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Are solar panels covered by home insurance?


#1

If you install solar panels, you need to update your home and contents insurance to ensure they’re covered. More advice in the article below.

Have you ever had an issue claiming solar panels on insurance? Please share it below.


#2

Interesting that ‘you will have to pay more and up your cover’ is repeated so strongly. In the scheme of a house that will be insured for $500K upwards, often very much upwards, one would reasonably expect a $5-15K PV system should comfortably fit.

It is imperative to ring your insurer and report the PV system and discuss it, but if your cover is that close if there is a total loss, you probably were cutting your cover too close up front.


#3

When we renewed our home & contents insurance with Suncorp in January this year, I called them and specifically asked about solar & battery systems as we already had been approved for the Qld Solar Bonus Scheme.

The person said that it did not need to be noted on the policy and that it would be automatically covered.

During the course of conversation, he asked about solar and when I mentioned the QRIDA scheme, he got quite excited and said he was going to start an application at lunchtime.


#4

I asked NRMA about cover for my panels to be included in my policy over 5 years ago. They noted it, but there wasn’t an associated increase in premiums. I explained that my panels were not roof mounted, instead on steel mounts over 50m from the house, but don’t know if that was of relevance to them.


#5

We inquired about 2 years ago and were told that since they were a fixture to a private dwelling, they were covered as an improvement to the home (which is a standard inclusion in the home policy). They weren’t itemised but we were advised to consider the replacement costs in relation to the whole of the sum insured for the property. We added a contingency for the PV system in the sum insured and expect it would have caused a marginal increase in the premium.

Looking at the PDS for NRMA, the only reference is for strata titled dwelling. In such case PV systems/solar cells come under contents insurance. I suppose this is because the panels are located on common property (roof).

Edit…the same also applied to solar hot water system on the roof and rainwater tanks. An additional contingency amount was also made for these. From memory to total continguency allowance was around $12k ($5k for solar PV, $4k for SHW and $3k for tanks) which was relatively insignificant compared to the total insured sum of the house and contents


#6

Very interesting, thanks for sharing those experiences all.


#7

Definitely worth doing, as it could have implications if considered a ‘separate structure’ - you’d separately list sheds/pools/carports/letterboxes/etc … (letterboxes in the case of it being a larger structure, not a stick in the ground).

Mine is covered by the strata building insurance - the odd thing is we have common property that includes a letterbox, but the free-standing houses and carports (2 of each) are not on common land, but we still need strata insurance for building, combined. Agent advised the panels and inverter are covered if they are permanent fixtures to the building.


#8

It’s a dead bar fridge that cost me nothing, perhaps I should list it as a valuable relic :wink:


#9

There are a few developments around Melbourne like that. The homes are stand alone on non-gated but technically private streets each with their own garages, land, and letterboxes but were developed as a ‘strata’ complete with body corporates.


#10

It may be best for any Lot Owners to make their own enquiries. Multi Unit dwellings are under state titles and regulation. Insurance arrangements may differ between body corporates and policies.

EG in Qld.
There are two forms of title for multi unit developments. Standard Format Plans and Building Format Plans.

BFP are typically high rise developments, units and some town houses. Generally the Body Corporate insurance includes the building and a portion of each lot (unit).

For a SFP typically townhouses and gated type developments. Generally insurance for each dwelling or lot is the responsibility of the unit owner.

Individual Body Corporates and Managers may also put in place variations in cover.

It is more complex than a couple of paragraphs. A reliable resource for Qld is:

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/body-corporate

Owners of a lot may also need to refer to their individual Body Corporate and insurance policies for a complete answer.

A Qld Body Corporate is similar to a Vic or NSW Owners Corporation, etc for the other states and territories.


#11

… also don’t trust what you hear from people who don’t know but sound like they do! Around here, real estate agents routinely tell people that two owner stratas do NOT need a body corporate. The legislation clearly says otherwise, but on it goes. When challenged, the answer often is that it doesn’t matter or they’ll never know - which might be true as long as nothing goes wrong.


#12

Although I cannot have Solar Panels (I am in a Retirement Village) and refuse to “donate” anything else to the owners…its interesting to me in as far as a couple of years ago I had one of my 3 Air Conditioners burnt out by a lightening strike, the Insurance Co said “sorry not covered”. So I rang around to try and cover myself in the future, so many Insurance people do not cover Air Cons, to cut a long story short, I am now covered with Suncorp. So its all good now.


#13

Thanks for letting us know @Shorthair1, I’m sure the CHOICE team will appreciate this info.