Electricity is an essential. Without it, our perishables are left to perish, and homeowners are left in the dark — literally. And in the event of a power surge, the toll of damaged appliances can be pretty hefty. Read more below.
An abrupt jolt in electricity — otherwise known as a power surge — can destroy expensive appliances in less than one-thousandth of a second. And it goes without saying that the repairs (or replacements) necessary can be costly. In fact, power surges cause hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage each year.
Sometimes electrical surges are caused by lightning strikes to the home or power lines. But usually spikes in electrical current stem from damaged electrical wiring found within the home itself. In other cases, a high powered electrical appliance may suddenly turn off, at which point, excess electricity is diverted, causing damages to other sensitive devices.
does homeowners insurance cover power surges?
Some homeowners insurance companies cover power surge damages, whether or not lightning was the cause. Dwelling protection and personal property insurance under your homeowners policy may protect the structure of the house and financially safeguard electronic appliances respectively. If the power surge damages your home's wiring, dwelling or other structures coverages could help pay for the repairs.
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Other insurance companies (that aren't Esurance) may only cover damage if the surge was caused by lightning. And some insurers might not cover certain electronic components that enable devices to work, like transistors or tubes. That's why it's important to read your policy over carefully or speak with your insurer to better understand your protection.
how to prevent power surges
While lightning strikes can't necessarily be stopped (unless Zeus gives you preferential treatment), there are preventative measures you can take to protect your home from electric power surges.
Unplug electronics you aren't using
The easiest and most pragmatic way to avoid a power surge is to unplug any appliances you're not using. Devices such as power tools, toasters, or hair dryers do not need to be left plugged in. If there is anything else you rarely use, like the VCR or programming features on your microwave, they should also be unplugged.
Use surge protectors
When voltage exceeds a safe level, surge protectors absorb and reduce the excess diversion of current, preventing damage to sensitive electronics. They are great for safeguarding devices, like PCs, printers, TVs, cable boxes, and sound systems. By utilizing both a plug-in and service panel protector, you can further mitigate the chances of a power surge.
Upgrade outdated wiring
If you have an older house, outdated wiring could be the culprit. Electrical components in homes constructed before the 1980s weren't meant to take on high powered refrigerators, large-capacity entertainment systems, or advanced computer monitors. Some symptoms of old wiring to be aware of include flickering lights, blown fuses, or if a large appliance or refrigerator kicks on.
get a free home insurance quote from esurance
It's a good idea to make sure you have an inventory of your personal belongings should you ever need to file a claim. Additionally, a comprehensive home inventory can help you gauge whether or not you have the right amount of insurance.
As a policyholder with Esurance, if lightning strikes or power abruptly surges, you can easily file a claim with our 24/7 claims reps. Beyond protecting your house, a homeowners insurance policy with Esurance means your liability, possessions, and hard-earned savings are also protected.
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