Ontario usually deals with the most power outages of any province in Canada. (1)
With threats to the reliability of our power supply increasing, such as natural disasters related to climate change, more Ontario homeowners are using backup power generators to keep them up and running when the power goes out. (2)
Let’s talk about how emergency backup power generators relate to Ontario home insurance.
ARE POWER GENERATORS COVERED BY YOUR HOME INSURANCE?
When it comes to a home insurance policy through Erie Mutual Insurance, yes!
If it’s a portable generator then it would be included under your contents insurance / personal property limit.
If it’s a permanent fixture and wired into your home electrical panel (hopefully by a licensed and insured electrician as incorrect wiring can cause major issues and concerns) then it is more likely to be included in your dwelling limit.
Either way, we got you covered.
If you’re insured with any other insurance company we recommend asking them specifically about your generator coverage because according to IBC director of consumer and industry relations Anne Marie Thomas, they’re not always covered.
“I don’t want to say everyone is going to be covered because it’s all dependant on the type of policy you bought, how much coverage you bought and are those things included as part of your coverage.” (5)
HELPFUL TIP: If the generator is a high-value portable unit then you can inquire with your insurance company about listing it separately to allow your personal property/contents policy limit to further protect the value of your other belongings.
DOES HAVING AN AUTOMATIC BACKUP POWER GENERATOR INSTALLED LOWER YOUR COST OF HOME INSURANCE?
Very likely yes, in more than one way.
It can help lower home insurance costs directly through discounts offered by your insurance company
For example, we offer a 5% Risk Mitigation Discount (at the underwriting’s discretion) for the policyholder who takes on the extra initiative and cost of installing a hard-wired backup generator to help reduce the risk of damage.
The discount would not apply for a portable generator as there is still a certain risk element (for example: no gas, no one home to operate the generator, generator is at another location when needed etc,.)
Installing a hard-wired automatic power backup can also help lower your home insurance costs indirectly.
Since claim history is a factor insurance companies in Ontario use to determine what your home insurance premiums will be, it stands to reason that anything that helps lower the number of home insurance claims you make will have a positive impact on what you spend towards home insurance long term.
Avoiding claims also means avoiding the out-of-pocket expense related to paying deductibles!
With all this in mind, permanent emergency power backup generators may pay for themselves.
HOW BACKUP POWER GENERATORS REDUCE YOUR CHANCES OF HAVING TO MAKE AN INSURANCE CLAIM
The main selling point of power generators is their convenience, but a major underlying benefit is that they can also help keep your home safe and make it less likely you’ll experience the home insurance claim process.
The first thing most of us think about when the power goes out is how much charge our phones have left along with access to the internet and the lights.
That can all be important as it relates to communication and personal safety, but there are other things power outages can negatively impact that we may not think of right away but have potentially severe consequences for our homes.
A common cause of power outages is the types of extreme winter storms we get plenty of here in Ontario.
Both ice storms and heavy snowfalls have one thing in common, it’s cold!
It takes about 6 hours for pipes to freeze in a home when the temperatures are at the freezing point. (3)
Frozen pipes often lead to burst pipes which can cause extensive water damage within your home.
SUMP PUMP FAILURES
Sump pumps are most commonly used in homes that have flooding or dampness issues in the lowest level of their home (usually a basement or crawl space).
These sump pumps rely on a steady power supply to do their job.
When their power supply is cut, they stop pumping water out of your home which can lead to backups and water damage if left inactive for a long enough period.
We’re not just talking about the ability to use social media here.
Since a declining number of Canadian homes have a landline phone installed, when the power goes out the clock starts ticking as to how long we have to make calls and receive news alerts. (4)
When the battery of your phones and laptops dies and can’t be recharged, you may lose the ability to:
- Call for help
- Receive important notifications
- Check on loved ones
- Map your way to safety
There are other ways to lessen your reliance on devices such as owning paper maps and having emergency kits prepared, but one of the best things you can do is use a backup generator to keep the power flowing and lines of communication open.
Temperature control and entertainment can both be significantly impacted when the power goes out.
Playing board games and reading by candlelight can be a nice way to spend an evening, but that could get old fast if you’re dealing with an extended multi-day power outage at home.
NOTE: For a farm insurance policy, it could also be essential for barn buildings with poultry that require fans to be operational to avoid heat prostration. A backup power generator is often a requirement for heat prostration insurance coverage to be offered for most farms.
Erie Mutual Insurance proudly serves the commercial insurance, farm insurance, home insurance and auto insurance needs of members throughout Southern Ontario including Haldimand, Niagara and Hamilton.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.