Last updated: July 2023
Homeowners insurance may offer reimbursement for food lost during a power outage in some cases.
However, it's important to understand what your homeowners insurance policy does and does not cover when it comes to spoiled food.
Types of power outages and covered perils
The cause of the power outage may play a role in whether your homeowners insurance will cover the spoiled food. Oftentimes, insurance may help reimburse you 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. However, if you accidentally cut your own power line during a do-it-yourself project or fail to pay your power bill, your homeowners insurance policy likely won't cover food-loss expenses.
In addition, some insurers' policies may cover food that spoils if the power outage affects only your residence, while other providers may offer coverage if the entire neighborhood is without power. In either case, though, the outage would likely have to be caused by a covered peril. Your insurance provider can help you understand what your policy may cover.
Your insurance provider can also explain what perils your policy covers and whether it covers damage (including food spoilage) due to widespread power outages that are the fault of your power company. Also, you may want to check with the utility company to see if it will reimburse you for your insurance deductible, food spoilage or other damage because of power outage.
If you do end up making a food spoilage 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 you to submit receipts.
Limits and deductibles
It's important to keep in mind that coverage limits typically apply. So, for instance, even if you have $700 worth of spoiled food, your homeowners insurance policy may only cover up to $500 for loss to the contents of freezers and refrigerated units on the residence premises caused by the interruption of power which occurs off the residence premises. If a power interruption is known to an insured person, all reasonable means must be used to protect the contents of freezers and refrigerated units. This coverage does not increase the limit of liability applying to the damaged property.
In addition, you'll usually have to pay a deductible before receiving reimbursement. Limits and deductibles can vary, so be sure to read your insurance policy or ask your insurance provider to learn about the specifics of your coverage.
It's never fun to experience an extended power outage, but by understanding your coverage, you may be better prepared to recover from one.