Power outages are often covered by standard renters personal property insurance coverage. Personal property coverage protects your personal belongings from damage caused by power outages.
For example, if a lightning storm strikes your home, causing a power outage and physical damage to the building, making your home unlivable, your renters insurance may pay for alternative housing. Or, if a power outage ruins food in the refrigerator because electricity is out for a period of time, renters insurance may help you recoup the loss, and since a power outage may prevent you from cooking, insurance may cover the expense of dining out.
Renters insurance covers power outages. It’s part of the standard policy coverage, so you will not pay extra to take advantage of this coverage. Keep in mind that at-fault power outages are not usually covered; only outages caused by named perils.
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When Does Renters Insurance Cover Power Outages?
Your personal property insurance, part of standard renters insurance, covers damages from a power outage. The following are examples of things renters insurance covers because of a power outage.
Food loss because of a long-term power outage.
Electronics damage due to power surges.
Payment for hotel accommodations if an electrical fire renders your home unlivable.
Renters insurance covers damage from a power outage to your personal belongings. But, if you cause the power outage, compensation for your losses is unlikely. Outages caused by disasters named in the policy, on the other hand, are covered.
For example, if lightning strikes and the power goes out, you should unplug/remove electrical equipment since electricity might be restored with a quick surge that damages your electronics. If your insurer discovers that the damage was avoidable, the policy may not pay the loss.
When Doesn’t Renters Insurance Cover Power Outages?
Renters insurance does not cover power outages if there is no physical damage to your personal property. Meanwhile, if there is physical damage to your property and your renters insurance provider determines that you were the cause of the power outage, they will not pay the loss.
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How to Protect Yourself From Power Outages
Prevention is better than filing a claim, and it is also less expensive as renters insurance rates could go up after making a claim. Being proactive to avoid power outages in your apartment is preferable but not always possible. You can protect yourself against damage to electronics in a power outage by installing a surge protector and unplugging appliances when the power goes out.
Also, pay attention to news reports to know whether a weather event is coming that may cause a power outage and protect your belongings as best possible.
When the power goes out, it is important to disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges during power restoration.
Stay Connected and Alert
Use an alert system that notifies you of power outages by text and email so you may be aware in real-time.
Install Surge Protectors
Install surge protectors for your household electronics.
Create a kit with essential items for each member of your home. First-aid supplies, nonperishable food, bottled water and a flashlight should all be in your kits.
Keep Freezer Closed
Most refrigerators can store frozen food for one to three days. Keeping your freezer closed can stop your frozen food from spoiling.
Where to Buy Renters Insurance
You can get renters insurance from major insurance companies, such as Farmers and Travelers, or smaller companies, like Lemonade and Toggle. If you're not sure which is best for you, MoneyGeek has a guide on comparing renters insurance quotes.
Renters insurance costs an average of $13 a month; however, premiums vary depending on your location and the value of your personal possessions. If you need help determining how much coverage to purchase, use MoneyGeek's personal property calculator below.
About Mark Fitzpatrick