Does Insurance Cover a Heating Unit Replacement?

An old stone basement with a newly built furnace in the corner.In New England, the mid-winter hovers around the low teens, and if a home’s heating is not in proper working order, it can be extremely dangerous to the inhabitants. Obviously, one would immediately look to replace their furnace, boiler, or HVAC unit should it break, but it’s an expensive undertaking and one that many may not have the finances to support. In such situations, it’s important to determine whether insurance would cover a heating unit replacement.

When is a Heating Unit Covered by Insurance?

Your homeowners insurance covers built-in appliances – which include your furnace, boiler, or HVAC unit – but only when damaged by a covered peril. The following are some common causes of damages in which homeowners insurance would cover unit replacement or repairs:

  • Unexpected and Accidental Events: If a pipe suddenly bursts in your basement and your furnace incurs water damage, a lightning strike causes a damaging power surge, or if a mechanical irregularity kills your heating unit, homeowners insurance may cover the damages.
  • Furnace Freeze-Up: A freeze-up occurs when restricted airflow, coolant leaks, or dirty coils causes heating equipment to become coated with ice. Homeowners insurance will cover this as long as it’s not the result of neglect or lack of maintenance.
  • Falling Objects: You may be covered if your outdoor condensing unit is destroyed by a healthy tree blown over by strong winds.

If any of these events were to occur, homeowners insurance would generally pay for the repair or replacement of the heating unit once a claim is filed.

When Won’t Insurance Cover Your Heating Unit?

The obvious forms of homeowners insurance exclusions include intentional loss or government action, but some lesser-known occurrences for which you won’t receive a reimbursement include:

  • Wear and Tear: If your heating unit dies out due to poor maintenance – such as an annual inspection – or old age, the replacement cost will have to come out of your pocket.
  • Acts of God: Natural disasters – also known as “acts of god” – that result in damage to your heater are not cover, including sinkholes, earthquakes, and floods.
  • Types of Water Damage: If the water damage is caused by a sudden bursting of pipes, your heating unit is covered, but if the damage is the result of sewage backup, gradual leaks, or a flash flood, homeowners insurance may not cover the damages.
  • Pest Damage: HVAC systems are particularly susceptible to pest damage, as the condensing unit is located outside, but rodents can also chew through the wires of your furnace inside. In these cases, insurance likely won’t cover the repairs.

Additional coverage may keep you protected from some of these perils, such as purchasing flood insurance or equipment breakdown coverage.

How to File a Heating Unit Insurance Claim

If your heating unit is damaged by a covered peril, contact your insurance company to begin the claim process. The insurer will likely ask you to provide information such as photos of the damage, a home inventory, and other documentation. A claims adjuster may be sent to your house, where the cost of the repairs or replacement will be calculated. Depending on your policy, your homeowners insurance may reimburse you for the full replacement cost of the furnace or the actual cash value of the furnace at the time of damage, though you’ll still be required to pay the deductible.

Determining if your insurance would cover a heating unit replacement should not detract from the need for regular maintenance, especially now that we’re in the cold-weather months. However, some comfort could be derived from the fact that there are instances where a replacement furnace or HVAC unit will be covered. At TJ Woods Insurance, we’re aware of the harshness of New England winters and will take that into account when pairing you with the right homeowners insurance. If you’re interested in insulating your wallet this winter, contact us today.