Do whatever you feel comfortable with based on your risk level. The situation is different in many different locales. In some locales, it's even more than a citable offense: it's a misdemeanor and is subject to jail time, one count for each day it's installed and unpermitted. If convicted, it may have implications for you in employment, credit, etc. In some locales, when you sell your home a seller may have claims against you for unpermitted work that gets discovered, and can force you legally to rip it out, pull a permit, and reinstall it. In some locales, if it is discovered, the compliance officer can demand it be completely ripped out and reinstalled. As noted in my FAQ, there is indeed some insurance language that would permit an insurance company to deny paying a claim if discovered. While it has been pointed out that it may be unenforceable in some areas, remember that while you're going to fight them the insurance company can tie you up in lengthy proceedings for a very long time, without paying. In some locations, electrical permits and/or inspections aren't required. My personal opinion is that it is relatively simple to obtain permits and it provides a level of protection for you.