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No one likes to hear that their air conditioning system is having problems, especially during the months when they need it most. A/C units can be expensive, so it’s important to have coverage for this through your homeowners insurance, a home warranty, or an insurance rider like equipment breakdown coverage.
If you have a mortgage, you’re probably required to have homeowners insurance. Your home insurance can pay for damages to your A/C system, but only under certain circumstances.
Here’s what you need to know about homeowners insurance and air conditioning systems:
- When does homeowners insurance cover A/C units?
- When does homeowners insurance not cover A/C units?
- When a home warranty covers A/C units
- Consider equipment breakdown coverage
- How to file a claim for your A/C unit
- How to file a home warranty claim for your A/C unit
When does homeowners insurance cover A/C units?
Homeowners insurance may cover your A/C unit if it’s damaged by a peril that your policy covers. Dwelling coverage is included in your policy, meaning your insurance carrier will pay to repair or replace a built-in A/C unit, since it’s part of your home’s structure.
In general, a homeowners insurance policy will include coverage for perils such as:
- Civil unrest
- Trees and other falling objects
If you have a window A/C unit, the personal property coverage aspect of your homeowners insurance policy can help. The window unit is considered your personal property. Therefore, insurance can cover the damage caused to it.
The key to getting insurance to pay to replace or repair your A/C unit is a covered peril causing the damage to it. For example, if a severe storm causes a tree to fall on your A/C unit installed outside your home, your home insurance should cover this through your dwelling coverage. Or, let’s say a hailstorm or fire destroys your window air conditioner. This would qualify for coverage under your home insurance policy as well.
When does homeowners insurance not cover A/C units?
Homeowners insurance won’t cover your A/C unit if it’s damaged due to wear and tear or owner neglect. For example, if you failed to maintain your system over the years and it breaks or shuts down, you’ll be on your own in terms of covering the repairs or replacement cost.
Other scenarios where a homeowners insurance policy won’t cover your installed or window A/C unit include:
- Mechanical breakdown due to improper installation
- Broken fan due to wear and tear
- Rodent and pest damage to the unit
- Water damage due to flooding
When a home warranty covers A/C units
Another option to get coverage for your A/C unit is through a home warranty. Home warranties cover the appliances and systems in your home and have broader coverage ranges than homeowners insurance. Many home warranty companies will even cover older units that range from 15 to 25 years old.
You can purchase coverage for a minimum of one year. You’ll pay monthly premiums, plus a service call fee anytime you need an approved contractor to repair your A/C unit. A year of home warranty coverage may also come with your home if it’s a new-build home, or the seller might offer it to you as a closing concession.
A home warranty may cover your A/C unit if:
- Your system breaks down due to normal wear and tear
- Refrigerant issues occur
- Contractors need access to air conditioning ductwork to make repairs
- Your A/C unit can’t be repaired and requires a replacement
A home warranty may not cover repairs or replacement for your A/C unit if:
- It’s a window air conditioning unit
- Repairs involve outside or underground piping
- Multiple units at your home may not be covered under the same claim
Check Out: Does Home Insurance Cover Tree Damage?
Consider equipment breakdown coverage
Some insurance carriers offer equipment breakdown coverage, which is an optional endorsement or rider that can provide additional coverage for your appliances and home systems if they break down. This includes air conditioning units.
Equipment breakdown coverage can pay to fix mechanical or electrical issues with your A/C system due to issues outside of your control, such as a power surge or faulty equipment. It’ll also pay for the contractor’s time and labor, and a replacement unit if necessary.
The downside is that, unlike a home warranty, equipment breakdown coverage doesn’t cover wear and tear.
Find Out: How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?
How to file a claim for your A/C unit
Filing a home insurance claim for your A/C unit can typically be done online or over the phone. Some insurers may require you to contact them first.. You can also ask about your deductible at this time and when it should be paid.
Fill out the claim form in detail to explain the issue and submit any supporting documentation. When you submit your claim form, an insurance adjuster will come to your home and assess the damage to determine how much the insurance provider should pay to repair or replace your A/C unit.
Based on the terms of your policy, an approved claim could provide you with reimbursement for the unit’s full replacement cost (replacement value). Or you might be reimbursed for the market value of the A/C unit at the time of the loss (actual cash value).
Learn More: Home Insurance Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value
How to file a home warranty claim for your A/C unit
To file a home warranty claim for your A/C unit, the first step is to contact the home warranty company. You may be able to open a claim via phone with your policy number or by filling out a form online.
Home warranty companies maintain a network of approved contractors and will assign someone to come to your home to assess the damage to your A/C system. Usually, this is where you’ll need to pay the one-time service fee home warranty companies require for the contractor to come out.
Next, the contractor will report the issues they find with the A/C unit and provide a quote to the home warranty company. If the damage falls under the list of items the home warranty company covers, it’ll pay for any repairs or replacement costs, up to your coverage limit.
Keep Reading: How to Save on Home Insurance