Does homeowners insurance cover appliances?

Homeowners insurance covers personal property, including your home appliances, if they’re damaged by a covered peril, but it won’t reimburse you if the appliance breaks down. However additional coverage may be available for your policy.

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Published July 9, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Homeowners insurance covers your appliances if they are damaged by a covered peril, like fire or lightning strikes

  • Home insurance does not cover mechanical breakdown or general wear and tear

  • Consider equipment breakdown coverage for enhanced appliance protection

  • You also have the option of getting a home warranty, but they’re usually not worth it

Owning a home comes with its risks. Luckily, there’s homeowners insurance to help protect you from financial burden when the unexpected happens, like if your oven catches fire and needs repairs.

Your homeowners insurance covers personal property, including your home appliances, if they’re damaged by a covered peril, like fire or lightning strikes. But homeowners insurance does not cover home appliances that are damaged due to electrical or mechanical breakdown and problems related to age or maintenance — like if your dishwasher breaks down after years of use.

If you want additional coverage for your appliances, you have a couple of options. Many insurers offer equipment breakdown coverage, a policy endorsement that covers many types of appliances from hazards not covered by a standard policy, like breakdown and improper installation. You can also purchase a home warranty for your appliances, but home warranties aren’t always the smartest or most beneficial option.

IN THIS ARTICLE

How homeowners insurance covers appliances

Homeowners insurance covers home appliances — like your oven and microwave, personal computer, and AC unit — if they are damaged by a peril outlined in your homeowners policy. That means if your washing machine was destroyed during a fire, your homeowners insurance personal property coverage can help pay to replace it. Built-in appliances — like a furnace or water heater — are covered by the dwelling coverage component of your homeowners policy if they’re damaged by a covered peril.

If your appliances are damaged over time, or because of maintenance issues, your homeowners insurance won’t cover you. Your homeowners insurance may also deny your claim if your appliances are damaged by a power surge.

That said, homeowners insurance does cover your property from several causes of damage and loss, including:

Homeowners insurance also covers what is called sudden, accidental damage from artificially generated electrical currents, which is kind of a roundabout way of saying power surge or short circuit damage. However, some insurance companies do not cover the loss of tubes, transistors, and other components that make electronics work, which would exclude most home appliances — like refrigerators and stoves — if they were to be damaged by an artificially generated current, like a power surge. Check with your insurer to see if they cover short-circuit damage.

Your insurer may also offer coverage add-ons — like equipment breakdown coverage and scheduled personal property coverage — that cover additional hazards like appliance breakdown and raise coverage limits on electronics with low limits of liability.

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What is equipment breakdown coverage?

Equipment breakdown coverage is an endorsement you can add to your homeowners insurance policy to enhance coverage for your appliances. Equipment breakdown coverage offers protection for a variety of appliances — from your TVs to your wine fridge to your dishwasher — against many causes of loss that your standard homeowners insurance does not cover, like improper installation or power surges.

Equipment breakdown coverage also protects your appliances if they are damaged or destroyed due to:

  • Mechanical breakdown, including rupture or bursting that’s caused by a centrifugal force
  • Pressure systems breakdown
  • Short-circuits

Equipment breakdown coverage offers a great amount of value and generally only costs around $25 to $50 a year. By adding equipment breakdown coverage to your home policy you could end up saving yourself tens of thousands of dollars in the event that you need your appliances replaced or repaired. Many insurance companies also offer high-efficiency replacements for appliances, like Energy Star water heaters, HVAC systems, and refrigerators if yours break down.

Are home warranties worth it?

Home warranties are designed to cover the gaps in your homeowners insurance policy. They’re basically service contracts that pay for the repairs or replacement of appliances, plumbing, and built-in appliances if they break down and go kaput.

Since homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the general breakdown of appliances, home warranties are meant to fill that gap. Though a home warranty might sound enticing, you should be wary of the fine print.

Home warranty policies are particular about exactly which appliances they cover and under what circumstances, and the policies aren’t typically straightforward. You should read the terms and conditions of your home warranty closely as certain items, like your refrigerator, may only be covered due to specific events.

When you purchase a home warranty, you agree to pay an annual fee, typically $250-$500 for a standard warranty and closer to $1,000 for an enhanced warranty. Your annual fee pays for a contractor, like an electrician, to come to your home and perform repairs to your damaged appliances. However, there may be hidden fees that you aren’t aware of if you didn’t read your warranty closely, like co-payments to the contractor or limits on how much your home warranty company will pay out for repairs, meaning you could be on the hook for any remaining balance.

Since most new appliances come with their own product warranties, it’s not always worth it to buy a home warranty. If your insurance company does not sell equipment breakdown coverage, and your appliances don’t come with their own warranty, a home warranty may be an option to look into.

Insurance Editor

Kara McGinley

Insurance Editor

Kara McGinley is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius. She previously worked as a freelance writer and a copywriter for various startups. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, Mask Magazine, and more.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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