Before you sweat it out in the summer or freeze in the winter, see what your home insurance company can do if your HVAC system unexpectedly breaks down.
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 due to an accident or normal wear and tear, your insurance company probably won’t pay your claim. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have proper coverage for your HVAC system through your home insurance policy (or other add on) to keep you and your wallet stress-free no matter the season.
Homeowners insurance covers HVAC systems when the damage is a result of a covered disaster or peril, including high winds, fallen trees, theft, hail or even a fire. So if lightning strikes your unit and damages its electrical components, your homeowners insurance policy would probably cover it.
What portion of your policy provides this protection is dependent on the type of unit that’s damaged. HVAC systems installed in your home will be covered under your dwelling insurance, while standalone (or window) AC units technically count as personal belongings and would be covered under personal property insurance.
A standard homeowners insurance policy won’t cover an HVAC unit if the damage is due to general wear and tear, owner neglect or old age. So if your 15-year-old heating or AC unit starts acting up, you often won’t be able to file a claim to get covered for any repairs.
Similarly, if you accidentally drop your new HVAC equipment on the garage floor or rarely change your air filter, any damage incurred would be considered owner neglect and would not be covered under your insurance policy. That’s why it’s so important to stay up to date on regular home maintenance.
While your home insurance policy will cover many situations, there are specific exclusions you should know about. Damage from catastrophes such as earthquakes or floods, are usually excluded from coverage. Cosmetic damage — common in states like Texas, where hail storms often occur — may not be covered either.
Homeowners have a few options to get more coverage on appliances and other home equipment like HVAC systems. While some insurance companies offer their home maintenance services for a discounted rate when you sign with them (like us — check out our Hippo Home Care service), you may have to go elsewhere to get that additional protection.
Many home warranty programs will offer a flat fee for HVAC repairs no matter the cause, while other insurance riders such as equipment breakdown coverage can help pay for the cost of fixing furnaces and AC units. However, these options can come with fees of their own, so make sure you know what you’re getting before signing any dotted line.
If you do choose to file an insurance claim, you’ll need to gather specific information. Record your unit’s model and serial number, take pictures of any visible damage and request a copy of the police report if the damage occurred during a break-in. Once you have everything you need, call your insurance provider.
When filing an HVAC claim, you’ll need your unit’s model and serial number, pictures of visible damage and a copy of the police report (if applicable).
From there, you’ll give them any proof and information you have about the damage. If your policy covers the damage, your home insurance provider will likely send over an adjuster to survey the damage and assess the cost of repairing or replacing the unit. Be sure to meet with the adjuster so that they don’t overlook anything during the evaluation. From there, your insurance provider should reimburse you for the costs associated with repairing your unit once you send through receipts of the labor.
Though you can’t keep a tree from falling on your home and damaging your AC unit during a bad storm, you can do your part to ensure that your HVAC unit works properly. In addition to proper home maintenance, choosing a home insurance provider that’ll be there for you is just as important. Still have questions about what home insurance covers? Give us a call or head over to our home insurance learning center for all the information you need. We’re here to help.
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