Homeowner, renters' insurance likely won't cover PG&E power outage losses

SAN FRANCISCO -- Although people had a couple of days to plan for the power shutoffs, losses were inevitable. So who's responsible to pay for that?

Unfortunately, it's the PG&E customers who are stuck with the bill.

What makes this situation different than any other is the fact it was a planned outage ordered by PG&E.

As power went out, thousands of residents watched helplessly as refrigerators full of food spoiled. Some folks couldn't work from home. Others fled to shelters or hotels that had electricity.

RELATED: Consumers can file a claim with PG&E, but will they get paid?

Your homeowners insurance might cover such losses -- if this had been a normal disaster... but probably not this time. Why?

Insurance consumer advocate, Amy Bach, puts it this way: "Most policies will only cover a loss due to a power outage if it was ordered by a civil authority. That's our concern, is that because PG&E initiated it, and they're not a government entity, there may not be coverage."

That's right: since PG&E is a private company, its decision to cut your power is probably not covered by your homeowner or renter's insurance.

Bach says it would be a different story if a government agency had ordered the power shutdown. Then most likely policyholders would be covered.

Consumers can try filing a claim with PG&E for losses like spoiled food -- but PG&E said it does not compensate for this type of loss.

For the latest stories about PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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