Your son just got back from soccer practice. He has a bag full of sports equipment and dirty laundry. Your options are slim, you could put it in the wash or contact the authorities to report a potential biohazard. You choose the former and rush it down to your washing machine, just to find (dun, dun, dun) that your washing machine isn’t working.
What do you do now? There’s no good time for a major appliance to stop working. But are washing machines covered under your home insurance policy?
If you find yourself with a broken washing machine and a precarious, expanding mountain of laundry, here’s what you need to know about insurance coverage.
Does homeowners insurance cover washing machines?
Unfortunately, there are not many yes’s and no’s when it comes to insurance, but rather, a lot of might’s and maybe’s. Fittingly, your insurance might cover a damaged washing machine, but it depends on your unique coverage and how the washing machine was damaged.
Homeowners insurance covers washing machines if …
First off, it’s important to note that washing machines do not fall under dwelling coverage. Washing machines are appliances, which are not instrumental to the structure of your home. Therefore, they are considered personal property. So, if you were to make a claim for a broken washing machine, it would fall under your personal property coverage.
The easiest way to find out if you are covered for your broken washing machine is to examine your policy’s list of included perils. If your washing machine was damaged by an included peril, then you will receive the pay out outlined by your policy (whether it be repair, market value, or full replacement).
However, it is important to keep in mind that most standard home insurance policies cover damage that was incurred in unexpected and unavoidable ways, namely, fires, inclement weather, and criminal activity.
That being said, unless you have additional coverage like equipment breakdown coverage, the average washing machine damage or malfunction probably won’t be covered by your insurance.
Homeowners insurance does not cover washing machines if …
If your washing machine is damaged by any event that isn’t listed in your policy’s covered perils, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for the repair or the replacement.
It’s important to check the details of your home insurance plan before something goes wrong to ensure you have the coverage that’s right for you. For instance, floods (although unexpected and unavoidable) are rarely covered by homeowners insurance. Therefore, if you live in a flood-prone area, it’s advisable to purchase flood insurance because water damage from a flood would not be otherwise covered.
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that home appliances that malfunction or break due to gradual damage or normal wear and tear are almost never covered by home insurance policies.
If you want to purchase additional coverage, consider a home warranty. Most home warranty plans will provide coverage if one of your major appliances suddenly breaks or stops working. However, the coverage may not apply if you inflict the damage to your washing machine. For example, if you’re doing a DIY electrical job and a power surge fries the interior of your washing machine, you will most likely not be covered.