Increasingly, “going green” by installing solar is not just a fad but a reality that many home and business owners across the nation have chosen – for both financial and moral reasons. Installing solar panels is not only a great way to take a positive action for the environment, but also can save someone a lot of money over the life of the solar system.
When doing the calculations though, there are many factors that may be hard to work out. One of the most common concerns is on how installing solar will affect their homeowner’s insurance rates. This might seem like a very simple question but because the solar industry has caught on so rapidly, the answer to it may vary greatly depending on the company or the region.
Homeowner’s insurance, often called “dwelling coverage” in the industry, protects one’s home against “perils.” These commonly include both what are called “acts of God,” like weather and falling trees, and purposeful human actions, like vandalism and theft. An insurance company may choose to include your panels into the current dwelling coverage and protect against these perils, or they may not.
The best advice on this topic is to call your insurance company and discuss the matter with them before installing the panels. Thankfully, the majority of companies will automatically consider the panels as part of the home and cover them, but many do not, so it’s very important to know. Whether or not they will cover them, it is also important to inform them just so that they can re-appraise the home’s value if needed. Solar panels can raise a home’s value by tens of thousands of dollars, and you do not want part of your home’s value to be uncovered because any gap would be covered by yourself.
To answer the question though, many companies will not recommend amending the policy at all and your rates will stay exactly the same. Other companies will insist that your policy be amended, but the new premiums rarely exceed $10 more a month. Still other companies will actually lower the homeowner’s rates by 2-5 percent. These companies have found that their environmentally-conscious customers are less of a risk overall, so they take your panels as a sign of your overall dependability. If your company is one that will raise your premiums, you may simply wish to shop around and find a new homeowner’s insurance company before you install.
Another thing to take into consideration, is that most reputable solar panel companies will have 25 year warranties on their products. This may make insurance redundant in many cases. If the panels you are considering installing have such a warranty, this could be good information to pass along to your insurance company when discussing rates. If you are in the Southeast and need a good solar installer who can help you work through these details, consider calling Baker Renewable Energy to set up a consultation.