Typically, solar panels represent a sizable financial investment. As an insurance agent, you naturally want to provide your clients with all the information they need to protect that investment properly. Whether homeowners enlist qualified installers or install their own panels DIY-style, there are a few insurance basics of which they should be made aware.
First, it’s important to clarify exactly what’s covered under the typical homeowners insurance policy. Most policies offer coverage for the following:
- Roof solar panels. Rooftop-mounted panels usually are included under dwelling coverage.
- Ground panels or panels on a detached structure. Typically, these panels also are covered, specifically under “other structures” coverage.
Crucially, it’s usually just the panels that are covered. There are some other important considerations that we’ll outline below.
Insurance agents may wish to advise their clients to increase the limits of their claims. The reason for this is simple: Solar panels tend to be expensive. The average cost of installing solar panels is $13,000, and that’s after solar tax incentives have been factored. For some homeowners, the cost may be closer to $20,000.
In addition to knowing what’s covered, your clients should understand what’s not covered by their insurance policy. For example, the following items usually are not covered under a homeowners insurance policy:
- underperforming systems,
- wiring issues,
- critters chewing through wires, and
- debris clogging a system.
Homeowners will want to pay close attention to their warranties when they get their solar panels installed; often, filing a warranty claim is more effective than filing a homeowners insurance claim.
Think about solar panels and insurance
A good homeowners insurance policy can be an invaluable protection for homeowners who wish to go solar … but as an insurance agent, it’s important to be clear with your clients about the limits of what their coverage will cover should they have an insurance claim.
Karsten Neumeister is a writer and solar energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. When away from the workplace—as lover of music and the outdoors—Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs.