Are solar panels covered by insurance?
This question is an extremely popular one, and also a very important one! Good quality solar panels come with great warranties that cover product failures but would not cover storm damage or any other type of accidental damage. So, what happens if someone throws a rock up on your roof which damages a solar panel, or your panels get damaged any other way that is not classed as a product failure under warranty?
Most insurance companies will class a solar install as part of your building and will therefore cover them under your home building insurance policy. All policies vary, so please check with your individual insurance company.
Just to be very clear, GI Energy is not an insurance company, so this article needs to be treated as a guide only, and does not in any way serve as advice on your individual insurance needs. You should always check with your insurance company, and the information in this article is based on feedback we have had over the last decade from insurance companies and customers who have purchased solar from us. That being said, we have never had a customer come back to us to tell us that the panels were not accepted under the standard building insurance policy.
Will my premium increase?
Once again, we are not insurance brokers here, but we do have feedback from thousands of GI Energy customers since 2011 and we have never had a customer come back to us and suggest their insurance policy has increased significantly due to installing solar panels.
Typically, your building insurance should cover building a new house similar to the existing one, if the house is completely destroyed somehow. Building a house can vary from $200,000 to over $1,000,000 and when you first insured your building you would have told your insurance company how much it would cost to build a new home like the one you are insuring. If you had estimated it would cost $300,000, then this is what your policy is essentially worth.
A typical home solar installation will cost between $5,000 – $20,000, so you are adding a maximum of 6.66% to the overall cost even if you add a $20,000 solar system (it is very rare it would cost anywhere near this amount) to a $300,000 home. For this reason, the policy premium shouldn’t increase dramatically.
Please note: always tell your insurance company you are installing solar panels and they will make sure they are added to your policy accordingly.
Will my insurance cover solar generation losses while the solar panels are not working?
Typically no. However, we have seen some insurers over the years offer this type of coverage. Technically, you could get coverage for a set amount per billing period that your solar panels are not working. So, if you lose out on $500 of solar production while the solar panels are being replaced, your insurance company will reimburse you the losses. This is fairly rare though. When you call your insurance company to add the panels to your policy, ask the question! Don’t ask? Don’t get!
What could damage my solar panels?
Solar panels are pretty tough! I remember back in 2009 when the industry was just starting to get momentum. Not many people knew much about solar panels and a party trick for some of the manufacturers sales reps was to bring a solar panel to the office and jump on it to show how strong it was. One day, a heavy-set guy actually smashed right through the glass and left very embarrassed so I probably wouldn’t advise getting on your roof and jumping on yours!
Jumping up and down on them aside, it really does take a heavy impact to damage a solar panel. Most solar panels are made from 3.2mm tempered glass, which is basically toughened glass. Most manufacturers also do hail testing where they basically smash a ball bearing into the glass of a solar panel at high speeds over and over again to make sure the glass and frame can handle the impact.
Image above shows a solar panel that a gold ball hit in 2019.
There was a large hail storm in Chinchilla, QLD, in 2015 where allegedly the largest ever hail stones in Australian history fell from the sky and some panels were broken. Aside from this event, we have personally never had reports of solar panels being damaged by hail stones.
We have had a few occasions where vandalism has caused solar panel breakages, and one occasion where a golf ball damaged a solar panel. But these have been very few and far between.
I am sure there have been other events that have caused solar panels to break over the years that we are not aware of, but essentially you have to get pretty unlucky for your solar panels to be damaged and require insurance to help out!
To sum up, it is quite unlikely you will ever need to use your insurance to help out with solar panel breakages, but always call your insurance provider to make sure they are added to your policy!
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