05 Aug Spoiled Food Coverage
Ugh! It’s frustrating enough to have the power go out, but it only gets more frustrating when you realize that now you have to throw away all the food in your fridge! A trip to the grocery store can cost hundreds of dollars, and the food that you accumulate in your freezer and fridge can cost even more than that. That can be a huge loss for any family, big or small.
Let’s take a moment to discuss whether or not you need to throw away your food and how you can recoup at least some of the financial loss.
Should I throw away food after a power outage?
It depends on what type of food it is and how long you’ve been out of power. Keep in mind, you should never taste food to determine its safety, and you should keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
- Fish, meat, and poultry should be thrown away if they have been exposed to temperatures greater than 40 °F for more than 2 hours.
- Other refrigerated foods can last 4 hours (sometimes longer).
- Frozen foods can last up to 48 hours in an unopened freezer.
- If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below, the food is safe.
Do I have coverage for spoiled food?
Homeowners’ insurance coverage varies from policy-to-policy. Your specific coverage may vary from your neighbors, but many homeowners’ insurance policies will cover up to $500 worth of food that spoils as a result of a power outage. Keep in mind though, your homeowner’s insurance deductible will apply to food spoilage coverage.
For example: If you had a $500 deductible and $400 worth of food spoilage, your homeowner’s insurance wouldn’t cover the loss.
Additionally, your coverage is going to depend on why you were without power. If a windstorm caused downed lines and power outages, you would probably be able to make a claim subject to your deductible and the coverage limits, but if you didn’t pay the utility bill or a tree you cut down knocked out the power, then you would be at fault and wouldn’t be able to file a claim.
In some cases, your utility company might reimburse you for food spoilage. You can reach out to the utility company to determine what their policy is, but this is going to vary on a case-by-case scenario.
How do I file a food loss claim?
If you’ve determined that with the total loss of food, your deductible, and the carrier’s coverage limit in mind you have a claim worth making, you’ll need to have some evidence for your claim.
Have the following info on hand:
- Documentation of the food that was lost
- Pictures of the loss if possible
- An estimated expense of the lost food
- Any receipts for expensive items — like steak or lobster
Before you call your carrier, we always suggest that our clients call our office to discuss their losses. We can review your policy’s limits, your deductible, and your estimated loss to determine whether your claim is or is not worth filing. If you’re thinking about filing a claim or if you have any questions about coverage for spoiled food, give our office a call!