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Check coverage before loss of power, utilities

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Check your policy before you have utility loss.

Many of us can still remember the effects of Hurricane Ike in September 2008, when the storm caused damage across 11 states. Widespread winds with gusts to hurricane force caused one of the largest power outages in the history of the Midwest, with close to 4 million customers losing power.

Of course, widespread power outages can occur at any time. Whether you are a homeowner with a personal insurance policy or a business owner with a commercial policy, it is important to understand what coverages you may have available before a storm hits.

Homeowners

Most homeowner policies exclude damage caused by utility service failure. An exclusion means that any damage caused by utility service failure is not covered by the policy. However, some insurance companies provide coverage for loss of refrigerated property by endorsement (a policy addition) or under the Additional Coverage section of the homeowner policy.

Coverage is usually limited and provides reimbursement for loss of freezer and refrigerator contents. Your agent can answer questions about what your policy covers.

Business owners

A loss of utilities can be costly. Even if your building is not damaged by a storm, a power outage could cause you to close your doors and prevent you from serving your customers. Business interruption insurance is available, but is not standard to every commercial policy. It  can usually be added for a reasonable cost.

In addition, business interruption insurance may not cover losses from utility service outages. Again, depending on your policy, you may be able to purchase a limited amount of coverage as a coverage extension or through an endorsement to your policy.

Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, avoid surprises by checking with your agent in advance to assure you have the necessary insurance coverage in the event of a utility outage.

Submitted by Bill Gregory

Posted 10:50 AM  View Comments

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