Does homeowners insurance cover AC units?

Homeowners insurance covers AC units if they’re damaged by lightning, fire, a power surge, or another peril covered in your policy. Maintenance issues and normal wear and tear are not covered.

Pat Howard 1600

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Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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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.

Key takeaways

  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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Author

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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