Hurricane Laura was an extreme disaster that led to excessive power outages, affecting thousands of Louisiana and Texas residents. Unfortunately, none of the electric utility companies in those regions had policies in place to reimburse customers for spoiled food. However, in some cases, higher home insurance rates cover this problem, depending on the policy.
Spoiled Food from Power Outages
Homeowners depend on electricity to power their refrigerators. Even the most reliable utility companies can suffer blackouts or shortages, particularly in a storm. When the power goes out for an extended period, it can cause perishable food items to spoil. What if you just paid hundreds of dollars in groceries only to see your food go to waste?
It’s somewhat of a difficult problem when it comes to insurance reimbursement since homeowners’ policies typically provide limited coverage for spoiled food. You can purchase additional coverage, but in many cases, spoiled food ends up being a loss.
To offer proof of spoiled food, it’s not necessary to save the food, but it’s advantageous to take photographs of it.
Why Deductibles Matter
Deductibles in the insurance industry represent the amount of money a customer pays out of pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. The higher the deductible a customer pays in their monthly premium, the lower the amount that policyholder will have to pay when a disaster occurs.
Insurance companies typically pay customers up to $500 for spoiled food resulting from long-term power outages. So, if the damage equals $1,000, the customer would pay the first $500, with the insurance company paying the rest. Different insurance companies handle spoiled food in their own way, sometimes as a separate plan with an additional premium.
How to Protect Food from Spoiling
The best way to keep fruit, vegetables, and other perishable foods from spoiling during a power outage is to store them in ice, as in a cooler with gel packs. The food temperature should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Adding dry ice or block ice to the storage unit where the food is kept will provide the best long-term solution.
In some cases, food may become unsafe for consumer consumption after a power loss. The CDC has provided food safety tips for such scenarios when you lose electric power or need to prepare for an emergency. One of the most basic points to remember is to keep a working thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. Ideally, the refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, while the freezer should be zero degrees Fahrenheit or below.
When a power outage occurs, keeping the refrigerator door closed will preserve the food for up to four hours. Perishable foods can last 48 hours in a full freezer if the door remains closed. Monitor the temperatures of the refrigerator and freezer and add ice if possible.
It’s not a good idea, during or after a power outage, to sample food and decide if it’s safe to eat. It’s safer to throw food out than to risk suffering from food poisoning. Foods that are considered unsafe to consume after four hours without proper refrigeration include meat, fish, leftovers, and cut produce.
Renters and Spoiled Food
Many renters have a sense that they don’t benefit from the same insurance coverage as homeowners. However, when it comes to spoiled food during a power outage, many renters are covered under the personal property portion of their renters’ insurance policy. Since both home and renters insurance are very complex, it’s important not to make assumptions about coverage without talking to your agent. While homeowners should study how home insurance rates compare among competitors, renters should do the same with rental policies.
Comparing home insurance rates will help you find the right coverage, such as reimbursement for spoiled food. For assistance with all your homeowners insurance coverage needs, contact the experts at 01 Insurance in Astoria, New York today.