Homeowners insurance covers damage to appliances, including air-conditioning units, if they’re damaged as a result of a covered peril in your policy. A standard policy covers everything from built-in heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to ductless and window AC units if they’re damaged by a fire or stolen from your property.
But if your HVAC unit stops working one day due to normal wear and tear after years of use, your insurance company likely won’t reimburse you for a new one.
Homeowners insurance covers damage to AC units if it's caused by a covered hazard.
Damage that's usually covered: Fire, smoke, lightning, and power surges
Damage that's NOT covered: Flooding, wear and tear, or mechanical breakdown
Consider purchasing equipment breakdown coverage or a home warranty for extra protection for your HVAC system and other appliances.
When does homeowners insurance cover AC units?
Homeowners insurance covers AC units in the same way both the structure of your home and your personal belongings are protected. If the system is damaged by a covered loss, vandalized, or stolen, you’ll likely be reimbursed for repairs or the cost of a new one.
Common causes of HVAC damage that are covered by homeowners insurance include:
How centralized HVAC units are covered
Since a centralized HVAC unit is considered part of the structure of the home, it’d be covered under the dwelling section of the policy with all-risks coverage.
In other words, HVACs are covered against everything except hazards specifically listed in the policy, like earthquakes, flooding, power failure, and neglect.
How window or ductless AC units are covered
Simple window air-conditioning units and ductless wall-mounted ACs are covered under the personal property coverage component of your policy, meaning you’re covered from the 16 named perils specifically listed in your policy.
When it comes to filing a personal property claim, the burden of proof is on you to prove the damage was caused by one of those 16 perils.
Are AC unit leaks or clogs covered?
Heating and air-conditioning systems can also cause extensive water damage to your home and personal belongings when pipes rupture due to freezing temperatures or if a drainage issue causes a leak.
But are air-conditioning malfunctions covered by homeowners insurance? It depends on what caused the damage.
If you file a water damage claim after an HVAC-related leak and the insurance adjuster determines the damage was caused by a clogged drain line that occurred over months or years of neglect, your claim may be denied.
But if the pipes connected to your air-conditioning system freeze and burst, causing damage to other parts of your home and your items, you may be covered for the damage caused by the AC, but you likely wouldn’t be reimbursed for a new system.
When does homeowners insurance not cover AC units?
Homeowners insurance will not reimburse you for a new AC unit if it stopped working due to normal wear and tear, maintenance issues, or mechanical breakdown from improper installation or lack of quality. A standard policy also won’t cover damage caused by flooding.
Rodents and pests are also known to chew through HVAC electrical components and form nests in the ductwork, causing damage to the system itself and creating harmful air quality in your home.
Similar to wear and tear and flood damage, rodent and pest damage is also listed as an exclusion in homeowners insurance, so make sure that you’re sealing any potential points of entry for unwanted visitors.
Consider equipment breakdown coverage or a home warranty
Many homeowners insurance companies offer equipment breakdown coverage, a supplemental coverage for appliances that you can add to your policy for an additional $30 a year.
Equipment breakdown coverage essentially stretches your coverage for appliances like HVAC units, computers, and refrigerators to include things like mechanical and electrical breakdown and improper installation.
If your insurer doesn’t offer equipment breakdown coverage, you also have the option of purchasing a home warranty for your appliances through a specialized home warranty company.
But keep in mind that home warranties are generally pretty expensive, costing around $900 per year. And you’re only covered for equipment specifically listed in your warranty. If you have equipment breakdown coverage through your insurer, all applicable property in your home is automatically covered.
How to file an HVAC insurance claim
There are several steps to filing an HVAC claim with your homeowners insurance, including:
Review your deductible. Depending on the cost of repairing your HVAC system, it may not be worth filing a home insurance claim. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible and the repair only costs $1,100, you’ll likely want to pay for repairs out of pocket..
Gather evidence for your claim. If you do decide to file a claim, take pictures of the damage, find your receipts from when you purchased the HVAC system, and collect any other pertinent information.
File the claim with your insurance company. Depending on your insurer, you might need to file your claim by contacting your agent, logging in to your online account, or calling the claims department.
Work with your claims adjuster. Your insurance company will send a claims adjuster to review the damage and estimate the cost of repairing or replacing your HVAC system, along with any other damage included in the claim.
Frequently asked questions
Does homeowners insurance cover HVAC repair?
Homeowners insurance only covers HVAC repairs if it was damaged by a covered peril. For example, if your HVAC unit is vandalized or damaged by a power surge, repairing it would be covered by your home insurance. However, repairs wouldn’t be covered for mechanical breakdown or normal wear and tear.
Does home insurance cover HVAC replacement?
Yes, home insurance covers HVAC replacement, though it depends on how it was damaged.. If it was damaged by a covered peril, like a fire or windstorm, your home insurance will pay to replace it. But if it was damaged by something that isn ’t covered (like burrowing rodents or normal wear and tear), that wouldn’t be covered by your insurance.
What's the difference between a home warranty and home insurance?
A home warranty covers specific appliances and systems for damage, including normal wear and tear. Homeowners insurance covers damage to your property caused by covered perils. If you wake up tomorrow and your dishwasher is broken, that would be covered under a warranty. But if your dishwasher gets destroyed in a house fire, that would be paid for by your home insurance.
Learn more >> Home insurance vs. home warranties: What’s the difference?
Is an AC unit and HVAC the same thing?
An AC unit and HVAC system are similar, but not exactly the same. An HVAC unit, which stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, both heats and cools your home. An AC unit, which stands for air conditioning, cools but does not heat your home.