Sunday, 16 February 2014

Are YOUR Solar Panels Insured?

It Could Happen To You
Having solar PV panels on your roof is a major investment.
Back in June 2011 we paid £10,000 for a 14 panel 2.66 kWp system, I realise that I could replace the system for half of that today, but it's still a significant purchase which needs adding to your household insurance.

I wrote a piece regarding which companies were offering to include PV panels and the related ancillary equipment on their policies back in July 2011. Link to piece.

Obviously the policy details and the companies offering them will have altered after 30 months. The important thing is to check with your insurer at renewal time that your system is covered.

It seems like the majority of insurers I deal with, (House,contents,car, holiday, etc) don't provide a hard copy of the policy and rely on you to either print or save the PDF file they email to you.

I suppose there is a case for dealing with the old fashioned insurance broker on the High Street who discusses your personal needs and hands you the document which covers those eventualities. Unfortunately, I tend to look online and take the cheaper option.

Whilst I'm certain that my policy with Esure covered my panels, I wasn't as sure about the ancillaries or the "small print" if the worst happened.

I wrote to Esure and posed the following questions. (The replies from the "Head of Customer Service" are in red.)

The Equinox
19 Cadogan Street
Glasgow G2 6QQ


Reference Home Insurance policy No: *************

To whom it may concern.

I believe the 14 solar panels on my roof are covered by my insurance policy as detailed below.

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

Would it be possible to detail the extent of the cover based on the following scenarios?

  • Am I covered if solar panels are damaged by weather? For example, hail, heavy rain or lightning strike.
  • We can confirm that if you have solar panels, these must be noted on the policy. If so, these would be covered against weather damage.
  • Am I covered if solar panels are damaged during removal or replacement of panels during roof repairs?
  • We would have to authorise cover for if the panels are damaged during removal or replacement of panels during roof repairs or if other work is being carried out.
  • Am I covered if solar panels are damaged whilst work is being carried out to repair external TV aerial, chimney or coping ridge tiles?
  • See their comment above.
  • Am I covered if ancillary equipment associated with solar panels (inverter, switches, wiring, etc) are damaged?
  • We can confirm that if any ancillary equipment associated with solar panels are damaged or if the solar panels are damaged by falling objects these would be covered.
  • Am I covered if solar panels are damaged by falling objects? For example, tree, wind debris, balls used in games or stones/ air rifle pellets.
  • See their comment above.
  • As solar technology is moving very quickly it would be unlikely that the existing “damaged panel” would still be in production. How would you decide on a relevant replacement?.
  • If the damaged panel is no longer production, we would decide at that time by our underwriters as to what the relevant replacement would be.
  • Finally, is the cover restricted to “fixed glass” as detailed in Section 2, or does the cover relate to replacing the entire solar panel?
  • We can confirm that if the solar panel is repairable, the broken glass shall be fixed.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

We trust that the above clarifies the situation for you, however should you have any further queries , please do not hesitate to contact us.

So there you have it. If you're unfortunate and need workmen to climb on your roof for whatever purpose, you need to check that they have relevant insurance cover for any damage caused to your system. If they don't have insurance then your insurer is probably going to charge you an additional premium whilst the work is carried out.
Obviously, this particular reply relates to esure customers, but I suspect that all insurers have a very similar policy when it comes to claims.

Check those policy documents and good luck...

Twitter: (@solaricarus)

1 comment:

  1. Useful to know that the company should be informed before any roof work takes place: of course that's the same when having an extension built or conservatory added, etc. However, having changed my home insurance company five months ago I had forgotten to check that the SPs were covered - which they were under the former company. I have now had confirmation of this from the new insurers although not in the detail that you obtained!