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 In Solar Advice, Solar Panels

Keen to invest in renewable energy sources and make the switch to solar? Then maybe you’re asking what homeowners across Ireland have asked before: do solar panels increase home insurance?

It’s a valid question and, whether it’s something that has prevented you from installing Solar PV panels in the past or it’s just occurred to you, it’s important to get the full story before you commit. 

You’ll be changing up the structure of your home, after all – and even though a solar panel system typically improves its value, not to mention making it more comfortable and energy-efficient, it can also affect other aspects of your household, like your insurance.

So whether you’re a planner or an act-first-think-later kind of person, hopefully this post will give you enough info to make the transition to solar technology as smooth as possible – with no hidden surprises down the line.

This guide will look at the impact of house insurance in Ireland. Specifically:

  • Checking if your current home insurance policy covers you for solar panel installation
  • Getting your solar panels insured, if they aren’t already
  • How the cost of your home’s insurance could change 
  • The payouts available for solar panels 
  • Any additional cover you might need, eg for damage or theft of your solar panels
  • 5 questions to ask your insurance company

Am I Covered For Solar Panels?

The short answer is, it depends: both on your circumstances, and on your insurance company. So to check if your insurance coverage includes solar panel installation – or if your premium will increase if you make the switch – the quickest and simplest way would be to speak to your insurance provider.

Why suggest this first? Because although Caldor Solar are experts in designing and supplying solar panels, we’re not in the insurance business. And while we’d be happy to advise you on choosing the best Solar PV system for your home, we would always recommend talking through your plans with your provider first to get an answer about your current home insurance policy. 

At the very least, make sure to check your policy’s Ts & Cs before adding solar panels to your home. It’s a pretty big structural change, after all – so it could affect your cover.

How To Get Cover For Your Solar Panels in Ireland

Once you’ve gotten your answer, you can then consider whether you still want to power your home through solar.

As renewable energy sources are on the rise in Ireland, a lot of home insurance policies now cover solar panel installations as standard. (We hope that’ll be the case for you, too!) In this scenario, your policy will remain unchanged and your insurance premium won’t go up. 

These days, solar panels are considered a “permanent fixture”, just like your roof and your walls, so they will typically be covered by your building insurance. (Again, make sure to check this with your provider first.)

But what if your insurance policy doesn’t include solar panels cover as standard? Well, your provider may:

  • Offer to cover you, for an increase in your premium
  • Refuse to cover you for solar power at all

If it’s the latter, you might want to get clicking around a good home insurance comparison in Ireland site like Bonkers.ie – perhaps you’ll find a better deal elsewhere.

How Your Insurance Premium May Change

Over the past few years, there have been significant advances in solar technology: installation costs are now lower, while Irish homes with solar panels have increased in value.

That’s great news if you ever decide to sell – as the thought of lower electricity bills and improved energy performance can be very attractive to buyers.

However, as the value of homes increases, home insurance premiums in Ireland may rise alongside them. What’s more, if the homeowner jumps from one price bracket to another, this could affect their insurance premiums with certain providers.

Try not to be discouraged if this happens to you. Remember, you could be saving over €1,000 a year on energy bills by switching to solar (depending on what size system you choose). You’ll also be making your home more comfortable while reducing your carbon footprint. Happy days.

Plus, if you produce excess energy that could you sell back to the grid under the Clean Export Guarantee (CEP) scheme, you could make even more money back. The Irish governement also offers certain tax incentives and one-off grants for homeowners looking to make the switch to clean energy.

So that small increase in your home insurance might be well worth it!

Whether your insurance premium will increase or remain the same as a result of installing solar panels, it’s important to talk to your insurance providers before making any changes to your property. Because if you don’t tell your company about this kind of structural change, your policy could become invalid.

 

Getting Paid For Solar Panels in Ireland

We’ve touched on how you might make more money as a result of installing rooftop solar panels. Here’s how it works:

  • Start by figuring out how many panels you might need (we can help you with that, or check out this post to learn more)
  • Apply for an SEAI grant to help with installation costs – we can assist with that, too
  • Use an SEAI-registered installation company like Caldor Solar to get you set up with solar
  • Enjoy the free electricity generated by your solar panels during daylight hours – you’ll still need to rely on the grid for electricity at night. Your usage will be measured through a smart meter, as recommended by the CRU (Commission for Regulation of Utilities) and sent to your energy provider in near real time
  • You can sell any excess electricity that you don’t use during daylight hours back to the grid under the Clean Export Guarantee scheme. 
  • The first €200 of the electricity you export each year is tax-free – after which, this additional income will be taxed as “general income” and what you pay depends on your typical annual earnings. So you might pay 30% for solar income if you’re on the standard rate of tax or 50% if you’re on the higher rate. 

 

The Irish government launched the CEG in a bid to encourage homeowners and business to a) reduce their carbon footprint, b) reduce their reliance on the grid and c) have greater control over their energy consumption, with lower electricity bills.

Really, it’s the perfect time to change things up and to invest in solar – and as we’ve seen, you can even get paid to do so!

 

Additional Cover: Making Claims For Damage & Loss

Solar panels can last up 25 years. Which is a long time. Unfortunately though, most providers won’t cover “wear and tear damage” – meaning you wouldn’t be able to claim for new ones when it’s time to replace them. (Don’t worry though, your warranty should provide you with an added level of protection).

Wear and tear of solar panels might be due to weather, aging and physical damage. And although solar panels are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, prolonged exposure to these conditions (hail, strong winds, rain or snow) might reduce their efficiency. (Psst: Wondering what happens to solar panels at the end of their life cycle? Then check out this post).

Can Solar Panels Break?

Even though solar panels are built to last, accidents can happen. For instance, stormy conditions could mean that dirt, debris and twigs could be dragged across their surface, leaving tiny scratches that, over time, could affect their performance. That’s why it’s important to have your panels cleaned and serviced.

At Caldor Solar, our support for your new energy source goes well beyond installation. We can offer both technical support and ongoing maintenance to ensure your system lasts longer – and help you you get the most out of your investment.

CTA: Call our team: 01 253 3349 

Wear & Tear Vs Accidental Damage Vs Theft

If you have “accidental damage” included in your building insurance policy, you might be covered in the above scenario. Although uncommon, accidental damage can occur as a result of falling objects (like trees in a storm), or in rare cases, due to vandalism. 

Check your terms and conditions or ask your provider if you’re unsure; you could always request additional cover for your solar panels if that would bring you more peace of mind.

But what happens if your panels are stolen? Well, as with all home insurance policies, you’re responsible to keep your home and its contents safe and secure. So if your panels happen to be stolen as a result of negligence, you may not receive a payout. 

Of course, this will be based on a case by case basis and your provider will assess the circumstances when considering your claim.

Remember, although paying more for your home insurance may be a positive reflection of how your home has increased in value, there are limits to the amount you can get should you make a claim. This may be a limit on the total amount your provider is willing to pay out, or the amount they’ll pay for a single item. So even if your insurer is happy to cover your solar panels, check that the limit for your cover would actually be enough to replace your panels, should you need to.

Top Tip: Always check the maximum value that your provider will agree to pay out before taking out or upgrading your home insurance policy. And if you feel you could get a better deal elsewhere, try using a home insurance comparison site to find an option you’re comfortable with.  

 

5 Questions To Ask Your Insurer

Dealing with insurance companies can seem overwhelming. We get it. So here are a few important questions you might want to ask them when considering adding solar panels to your home.

  1. Does my current policy cover solar panel installation?
  2. If I install them, will the cost of my insurance increase? By how much?
  3. Would I be I covered for wear and tear damage to the panels?
  4. Would I be insured if there is accidental damage to the panels? If not, how much is extra cover?
  5. Up to how much can I expect to receive in payouts?

Final Thoughts: Shop Around

So, does a solar panel increase home insurance? As we’ve seen, yes it can…in some cases. This is because a Solar PV system improves your home’s value – so your provider may adjust your policy to reflect this. 

What else have we explored? Well, while you shouldn’t need a separate policy for your panels (as they’re typically viewed as part of your home), you may want to take out additional cover for wear and tear damage, accidental damage or even theft of your panels – though you may be covered for this under your building insurance anyway.

Although your premium may increase with solar panels, you do have an opportunity to earn additional income (by receiving payments for sending electricity back to the grid), not to mention the long-term benefits of harnessing sunshine into your home.

The Value of Solar

Solar energy systems are a long-term investment – but the cost of this investment has decreased significantly over the past few years, making solar power much more accessible to homeowners. By choosing an experienced installation provider, solar panels can bring you a reliable and sustainable energy source for years to come. They also add value to your home by increasing your energy efficiency.

As we mentioned, we’re not in the insurance business: so always talk to your chosen insurance company to confirm: a) exactly what you’re covered for b) how much extra, if anything, might your insurance policy cost if you switch to solar and c) what the maximum pay-out is should you need to make a claim.

When shopping around providers, remember that the cheapest option isn’t always best. Make sure to ask the right questions so you get the cover you need (and peace of mind, while you’re at it).

We hope this post has answered any questions you might have surrounding solar panels and home insurance. If not, we’d love to talk to you further! Give us a call on 01-25-333-49 and our team can walk you through the process, plus answer any other queries you might have.

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JOIN THE SOLAR REVOLUTION TODAY…

Caldor Solar are solar power pioneers in Ireland, specialising in both residential and commercial solar panels. Check out our testimonials and online reviews to learn more. Or chat with us on 01 253 3349 for a personalised quote for your home. 

 

 

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