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by Staff Writers
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 25, 2013
When you invest in solar panels for your house, you can count on these things: You will cut your monthly energy bill, and you will increase the market value of your home.
Count on some other things, too. You will increase the replacement value of your home. One 2011 study found that, on average, a 3.1-kilowatt solar system added about $17,000 to a home's value. And it also makes it more desirable to prospective buyers if you put it on the market.
What it all means is that you'll need to talk to your homeowners insurance agent. The premium for your policy is based in part on how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it were destroyed by covered perils including fire and wind. It also protects you in case of break-ins and other specified events.
As for reporting the presence of a solar system, you'd need to do the same if you added a deck or replaced the roof or installed granite countertops. Anytime you do something to increase a home's value, you're increasing the amount it would take to rebuild that home.
That means you'll need more coverage for your home. You'll need to talk to your agent to determine your next step. While some carriers won't insure homes with solar panels because they worry about the added liability, most will cover you for the new value of the home.
Even if your carrier has no problems with solar panels, it might be a good time to shop your coverage with multiple providers. You might get a better rate and, even more importantly, better coverage through comparison shopping. While contacting carriers might seem tedious, check out a website such as IRED.com to request multiple quotes from several highly rated carriers, as well as help evaluating them.
While this means that you could wind up paying for coverage, it is important not to hide your system from your insurance carrier. According to some experts, more than a quarter of all denied claims are due to policyholders withholding changes they've made to their home or lifestyles.
The extra money you will pay on your premium will be worth it should you have to file a claim. You'll sleep better knowing that the solar system that's saving money on your energy bill is fully protected along with the rest of your house.
All About Solar Energy at SolarDaily.com
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