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How you could get reimbursed for spoiled food after power outages

Posted at 8:15 AM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 09:15:57-05

BROOKFIELD — Many people are having to clear their refrigerators after losing power for days. This is costing people hundreds of unexpected dollars.

"A lot of homeowners insurance policies do cover spoiled foods,” Director of Public Relations for the Wisconsin Office of Commissioner of Insurance, Sarah Smith explained.

Smith says insurance policies and plans can vary, but this is common.

“Every policy is different, the main thing is to understand what's in your policy. If you're not sure, talk to your insurance agent and see whether that's something that would be covered in your policy.”

Sarah says the key is documentation.

"In general, the more documentation the better.”

According to We Energies, “Customers who lost power due to this weekend’s strong winter storm can contact our customer care team for an outage verification letter. The letter can be used for insurance claims and with other agencies.”

Gareth Trinko, the owner of Bougey's Bar and Grill in Brookfield, said his insurance adjuster used proof from outage notifications sent via text. He was forced to close his doors for a few days because the power was out.

"We were fortunate enough to not lose any food,” Trinko explained.

Gareth said his freezers were able to stay cold. However, he was very worried. "Well, if we lost it all, I didn't know exactly what would happen. If we did lose it, we would have to buy it again and throw it out, that adds up to be a lot of money and not money that we have right now."

After some research, he says his policy would have covered any spoiled food, lost sales, and employee wages. He encourages everyone to learn about their policy.

"Definitely talk to your insurance agent. It's worth it and they're going to know more about your policy than you do,” Trinko explained.

According to the Commissioner of Insurance, there isn't a set deadline to file a claim in the state. It depends on your policy.