07 Feb Why Solar Panels May Affect Your Homeowners Insurance Rates
Solar panels are that great invention that employs the sun’s powers to let Mother Nature’s energy save you on your electrical power bills. Installed on the top and sides of your roof, it is the sign of our times in up and coming home and commercial construction.
The product has significantly improved since its first introduction to homeowners and landlords. While in the past, not having a premium rooftop exposure to the south was said to hamper effectiveness, today you can still gain benefits without it. Additionally, there are instances when you can mount the panels onto your house by yourself.
Now, what about the insurance aspect of it all? How could solar panels change the premium quote you currently have in place on your property?
Follow these steps to determine the general liability risks you may be presented with.
A. Do research on the contractor.
Call numerous contractors and compare their work by contacting provided references. Try to speak with others who have had the work done on structures that are like your own. See if your area’s zoning requirements involve the acquisition of a permit or variance and when hiring your installer, make sure he will do the legwork for this.
Once you actually decide on the professional for the job, make sure he is experienced and fully licensed and insured. Also confirm that he is reliable enough to comply with the US government’s Energy Department’s guidelines.
You will be hiring your contractor based on his personal reputation for quality work. Ask him if he employs subcontractors and if they are also insured and protected by a commercial and workers comp plan. Prior to beginning work on your home, make sure your contractor understands the condition that your property is in so that if home damage does occur, he will be responsible to repair it.
B. Review the nature of any warranty.
Research the provided warranty. What is covered as far as workmanship and what is covered as far as the panels? Be aware that even if your solar panels are of the best quality, it will not help you if the installation is faulty.
C. Find out about any related price hikes to your homeowners insurance policy.
Speak to an experienced independent agent to uncover if your rates will increase and if you will be entitled to any discounts provided by the various companies. In determining this about coverage, your broker will analyze the nature of the solar panels you plan on installing. Is there great risk of damages from surrounding trees or blowing debris? What about the risk to lightning hits, fire, wind, hail, snow or rain storms? How about the risk of theft?
D. Investigate government energy tax credits and how you can reap the provided benefits.