Denied Insurance Claim Following Water Damage to Smart Home Appliances

This case study explores a denied insurance claim following water damage to smart home appliances, focusing on the impact on semiconductors.

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 6, 2024

Electricians inspecting appliances

Case Overview

This case study explores a situation where an individual filed an insurance claim under their home insurance policy following a water pipe rupture in February. The incident damaged several smart home appliances equipped with semiconductors. An adjuster from the insurance company inspected the damaged appliances, concluding that they did not require replacement.

Consequently, the insurance company denied the plaintiff's claim for reimbursement of the cost of replacing these smart appliances. The plaintiff contends that any exposure to moisture or voltage spikes can significantly diminish the lifespan of the semiconductors present in smart home appliances.

To shed light on this matter, an expert specializing in smart home appliance design & engineering with a focus on semiconductors was sought to review the case and provide an opinion.

Questions to the Electrical Engineer expert and their responses


Could you elaborate on your experience designing, engineering, or teaching about semi-conductors' function and longevity, particularly those used in smart home appliances?

Throughout my professional journey, I have been deeply involved in testing, safety qualification, and reliability assessment of both semiconductors and passive devices. My work has included consumer product safety qualification through UL and designing various circuit systems utilized in consumer products.


Based on your knowledge, what kind of damage occurs to an appliance that uses a semiconductor after experiencing a voltage spike?

Voltage spikes can cause significant damage to semiconductors used in smart home appliances. They can lead to immediate failure or significantly reduce the device's lifespan due to increased wear and tear on the components.

About the expert

This expert boasts an extensive background in electrical engineering, with advanced degrees from a prestigious technology-focused institution. They have held significant roles such as a postdoctoral associate at a renowned technology institute and a senior engineer at a leading tech company. Currently, they serve as a professor of electrical engineering at an Ivy League university and are an active member of prominent industry organizations, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to the field.

Expert headshot



About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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