When outdoor temperatures spike, the last thing you need is a broken air conditioner. If that happens, your homeowners insurance policy may pay to repair or replace it. Then again, it may not. So when does homeowners insurance cover AC? Let’s dig in.
- Window Units
- Central AC
Basically, there are two types of air conditioning for your home: window AC units and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. Drilling down a bit further, there are two main categories within the HVAC grouping: central air conditioning and mini-splits.
Window Units – A window AC is a portable unit that you can put into any window in your home. It’s quite easy to install and fairly affordable, but only cools a single room. Window AC units typically last 5-10 years before they break down.
Central AC – A central air conditioner is designed to cool an entire home. It is connected to a system of air ducts throughout the home. Central AC is more expensive than a window unit, but can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Mini-Splits – A mini-split system works without air ducts. Individual indoor AC units are connected to an outdoor compressor unit via refrigerant lines. The air is cooled on its way to the compressor and then returned to the indoor unit that circulates it in the room. Heat pumps can also be added to mini-splits.
When You’re Covered
Like most homeowners insurance claims, the cause of the damage to your air conditioner will determine if you’re covered or not. Every homeowners insurance policy is different, so be sure to read your policy or check with your carrier to see which causes—or “perils”—you’re covered for.
Generally speaking, most standard homeowners insurance policies will pay to repair or replace your air conditioner if the damage was caused by an outside event such as these:
- Falling tree
- Burst pipe
Who Determines the Cause
After you submit the claim, an insurance adjuster will carefully examine the facts of the loss as well as your homeowners policy. Based on their investigation, they can determine if the damage to your air conditioner was caused by an outside event or a mechanical breakdown of some sort.
How It’s Covered
Let’s say that your damaged air conditioner is covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Do you know which part of your policy covers it? Here’s a quick breakdown:
|Window AC Units
|Covered by the Personal Property (Coverage C) portion of your home insurance, because a window unit is considered a personal item
|Covered by the Dwelling (Coverage A) portion of your home insurance, because an HVAC system is considered part of your home’s structure
When You’re Not Covered
Like most things that are used on a regular basis, air conditioners will eventually break down due to age. If that happens, you’ll be out of luck, as homeowners insurance is designed to cover unexpected perils, not wear and tear.
There are other scenarios when your homeowners insurance won’t cover your AC unit or HVAC system. Typically, you won’t be covered if your unit breaks due to the following:
- General wear and tear
- Mechanical breakdown
- Improper installation
- Poor maintenance or neglect
However, if water from your faulty air conditioner leaks into your home, the ensuing damage to your wall would be covered by your home insurance policy. This holds true if the air conditioner is a window unit or HVAC system.
A standard homeowners insurance policy will only repair or replace your window AC unit or HVAC system if it is damaged by a covered peril. For maximum protection, you may want to add additional coverage to your policy or take advantage of your air conditioner’s warranty.
Home Systems Breakdown
Homeowners depend on the comfort and security of HVAC systems. Today most of these systems are made with a lot of sensitive, moving parts. As a result, the risk of a breakdown is greater than ever. So is the cost to repair it.
Unfortunately, most home insurance policies don’t cover the mechanical breakdown of this type of equipment. To fully protect yourself, you can add Home Systems Breakdown coverage to your homeowners policy.
This optional coverage could protect you if your HVAC system breaks down. It may also cover the breakdown of home entertainment equipment, kitchen and laundry appliances, computers and generators.
If your window AC unit or HVAC system is damaged by wear and tear, your standard home insurance wouldn’t help because the damage wasn’t caused by a covered peril like fire or a falling tree. Fortunately, a warranty can help cover repair or replacement costs.
Let’s say that your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak from years of normal use. In this case, your manufacturer’s warranty may pay to repair your AC.
Here are some warranty questions you may be curious about:
The manufacturer warranty comes with your air conditioning system. It covers parts that are damaged out of the box or fail before the warranty term ends. The length of a manufacturer’s warranty differs among brands and contractors, but it’s usually 5-10 years.
An installer’s warranty comes from your air conditioning contractor. It guarantees the quality of the installation. This type of warranty is important because your air conditioner’s performance—especially an HVAC system—depends on whether the system was installed properly.
An extended warranty starts after your original manufacturer’s warranty expires. It can add several years to your parts or labor coverage. You can purchase an extended warranty from your manufacturer or installer.