When the Power Goes Out, What Does Your HO Policy Cover?

Posted by Peter Lanza on Wed, Mar 03, 2021 @ 11:19 AM

homeowners policy coverageStorm damage adds up fast. Power outages can result in spoiled food. Power surges can fry electronic devices and appliances. Freezing temperatures can lead to broken pipes and flooding. The same wind that caused the power outages can also cause downed trees, broken fences and other damage.

When the power goes out, you may be left in the dark wondering whether your homeowners insurance will cover you. The answer is – it depends. Here’s what you need to know.

HO Coverage for Spoiled Food

Some homeowners insurance policies may provide coverage for food that spoils during a power outage, but this will depend on both the details of your insurance policy and the cause of the power outage.

If the cause of the power outage is a covered peril under your policy, the spoiled food that results may also be covered.

To prevent food spoilage, try to keep your refrigerator door closed during a power outage. After a prolonged outage, check whether the food has maintained a safe temperature, and discard anything you’re not sure about.

If your food spoils and you think you might have coverage, make sure you document the loss before tossing it in the garbage. Take pictures and set aside the receipts if you still have them.

HO Coverage for Power Surges

Having no power is bad – but having too much power can be even worse. Power surges can damage or destroy expensive electronic devices and appliance.

If you experience a loss caused by a power surge, your homeowners insurance policy may provide coverage. However, as with spoiled food, there’s a lot of variation among policies, so you’ll need to check your policy for coverage details and exclusions.

Power surges can be caused by lightning, and they can also occur after power outages. Using surge protectors can help prevent damage. You should also unplug appliances and electronics during a power outage.

HO Coverage for Broken Pipes and Flooding

Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flood damage caused by weather events. For this, a separate flood insurance policy is needed. However, homeowners insurance may provide coverage for broken pipes and the associated water damage.

Damage associated with normal wear and tear or a lack of maintenance is typically excluded from coverage. This means that if you have a leaky pipe that you don’t fix, you probably won’t be able to file a claim for the damage or repairs. However, if you experience a sudden burst pipe due to a severe storm, you may have coverage, depending on the details of your policy.

To prevent frozen pipes, consider having insulation or heat tape added. When the temperatures plummet, leave vulnerable faucets dripping and leave cabinet doors open to let warm air circulate.

HO Coverage for Wind Damage

Homeowners insurance typically provides coverage for wind damage. This will usually include damage caused by fallen trees. Wind damage to roofs, fences and other structures may also be covered.

To prevent damage, have your roof inspected and repair damage as needed. Also have trees inspected and remove or trim trees that could pose a danger as needed. When a severe storm is expected, either remove or secure items that could become a wind hazard.

Have questions about your homeowners insurance? Need a competitive quote on your policy? Contact the personal insurance team at BNC Insurance.

Tags: power outage, homeowners insurance coverage