By Scott Laskey
“Should I insure my solar panels? Are they already covered by my home insurance? How do I protect them?”
If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, you’re not alone. You know that your solar panels are an investment, and you want to protect them, but you’re not sure whether they’re covered by your existing insurance policy or if you need to add something additional.
Luckily, solar panel insurance coverage isn’t that tough to figure out. Here’s what you need to know:
If you’ve installed solar panels for home use, you want to protect them.
And, again, you’re not alone in that. Right now, U.S. homeowners install a residential solar panel system every four minutes. That means there are tens of thousands of residential solar panels on homes across the country, and that all of them need some insurance protection.
While many people choose to insure their solar panels for peace of mind, it’s important to remember that panels are incredibly durable and meant to withstand the elements. With this in mind, you’ll only really want to pursue insurance if you’d prefer to pass unexpected repair expenses off to an insurance company, rather than paying for them out of pocket.
Here’s what you need to know about the facts of protecting your solar energy system:
Some insurance policies, including those offered by Esurance, cover solar panels as a part of the insured dwelling. If your plan covers your panels, the dwelling protection portion of your policy will step in to cover the bill (up to your policy limits).
If you’re not sure whether your policy covers solar panels, contact your insurance company to ask for additional information.
Some insurance providers issue restrictions on what types of panels and systems they’ll cover. For example, some insurers will cover a roof-mounted system differently than a ground-mounted system.
With this in mind, it’s smart to check with your insurance company before you install a panel system. This allows you to adjust accordingly and ensure you’re installing the system your insurance provider is most likely to provide coverage for.
Installing solar panels on your home is a huge job, and different insurers look at it in various ways. In some cases, an insurer will be willing to cover the installation process. If you want additional peace of mind surrounding the installation of your panels, be sure to work with an experienced and licensed solar company.
In other cases, your panels are only covered once they’re fully installed and operational. Again, this varies from company to company, so it’s wise to look into the fine print of your policy.
While different companies have different policies surrounding solar panel insurance, it’s worth noting that most insurance companies cover solar panels, at least in part. While they may not include all panels, all types of systems, or all phases of installation, it’s likely that your panels are subject to some protection.
With this in mind, be sure to contact your insurance company to double-check your solar protection policy. If you haven’t yet installed your residential system, this simple check-in will allow you to adjust your installation decisions accordingly, and ensure you’re making a smart choice.
If you have installed your system, double checking your coverage will help ensure that you’re aware of any existing coverage gaps and that you can make a plan to address them, if needed.
In some cases, you may need to take out an additional insurance policy to cover your solar panels. This is especially true if you opt for DIY solar panel installation, which poses significantly more risk than simply having a professional install the panels for you. If you do take out an additional policy, be sure it has a high enough dollar value to provide adequate coverage for your panels.
Want more information about how to protect your panels? Give our team at Sandbar Solar a call!
Scott is the founder of Sandbar Solar & Electric. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UC San Diego, Scott has an NABCEP certification, and has lectured on and taught many high-tech construction practices and solar PV technical concepts to education institutions, including Stanford University and state-recognized electrician apprenticeship programs. Scott enjoys sharing his knowledge of the evolving renewable energy space and making a difference in his community.
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