Are you considering making your house more “green?” Do you already have solar panels and want to make sure you’re protected if they become damaged? Do you need to buy insurance for solar panels?
For over a decade now, people have been adding solar panels to their homes. Not only are these add-ons an environmentally responsible feature, but there are plenty of financial incentives to make the investment.
If you or someone you know is considering buying or leasing a solar panel system, there are a few options out there. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions about solar paneling that will help you make the right choices about what you need:
Do solar panels really make a difference?
You’d be amazed at how much carbon dioxide people produce in a year. For the average family, installing solar panels decreases a household’s carbon footprint by more than 35,000 pounds! To put that in perspective, you’d have to plant close to 90 trees every year to counteract that much CO2 in our atmosphere.
On average, people with solar panels save about $85 in electricity costs every month. Also, the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) gives a 30% tax credit to homeowners who install solar panels by the end of 2016. There are other state and local tax incentives, which differ across the country. In Los Angeles, for example, residents can receive a rebate of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour from the city – for 20 years!
How much will solar panels cost me?
Even though prices of solar panels have dropped over 60% since 2011 when people first began installing them, there are different price points to consider if you are serious about getting them installed.
Generally, a solar panel system will cost anywhere between $15,000 and $40,000 if you choose to buy. There’s also the option of leasing with little or zero dollars down. Loans typically range from 10 to 20 years, whereas lease agreements are usually for 20 to 25 years, at the end of which you have the option to buy the system.
First, you’ll want to consider whether or not buying (or financing) a permanent installation benefits you more than leasing. For one thing, you are only eligible for the federal and state tax incentives if you are buying. Also, owning your solar panels is always nice because it increases the value of your home.
Will my homeowner’s insurance cover my solar panels or raise my rate if I have them installed?
If you are financing or own your solar panels, know that most high-end solar systems come with a 25-year warranty in case of malfunctions or damage. If you are leasing, the company is responsible for most, if not all, repairs.
Some people still choose to get coverage for their solar panels, but not all insurance policies cover installations or maintenance. Some insurance carriers, however, understand that solar panels actually provide another layer of protection from the elements and strengthen the roof so they cover much of the cost.
Generally speaking, solar panels are quite durable and are built to withstand harsh weather. However, if your homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover solar panels, you can always opt for a second policy to ensure that you’re covered in case of malfunctions.
We encourage you to call us at AIS to discuss all your homeowner insurance options for solar paneling.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms, and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.