Determining which homeowners insurance is right for you can be daunting, especially in Tampa, Florida. In addition to everyday concerns, there’s always the possibility of severe weather rolling through like storms that can cause flooding and other damages.
Additionally, there’s been a recent increase in the use of solar panels, which are a great way to save on energy costs and reduce your environmental footprint. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, installations have spiked 35 times since the year 2008. However, they are a big investment and can initially cost a lot of money. So it’s important to know if your insurance coverage will protect your solar panels in case something unfortunate happens.
Insuring your home means you automatically have a certain level of protection against unfortunate events, also referred to as perils in insurance terminology. These may include but aren’t limited to, theft, storm damage, and fires. With that said, you should have no problem finding coverage, especially if you do business with the Webb Insurance Group because we will always find the perfect plan for your unique situation. Solar panels fall into a similar category to home extensions such as attached carports or a home’s security system, so panels are considered permanent attachments. Therefore, they are worthy of protection under your homeowner’s insurance coverage. On the contrary, some structures of your home that are covered are only eligible for limited claims because they are technically detached from the home (such as pools, sheds, guesthouses, and gazebos). Since solar panels are usually attached to the home, you can expect to have no claim limit, which is another positive aspect.
Issues To Ponder
While having coverage for your solar PV system should be the least of your worries, there are still some details you may have to sort out to ensure your plan is as effective as possible. Depending on the type of panels you install, your location, your insurance coverage, your insurance company, and a few other factors, the process might get a bit tedious.
Building and Modification Restrictions
Now that you know how easy things are on the insurance end, you may be eager to decrease your carbon footprint and save on energy costs. However, we recommend checking on a few things before making the big purchase. For one, you should be aware of the permissions and restrictions in your municipality. You may be required to obtain permits and follow strict processes for installation. Not having the required legal permits and meeting municipality standards will affect your rights to coverage.
It’s also recommended that you check with your homeowner’s association, which has the rights to deny your installation if it doesn’t abide by certain rules and standards.
Coverage During Installation
You might already have the skills of a professional solar panel installer, but if not, you’re like the rest of us and you’ve probably decided to play it safe and call in a professional. Whichever option suits you best, just know that accidents on rooftops are not unheard of. For instance, roof damage could somehow occur during the installation process. One of our insurance agents can help you determine if you need to adjust your dwelling limits or any other aspect of your coverage to protect you from any additional costs.
You May Have To Reevaluate Your Coverage.
You’re likely to increase your home’s value by tens of thousands of dollars just by installing this renewable energy source. This is a major perk in the event that you decide to sell your home. However, you could be bummed by the coverage you receive if a peril were to occur and you hadn’t yet notified your insurance company about your home’s increase in value.
Don’t expect your insurance company to automatically honor your home’s new increased value due to your new green addition. Depending on the logistics, you may need to increase your coverage as your estimated value before solar installation would be lower than after installation.
Not notifying the insurance providers and increasing your coverage means you won’t recover money spent on your solar panels if your home suffers great damage.
Another reason to increase coverage is the added liability in the case of a fire. If there is a fire, the panels sometimes still maintain the flow of electricity. Therefore, first responders may be less persistent in their efforts to quell a fire due to their risk of electrocution. This is just another reason to make sure to verify that your coverage limits are favorable.
Some Types Of Solar Panels Might Not Be Eligible For Full Coverage.
As previously mentioned, solar panel roof attachments are covered and also have no claim limit. On the other hand, there are certain types, such as ground-mounted panels and solar carports, that could have coverage restrictions. These are not attached to the home.
Additionally, most ground-mounted panels require deep digging and several holes in the yard, as well as verified permissions and professional guidance. There is a less stressful solution, ground-mounted panels that are secured by one large pole in the ground. Some insurance companies require you to add a separate policy for these types of solar installations, which is still better than no coverage or only partial coverage.
Will You Be Leasing Or Owning?
Due to the expensive price, solar PV systems are often leased for a period of time because some users are not comfortable with more permanent solutions. Essentially, leasing is a less costly option that requires less commitment as well. You can rest assured that if you’re leasing your panels, there’s no need for your insurance company to increase your coverage, but it is still advisable to notify them of your purchase.
The leasing company is responsible for damages that may be incurred. However, it is strongly suggested that you are aware of the leasing company’s insurance policy to avoid any personal liability in the event that the panels are damaged or if your home is damaged as a result of their installation.
Insurance Premiums Will Likely Increase.
With the average price of a solar-powered system being between $20,000 and $25,000, you’ll want to increase your coverage limits. Inevitably, that does mean that your premium will increase. It’s always good to shop around for a plan that suits you if you feel that your premium becomes too high after boosting your coverage.
Wind and Flood Damage
These two acts of nature are the main cause of concern in Florida. They are able to do pretty hefty damage, and some insurance companies refuse to cover damage done by wind surges and flooding. The good news is that there are some insurance companies that will still cover your panels in such conditions. However, you may have to cancel your current policy or consider an add-on policy to obtain them.
A solar panel system is a responsible way to save energy and money in the long run, but there are a number of important issues to consider with your purchase. Once you secure insurance coverage, you’ll need to be aware of the limitations, restrictions, types of panels, additional costs, liabilities, installation and so on.
This is why we encourage sitting down with one of our Webb Insurance Group agents who will give you all of the details for your specific situation so that we can help you make the best decisions. Though this process may be somewhat intimidating, what’s important is saving you money, protecting all of your assets, and avoiding unnecessary costs.
*This content was not written by a licensed insurance agent.*