Homeowners insurance policies pay for any property covered under your policy damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. For example, air conditioning counts as property covered as long as it is damaged by a covered cause. However, maintenance issues, such as broken parts or the replacement of an aged system are disqualified because wear and tear do not count as covered perils.
A homeowners policy can be compared to an auto insurance policy. Your policy covers repairs related to accidents. Maintenance and breakdowns are not covered. If your vehicle is involved in a crash, your auto insurance pays to repair the damage, but your policy provides no benefit if your air conditioner blows warm due to a leak, your policy provides no benefit.
Homeowners insurance works the same way. If your air conditioner stops blowing cold because of a part malfunction, your policy provides no coverage for its replacement. However, your home insurance company will replace or repair it if the air conditioner is damaged by a covered peril, such as a storm or fire.
What Are Covered Perils?
Your homeowners insurance policy defines covered perils in its documents. It also lists events that are excluded from coverage. All homeowners insurance policies distinguish maintenance issues and casualty issues. Maintenance issues are the regular wear and tear and replacing appliances or structures. These are not perils; instead, they are expected occurrences over time. No object lasts forever, and periodic replacement of parts and the eventual replacement of the entire appliance or structure eventually occurs.
Casualty events are unexpected disasters that cause damage to property not related to wear and tear or age. For example, a fire that destroys several rooms of a home is a casualty event. Your homeowners policy will repair or replace everything caused by the fire, making you financially whole.
Common covered perils include the following:
- Storm damage
- Pipe bursts
- Sewage backups
Most homeowners insurance policies also specifically exclude certain events as covered perils, including the following:
- Hurricanes (or charge a higher deductible)
Should your air conditioner be damaged by a flood, earthquake, or hurricane, your homeowners policy may deny the claim or charge a higher deductible per the policy documents.
Thankfully, those who live in floodplains or near fault lines can purchase supplemental policies that cover flood or earthquake damage. If you have an earthquake policy, for example, and a tremor destroyed your air conditioning unit, the insurance company may pay for the damages; however, because supplemental policies have higher deductibles, you may receive no compensation for low-value claims.
Central Air Conditioning Versus Window Units
Most homeowners insurance policies will cover air conditioner units, whether they are central or window units; however, the different types of air conditioners qualify for coverage under alternative policy provisions. Central air conditioners are covered as part of the main structure, while window units count as personal property.
Home Warranties Cover Some Air Conditioning Repairs
A home warranty may cover the costs of damage to your air conditioner that occurs due to a maintenance issue. Home warranties cover many types of damage, including appliances and structural damage, that occurs due to normal use or wear and tear. But a deductible and restrictions may apply, so payment depends on the situation.
When a covered peril strikes, your homeowners insurance policy picks up repair and replacement costs. On the other hand, if your air conditioner breaks from normal use or age, your homeowners policy provides no help.