Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fallen Electrical or Utility Poles?

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Utility poles (Photo: @PongPhoto via Twenty20)
If you have utility poles near your home, you might have already wondered what happens if one of these structures fall on your house. Would you have to cover the costs for repair, or would your insurance company help you? Here’s what you should know.

What’s Covered By Your Insurance

Standard homeowners insurance policies are extensive and cover a variety of things, such as:
  • Fire and smoke 
  • Lightning strikes 
  • Windstorm and hail
  • Explosion
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief 
  • Damage from an aircraft, car, or vehicle 
  • Theft
  • Falling objects 
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet 
  • Water damage 
Now, there’s a good chance that if a utility pole falls on top of your home, it would be covered under the “falling objects” line item. However, there are some exceptions as to what the insurance company will help you pay.
Homeowners insurance is meant to protect your home so, if a fallen pole damaged your house either on the outside or the inside, your policy should be able to cover these damages. Additionally, your policy might also cover possible damages to wiring and panels inside the home. And that’s where the coverage stops. 
Your insurance company won’t cover any damages caused to the pole itself or the power lines that go from the pole to your home. 

Who Covers the Extra Damages?

Things might get a little tricky when it comes to figuring out who covers the extra damages caused by the falling pole. The most significant factor in determining this will be what caused the pole to fall in the first place. Here are some examples: 
If you were the one at fault: If you did something that caused the pole to fall on your home, your insurance company would cover the home repairs, but you will then be held responsible for covering the cost to repair the pole. 
If someone else is at fault: Say someone else caused the pole to fall onto your home—perhaps a driver crashed into the pole. In this case, the driver might be held responsible, and their car insurance might kick-in to cover the costs. However, there’s also a chance that the asset owner can be held accountable if it is determined that the pole was placed in a dangerous spot. 
If a storm caused the pole to fall: If a natural event caused the pole to fall in the first place, there’s a good chance the asset owner will take care of the repairs to the pole and the power lines. 

What to Do If an Electrical or Utility Pole Falls 

Whenever any of these structures fall, it can pose a great danger to those nearby, especially when power lines are involved. So, follow these helpful steps to stay safe in case of a fallen pole.
Avoid touching the fallen line: Power lines hold strong electrical currents, and touching them directly or indirectly with a stick or another object is a bad idea. Stay as far away as possible.
Avoid touching anything that’s touching the power line: Electricity can transport itself between objects. Something that is touching the power line can have the same potential of electrocuting you as the power line itself. 
Keep children and pets safe: They might not be aware of the danger, so keep a close eye on them and keep them safe.
Call 911: You need to report fallen power lines as soon as possible. Not only are they dangerous, but they can also leave people without essentials services if not fixed.