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Damage To Electric Company Lines (caused Possibly By Squirrels) Caused Damage To Home Appliance

Home & Contents Insurance Discussion

Damage To Electric Company Lines (caused Possibly By Squirrels) Caused Damage To Home Appliance

Postby Wyatt » Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:16 am

The neutral wire running from my energy provider's transformer to my home was broken and excess voltage caused most of my home appliances to smoke, burn, and stop working.  The energy company denied our claim because the technician who replaced their cable said it was most likely caused by squirrels(although he admitted that he'd never heard of squirrels being able to chew through the solid steel core of the wire, which is what happened).  My homeowner's insurance company denied the claim due to the vermin exclusion.  My policy does list and exclusion due to damage caused by vermin except when damage results in a fire or explosion.  Since the possible squirrel damage to the wire was not done to my property, but to my energy provider's property, is this exclusion valid?  We switched off the home breaker when we saw the smoke and saved our house from further damage.  We have had an electrician come and confirm that our wiring is fine and our energy provider does not deny that the problem was on their wire and not in our property.

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Damage To Electric Company Lines (caused Possibly By Squirrels) Caused Damage To Home Appliance

Postby Mamoon » Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:25 am


Since you have not identified your Policy(HO-1-Limited Named Perils, HO-2-Expanded Named Perils, for Dwelling and Contents or an HO-3-"All Risks," for the Dwelling, but the same Perils, for Contents), so we are going to respond, to your questing, based upon your Policy have the "Expanded Coverages," as listed on the HO-2 %26 HO-3. The "Primary" cause of loss, to the electrical lines, was undoubtedly due to either squirrels or raccoon's. Since raccoons are NOT considered to be either a vermin or rodent the referenced exclusion would not apply to any damages to either Coverage A(Dwelling) or Coverage B(Other Structures). Since it would be the Insurer's responsibility to PROVE that the damages were caused by a "vermin or rodent," and as it is unlikely they could Coverage would or should have been available. Also, the "power surge" would have been an "indirect" cause of loss, which would or should have also been excluded, under your Policy.  However, you indicated that this incident occurred off premises, to a power line owned by your Utility Company, therefore this entire discussion would be a moot point.

We now turn to the Coverages, for the damages to your "Personal Property" and not your Dwelling. Since there is only Peril(15. under the HO 00 03 10 00) "Sudden and Accidental Damage from Artificially Generated Electrical Current" This peril does not included loss to tubes, transistors, electronic components or circuitry that are a part of appliances, fixtures, computers, home entertainment units or other types of electronic apparatus. Unless you can demonstrate that the damages were caused by "lightning" and not a power surge, your Insurer would be correct in denying your claim, but for the wrong reason. We regret our response cannot assist you with Coverage, for your loss. We hope our review and response, to your inquiry, had additional value added. If you need anything further, feel free to contact me, in the future.

John R. Koenig, CPCU, AIC, AIM, ARM, SCLA

Property/Casualty General Adjuster

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