Is solar panel insurance included in homeowners insurance?
Solar panels can reduce your energy bill to zero in some cases. But they’re also an investment. The average solar panel installation can cost between $11,144 and $14,696, so it’s no wonder you’d want your homeowners insurance to cover them.
The good news?
Homeowners insurance does cover solar panels if you own them (not leased) and they’re permanently attached to your roof.
Panels that are attached to a shed or other structure may not be covered.
What solar panel damage is covered?
Your solar panels are covered for the same perils as your home. Because our dwelling insurance offers open-perils coverage, that means your solar panels are covered for every incident except those explicitly listed as exclusions in the policy (like acts of war, earth movement, birds and vermin, etc.).
That means your panels are covered for hurricane winds, hail, fire, vandalism, theft, and a whole lot more.
Common solar panel insurance claims
A lot of things can damage your solar panels, most commonly:
- Falling trees.
- Animal damage.
Let’s look at some examples.
Just like roof tiles, solar panels can easily be ripped off by strong hurricane winds. That can damage more than your panels – your roof shingles and the deck itself could be compromised, too.
If a tree falls on your panels, they can easily crack and won’t be able to generate the same amount of energy. Even a small amount of damage can affect how much voltage the panel generates. If a panel is more than 20 percent damaged, it may need to be replaced.
Squirrels, mice, rats, opossums, and birds can also nest under the solar panels and damage them. Nesting animals may chew on exposed surfaces or wires, leading to shorts in the system.
Unlike hurricane winds and falling trees, though, homeowners insurance won’t cover solar panel damage caused by vermin, birds, or insects.
Preventing solar panel claims
Ideally, your solar panels will enjoy their full lifespan – usually 25 to 30 years – and effectively eliminate your energy bill. The best way to do that – and prevent claims – is to maintain your solar panels by:
- Regular cleaning. Clean your panels to remove dust, debris, and bird droppings. Most dust can be removed by spraying the panels with a garden hose. For caked-on grime or droppings, you may need to wipe it down with a rag and water.
- Clearing overhanging branches. You don’t want trees to obstruct the panel and hinder its ability to absorb sunlight. Not only will the shade make your system less efficient, but it makes it more likely that a branch could fall and damage your panels.
- Inspecting your solar panels each year. Make sure your panels are properly attached to your roof – no loose screws or movement. Look for rodents or nests.
How to file a solar panel claim
If you have a solar panel loss, call us right away or submit your claim online.
You’ll typically want to document the damage with photos as best as you can. We’ll also ask that you do your part to mitigate further losses. For example, if a panel was torn off and you have a hole in your roof, you might need to cover the hole to prevent water from entering the home and compounding the damage.
Make sure you also have:
- The date and time of loss.
- A description of the circumstances that caused the damage.
- A copy of your purchase agreement. Remember that only panels you own are covered.