Icy showers might give you that extra kick you need in the morning to get your day going … that is, if they’re on purpose. Being blasted with freezing cold water unexpectedly is no way to start the day, to say the least. If your hot water has run cold, chances are, there’s something wrong with your hot water heater.
If you find yourself in this chilly scenario, you might be wondering what coverage your hot water heater falls under — personal property or dwelling? And what factors determine whether or not you will receive a payout for a repair or replacement.
Are hot water heaters protected under dwelling coverage?
Yes, hot water heaters fall under the dwelling coverage section of your homeowners policy because they are considered a structural element of your home. Structural elements are features or major systems of your home that you cannot carry away with you (without much trouble). Other structural elements of your home include your furnace, countertops, roof, and foundation.
Major appliances, however, fall under personal property coverage. For instance, you could unplug your fridge and remove it without much trouble; whereas, it would take a professional to uninstall a hot water heater because it is connected to some of your home’s major systems like the plumbing and gas.
Will homeowners insurance pay to replace or repair a hot water heater?
Although hot water heaters are protected under dwelling coverage of the standard homeowners insurance policy, that does not mean coverage is guaranteed. Whether or not you will be covered depends on how the hot water heater was broken or damaged.
If your hot water heater was damaged or broken by a covered peril on your home insurance policy, it will most likely be covered. However, it’s important to remember that covered perils are usually limited to unexpected and unavoidable occurrences; namely, fires, inclement weather, and vandalism.
That being said, if your hot water heater simply stops working because of age, neglect, or damage caused by wear and tear, your insurance company will not cover the repair or replacement.
It’s important to make sure that you have an adequate amount of coverage. For instance, most policies don’t include floods as a covered peril. Therefore, if you live in a flood-prone area, it is recommended to get additional coverage for flood damage.
For additional protection, consider a home warranty
Hot water heaters can be hard to live without. They can also cause significant and costly water damage and mold damage if they malfunction. If you want to buy additional equipment breakdown coverage, consider a home warranty. Home warranties protect you from big financial losses by covering the repair or replacement cost of home systems or major appliances that aren’t included in a standard home insurance policy.
Before making a claim, it’s also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s warranty. Your hot water heater could still potentially qualify for repair or replacement.