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Losing Electronic Equipment To A Power Surge

My friend Brian posted on Facebook his frustration over losing an important piece of electronic equipment. The power company that supplies power to his apartment complex went out.  When the power came back a surge of electricity destroyed an audio mixer that he had connected to his computer.  Fortunately for Brian, he didn’t lose more.  The piece of equipment he lost cost around $500.00.

Many years ago when a power surge hit my neighborhood I lost my answering machine and my neighbor lost his TV.  Between the two of us we lost $500 worth of electronics.  Back then electronics were not a big thing; however, in 2016 it’s a whole different world.

In today’s world many don’t realize how much we rely on electronics. From Cell Phones to Computers, from High Definition TVs to Sound Systems, a home or apartment can have electronics worth thousands of dollars.  Even appliances like microwaves, refrigerators, and ovens come with electronic circuits that control their operations.

Let’s take a look at my house and all of the electronic equipment that I have:

  1. Two Samsung High Definition Flat Screen TVs: $1,000
  2. Samsung DVD Player: $80
  3. Samsung Refrigerators: $1,600
  4. Maytag Dishwasher: $650
  5. Gaming Console: $500
  6. Two Apple Laptop Computers: $2,700
  7. GE Microwave: $650
  8. GE Stove: $1,100
  9. Yamaha Audio Receiver: $600
  10. HP Printer: $85
  11. Wireless Router: $65
  12. Network Hub: $50
  13. Cable Modem: $90
  14. Two Smart Phones: $1,300
  15. Two Tablets: $540
  16. Smart Watch: $370

I have about $11,380 worth of electronic equipment. If a power surge hits my house that is a lot of money at risk.

So how do you protect this? You will see in Brian’s Facebook post that he lamented letting his renters insurance lapse.  But the harsh reality is power surges from the power company are not covered by a Renters or Homeowners policy.

There are situations where you can obtain coverage if you buy what’s called a “Rider” to add to the homeowners or renters insurance policy. This rider adds coverage to specific equipment and you pay an extra premium for it.  But some carriers, even with a rider, may still not cover power surges.  You have to check with your insurance company on the coverage specifics.

Your first line of defense is power surge equipment. Such equipment comes in different shapes, sizes, and costs.  Before you go buy one I suggest you read this article from cnet.com that tells you a little about what to look for.

My home theater system is connected to a high end surge protector that cost me $150. My receiver, router, gaming console, and cable modem are plugged into this.

When I bought my large Flat Screen TV at Costco, I purchased the extended warranty that covers the TV for power surges. That TV has its own required, dedicated surge protector for the extended warranty required it.

For hard to reach areas where a power strip does not make sense (think of appliances) there are plugs you can buy that also protect from power surges. Some of these plugs will have an audible alarm on them when a surge happens.  The downside is once the surge hits you have to buy a new plug.  The cost will vary from $35 to $50 a plug.  You can buy them from Home Depot or Amazon.

You can search on Google using “surge protector outlet”

There are even whole house surge protection systems that you can have professionally installed that cost around $200 to $500. Just Google “whole house surge protectors” and you will find a variety of options to look at.

I know this is going to sound weird coming from an insurance guy, but an insurance policy is not always the solution to the risks that you face. Sometimes prevention is worth more than buying insurance.

Scott Harrigan

About Scott Harrigan

Scott started his career in insurance in 1988 and joined Rue Insurance in 2004 as a Marketing Specialist focusing on creating effective risk financing and risk transfer programs for companies and non-profit organizations. In addition to this he is a member of the Rue Insurance educational team that provides ongoing professional development in critical insurance concepts and programs to Rue employees. About Scott | More Posts by Scott