Does My Insurance Policy Cover HVAC Failure?Posted on Dec 27, 2018
Your home’s HVAC system helps keep your family comfortable inside its walls regardless of what’s going on outside. In the summer, a properly functioning HVAC system will keep your family cool and comfortable. During the winter, it will keep you cozy and warm.
When your HVAC system isn’t functioning properly, though, things can get very uncomfortable inside your home fast during periods of extreme heat or cold.
What Comprises Your HVAC Unit?
HVAC is the abbreviation for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.” A finely tuned and optimally maintained HVAC system not only provides for the comfort of people inside your home. It also helps to improve indoor air quality. This means that in addition to temperature control, your HVAC system can help with the removal of all the following items from the air inside your home:
- Airborne bacteria
- Carbon dioxide
The final result is a home that is physically comfortable and free of any unpleasant odors and gasses.
HVAC systems may include any or all of the following types of equipment:
- Central AC
- Air Purifiers
Your home may have one or more of these systems as part of your HVAC. Each system requires a certain degree of annual maintenance (some requiring monthly maintenance, like filter changes) to perform optimally.
How Do HVAC Units Fail?
HVAC units fail for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons, perhaps the costliest reason, is compressor failure. The average lifespan for an HVAC system compressor is 10 to 15 years. When it fails before that time, it is often the result of one of the following:
- Your coils are dirty.
- You’ve put too much refrigerant in your unit, or the refrigerant charge is low.
- Insufficient lubrication.
- Electrical failure.
- Your suction lines are blocked or the wrong size.
- Contaminants in your heating or air conditioning system.
Many of the likely causes for compressor failure can be avoided with routine maintenance or an annual maintenance agreement. If your HVAC unit is suffering from compressor failure, you must carefully consider whether it is worth repairing or if it is better to replace your unit. If the compressor is no longer covered by warranty and your system is more than 10 years old, it may be wise to consider replacement over repair. This is especially true if you’re using older refrigerants in your unit.
Other causes for HVAC failures include:
- Capacitor failure
- Dirty equipment
- Fan motor failures
- Sometimes, an HVAC system has simply lived longer than expected and needs to be replaced
Of course, there are other times when damage is environmental or malicious, as in weather-related damage to your system, malicious vandalism, and power surges.
Does My Insurance Policy Cover HVAC Failure?
Whether or not your insurance will cover your HVAC depends largely on the cause of the failure and the type of insurance protection you have. For instance, normal wear and tear are typically not covered by your standard homeowners insurance policy.
If you have an equipment breakdown policy, it may be covered, depending on the specific terms of your coverage. Heating and air conditioning units have to be specifically included in this type of coverage.
Your homeowner’s policy may cover HVAC failure if it is caused by a covered event. What this means is that if a hurricane took your air conditioning unit and deposited in your neighbor’s pool, it will be covered as wind or storm damage.
If lightning strikes your home causing a power surge, that would likely be covered as the “electrical surges” covered peril. If your water pipes free, causing them to burst and water damages your HVAC unit, that would be considered a covered peril as well. However, if you are a victim of an area-wide flood, causing your HVAC unit to fail from water damage, that will not be covered unless you have a flood policy protecting your home.
Tips to Prevent My HVAC Unit from Failing?
The long and short is that your HVAC unit may or may not be covered by your home insurance. However, prevention is always the best cure, and many HVAC failures can be prevented.
These are some of the steps you can take to avoid your HVAC from failing:
- Invest in annual maintenance of your HVAC system.
- Hire only qualified and certified HVAC professionals for maintenance, service, and repairs.
- Change your filters as needed to allow proper airflow and superior air quality.
- Install an HVAC surge protector.
Small changes in the way you care for and maintain your HVAC system can extend its life by years, protecting your investment and causing fewer replacements over time. Even if your home insurance doesn’t cover HVAC failure, taking these steps can go a long way toward preventing early failure.