspection information for your house and
will also have any building permits and inspections for changes that were
made legally. If you have a fire and it is determined that it was caused by
an electrical problem, they will compare the point of origination of the
fire to the townships paperwork. If the township doesn't show anything
being there then you could be in trouble.
If you get the permits and pass the required inspections then you should be
fine. The worst that they could do is not cover the changes made to the
garage to turn it into a shop because they were not notified of the changes
and your rates were not taking them into account.
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving
Or the previous owner could. On a "used" house, there's just about no way to
trace who didn't pull the permit that was supposed to be pulled, so insurance
companies don't often get to use that one, I'd think. When we had our fire the
end of June, it was electrical in origin, but the adjuster never questioned the
wiring. Hell, it was actually a sump pump motor that started it, according to
the fire department, but it might also have been the extension used from the
wall socket. The new sump pump has its own outlet.
If God had wanted me to touch my toes he would have put them higher on my body.
I've seen the same statements made many times also. There are lots of
different insurance companies writing lots of different policies with
lots of different provisions. I really don't know what would be
covered. However, many many residential fires are determined to be
caused by faulty or overloaded wiring and I have never heard of an
insurance company refusing to pay simply because there was a wiring
error or code violation in a house. Maybe there is an insurance
company employee or regulator reading this group who knows the facts?
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