Does homeowners insurance cover broken TVs?

Homeowners insurance covers personal property loss — including broken or stolen TVs — when it’s caused by a covered peril, including fire, lightning, and vandalism. But if your TV falls off your wall or it simply stops working, you likely won’t be covered.

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Stephanie Nieves

Stephanie Nieves

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves is a former editor and insurance expert at Policygenius, where she covered home and auto insurance. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Money, HerMoney, PayScale, and The Muse.

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Britta M. Moss

Britta M. Moss

Property & casualty claim consultant and expert witness

Britta M. Moss, CPCU, SCLA, AIC-M, has over 25 years of insurance industry experience. In her work as a property and casualty claim consultant, she provides consultation and expert witness services in claim handling standards, practices, and norms.  She has been retained by law firms representing plaintiffs and those representing insurer defendants involved in disputes or litigation regarding coverage analysis, investigation, liability determination, damage evaluation, negotiation and settlement.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University. 

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Homeowners insurance can help cover the cost of damage to your personal belongings —including TVs and other electronic appliances — as long as the damage or loss was caused by a covered peril in your policy. Damage from house fires, certain types of power surges, vandalism, and theft are all typically covered. 

However, there are several culprits of TV damage that are not covered by homeowners insurance policies. For example, if you accidentally drop your TV on the floor and the screen cracks, or it breaks due to normal wear and tear, you likely won’t be covered for a new TV.

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Key takeaways

  • Homeowners insurance covers damage to electronic appliances, including broken TVs, when the cause of loss is covered by your policy.

  • If your TV is damaged by fire, lightning, wind, vandalism, artificially generated electrical currents, or any of the other 16 covered perils, your homeowners insurance can reimburse you for the loss.

  • Standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by earthquakes or flooding, so if your TV falls off the wall in a quake or it’s carried away in a flood, it won’t be covered.

  • Additionally, if movers mishandle and drop your TV or it malfunctions and stops working, that also wouldn’t be covered.

When are broken TVs covered by homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers broken TVs, and other tech devices, under the personal property coverage section of a standard policy. If your TV is accidentally damaged or destroyed by a fire, windstorm, or another covered loss, insurance can pay for repairs or a replacement TV up to the personal property coverage limits in your policy. 

Fire or storm damage

If your TV is damaged in a bad storm or fire and you file a claim, you’ll likely be reimbursed for the damage up to your personal property coverage limits. With homeowners insurance, you’re also covered for damage caused by heavy winds, hail, smoke, and the weight of snow, ice, or sleet.

Power surges

A power surge can fry your appliances and destroy anything plugged into your walls, including your television. If a lightning strike causes a power surge that destroys your TV, you’ll likely be reimbursed for the damage.

Water damage

Water damage is covered by homeowners insurance when it is sudden and comes from inside the house, so a burst pipe could be covered in a standard policy. Water damage that results from floods and sewer overflow are not covered.

Theft or vandalism

Homeowners insurance covers both theft and vandalism to your home and personal belongings. So if your house is broken into and your TV is vandalized or stolen, you could be reimbursed for the loss. Keep in mind that coverage for certain expensive valuables may be limited and could necessitate additional coverage.

When are broken TVs not covered by homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers TVs and other electronic appliances if they’re damaged or broken because of a covered loss. But a few type of loss are generally excluded from coverage, including:

If the TV is dropped or accidentally falls off the wall

Homeowners insurance generally doesn’t cover personal belongings if they’re accidentally damaged or misused. So if you drop your TV during a move and your screen cracks, homeowners insurance won’t cover the loss. And if your TV just stopped working one day, that also wouldn’t be covered.

Earthquake damage

Earthquakes aren’t covered by homeowners insurance, so if you live in an area prone to seismic or volcanic activity, it may be worth finding out if your insurer offers earthquake insurance to protect your TV and other appliances from quake damage.

Flooding

Flooding from stormwater and coastal tides are also not covered, but water damage caused by a ruptured pipe could be.

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How much does homeowners insurance pay for damaged TVs?

In a standard home insurance policy, personal property coverage typically covers personal belongings up to their actual cash value. That means if your TV is damaged, you’re only reimbursed for its depreciated value, or what it’s worth today.

However, most insurance companies give you the option of adding replacement cost personal property coverage to your policy for an additional cost. 

Replacement cost is superior to actual cash value in that it doesn’t deduct depreciation from your claim settlement. If your television is destroyed beyond repair and a comparable replacement is $2,000, your insurer would reimburse you for that amount.

How to protect expensive electronics

While certain damage to TVs and other electronics can’t be avoided, there are a few things you can do to ensure they’re properly covered by homeowner insurance.

  • Inform your insurer of expensive purchases: If you purchase an expensive television, reach out to your insurer and let them know. Some property types, including expensive electronics, may have sublimits, which is the maximum amount your insurer will pay out for certain categories of items. To insure your TV at its full value, you may need to add a scheduled personal property coverage endorsement to your policy.

  • Keep your receipts: Make sure you have receipts for expensive purchases, like TVs or other pricey valuables, for proof of its retail value and purchase date.

  • Keep a home inventory: A home inventory helps keep track of everything you own, especially your high-value items, by recording dates, losses, and accessories associated with your personal belongings. Another way to keep a home inventory is to do a video walk-thru of your home every year — focusing on expensive items throughout. Keeping an updated inventory can improve your chances of a successful claim settlement.

Author

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

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Stephanie Nieves is a former editor and insurance expert at Policygenius, where she covered home and auto insurance. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Money, HerMoney, PayScale, and The Muse.

Expert reviewer

Property & casualty claim consultant and expert witness

Britta M. Moss

Property & casualty claim consultant and expert witness

gray linkedin icon link

Britta M. Moss, CPCU, SCLA, AIC-M, has over 25 years of insurance industry experience. In her work as a property and casualty claim consultant, she provides consultation and expert witness services in claim handling standards, practices, and norms.  She has been retained by law firms representing plaintiffs and those representing insurer defendants involved in disputes or litigation regarding coverage analysis, investigation, liability determination, damage evaluation, negotiation and settlement.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University. 

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