If you lose power and it takes several hours or days for power to be restored, food in your fridge and freezer can spoil. Your home insurance company may or may not compensate you for your loss, depending on the particular circumstances.
The source of the power failure is a key factor
If you lose power due to a covered peril, such as a storm, you will most likely be able to file a spoiled food claim. If an earthquake or flood causes a power outage and you don’t have an insurance policy that covers that risk, you won’t be covered for the food you have to throw away.
Your insurance company will not cover the cost of spoiled food if the power outage is your fault. For example, if you cut down a tree and it lands on a power line and knocks out the electricity, don’t expect your insurance company to reimburse you for the spoiled food you have to throw away. Nor will the insurer compensate you for spoiled food if your electricity goes out because you don’t pay your bill.
If the utility company is responsible for the power outage, your home insurance policy may have a specific provision that deals with this type of event. Your utility company can reimburse you for spoiled food or your home insurance deductible if you file a claim.
The number of homes affected may be a relevant factor. Your insurance company may cover spoiled food if the power outage only affected your home, or it may only provide coverage for a power outage that affects a larger area, such as your entire neighborhood. .
Find out what your policy covers
Home insurance companies differ in how they handle food loss related to a power outage. If you have questions, review your policy or contact your insurance company or agent and ask.
Your insurer may limit the amount it will pay for spoiled food, regardless of the actual value of the food you need to throw away. You may have to pay a deductible before your insurance company compensates you. If the value of the spoiled food is less than the deductible amount, it may not be wise to file a claim. Sometimes home insurance companies charge a lower deductible for food spoilage or waive the deductible altogether. Contact your insurer and ask.
If your home insurance policy does not currently cover food spoilage related to a power outage, you may want to change your coverage so that you are protected in the future. You may be able to add this coverage for an additional premium.
If you file a claim, take photos of the spoiled food before you throw it away. This is especially important if you are seeking compensation for expensive food. If you have food receipts, submit them with your claim.