Before you sweat it out this summer, or freeze in the winter, see what your home insurance company can do for you.
A standard homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems if they’re damaged by a fire, for example. But if your AC unit stops working as a result of an accident or normal wear and tear, your insurance company probably won’t pay your claim. To find out more about homeowners insurance and HVAC systems, we asked our director of underwriting, Mike Gulla, to share his wisdom.
When does homeowners insurance cover HVAC units?
The most common homeowners insurance policy (HO-3) provides broad coverage, protecting homes and the contents within them from 16 types of disasters or perils. HVAC units are covered by homeowners insurance in the event that they’re damaged when there are high winds, fallen trees or theft. If lightning strikes your unit and damages its electrical components, your homeowners insurance policy would probably cover it.
When doesn’t homeowners insurance cover HVAC units?
A standard homeowners insurance policy won’t cover an HVAC unit if it’s damaged due to general wear and tear or poor maintenance. So if your heating or AC unit starts acting up after 15 years of use, don’t expect reimbursement. Similarly, if you accidentally drop your new HVAC equipment on the garage floor, don’t bother filing an insurance claim. Any event that is not mentioned in your insurance policy will likely leave you paying for repairs out of pocket. Damage from earthquakes and flooding are usually excluded from coverage. Cosmetic damage — which is common in states like Texas where hail storms often occur — may not be covered either.
How to file an HVAC insurance claim
Before you file an HVAC insurance claim, you’ll need to gather certain information. Record your unit’s model and serial number, take pictures of visible damage and request a copy of the police report if foul play was involved. Once you have everything you need, call your insurance provider or agent. They’ll ask how your equipment was damaged and you’ll discuss whether your policy covers it. Then, they’ll probably send an adjuster to your home to survey the damage and assess the cost of repairing or replacing the unit. Be sure to meet with the adjuster so that he doesn’t overlook anything during the evaluation.
Even if your homeowners insurance policy covers damage to your HVAC system, you’ll still have to pay a deductible. If repair or replacement costs are less than or only slightly higher than your policy’s deductible, you may prefer to pay for everything out of pocket instead of filing a claim.
Owning a home is great, but it means that you’ll be responsible for fixing or replacing HVAC equipment when it stops working unless you plan for it with equipment coverage in advance. And when these systems break down, it’s more than inconvenient. Repairing damaged or broken HVAC systems can be expensive. Fixing an AC unit, for example, costs more than $300, on average.
While you may not be able to keep a tree from falling on your home and damaging your AC unit, you can do your part to ensure that your HVAC systems are in working order. Schedule regular tune-ups and change filters as often as the manufacturer suggests. And consider choosing an insurance provider, like Hippo, that covers the cost of repairs when your HVAC units break down. You should also consider investing in equipment breakdown coverage, which can cover the cost of fixing furnaces and AC units.
Still have questions about home insurance coverage for HVAC units? Contact a Hippo specialist. We’re here to help!