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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Kristine Lee

Insurance Analyst

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty
  • 4+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

Homeowners equipment breakdown coverage

While your homeowners policy covers your appliances and other household systems against perils like lightning and windstorms, it will not cover such equipment against mechanical breakdown or certain other perils. This is where equipment breakdown coverage steps in. Find out more about how this coverage can add more protection to your home insurance policy and how it compares to a manufacturer or home warranty. 


Homeowners equipment breakdown coverage — table of contents:

  1. What is equipment breakdown coverage?
  2. What does equipment breakdown insurance cover?
  3. How much does equipment breakdown insurance cost?
  4. Equipment breakdown coverage vs. home warranty
  5. Is equipment breakdown coverage worth it?



What is equipment breakdown coverage?

Equipment breakdown insurance is an add-on insurance coverage that protects many appliances and household systems against mechanical or electrical failure. It is not a standard coverage on home insurance policies, and can oftentimes be purchased as an endorsement.

This coverage works in much the same way as a warranty in that it will pay to repair or replace your property if it breaks down or is damaged by a covered peril. However, instead of a standard manufacturer warranty, this coverage can protect multiple items in the event that they are damaged by a singular event such as a power surge. Below, you can find a more detailed description of the specific items often covered.



What does equipment breakdown insurance cover?

Many home systems, devices, and appliances are covered by equipment breakdown insurance. Though it can vary by company, some of the types of equipment commonly protected by this coverage include:

  • Air conditioning systems
  • Water heaters
  • Security systems
  • Sump pumps
  • Steam boilers
  • Dishwashers
  • Garbage disposals
  • Refrigerators
  • Ovens
  • Washing machines
  • Dryers
  • Computer systems
  • Riding lawn mowers

These items tend to be much more expensive to replace or repair than standard home appliances. As such, most equipment breakdown endorsements will provide up to $50,000 in coverage (up to $100,000 with some preferred carriers). There is typically a deductible associated with this coverage, which is usually in the neighborhood of $500 or lower.

According to their website, equipment breakdown insurance from The Hartford even offers appliance upgrades at 125% of cost if you make the switch to more energy-efficient equipment.


What types of losses does equipment breakdown insurance cover?

Equipment breakdown coverage will oftentimes cover a variety of mechanical malfunctions or other perils. Policies are typically clear on what types of breakdowns that they will or won’t cover, so you’ll want to study your homeowners policy so you are not left without coverage. Below are some of the more common perils that equipment breakdown coverage protects against.

  • Motor burnout
  • Power surge or electrical arcing
  • Mechanical breakdowns
  • Short circuits
  • Pressure system breakdowns


What isn’t covered by equipment breakdown insurance?

If your items are damaged due to general wear-and-tear they will not be covered under this coverage type. As with most forms of insurance, you are required to maintain your property and personal possessions.


How does equipment breakdown coverage work? 

When you report a claim to your insurer, they will establish that the incident was indeed a covered peril. Once the claim is accepted, your insurance company will then reimburse you for the following expenses:

  • The cost of repair or replacement
  • Cost of food spoilage (if applicable)
  • Expedited repair costs (especially if the damaged system could cause further damages)
  • Extra expenses arising from the breakdown, e.g., hotel stays

In many cases, you will be reimbursed for the full value of the appliance or the full cost of repair, whichever is the cheapest. Most companies will not factor in depreciation, though some may cover your goods at actual cash value. You will need to check with your home insurance company to verify this.



How much does equipment breakdown insurance cost?

Equipment breakdown coverage is usually very affordable. Many insurance companies offer this coverage somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 to $50 per year. According to its website, American Family Insurance charges $30 per year for such coverage. Considering how much replacing even one of these systems would cost out of pocket, equipment breakdown coverage could be worth considering. 



Equipment breakdown coverage vs. home warranty

Equipment breakdown insurance is different from a home warranty in that you can add it to a homeowners insurance policy as an endorsement. A home warranty must be purchased through a separate entity and is basically a service contract that you may use to repair certain covered appliances. They work similarly to standard product warranties, only that they often cover a variety of different appliances. Oftentimes, warranty companies allow you to choose a package that fits your specific needs, such as a warranty that covers only kitchen appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers. In many cases, you can also add on a warranty for other systems or even swimming pools

The cost of a home warranty is something that should be considered. It's typically far more expensive than equipment breakdown coverage. Purchasers of a home warranty often face further costs associated with service visits and deductibles. If you are looking to save money, but still want your appliances protected against damage, then equipment breakdown coverage makes sense.



Is equipment breakdown coverage worth it? 

Appliances and home systems can be some of the most expensive items in your household. As such, any breakdown or failure not covered by your homeowners policy can end up costing you a lot of money. Equipment breakdown insurance is an affordable way to avoid unnecessary expenses.

If you are worried about the cost of adding coverage to your homeowners policy, consider searching for a provider. The Zebra can help by allowing you to compare home insurance quotes side-by-side, allowing you to get the right policy at a price that works for you. 


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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
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  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.