Does home insurance cover spoiled food after a power outage? – Councilor Forbes
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Power outages can be just annoying or quite devastating. A prolonged outage can leave you with a refrigerator and freezer full of spoiled food. If you’re hoping your home insurance will help cover the cost of perishables like meat, vegetables, and milk, your home insurance company may pay up to a certain amount. Or it might not provide a single penny of coverage.
This is because food spoilage coverage varies by company and the type of event that caused the power outage in the first place. For example, some home insurance companies will cover up to 0 if a power outage affects your neighborhood. But insurers generally won’t cover food spoilage if you accidentally cut your electricity while renovating your kitchen.
But before you say goodbye to your steaks and fresh vegetables, here’s what you need to know about home insurance and food spoilage claims.
Home insurance for spoiled food
Home insurance companies typically pay up to $ 500 in food lost in a power outage, but only if the cause of the power outage is covered by your policy, for example, if a lightning strike caused power failure.
If you want coverage over $ 500, your insurer might offer you additional spoiled food coverage, but you will need to pay extra for it. For example, some policies allow you to add up to $ 2,500 for spoiled food coverage.
Some home insurance companies will cover food spoilage claims if your utility company is responsible for the power outage. For example, your policy may cover a claim for loss of food caused by a gradual blackout or other planned power outage.
Here are three scenarios in which spoiled food will likely be covered:
- A lightning strike triggers a power failure in your home
- A fallen tree cuts the power to your house
- A tornado creates a hole in your roof, squirting rain into the house and causing a power outage
Here are three scenarios where spoiled food is unlikely to be covered:
- DIY project causes power outage in your home
- Your utility provider cuts your electricity due to unpaid bills
- A flood causes a power outage (because standard home insurance policies do not cover flood damage)
If your home insurance doesn’t cover a food spoilage claim, it’s worth asking your utility company if they’ll reimburse you for the loss. Some utility companies will cover food spoilage, but only if the failure was the fault of the utility. Other utility companies could cover food spoilage to help customers who have suffered a loss during a widespread event, such as a tropical storm.
Insurance deductibles for damaged food claims
Even if spoiled food is covered by your policy, a deductible usually applies to a claim. For example, if you lost $ 500 of food but had a $ 500 deductible, you would essentially eat the cost of the spoiled food.
But not all insurers will apply a deductible for a food damage claim, or they may waive it in certain situations. If you are unsure of how your deductible applies, it is a good idea to contact your insurance agent.
If your policy covers spoiled food and you have to pay a deductible, the Insurance Information Institute recommends asking your utility provider if they will reimburse you for the deductible amount.
Tips for filing a damaged food insurance claim
If you have spoiled food due to a power outage, don’t necessarily rush to file a small insurance claim. Your claim history is factored into your premium rates, which could cause rates to increase when you renew the policy.
If you do decide to file a claim, be sure to document the loss before throwing out the food. Here are some tips for filing a damaged food insurance claim:
- Make a list and take pictures of the spoiled food
- Estimate the cost of spoiled food
- Collect receipts for big ticket items that have gone bad, like lobster and steak