Friday, 15 July 2011

Solar panels & Insurance

Because the number of households with PV panels on the roof are fairly insignificant, insurance companies rarely seem to mention their existence in policies. Your home insurance may not be covering the damage or theft of the panels or associated electrical parts. If you’re in any doubt regarding your insurance policy and just what it covers, you need to write and ask for a hard copy confirmation that you’re covered.

I followed my own advice on this and emailed my insurers "Sheilas' Wheels" explaining I'd recently had solar panels installed on my roof and asking if the system was covered by my existing policy. They acknowledged the request stating "We will aim to reply to customer service requests in 48 hours." They replied within 4 working days (96 hrs).



"We note that you may wish to alter your insurance policy and would ask that you call our Customer Support Department on the number detailed below where one of our agents will be happy to deal with your request."

"We regret that, at this present time, we are unable to process policy alterations from email requests."

Not really the response I was looking for... The number is an 0845 "premium rate" number which will probably take me through multiple options before telling me that "All of our operators are currently busy." "Please hold." It's annoying because all I need is confirmation of their policy booklet.
 

Perhaps they need to adopt Commercial Unions' slogan, "We won't make a drama out of a crisis." I'm not in a drama or a crisis, I just want help.

It's annoying as all I need is their confirmation that the details in their policy booklet apply to me.

Section 2
Glass and sanitary ware
We will pay for the cost of replacing the following if
they are accidentally damaged:
fixed glass in windows, doors, fan lights, skylights
and solar panels

I will amend this page once I get their comments.

Postscript to this correspondence.

I emailed Sheilas’ Wheels asking them to confirm my system was covered by my existing policy. They replied via email that they would not comment on policy details via email and I should ring their premium rate telephone line….
I wrote to the companies head office in Glasgow detailing my query and asking them to confirm in writing if my system was covered. Finally. One month after my initial enquiry I received a letter telling me that not only were the solar panels on the roof covered, the associated wiring, meter and inverter was also covered by my existing policy. RESULT..

Great policy, great cover, low cost premium for house insurance. 9/10

Could do better on their ability to correspond with policy holders.

I used the  Confused.com website to get multiple quotes for home insurance starting 15th July 2011. The 61 quotations ranged in price from £84 to over £300. The website allows you the option to view the “Key features of the policy” using the “Policy wording booklet.”

I searched for the keywords “Solar” and “PV” on each of the 61 quotations, the table below details the results. Ironically, the lowest price quotes seem to be more likely to include solar cover. The Esure & Sheila’s wheels quotes include the following:

If you have chosen accidental damage
cover and AD/Frost appears in your latest Schedule.
  • 15. Accidental damage - all other accidental loss
or damage which happens as a direct result of
a single unexpected event.

Glass and sanitary ware
We will pay for the cost of replacing the following if
they are accidentally damaged:
  •  fixed glass in windows, doors, fan lights, skylights and solar panels.

This information was correct on the 9th July 2011, you should check that the details are still correct when renewing or taking out new home insurance.


POSTSCRIPT Oct 2011.


I've now been informed that. RSA (Royal Sun Alliance~HomeServe) include solar equipment in their policies.


Insurance companySolar panels included in policySolar panels not mentioned in policySolar heating systems excluded
Home Protect

UIA

Esure


Sheila's Wheels


LV


Swinton


Churchill

Endsleigh

AXA

Swiftcover

Virgin Money

Privilege

Admiral

ASDA

John Lewis

Privilege Platinum

AA


Smart People Budget


Bank of Scotland


Co-Operative Insurance


Tesco


iBuy


Kwik Fit


Halifax


Renew Insurance


Likewise


Insure.co.uk


Santander


Prudential


Saga


Dial Direct


Post Office


Quoteline


More TH>N


Insure Pink


M&S


Fresh


Cover Direct


Hastings Direct


Bradford & Bingley


The Policy Shop


Lloyds TSB


Homeinsurance.co.uk


Castle Cover


Quote your Home


Broker King


Elephant.co.uk


Insure 4 retirement


Pearl


Diamond


Tesco Finest


YES Insurance


Hiscox




I'd be very interested in your experiences in dealing with insurance companies.




Icarus









10 comments:

  1. Hi Icarus
    I have just had a PV installation - by the way your site is easily one of the best covering the relevant questions. I contacted our insurers RSA (Royal Sun Alliance~HomeServe) today and they confirm that solar panels are auto-included as part of the building fixtures and fittings, with no extra charge. Of course this does not cover wear and tear or breakdown. We do have a 10 year warranty on the latter from our installers, Ploughcroft.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Chrisso
    Hi Chrisso. Thank you for your very kind comments. It makes it seem all the more worthwhile if my experiences help someone to achieve their goals.
    Hopefully, more and more insurance companies will include solar installations in their policies as demand grows. The worst possible scenario would be not having any cover for any damage caused. I will amend the original piece to include a reference to Royal Sun Alliance~HomeServe.

    Best regards.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just received the following from SAGA in under an hour.

    ----------------------------------
    I can confirm that the solar panels will be covered, proving your current sum
    insured is adequate enough to include them under your Buildings cover.

    If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us via email
    or by calling our Customer Services Department on 0845 366 1607. Lines are
    open Monday to Friday 8:30 - 5:30pm Saturday 8:30am to 1:00pm.

    Yours sincerely



    Customer Service Advisor
    Saga Services Limited

    ReplyDelete
  4. The only issue with these standard policies is that they do not cover loss of FIT revenues, which can be a lot if your panels are down for 6 months..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Northern Alliance' s comment comes from an insurance broker. I hadn't considered the loss of revenue from FiT and I agree it could be considerable if the system was down for 6 months.
      Perhaps Northern Alliance would like to comment on a policy/insurer which takes 6 months to deal with a claim?

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It always depends on the situation. Your system could be down for a variety of different reasons, if perhaps your roof was damaged & took a substantial amount of time to fix, then you would be covered.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It would depend on the damage sustained to your property but you would be covered for loss of FIT. In some cases it could be sorted in a short period but in other scenarios it could take longer, & your covered regardless.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Check with your insurers if Theft is also covered for Solar Panels. Standard policies require Theft by Violent & Forcible entry into or exit from premises. There is no "entry" or "exit" if the panels are stolen!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very good point being made about theft. I, like most of us have panels on the roof, which would be difficult, but not impossible to steal.
    However, you need to bear in mind that "if it's not locked down" people will nick anything, particularly if it's accessible.

    ReplyDelete