ROANOKE – One of the most common costly expenses in a power outage is food spoiling in your freezer. Depending on the cause of the power outage, your food loss could be covered by your homeowners insurance.
Oftentimes, insurance may help reimburse homeowners for the cost of the spoiled food if it's the result of a covered risk (frequently referred to as a peril), such as a tree that fell on your home's roof and severed your power line. According to Allstate, claims that may not be covered may include power loss that could be attributed to the homeowner, such as a do-it-yourself project that goes wrong.
While homeowners' insurance policies vary by company, Marc McLaughlin with the Property and Casualty Division of the Bureau of Insurance with the State Corporation Commission said there are specific policy's that homeowners can purchase to protect food loss. Those policies typically cost anywhere from $15 to $50 a year.
“Some people want to eliminate the risk of losing all of the food in the refrigerator or in the freezer, and they will typically purchase what is called a refrigerator property endorsement. Most insurance companies offer it. That affords a limited amount of coverage, typically up to about $500 for those general power outages,” McLaughlin said.
If you do end up making an insurance claim, take pictures of the food if you can. If your claim includes expensive food items, like a whole side of beef, your insurance company may also require receipts.
If you are a SNAP household, you may also qualify to get SNAP to replace food lost due to a fire, flood or power outage in your home or neighborhood. This includes that was purchased with SNAP benefits and was destroyed or became unsafe to eat because of lack of refrigeration. DTA can issue replacement SNAP benefits up to the amount of one month’s SNAP benefits.