Weather Insurance. With the surge in near record heat across the West US. It is perhaps timely to review possible heat induced losses for residences and vehicles.
Obviously, wildfires carry their own hazards but what about plain old hot weather? How can excessive heat cause damage that may trigger insurance claims? Are there limitations on what may be covered by your policies?
Vehicles first. Overheating to the point that your engine is damaged or even catches fire. If the vehicle has a history of proper maintenance the answer is still, maybe. Not keeping coolant levels, by neglect or leaks, will probably be listed as, ‘Wear and tear’, therefore the owner is on the hook for repairs. A tire blowout which damages your vehicle, and perhaps others, is taken as two parts. Liability insurance, which is required in most states, will cover damage to other vehicles. Collision coverage, an option in some states, would likely cover repairs to your own vehicle. Some carriers may quibble about this as heat, tends to increase tire pressure which is often the cause of a blowout. Checking tire pressure falls under regular upkeep and is common sense and easy to do. Blowouts caused by debris on the roadway, think those shredded truck tires we see along the freeways, should be covered by most policies.
Lightning strikes on vehicles usually cause no harm as the tires tend to act as insulators. However, strikes on houses or buildings can be devastating. As an example, a strike on your air conditioner. Most homeowners insurance covers these events. Further losses, fire and smoke may also be covered. It becomes trickier for rental properties as the owner will be covered for loss of the air conditioner but the renters may not be covered for any losses incurred. Renter’s insurance should be in the budget to protect the tenants. This is not the responsibility of the unit owner to supply or hold liability for unless there is clear negligence.
Excessive heat can also result in other damage. Warping of siding or gutters and downspouts. Damage to roof structure, window frame warping can occur from prolonged heat exposure. Plumbing issues, especially leaks from solder or joint connections going bad. Much of this may be covered under your homeowners policy but an thorough review and update as required should be scheduled on an annual basis.
Renters are encouraged to have their own policies to protect any possible losses.
Resources: Your insurance carrier and the agent who sold you the policy.
Consider separate or supplemental coverage for equipment breakdown. This should be generally less expensive that add on warranties obtained after the original warranties run out. This usually will cover upgrades to more energy efficient products. Here is a good source for insurance information.
Written by Robert Morthorst