You may believe that your homeowners insurance has your back when it comes to your appliances, but if you read up, you’ll find that this is only true when fires or floods damage your appliances, or when they get stolen. What about mechanical breakdown? What about accidental damage over which you had no control? Homeowners insurance won’t cover the unexpected repairs that may spring up, so looking into appliance insurance may be worth your while.
When You Need It and When You Don’t
You won’t want to hop on appliance insurance right away, even if you might think it’s a good idea. First and foremost, new appliances under six months old are, by law, eligible for a full refund if they malfunction. Some appliances also come with a manufacturer’s warranty that can last a year or more, meaning that the manufacturer will cover repairs and replacements needed for the allotted time. Once both those time frames expire, that’s when you’ll want to look into insurance for your appliances.
The main things to consider are these:
- Can you afford frequent repairs?
- Do you have a trustworthy contractor to carry out the repairs as you need them?
- Do you have time to perform the repairs yourself?
- Have you owned a home before?
If your answer to these questions is no, then you’ll want to consider appliance insurance. There’s a plethora of information available on determining precisely whether or not you need insurance for appliances in your home, but here’s a simple tip. The general rule of thumb is to compare the price of insurance policies to the expense of replacement. If replacing the appliance costs less than a couple years of the insurance will, you’ll want to hold off.
What Appliance Insurance Covers
While homeowner’s insurance covers fire-damage, flood-damage, and theft, appliance insurance covers accidental damage, breakdown due to age, or mechanical faults due to the wearing down of components over time. Appliance insurance policies will often cover the costs of calling out the repair-person, the repairs itself, including parts and labor costs, and replacement of the appliance if a technician deems the device as beyond repairable. At the very least, the policy would apply significant discounts to these services.
Appliances that can be insured include washers and dryers, refrigerators and freezers, dishwashers, ovens, and microwaves. While some policies will only allow you to insure maybe two at a time, others will let you add on appliances so that you can have all your home appliances covered under the same policy.
Of course, appliance insurance doesn’t cover everything, and you need to know that. For example, when it comes to age, four to seven years is the sweet spot. Appliances under three years of age typically won’t qualify for replacement coverage, and appliances over eight years of age may not even apply for insurance at all.
Appliance insurance can’t cover minor damages like dents and scratches since policies don’t consider cosmetic damage to be threatening to the life of your appliance. Policies also won’t cover damages done by you intentionally to your appliance or damages caused by you not being able to follow the start-up instructions properly – even if the instructions do prove to be complicated.
While most repairs are covered by the policy, replacing individual batteries, fuses, or bulbs are not. While call-out and replacement costs are often covered, delivering and installing the product might not be either. Lastly, if a technician is called over to inspect your appliance and doesn’t find anything wrong with it, the call-out cost won’t be covered, so you should probably be sure something’s wrong with your appliance for sure before you call anyone out. Fortunately, appliance insurers usually hire knowledgeable technicians, so they deem there isn’t anything wrong, you probably aren’t getting scammed, they’re just stating facts.
If you decide to hire someone by your own decision, and not someone your insurance agency helped connect you with, you risk hiring someone without the proper qualifications. If lacking those qualifications, your insurance policy won’t cover the repairs.
The last two notable exclusions are that no damage will be covered if it existed before you got on the insurance policy. Damages also won’t be covered if they happened while you were away from your home for more than 30 days, as it would count as neglect on your part. If you travel, make sure your appliances are going to be safe.
Insurance policies are often complicated, and nothing is without its loopholes. While figuring out all the do’s and don’ts of appliance insurance can seem like a lot of information to take in, it may be worth it if you have something slightly older that you might be able to cover should it ever need surprise repairs.