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Questions to ask before buying solar panels

Questions to ask before buying solar panels

Have you considered adding solar panels to your home?

There are many reasons why people are paying $10,000 to $15,000 to add these photovoltaic and solar thermal panels to their homes. There is a little bit of a long game when talking about the cost relative to the output of these panels, but chances are, if you are in a sunny area of the country, you will see savings using these solar panels. The energy produced by these solar panels is arguably much cleaner than other forms of electrical production.

Are there other things to consider before putting solar panels on your home? Of course.

Let's take a look at just some of the insurance-related concerns. First, because the panels are permanently affixed to the home, the insurance contract will treat these panels as part of the home, meaning the coverage for these solar panels will come from the dwelling coverage (coverage A). However, this does not mean the panels are covered because any policy may state that solar panels, electricity-producing devices, or photovoltaic devices are specifically excluded.

Even if they exclude these panels, some carriers may decide to no longer cover your home because there are additional concerns of fire and roof leak once these panels are installed.

If you consider adding the panels and hoping your carrier won't find out, I would strongly advise against this. Obviously, having a clear and transparent relationship is ideal for many reasons, but if you need more reasons here, they are. For one, satellite photography is readily available that will clearly show the panels, and the company can cancel the policy or non-renew the policy with adequate notification. Even if you coast under the radar of your insurance company, if a claim were to occur, the company may have exclusionary language and can deny the claim. If the solar panels are not excluded, but you never notified your agent and carrier, the value of the panels will not be adequately insured. Adding these panels requires adding their value to your insurance coverage which costs additional premium.

My point is not to discourage someone from adding solar panels, but I would proceed with an abundance of caution in today's tough property insurance market.