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Utility companies won't compensate food loss

Friday - 7/6/2012, 3:45pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Thousands of people lost power after last weekend's storm and had to either eat their food before it spoiled, or toss it out altogether. So who pays for that waste?

The short answer is you do, though this could vary depending on the cause.

"If the power loss was due to a loss on or near your property, you may be covered," says Michael Barry, vice president of media relations at the Insurance Information Institute.

But you'll have to prove it, and you need to check your deductible.

"I think a lot of insurance companies would say if you had a $500 or $1,000 loss and a $500 or $1,000 deductible, you the policy holder would be on the hook for that initial dollar amount," he says.

A check with the local utilities indicates you'll probably be eating the cost of all that food you had to toss out. Pepco's website states that "Pepco will not be liable for damages caused by certain occurrences that are beyond the control of the company." This includes weather like ice, wind, lightning and hurricanes.

Daisy Pridgen at Dominion Virginia Power says in some "very rare" instances, there may be a pay out to a customer, but, like Pepco, it will not reimburse for food loss in most cases. Still, you can contact their customer care and they will review claims on a case-by-case basis. The story is the same at BGE.

WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate Ryan and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)