While lightning is typically included as a covered cause of loss in a homeowner’s insurance policy, damage to electronics and digital items arising from brownouts is often limited or excluded. A brownout, which is a steady state where voltage falls under the norm by a fairly consistent percentage for hours, days, or longer, could wipe out your home theater, refrigerator, washing machine, and computer in one event.
Low voltage from a generating source or a problem with your electrical lines or transformer can cause brownouts, but homeowners and renters who rely on alternative energy, such as wind or solar, also complain about sags in voltages. Additionally, in some regions, a reduction in power caused by overload of demand on the system can result in a brownout. It’s not just a matter of inconvenience, since brownouts can cause motors of expensive appliances to overheat and fail. Such losses, especially if they occur to several items simultaneously (e.g. air conditioner, refrigerator, and washing machine), can be extremely expensive. If your homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover brownouts or other non-lightning power disruptions damage, you could face extensive losses.
Turning off major appliances and unplugging electronic items during a power disruption will help. If you are switching to alternative energy or you live in an area that is known for brownouts, talk to your energy provider about ways to protect your appliances and electronics from low-voltage events.Reprinted by permission, The Mines Press, Inc. Volume 43, Issue 2 Insurance products are not a deposit, not FDIC insured, not insured by any federal government agency, carry no bank guarantee, and may go down in value.