- Depending on the cause of the damage, your renters insurance policy may cover food loss (for instance, if your fridge fails or is damaged and everything inside spoils).
- Food loss related to a power outage would only be covered in very specific circumstances, so pay close attention to your policy.
- Other common perils for which food loss would be covered include theft, vandalism, certain water damage, and fire.
Your renters insurance policy will cover certain types of food loss, though it depends on what exactly happened to spoil your grub.
Let’s take a look at how your renters policy may apply in the case of food loss, whether the cause is a power outage or water damage.
When does renters insurance cover food loss?
Your renters insurance policy will cover food that is damaged or lost in your fridge, freezer, or kitchen due to certain specific causes—like fire, water from burst pipes, or certain power outages that are caused by direct damage to your property.
Always keep in mind that every claim is unique. And before your insurer reimburses you for a claim, you’ll be responsible for your deductible—the amount of money you’ve agreed to pay out-of-pocket for any claim.
Let’s break down common scenarios where coverage may be available.
- Power outages, in very specific circumstances: If a power outage caused by a covered peril (like a windstorm) that directly affects your home and results in spoiled food, many insurance companies will cover the loss. However, city-wide power outages due to problems with the electrical grid would probably not be covered*, nor would an outage due to a storm that doesn’t directly damage your property.
- Vandalism: Say a hungry thief breaks into your storage unit or home and deliberately damages your fridge or makes off with all your canned goods.
- Water damage: Food spoiled due to a burst pipe or similar water damage incident might be covered.
- Fire: If a kitchen fire or smoke from a fire destroys your food, you’d likely be covered.
When would renters insurance not cover food loss?
As with most aspects of renters insurance, coverage depends on the cause of damage. Here are some food loss scenarios that you probably won’t be covered for.
- Natural disasters: Some natural disasters that cause food loss probably won’t be covered by your basic renters insurance—that includes flooding and earthquakes.
- Normal wear and tear: If your fridge is just old and simply stops working.
- Power outages due to unpaid bills: If you didn’t pay your electric bill and the power company cut off your power.
- Pests: If roaches, ants, rodents, or other unwelcome guests set up shop in your food pantry, the damage they cause wouldn’t be covered.
- Negligence: If you leave your freezer door open accidentally overnight and everything inside thaws and spoils, insurance won’t cover this.
How to avoid food loss during a power outage
There are a few handy tips to follow if you want to preserve food in your fridge or freezer during a temporary power outage.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed
Every time you open the door of your refrigerator or freezer, the cold air rushes out. During a power outage, it’s essential to minimize the number of times you open these appliances. A refrigerator will typically keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is not opened, and a full freezer can keep cold for around 48 hours.
Use ice packs and insulated coolers
Transfer perishables like meat, dairy, and certain medications to an insulated cooler filled with ice packs or ice. Additionally, tossing bags of ice or frozen water bottles in the refrigerator or freezer can help maintain colder temperatures and fill empty space, which helps to keep the temperature down.
Buy in an appliance thermometer
The refrigerator’s temp should stay at or below 40°F (4°C), and the freezer should be at or below 0°F (-18°C). If the temperature rises above these levels for prolonged periods (2 hours or more), some foods may become unsafe to eat.
Other tips and considerations
If you want to be defended against possible food loss, here are a few best practices to follow.
Keep an inventory
Documenting your freezer’s contents might sound odd, but it’s vital when filing an insurance claim. This is especially important if you’re an amateur at-home chef and have a fridge full of fancy ingredients.
Understand your policy
Always read your policy and know what it covers. Getting a renters insurance quote might be easy, but knowing the details requires a closer look.
Filing a claim
Always inform your insurer ASAP after discovering the loss.
Before we go…
Though renters insurance does cover food loss in specific scenarios, it’s super important to be well-acquainted with the terms of your policy.
Meanwhile, if you don’t yet have a policy, getting a quote only takes a few minutes. You’ll have extra peace of mind in the event of a fridge-related disaster, plus all the other curveballs that life can throw your way.
*Certain states, like California, may have exceptions to possible coverage in the event of a power outage that isn’t caused by direct damage to your own house, so be sure to check your policy details. In some states, your Lemonade policy may cover up to $500 in lost food stored in freezers or fridges that results from a power outage or interruption which occurs off your own property.
A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.