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Mercury Advises Owners to Review Insurance Policies before Plugging an Electric Vehicle in at Home
Home charging is convenient, but owners should protect against potential risks

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- All-electric vehicle (EV) production is on a rapid uptick –  nearly 20 unique EV models are available for sale in the U.S., and nearly 100 EVs are set to debut by the end of 2024. While EVs only account for about 2% of new-vehicle sales, the ability to "refuel" at home is cited as a major benefit of owning one. In fact, a recent J.D. Power study found this is where most owners (88%) say they charge often or always.

EVs come with a 120-volt (Level 1) compatible cable, which allows the vehicle to charge via a standard wall outlet. However, charging speed is extremely slow – about four miles per hour – and many EV owners prefer to upgrade to a 240-volt (Level 2) outlet. Mercury Insurance Vice President of Property Claims Christopher O'Rourke advises owners to consult with a professional if they want more power.

"Consider the experience of an individual who rigged scores of battery packs together to charge a car, it didn't end well," O'Rourke says. "The battery packs overheated and burned down the garage. Fortunately for this person, the homeowners insurance claim was covered.  Nevertheless, it's best to have an electrician handle any EV charging station installations."

EV owners who are looking to install a 240-volt power outlet or hardwired charging station at home should speak with a trusted, local electrician who is trained, licensed and insured to install a NEMA 14-50 outlet. (This is similar to what an electric dryer or oven is plugged into.) They can also speak with their dealers about installation recommendations.

O'Rourke also recommends that EV owners who plan to charge at home:

Consider carrying comprehensive auto insurance coverage. While damage to a home may be covered, the charger itself may not be.  A standard homeowners insurance policy excludes coverage related to motor vehicles, which means losses to vehicles; trailers, campers or other equipment towed by a vehicle; and vehicle equipment, accessories and parts are not covered.

Hard-wired charging stations are usually considered part of your dwelling and thus the station will likely would be covered depending upon the type and cause of a loss," O'Rourke says. "Portable chargers, on the other hand, may be considered vehicle equipment, so it's a good idea to make sure to have adequate auto insurance coverage as well."

If an electrical issue with the home's wiring causes the charger to catch fire, this will likely be covered by homeowners insurance. Otherwise, comprehensive auto coverage is needed.

Stay up-to-date on battery-related recalls and reported incidents. General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall for all Chevrolet Bolts due to fire risks that could be associated with the battery. Recent reports of fires happening while EVs are parked and charging, while rare, should cause owners to be on alert. "The fact is all-electric vehicles are still relatively new to the marketplace, so automakers are still perfecting them," O'Rourke says. "EV owners need to do their due diligence and make sure they're properly educated about their manufacturer's recommendations for proper charging."

An important part of owning a home or vehicle is knowing what your insurance does and doesn't cover. Mercury found in a recent poll of U.S. homeowners and drivers that 83% say they have read their policies in full. However, half (50%) of the respondents expect their policy to cover 100% of their property for any claim they might file. Mercury recommends speaking with a local agent to fully understand coverage and possible exclusions or limitations. More information about homeowners insurance and auto insurance coverage can be found on Mercury's blog.

About Mercury Insurance
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information, visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.

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SOURCE Mercury Insurance

For further information: PCG - Kyle Reuter (424) 903-3657 (kreuter@pacificcommunicationsgroup.com)

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