Author Topic: Aluminum wiring and homeowner's insurance  (Read 6933 times)

LucyBIT

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Aluminum wiring and homeowner's insurance
« on: October 17, 2016, 03:51:32 PM »
My husband and I are under contract on a house that's turned up with aluminum wiring. We are getting a quote from an electrician to repair with COPALUM and will be negotiating with the sellers re: who's paying for it, etc., but my question is about insurance.

We've talked to multiple companies and gotten wildly varying answers, even sometimes from different agents. Example, MetLife and Progressive say they'll cover us even without any mitigation/repairs. A State Farm agent we called yesterday wouldn't even give us a quote and said they wouldn't cover us without a complete rewire, but another agent we talked to today did give us a quote.

So why is this? Why will some companies cover us and some won't? We're in CO, Denver area.

We've learned and are considering everything listed in this post: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/real-estate-and-landlording/new-home-freakout-thread-saga-(latest-aluminum-wiring)/, but any further information anyone feels like sharing would be appreciated! The main thing we're concerned about is the resale value of the home later on--it really seems like COPALUM is enough from a safety perspective, but we're worried that regulations are going to change or insurance will get stricter etc.

Telecaster

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Re: Aluminum wiring and homeowner's insurance
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2016, 04:05:50 PM »

So why is this? Why will some companies cover us and some won't? We're in CO, Denver area.


Probably some insurance companies are more sophisticated than others.   Basically, the problem with aluminum wiring is that is expands and contracts at a different rate than copper wiring.  If the connectors aren't designed for aluminum--which they typically aren't---over time they can work loose, which can cause arcing, which can cause a fire. 

If the connections are CO/AL rated I've never heard of a problem.   

LucyBIT

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Re: Aluminum wiring and homeowner's insurance
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2016, 04:18:10 PM »
Basically, the problem with aluminum wiring is that is expands and contracts at a different rate than copper wiring.  If the connectors aren't designed for aluminum--which they typically aren't---over time they can work loose, which can cause arcing, which can cause a fire.

Right, I understand that. But what you're saying is, the more sophisticated companies see that replacing the connections fixes the problem? i.e. any company that won't insure it is overreacting/too conservative?

Telecaster

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Re: Aluminum wiring and homeowner's insurance
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2016, 05:13:18 PM »
Correct. 

Papa bear

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Re: Aluminum wiring and homeowner's insurance
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2016, 07:56:00 PM »
I believe the issue is that an aluminum to copper connection, the metals will corrode differently, as well as the expansion/contraction issues.

Not sure if the connections are allowed with current NEC. If it were my house, I'd rewire it.


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geekette

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Re: Aluminum wiring and homeowner's insurance
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2016, 08:01:48 PM »
My parents have lived in a house with (mostly) aluminum wiring since '78 (I say mostly because an addition was done in copper). There are special (expensive!) connectors for using modern fixtures.

It's always had insurance (Amica). 

MasterStache

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Re: Aluminum wiring and homeowner's insurance
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 06:11:08 AM »
Rewiring could cost thousands. And it isn't really necessary. Our house was mostly aluminum when we bought. I found some illegal splices along the way of rehabbing and ripped into the person that did it.

During my reno I've replaced a good chunk of the aluminum with copper ran straight from new breakers.  This also allowed me to bring rooms like bathrooms up to code with dedicated 20A circuits.

If you have Copper/Aluminum spliced together, just be sure they have the correct wire nuts on them. You really shouldn't have any problems. Oh and no problems with ensuring (USAA)