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Old 12-17-2010, 06:22 PM   #1
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Electrical DIY vs. Code and Insurance


We plan on installing an electric stove in the kitchen, for which a 240-v circuit needed to be added. A quote I got from an electrician was >$600 for that one circuit alone (I live in SF Bay Area). If I DIY, will that violate code and will that void the insurance?

I suppose the same question applies to other electrical work we need for our kitchen and living room remodeling. We just don't have quotes for other wiring needs yet.

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Old 12-17-2010, 06:31 PM   #2
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Electrical DIY vs. Code and Insurance


That depends on local codes.
Here, a homeowner can do any electrical work they feel they are qualified for, as long as they get a permit.
Other area prohibit homeowners from any electrical work, and many in between.
Only the insurance company can answer that.

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Old 12-17-2010, 06:31 PM   #3
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Well code is the guide used to do the install correctly and if followed and subsequently inspected then no it won't void your insurance.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:11 PM   #4
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A quote I got from an electrician was >$600 for that one circuit
Do you realize the labor and material involved in "just that one circuit"??
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:47 PM   #5
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Speedy I am guessing they don' realize that. Unless the stove is right next to the panel that is probably a reasonable prize.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:51 PM   #6
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I suppose I was just surprised with that quote and did not mean to imply that the quote was unreasonable. I don't know how much the material will cost, but I don't mind doing the labor myself to save some money there.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:53 PM   #7
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Electrical DIY vs. Code and Insurance


Quote:
Originally Posted by mudworm View Post
We plan on installing an electric stove in the kitchen, for which a 240-v circuit needed to be added. A quote I got from an electrician was >$600 for that one circuit alone (I live in SF Bay Area). If I DIY, will that violate code and will that void the insurance?

I suppose the same question applies to other electrical work we need for our kitchen and living room remodeling. We just don't have quotes for other wiring needs yet.

Did he provide details on exactly what he needed to do to install the circuit? Installing a 240V circuit might be relatively simple or it might be a huge PITA, depending on factors like your existing service panel, the distance from the panel to the kitchen, the architecture of your home, etc. Without knowing all of those details, it's difficult to say whether $600 is a reasonable cost or not.

If your decision to either contract the job or tackle it yourself is based primarily on price, I'd get at least two more estimates from electricians and understand *exactly* what they intend to do for your job. That will help you make a more informed decision.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Well code is the guide used to do the install correctly and if followed and subsequently inspected then no it won't void your insurance.
maybe, maybe not. It would depend on the specific policy. An insurance company can require all work to be performed by licensed contractors. If the contract requires something as such, installing something contrary to the contract could be grounds to cancel the policy. I suspect more likely they would require a licensed tradesman to inspect the installation and confirm the correctness though.



mudworm; don't forget a permit if required (and it is likely to be required)
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:15 PM   #9
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maybe, maybe not. It would depend on the specific policy. An insurance company can require all work to be performed by licensed contractors. If the contract requires something as such, installing something contrary to the contract could be grounds to cancel the policy. I suspect more likely they would require a licensed tradesman to inspect the installation and confirm the correctness though.



mudworm; don't forget a permit if required (and it is likely to be required)
I have never seen this kind of language in an insurance policy for a private home and even if there was how would they know the difference. My personal thoughts on this is, if you do the job right, per code, there will never be a problem.

As it goes for the insurance company how would they possibly know the difference, do you think they know exactly what is in the place at the time of taking a policy, have you ever had an insurance company come out and look at the place? I know I have had 7 homes now and not once have they come and looked.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:22 AM   #10
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=Jackofall1;552949]I have never seen this kind of language in an insurance policy for a private home and even if there was how would they know the difference. My personal thoughts on this is, if you do the job right, per code, there will never be a problem.
I can't say I have seen it either but it could be included and given the insurance companies efforts to maximize their efforts, it wouldn't surprise me to see it included somewhere.

Quote:
As it goes for the insurance company how would they possibly know the difference, do you think they know exactly what is in the place at the time of taking a policy, have you ever had an insurance company come out and look at the place?
It would be found as a result of a claim and investigation. I cannot see it being discovered beforehand.

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I know I have had 7 homes now and not once have they come and looked.
I wouldn't expect them to. Only if there was a claim, a resulting investigation could show un-permitted work. I have seen situations where a guy added onto his house, un-permitted, and when a storm damaged the house, the insurance company denied payment to repair the un-permitted add on. Don't know how it all ended up. He might have won on appeal but I somehow doubt it.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
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...As it goes for the insurance company how would they possibly know the difference, do you think they know exactly what is in the place at the time of taking a policy, have you ever had an insurance company come out and look at the place? I know I have had 7 homes now and not once have they come and looked.
Depends on the insurance company. We get service panel changes that were required by them, since they paid a visit to someone's house for auditing.

They wrote a letter to the homeowner that the old fuse box needed to be changed, or they would assess a 50% surcharge to the policy. They also indicated that a licensed contractor would be required to do the work, along with the requisite permit and inspection procedures. The homeowner had to submit the official certificate of inspection to negate the upcoming surcharge on the policy. The homeowner was given 60 days to comply. A nice contract for us.

I had a similar visit to my house by my insurance company. The letter I got was concerning a trampoline in my back yard. They called it an attractive nuisance, and as such I needed to install a fence around my yard. They also required me to install railings on my side entrance steps. Again, 60 days to comply, or else they would DROP my policy!!

I didn't install a fence, but instead removed the trampoline. Since my kids had all grown up and flown the coop, it was much easier and cheaper than installing several hundred feet of fencing through the woods.

As for the railing, I had to get that installed -- no choice.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:30 AM   #12
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Electrical DIY vs. Code and Insurance


Quote:
Originally Posted by mudworm View Post
We plan on installing an electric stove in the kitchen, for which a 240-v circuit needed to be added. A quote I got from an electrician was >$600 for that one circuit alone (I live in SF Bay Area). If I DIY, will that violate code and will that void the insurance?

I suppose the same question applies to other electrical work we need for our kitchen and living room remodeling. We just don't have quotes for other wiring needs yet.
As other say all it depending on how the circuit will run if above the attic area or have to bust out a part of floor to get there or others means.

I am not suprised with that kind of price espcally if you have island cooktop unit show up like that. { if can get accesable from below it will be easy but slab that diffrent story }

Many Electricians will get a permit for this type of installment and alot of insurance compaines will follow up if this house have proper permits pulled or not.

Plus there are few other items it may show up so talk to your insurance compaine for more details to see what it required and what the local codes required.

Merci.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:11 PM   #13
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Electrical DIY vs. Code and Insurance


Everyhouse I have ever bought, the insurance agent has come out and looked at the outside of the property only.

He has never told me to make any changes nor made proof of anything be done by a licensed contractor.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:07 AM   #14
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The thing with insurance adjusters is that when there is a fire, they will absolutely do an open records search at the local City or County office to see if permits were pulled for work that was done since the home was built. I've been contacted for such records dozens and dozens of times in my position as an AHJ over the years. If no permit is pulled and they can link that work to causing damages, they will do so.

Mudworm, the best thing to do is call your local City building department to see if you can do the work yourself with a permit. Pull the permit, have it inspected. Never hurts to check with the insurance company but I think most are just interested in making sure there was oversight on the work as it was done.
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:58 AM   #15
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There can and will be a great deal of variation in permit fees depending on locallity, I would expect higher fees in San Fran than suburban Detroit, but my locallity to do this myself I'd be charged a minimum permit fee of $70. Your materials will be a breaker, an outlet and wire, plus you'll probably need a cable clamp for the cable enterring the panel and if you don't already have them, staples to secure the wire if needed or conduit - which should total $70 to $100, at least in my area it would.

Routing the wire will be the biggest variable in the degree of difficulty.

Strictly speaking, building code doesn't really care who does the work, just how it is done. Code enforcement might care as others have said in terms of whether they issue homeowner permits. I've lived in Indianapolis where they required me to take a test and pay a homeowner license fee before I could pull a homeowner electrical permit, it was a multiple choice test and I was allowed to reference the code book which the inspector let me use his, and I missed some questions because I new I answered enough right to pass and the questions I missed related to conduit sizes for service entrances which at the time I had no intention of ever getting into and I didn't want to hold the inspector over into his lunch hour waiting for me to look up the answers.

Insurance... Let's put it this way, insurance (speaking in general) is going to assume that the house is built according to requirements, and if something happens if that assumption turns out to be wrong then it may be reason to deny a claim. If they become aware that something violates requirements, they may cancel... If the city is happy, it should be reasonable to assume the insurance is happy. Asking them if something is okay is probably like speeding up to a cop to ask if you were driving too fast.

Our house has been fun with insurance over the past 4 months since we bought it. The sellers informed us they've had difficulty insuring it, but they had no trouble with the company they were using. So we used that company. The company charged us 40% more, then from the exterior inspection sent a notice of cancellation siting 1) the condition of the roof, which was being replaced at the time the inspector came out, 2) the house not being occupied (because we weren't moving in until the roof was done) and 3) tripping hazards in the sidewalk (there were none, but the driveway was complete crap). We had 60 days to correct these things... 1 & 2 were no problem but 3 was well outside our budget and not something we planned to deal with until next year, the house had MUCH more serious issues to deal with.

We got other quotes, got another policy for half, their inspection also resulted in a cancellation notice, but all we have to correct is that at the time of inspection, old kitchen cabinets we had replaced were in the back yard. By the time I received the notice, I had them broken down and piled into a dumpster bag, I just needed to wait until I had the budget to pay the $99 pickup fee, which it's being picked up today. Once that is done, I am to take new pictures showing it's cleaned up and I'm all set.

As purchased, the house had a gas leak in the crawl space and extensive dangerous electrical conditons on the second floor... I've corrected these, before the first insurance policy started I had disabled the unsafe wiring and at this point it is removed and I'm working through the new wiring under permit with a goal of being ready for rough inspection before the end of the year. None of this was raised by insurance. I think if you ask an insurance if something is okay, their reflex is to say that if you have to ask, then the answer is probably no.

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