More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
Homeowners insurance covers AC units if they’re damaged by lightning, fire, a power surge, or another peril covered in your policy. Maintenance and routine wear and tear are not covered.
Published July 15, 2020
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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, for example.
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 appliances, including AC units, if they’re damaged by a covered hazard
Damage caused by fire, smoke, lightning, and power surges are all typically covered
Air-conditioning unit damage due to flooding, wear and tear, or mechanical breakdown is not covered by home insurance
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:
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.
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 the policy form. 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.
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, potentially damaging your home’s ductwork and electrical components within the air-conditioning system.
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 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.
Homeowners insurance will not reimburse you for a new AC unit if it stopped working due to normal wear and tear or if it simply suffered a 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 uninvited visitors.
Many homeowners insurance companies offer equipment breakdown coverage, a kind of supplemental coverage for appliances that you can add to your policy for an additional $25-50 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 warranty for your appliances through a specialized home warranty company. But keep in mind that home warranties are generally pretty expensive, costing anywhere from a couple hundred to a thousand dollars a 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.
Pat Howard is a homeowners insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. He has written extensively about home insurance cost, coverage, and companies since 2018, and his insights have been featured on Investopedia, Lifehacker, MSN, Zola, HerMoney, and Property Casualty 360.
Pat has a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.
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