Need to know
- Solar panels will be covered by your home and contents insurance policy, but you’ll need to increase your coverage
- Your insurance premium will likely increase
- Some insurers offer additional optional coverage in case your panels are damaged
More and more Australian households are installing solar panels, taking advantage of falling prices and the opportunity to embrace greener energy.
But what steps do you need to take to ensure your solar panels will be covered in case of damage?
CHOICE home insurance expert Daniel Graham says: "Solar panels are considered to be part of your building, so they will be covered by your home and contents insurance policy if they are damaged by things covered in your policy such as weather conditions. However, you will have to contact your insurer to increase your building sum insured."
Actual problems with the solar panels themselves, or any associated equipment such as solar batteries, will be covered by the associated product or performance warranty (as long as they still apply).
Will I have to pay more?
Yes. You will need to contact your insurer and increase the sum you are insured for in line with the amount your solar panel system would cost to replace.
Some insurers, such as GIO and Suncorp, have policies that will cover you for the extra money you will spend on electricity if your solar panels are damaged and not able to function correctly. This is up to a sum of $750 per quarter until your panels are replaced or repaired (check the insurer's product disclosure statement in detail for further information).
What about electrical or physical issues with my solar panels?
Any issues with the performance of your solar panels or any physical or electrical problems will be covered by your warranty. Solar systems are generally covered by two types of warranty, known as the product and performance warranties.
Performance warranties for the solar panels generally last for 25 years (but some are as long as 40 years) and guarantee that solar panels will produce a minimum percentage of their rated capacity, which slowly reduces as the panels degrade over time.
The solar panel product warranty covers physical and electrical problems in a PV module, that either cause it to fail or under perform. Examples include moisture ingress, breakage of the glass, frame or back-sheet, and diode failure in the junction box. Product warranties range from 12 to 40 years, depending on the brand.
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