I had a client email me the other day to say that he was considering getting solar panels and asked me how he should insure them. The answer as with everything that deals with insurance depends on the circumstances. The first question to be answered is whether the solar panels are being purchased or leased. It appears that with many leases the solar company carries the insurance for the panels themselves.
For instance, my solar panels are provided by Vivint Solar. My contract specifically states that they “own the System as Our sole personal property” and that “We (Vivint) carry commercial general liability ….and property insurance on the System.” I also spoke with representatives of SolarCity and Direct Energy Solar who confirmed that with leases they retain sole ownership and provide their own insurance on the panels. This relieves the homeowner from having to provide any insurance on the panels. Although these are three of the bigger providers of solar power in MA they are by no means the only ones. If you are leasing solar panels you should check your contract or call the company to determine what if any obligations you may have to insure them.
If you have purchased the panels then there is no question as to who is responsible to insure them. You are! The question then becomes one of how. If the panels are being affixed to the roof of your dwelling then you would alert your homeowners agent and have your dwelling coverage increased by the value of the panels. If the panels are not attached to your dwelling then you need to handle it differently. If the panels are attached to the roof of another building, i.e. a barn or garage, or are standing in an open field then you will need to increase the limit on the Other Structures portion of your home policy. In all cases you should talk with your agent so they can advise you.
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