Does Homeowners Insurance Cover a Power Surge?

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    Power surges that occur at home can damage electronics or prevent them from working altogether. While surge protectors can help keep electronics safe during a power surge, sometimes even they can fail. The personal property coverage in your home insurance policy represents the next best way to protect your expensive electronic equipment, but what exactly does it cover?

    Does Home Insurance Cover a Power Surge?

    Most, if not all, home insurance policies protect personal property, such as electronics, if they become damaged due to a power surge. Most policies do have limits, and coverage can vary depending on your policy and the insurer you use.
    Some insurers cover a power surge only if it is caused by a certain peril. The different causes for a power surge include:
    • Lightning strike: Lightning strikes cause power surges when they hit your home, nearby power lines, and telephone lines.
    • Switching surge: A switching surge occurs when the power system feeding electricity to your home experiences an increased electric load. Usually this occurs when the power company turns off and turns on the power again.
    In addition, electronics in your home can malfunction over time as fluctuations in the power supply can burn out electronic components. You can't do much about this, except to replace the burned out component or piece of equipment when it does stop working.

    Optional Surge Protection Insurance

    While many home insurance policies cover damage from power surges, some do not. Luckily, many of these companies allow you to modify your existing policy to include protection.
    Optional surge protection insurance is available via the following sources:
    • Home insurance modification: Some, but not all, home insurance companies allow you to modify your existing coverage to cover damage from a power surge. If your home insurance does not allow this kind of modification and you live in an area that experiences a lot of lightning strikes, consider shopping around for an insurance company that does offer this protection.
    • Utility companies: Many utility companies offer insurance to their customers to pay for replacing electronic devices that are damaged due to a power surge. This coverage costs anywhere from $5 to $13 a month, depending on the power company and location, and it provides anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 worth of coverage.

    How to Protect Your Home from a Power Surge

    In addition to having insurance in place to cover devices if they are damaged in a power surge, you can also take steps to reduce the likelihood of damage in the first place:
    • Surge protectors: Surge protectors guard your devices by providing a buffer between the electric current coming into your home and your devices. A surge protector absorbs the increased electrical load. Surge protectors usually cost $20 to $50. You can also opt for a whole-house surge protector, which an electrician installs at the main service panel. This option can cost up to $700.
    • Upgrade wiring: The wiring in some older homes does not provide adequate protection against a power surge. Make sure you have the appropriate breakers in place and that your wiring can handle the load of newer electronic devices.
    • Unplug electronics: Unplugging devices when you aren’t using them is another way to avoid damage from a power surge. In addition, unplugging your devices during a thunderstorm or when you expect a power outage can help protect them from a power surge.
    Purchasing insurance to protect your home and the devices in it can save you money in the long run. In addition, you can take specific steps to mitigate the chance of any damage occurring in the first place. When seeking to protect your home, talk with a home insurance agent to make sure that you carry the proper amount of coverage.

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