Power surges can occur through a lightning strike or sudden changes in electrical loads inside or outside your home. No matter the cause, they can damage or destroy electronics or appliances instantly.
One zap could take out your media center, computers, refrigerator, stove, and washer and dryer. Without proper insurance coverage it would cost a bundle to replace these items, never mind the inconvenience.
Does My Insurance Cover Power Surges?
This coverage could compensate you for the damage or replacement of affected items, up to the policy limit. However, you should read your policy or talk to your insurance agent to understand policy coverage and exclusions. Every policy differs and your current policy may not offer sufficient protection.
According the Insurance Information Institute, most policies protect against damage or loss caused by human-generated electricity. However, they may limit compensation for surges caused by lightning, unless it is a direct strike. Considering a lightning strike up to a mile away could cause damage this is cause for concern, especially if you live in a lightning-prone area.
Some policies also limit compensation on electronic components. Most policies also limit the maximum allowable claim per item. An average is around $1,200 per item which won’t do you a lot of good if a power surge destroys an expensive computer or your shiny, new stainless steel range.
Luckily, additional protection is usually available through equipment breakdown coverage. It offers protection against damage or loss due to electrical, mechanical, or pressure system issues.
This coverage has a lower deductible and does not limit how much you can claim per item. The maximum limit on the policy is usually quite high too ($100,000 isn’t unusual).
Prepare a Home Inventory
First and foremost, prepare a home inventory. It will help us determine the right insurance coverage for your needs. Plus, it provides a written record of electronics and appliances that could be affected by a power surge. This information can simplify and speed up the claims process.
If you have replacement value coverage, you can restore items to their original condition or buy new electronics or appliances of the same quality and kind. If you have an actual cash value policy, compensation includes depreciation. Either way, proof of what you own can save you a lot of headaches should you ever need to file a claim.
Protect Your Home
Clearly, no one wants to see anything in their home damaged or destroyed by a power surge. As a result, it makes sense to do what you can to protect your home.
Whole-house suppressors can be hard-wired into your electrical panel by a qualified electrician. Experts recommend one for your house service and separate, smaller units for phone and cable lines. The electrical system must be properly grounded for these suppressors to do their job.
However, up to 15 percent of an electrical surge can still leak through these systems. Consequently, “plug-in” surge protectors are also a necessity. Use a separate protector for each surge sensitive item – like your computers, televisions and stereo equipment, etc.
Once you’ve got your home inventory in place, give us a call! We’ll review your current policies to see if you’ve got the right coverages in place. If not, we’ll make some recommendations to ensure that you have the protection you need at the best possible price.