At AC Today, we often get called out to estimate the cost to repair a client’s AC System in the wake of a storm, fire or even vandalism. Inevitably, our ACT First Responders are asked whether the client’s Homeowners Insurance Policy would pay for the AC System repairs. When it comes to questions specific to your Homeowners Insurance Policy – or any of your insurance policies for that matter – please contact your Licensed Insurance Agent.
However, there are some common insurance concepts and coverages that can be found in most Homeowners Insurance Policies when it comes to your AC System.
For starters, let’s explain the concept of Insurance. In its most basic form, Insurance is a contract between an insurance carrier and the insured. In return for the payment of premium by the insured, the insurance carrier will pay to restore the insured’s property, auto, etc. to the condition that the insured’s property, auto, etc. was in when the loss occurred.
A Policy that most homeowners carry is Homeowners Insurance. Generally speaking, a Homeowners Insurance Policy covers your AC System to the same extent your home is covered. Damage caused by fires, falling trees, vandalism, lightning strikes, and other “perils” will be listed as “covered perils” in your Homeowners Policy. Normal wear-and-tear or accidental damage however is not covered. (For example, if your AC System unit fails after ten years of use, your Homeowners Policy will not pay a claim for the repairs or replacement.)
Here are several “perils” that would cause a typical Homeowners Policy to respond to a claim:
- Fallen Trees: Should your AC System be shattered by a falling tree or branch, you are protected since your policy covers home damages caused by trees.
- Fire and Lightning Damage: If a fire destroys your AC System, your Homeowners Policy will cover the repairs or replacement. If a spark causes your home to be engulfed in flames destroying your AC System, you would be protected as well. In most cases, a lightning strike should be covered as well.
- Vandalism: If your AC System is vandalized, you are covered as your Policy pays for any destruction due to vandalism. If your AC System is damaged or destroyed by vandalism, you should also file a police report to document the event. One reason why criminals vandalize home AC Systems is to steal the copper tubing to sell to scrap yards.
When Might my Homeowners Insurance Policy NOT Cover my AC System?
Most Homeowners Insurance Policies DO NOT cover situations losses or damages resulting from a lack of maintenance, neglect, general wear-and-tear, or accidents. An AC System failing after ten years of use or damaged by a soccer ball damaging the condenser coil will not likely be covered by your Homeowners Policy, which means that you will have to pay for repairs out of your own wallet. This is yet another reason to ensure your AC System is working optimally by purchasing an AC Today Maintenance Agreement. In the event that your AC System is damaged by a covered peril, your showing proof of regular maintenance to the insurance carrier will only help to get your claim fully paid.
With any Insurance Policy, the “rubber meets the road” when you have a claim. In basic terms, a claim is your request to your insurance carrier to repair or replace damage suffered by you, the Insured, under the terms of the Homeowners Policy. Here are some helpful steps when filing a claim to repair or replace your AC System:
- When you notice the damage to your AC System, take pictures of the damage – and take PLENTY of pictures. The more, the better. Be sure to take pictures of the model number and serial number. In the case of vandalism, be sure to file a police report and have the report number ready to provide to your Insurance Carrier.
- Notify your Insurance Carrier IMMEDIATELY upon realizing your AC System is damaged. Be sure to have your Policy number handy.
- After you’ve notified your Insurance Carrier, notify your Insurance Agent. Your Insurance Agent is YOUR ADVOCATE and can guide you throughout the claims process.
- Once you’ve submitted your claim and received a Claim Number from your Insurance Carrier, contact a licensed AC Contractor to visit your home to give you an estimate to repair or replace your AC System. DO NOT wait for the Insurance Adjuster to provide you with an estimate. The Insurance Adjuster is paid by the Insurance Carrier and may not necessarily be an HAVC expert. Your Insurance Carrier relies upon the adjuster’s estimate to determine how much is paid to you as part of the Claim. By having a trusted company like AC Today provide you with an estimate, you can ensure that you are armed with the information to ensure that your Claim is settled in a satisfactory manner.
- When filing a Claim, refer to your Insurance Policy to confirm the amount of your Deductible. A Deductible is the amount “deducted” from any Claim amount to serve as your “share of the risk.” If your Deductible is $1,000 and your Claim pays out $5,000, you will receive a check in the amount of $4,000. There may be cases where filing a Claim is not worthwhile when the cost to repair your AC System is less than or slightly more than your Deductible. Again, consult with your Insurance Agent to determine whether filing a Claim is the best action to take.
If your AC System does need replacing, keep in mind that your Insurance Carrier will not pay to replace your AC System with a “better” or “more efficient” AC System. Your Insurance Carrier is obligated to replace your AC System with “like kind or quality.” Think of this in these terms: Your Insurance Carrier is not obligated to replace your Honda Civic with a Rolls Royce.
Be sure to read your Homeowners Insurance Policy and consult with your licensed Insurance Agent should you have any questions regarding coverages. Should you need a repair or replacement estimate as part of your Insurance claim, please call AC Today or stop by our headquarters to speak with our System Specialists!