If you were one of the millions watching this year’s Super Bowl, you saw the lights go out early into the game and delaying action on the field for about 30 minutes. If even the Super Bowl is susceptible to power outages, can you imagine what would happen to your home if the power went out for an extended period of time? While nothing can compensate you for the inconvenience, your home insurance policy does provide some coverage for damages related to a power outage.
One of the greatest benefits of your home insurance policy is coverage for refrigerated or frozen products that are destroyed due to a power failure or mechanical breakdown. This can be a significant coverage benefit if you have a great deal of food stored in a deep freezer. A loss of electricity can cause a pretty significant amount of damage in these situations. Of course, the policy won’t cover you if the loss of power is something you caused, such as pulling the plug from a wall or turning off the switch. This might seem obvious, but the policy actually spells out these two scenarios.
It’s also important to keep in mind your responsibilities when there might be a covered loss. The policy requires you to do everything you can to protect your property and prevent further loss. As an example, if you have two freezers and only one breaks down, you should move as much food as possible from the broken unit into the working unit. If you don’t do this, the insurance company may not fully compensate your loss. This is an important concept when it comes to all damages that may be covered on your policy. It is always your obligation to take the necessary steps to prevent further damage from occurring. If you don’t, you could be voiding potential coverage under the policy.
In addition to spoiled food, there’s coverage for any damage to your home caused by a change in temperature as a result of a power outage. If you are located in a very cold climate, the loss of heat may cause damages such as burst pipes. You would then be able to tender the resulting damage claim to your policy. Of course, similar to the coverage for refrigerated food, some caveats are built in to the policy wording. The policy usually requires power to still be active in areas other than the insured location, with the power outage limited to the residence premises. This means the policy intends to cover incidents isolated to your home and not those that are widespread throughout the area.
As you can see, your home insurance policy may actually offer you some benefit when the lights go out. However, the benefits are limited in scope and have some strict conditions on them. To fully benefit from the coverage, you should read your policy now before an event actually takes place. After all, how will you read your policy when the lights are out?