How will installing solar panels affect my home insurance?

You might think that installing something as large and life-changing as a solar panel on your home means big repercussions on your insurance premium, whether for the better or worse.

Well, there’s a balance at work: on the one hand, environmentally aware homeowners like yourself are usually less likely to claim and insurers can’t really penalise people for doing something that’s so eco-friendly and positive. On the other hand, the solar panels are both valuable in themselves and add value to your home, which means your payout might have to be larger if you were to claim.

These contesting factors usually mean that there’s unlikely to be a change in your buildings and contents insurance, but it’s certainly worth taking half an hour to check your policy over a few times. There’s no need to get hot under the collar – essentially, insuring your green home boils down to three important things:

As always, tell your insurer before making a substantial change to your property.

It was mentioned above that solar panels may be covered in your premium; even if you suspect this is the case for you, it’s better to have a record of this than make a presumption. Call your insurer’s helpline to find out if there are any clauses that are relevant to your situation: will a solar panel count as a permanent fixture or a structural feature, for example?

It’s important you do this before you get anything fitted, because there’s a chance that your roof or brickwork will get damaged in the installation process and it’s possible that they’ll want to up or reduce your level of cover during the two or so months that will take. Some policies may cover the panels themselves, but stop short of covering any damage caused by them being fitted.

Perhaps your solar panels aren’t actually being installed on your roof. If you’re planning on putting them at a distance from your property, they might only be eligible for contents insurance, so be ready to give your provider information about where and why your panel is going where it’s going.

Make sure you take the weather of your local area into consideration.

If you’re living in an area that’s prone to extreme weather conditions – like snow or strong winds – you’ll need to get more durable solar panels. It pays to talk to a local installer and discuss with your insurer the precautions you’re taking against panel breakages.

Are you leasing or buying your solar panel?

If you’re entering into a partnership with a company who’ll install and run your solar panels for profit, it’s probable that they’ll insure their equipment on a third party policy. As they’ll also take care of upkeep, it’s less likely you’ll have to shell out to fix a broken or malfunctioning panel. Still, you’ll need to talk to them and to your insurance provider about whether your house is covered for damaged caused by workmen.

Amy Chambers writes in association with Privilege Insurance, a UK-wide provider of comprehensive policies for homes and cars. Visit their website for more information today.

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