Does a smoke alarm have to be hardwired into the house or is it okay to use just the battery type?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2013

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Insurance Question from Vista, CA

Asked on 07/25/2013

Does a smoke alarm have to be hardwired into the house or is it okay to use just the battery type? I have to replace my smoke alarm and was wondering if I will have any insurance problems by just using a standard battery only type instead of replacing the old one with another one that has to be hardwired into the house.

Answer given on July 29, 2013

Smoke detectors are required in residences in the state of California. Insurance companies strongly urge their policyholders to have them, and usually offer a small discount for having one.These detectors can be battery operated or hardwired. If they are hardwired, they are sometimes monitored by an alarm company and if that is the case, then a greater discount is provided.You should check with your local municipality to see if they require a hardwired smoke detector, but most do not. Also, many places now require a carbon monoxide detector, although the insurance companies do not give a credit for this detector.You can check with your insurance company about any additional discounts if the detector is hardwired, if you are considering putting a hardwired system in. If you are, you might consider a burglar alarm too, as it will add to the discount you are receiving. If you are not, you can simply use the battery operated detector.

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