Does homeowners insurance reimburse you for food lost in a power outage?

It doesn't take long for food to spoil when you lose power. The USDA estimates it takes only four hours for meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers to go bad during a power outage. 

Homeowners insurance will likely cover you if you lose a freezer full of food when your power is out. However, insurance coverage for power outage losses varies by insurer and policy.

When does a homeowners insurance policy provide food spoilage coverage?

Homeowners insurance covers the cost of spoiled food if the power loss is due to covered perils, including the following:

  • Burning out of a power grid in the neighborhood 
  • Tree falling and damaging a power line 

Homeowners insurance might cover power outages at your residence alone or those that affect the entire neighborhood. In either case, the outage must be the result of a covered peril. For example, your policy may cover you if a wind storm caused the outage but not cover you if a flood was the cause. 

You may also be able to add a special endorsement for food spoilage caused by any power outage. It's uncommon but inexpensive, costing between $15 and $50 per year.

food coverage

Not all policies cover damage (including food spoilage) due to widespread power outages that are the fault of your power company. In some cases, your power company may reimburse you for your insurance deductible, food spoilage, or other damage due to a power outage.

Read more on other available homeowners endorsements.

When does homeowners insurance not cover spoiled food? 

Homeowners insurance will not cover your spoiled food if, for example, you failed to pay your electricity bill or accidentally cut the power line to your home. 

Read your policy carefully for any additional exclusions. There may also be differences by state. Florida is one example.

"In Florida, the typical policy does not cover food spoilage from an area-wide outage. Most policies are written to cover power outages caused by on-premises damage which hinder the ability of the home to receive power. For example, a tree falls and pulls down the power line which leads into your home. In that case, the food spoilage would generally be covered, although most policies contain a fixed dollar limit for those types of losses. Moreover, if due to a hurricane, that specific deductible may apply, which, on average, represents 2% of your home's physical value," says Stacey Giulianti, co-founder of and legal officer for the Florida Peninsula Insurance Company based in Boca Raton, Florida.

Is there a deductible for spoiled food claims? 

Your homeowners insurance deductible applies to spoiled food claims. For example, if your deductible is $500, the policy will cover spoiled food coverage only if the food spoilage losses are more than $500. If there is additional damage covered by the same peril, you'll pay the deductible once and all of the damages will be included as one claim.

However, a few other insurers offer food spoilage coverage with a separate deductible for an additional cost. 

Does a food spoilage claim affect homeowners insurance premiums? 

Filing a food spoilage claim can affect your home insurance premiums because insurers will see you as someone more likely to file for claims in the future. A single claim doesn't always affect your rates, but if you have filed other claims in the past few years, the odds of an increase are high.

Final thoughts: Food spoilage and homeowners insurance

While it might be tempting to nickel-and-dime your insurance company, it’s not worth filing a claim if it’ll increase your rates.

To avoid increasing premiums, use your homeowners insurance policy only for major losses and not smaller claims. Food spoilage alone may not be worth filing a claim, but if the same loss caused other damage (for example, a storm damaged your roof and knocked out the power) the combined loss is likely worth a claim.


  1. CDC. “Food safety during a power outage.” Accessed August 2022 
  2. Insurance Information Institute, “Reimbursement for spoiled food.” Accessed August 2022