Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system keeps you comfortable all year round, so it’s only natural to wonder how it fits in with homeowners insurance. Is damage to your AC unit covered? What about damage caused by your AC unit or furnace? Let's look at the ways your HVAC and home insurance interact.
Does Home Insurance Cover Damage to Your AC Unit or Furnace?
As with many questions in the insurance world, the answer depends on the specifics of your situation. If the damage is caused by a “covered peril” – that is, by an incident your homeowners insurance can pay for – then the damage to your AC or heater is probably covered.
For example, if a direct lightning strike fries your central AC unit, there’s a good chance your insurance will pay to repair or replace it. That’s because lightning damage is covered by most standard home insurance policies.
On the other hand, if your AC unit is ruined by flooding, your homeowners policy likely won’t offer coverage because flooding is excluded on most policies. Another important consideration: normal wear and tear isn’t covered. If your AC goes kaput after living a good life, it's up to you to replace it.
Does Home Insurance Cover Damage to Window AC Units?
While central air conditioning units are typically categorized as part of the structure of your house, window units are usually considered personal property. In practice, that means that your window unit is less likely to be covered.
In many policies, central AC units have coverage for “open perils,” meaning they’re covered for anything not explicitly excluded. A window unit, on the other hand, is likely covered for only “named perils,” meaning it’s covered for only events that are specifically listed. Every policy is different, though, so check with your agent to find out what kind of coverage you have. In some cases, you may be able to secure coverage by scheduling your window unit specifically in your policy.
Damage Caused by AC Units
Air conditioners create water as they operate (as anyone who’s walked under a dripping window unit knows all too well). If they’re not properly maintained, that water can get into your home and cause damage. And here’s the thing: if the leaking happens because you didn’t properly maintain the unit, your homeowners insurance may not cover the damage.
That’s because part of the contract with the insurance provider is that you must take steps to keep your home in good repair. Fail to do that, and you’ve essentially broken the contract, meaning the insurance company doesn’t have to provide coverage.
Your best bet here is to keep your air conditioner in good working order, even if that means calling in an inspector every season. The cost of an inspection will almost certainly be less than the cost of repairing water damage your unit might otherwise cause.
Damage Caused by Furnaces
If your furnace causes a fire in your home, your insurance policy likely covers the damage. That’s because fire is a covered peril on most standard homeowners insurance policies. The cost of replacing your furnace, though, will likely not be covered.
As with AC units, it’s your job as a homeowner to keep your furnace in good working order. Part of that means making sure there are functioning carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to alert you of any problems before they cause serious damage or put you in danger.
Maintaining Your HVAC System
It’s easy to forget about HVAC appliances – which operate very much in the background – until they stop working. But scheduling regular maintenance can save you money on heating and cooling bills and help prevent damage caused by worn-out systems.