Homeowners’ insurance policies, particularly personal property, usually cover damage to appliances and electronics caused by a power surge. But it ultimately depends on the cause of the surge that happens for many reasons and in various ways.
Some causes of power surges include lightning striking a home or a nearby structure like a telephone pole. Other reasons may be that the electrical wiring in a house is old, or the utility company is performing maintenance in the neighborhood; all of these things could cause a power surge.
But regardless of the power surge cause, they can destroy or damage anything plugged into your electrical outlets, from your television to the blow dryer; all electronics are vulnerable when a power surge occurs.
So, does your homeowners’ insurance cover damages such as when your TV or laptop get fried? Homeowners insurance rarely covers power surge damage caused by an exposed wire or overloaded circuit.
We’ll walk you through what typical insurance covers when it comes to a power surge. If you’re looking for surge coverage plans, you may want to consider FirstEnergy’s lightning protection plan to protect expensive electronics.
What is a Power Surge?
Just like the name implies, a power surge is a high amount of electricity flowing into your power outlets. It’s an unprecedented spike in voltage in one’s home electrical system that exceeds the standard electricity flow.
Power surges can damage and destroy home appliances and electronics plugged into the outlets during the surge, and at times can cause electrical fires or even damage your power outlets.
Moreover, power surges happen due to switching surges, either originating from the home’s electrical grid or external factors like downed power lines or lightning.
Here are some power surges that are caused by switching surges:
- Overloading outlets
- High-powered devices
- Damaged wiring
- Power outages
Home Insurance Policy and Power Surges
When exactly does your homeowner insurance cover damages causes by a power surge? As mentioned earlier, whether your insurance policy does cover power surge damage ultimately depends on what exactly caused it.
In a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, power surge damage is usually covered if it was caused by lightning strikes or sudden accidental damages due to artificially generated electrical currents.
For instance, if your house was struck by lightning, and it ended up causing a power surge that fried your computer and TV, your homeowners’ insurance will likely help pay so that you can replace your damaged electronics. But this may be limited to the personal property coverage limit on the policy.
If your electrical company caused a power surge during maintenance work and damaged your electronics, that might also be considered an artificially generated electric current and is usually covered.
However, some homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover the loss of transistors, tubes, and other components that enable your electronics to operate, which is likely to exclude home appliances, such as stoves and refrigerators, even if an artificially generated current caused the damage.
Your homeowners’ insurance policy may also cover:
- Short circuit damage
- Damage caused by a power surge, such as a fire
If you’re covered, the reimbursement amount depends on an actual cash value or a replacement cost policy. Suppose you have a replacement cost policy, and power surge damages are covered in the policy. In that case, your insurer has to reimburse you for brand new items, according to the policy’s limit.
Whereas, if you’re entitled to an actual cash value policy, only the depreciated value of your personal belongings will be reimbursed by the insurer.
When Does a Homeowners Policy Not Cover Power Surge Damages?
Of course, there are some instances where your insurance company might refuse to cover power surge damage. Here are some cases:
- Your house has been unoccupied for more than 60 days.
- The homeowner caused a power surge because of general negligence.
- The power surge occurred because of maintenance issues.
As mentioned earlier, there are insurance companies that will refuse to cover artificially generated electrical damage.
You as a homeowner can take many proactive steps to prevent power surges or damage caused by power surges. The most common one is to install surge protectors. It’s also a good idea to have an electrician check your wiring if something seems faulty or too many surges are happening.
All in all, we hope you have a better understanding of what type of power surge damages are covered in your homeowners’ insurance policy.