Will a renters insurance policy protect me against a power outage?

UPDATED: Jun 9, 2014

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UPDATED: Jun 9, 2014Fact Checked

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Asked June 9, 2014

1 Answer

Most insurance companies are reluctant to include power outages in your coverage. The problem is that loss of electricity is a risk that cannot be accurately predicted, making it impossible for insurance companies to account for such losses. Instead, most insurers consider the power outages to be an act of God and exclude it from standard coverage.

The biggest risk to you in a power outage is the loss of food in your refrigerator or freezer. Since almost everyone can expect to lose power at some point in their lives, the insurance company considers such losses to be the responsibility of the homeowner. You might be able to buy specific coverage for such events, but it would usually be more economical to invest in a generator than to pay for insurance over many years.

Another factor that you should consider is whether or not a claim for lost food is worth filing. Under most policies, you will have paid for the loss by the time you have spent your deductible, and that means that filing a claim is pointless. In fact, filing a claim under these conditions could actually count against you because it detracts from the value of your policy without achieving anything which benefits you.

If you are home during a power outage, take steps to prevent loss. For example, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door unless it is necessary because that allows the space to warm up. If you are going to be away from home for a period of time, have a relative or friend come over and check on things for you. That way, if the power goes out, your losses can be minimized by someone taking proactive steps to protect your belongings.

Answered June 9, 2014 by Anonymous

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