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The personal property portion of your insurance policy applies to the contents of your home, but whether home insurance covers your appliances will depend on the nature of the damage. While damage from covered losses like fires is typically included in a homeowners insurance policy, natural wear and tear or breakdowns, like a decade-old refrigerator malfunctioning, usually aren’t covered. For more robust financial protection for your home’s appliances, consider a home warranty or adding equipment breakdown coverage to your policy.

When does homeowners insurance cover appliances?

Standard homeowners insurance policies provide financial protection for the physical structure of your home, as well as the personal belongings inside, including appliances. However, appliances are generally covered under the personal property portion of your insurance, and standard HO-3 policies only cover personal property on a named perils basis. This means that your insurance policy lists covered causes of damage that your personal property is financially protected against. These typically include:

  • Fire, lightning or smoke: Your appliances are typically covered if damage results from lightning, volcanoes or fires. This includes damage from smoke, which can affect air circulation systems like forced air heating. Some policies in wildfire-prone regions may not cover damage from wildfires, so you’ll want to double-check your policy details.
  • Wind and hail: This includes damage from windstorms, hail and the weight of ice, snow or sleet. For example, if a section of your roof caves in after heavy snowfall and damages your washer and dryer, these appliances would likely be covered as long as the weight of ice and snow is a named peril in your policy. It’s important to note that flood damage is not included under standard HO-3 policies — separate flood insurance is required.
  • Explosions: Appliance damage caused by explosions, whether they originate inside or outside of the home, is typically covered. This may include damage caused by aircraft or vehicles.
  • Civil commotion, vandalism, malicious mischief or theft: Your appliances are likely to be financially protected from damages or losses caused by intentional harm or theft. For instance, if someone breaks into your home and damages your appliances while looking for valuables, your policy will usually cover this damage.
  • Sudden steam or water discharge: Sudden and accidental water or steam discharge or malfunction of a steam or hot water heating system is normally covered by personal property coverage. However, gradual damage or neglect, such as a slow leak leading to mold, is excluded from standard policies.
  • Freezing: Your appliances are generally covered against damage from freezing conditions. This may include damage to your plumbing or air systems caused by a burst pipe.
  • Sudden artificially generated electrical current: Unexpected electrical surges can harm your electronics. This peril is generally covered by personal property insurance, but if your home contains a considerable number of high-value electronics or other items, discuss this with your insurance agent to ensure adequate coverage.

Learn more: What does homeowners insurance cover?

When does homeowners insurance not cover appliances?

There are some instances where your insurance will not cover appliances, and it’s a good idea to be aware of them before you’re faced with unexpected repair bills. If your personal property coverage has named perils, any source of damage not included on the list of named perils typically will not be covered. These might include:

  • Age-related breakdowns: Old appliance breakdowns aren’t covered by standard home insurance policies. If you’ve had an appliance for more than a few years and it stops working for a reason other than a named peril, you’re likely on your own for repairs or replacement.
  • Lack of maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial for appliance longevity. If your appliance damage is caused by lack of maintenance, your home insurance will not normally cover it. You may want to refer to your appliance owners manual to make sure you’re performing the recommended maintenance for each.
  • Flooding: Standard HO-3 policies don’t provide coverage for flood-related damages. For flood coverage, you can explore policies from private insurers or the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Earthquakes: A standard home insurance policy does not cover damage caused by earthquakes. However, if your appliances are damaged in a fire that occurred after an earthquake, that would likely be covered. Similar to flood insurance, homeowners in earthquake-prone regions can purchase earthquake insurance as an endorsement or standalone policy, depending on their location.
  • Sewer backup: If your appliances are damaged by standing sewage that overflows from your home’s sewer line, you would likely not get help from your home insurance company for repairs unless you purchase a water backup endorsement.

Home insurance for appliances

Homeowners insurance does not cover appliances in instances outside of what is specifically listed in your policy. As such, you may want to purchase a home warranty, an appliance warranty, equipment breakdown coverage or insure your belongings at replacement cost value.

Home warranty coverage

Home warranty programs are not the same as home insurance. They typically cover specific systems and usually focus on routine breakdowns and malfunctions. This coverage is more like a service contract that covers your appliances and home systems (plumbing, electrical, HVAC) from damage caused by regular wear and tear and age. To note, you can have an HO-3 home insurance policy and a home warranty — the coverage types are different.

A home warranty generally costs between $20 and $150 a month, and you are often able to pick and choose what you’d like covered. If you purchase a newly built home, you might have a home warranty from the builder. This is different from a home warranty policy, but the coverage may look similar.

Appliance warranties

Home appliances can be expensive, but when you purchase a new appliance, you typically have the option to add a manufacturer warranty. This warranty may even be included for free for the first year of the machine’s life. Manufacturer warranties may provide peace of mind should your new appliance break down shortly after you buy it.

Equipment breakdown coverage

Your insurer may offer equipment breakdown coverage as an add-on option on your home insurance policy. This coverage pays for financial loss caused by appliance breakdown. Unlike standard personal property coverage, mechanical failure and breakdown are covered under this add-on. The specific home systems covered by this endorsement will vary by provider, and coverage limits usually range from $10,000 to $50,000. Not all carriers offer equipment breakdown coverage, but you can consult your insurance agent for more details if you’re interested in purchasing this endorsement.


When you purchase a home insurance policy, you may be given the option to cover your personal property at actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost value (RCV). ACV provides coverage for the depreciated value of items, while RCV covers items based on what it would cost to replace them at today’s market value. Standard HO-3 policies cover personal property on an ACV basis but may give you the option to select RCV coverage. HO-5 policies are more robust and may already include RCV coverage for personal property. Some home insurance companies like USAA automatically insure your belongings at replacement cost value.

If you want more substantial coverage for your appliances, you might choose RCV for personal property insurance to ensure you’re getting enough coverage to replace your items if they’re destroyed by a covered peril. This may be particularly relevant to homeowners with lots of old appliances who would need to pay a significant amount out of pocket to replace appliances at today’s value after an ACV payout.

How much home insurance coverage do I need for my appliances?

Most personal property coverage covers your home’s contents at 50 to 70 percent of your dwelling coverage. You may want to discuss adjusting your coverage limits with your insurance agent based on your belongings. Having too little personal property coverage could leave you with significant out-of-pocket expenses following a covered loss.

To determine how much personal contents coverage you need, you could start by conducting an inventory of all your household appliances, listing them along with their current values. This not only includes major appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and ovens but also other electronics and smaller appliances that might add up in value. Regularly updating this inventory, especially after major purchases, ensures you have an accurate estimate at any given time.

Once you have a clear idea of the total value of your appliances, compare it with the value of your other personal belongings and the personal property limit in your homeowners insurance policy. If the total value of your items exceeds this limit, you might want to consider increasing your coverage.

Frequently asked questions

    • The best home insurance company for you depends on your coverage needs and your personal situation. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with Bankrate’s list of the best home insurance companies. According to our research, USAA and Allstate write some of the best policies for a variety of homeowners.If you’re looking for the cheapest rates, you might want a carrier with lots of relevant discounts. If you want robust coverage for your appliances, you might look for a carrier that offers equipment breakdown coverage. Once you narrow down your priorities, comparing quotes from companies that meet these criteria may help you find the best home insurance company for you and your home.
    • Probably not, unless the broiler unit blew out due to a named peril. If an electrical surge caused it, for example, it might be covered — you’ll want to check with your agent. But you’ll also want to consider your deductible, which may be higher than the new unit costs. If that’s the case, then you likely won’t have a covered claim.
    • Yes, even if you have a home warranty, you’ll likely still want a home insurance policy. In fact, if you have a mortgage on your home, your financial lender will likely require you to purchase a home insurance policy. A home warranty covers your appliances and home systems from regular wear and tear and aging. Warranties don’t cover your home’s structure or any repairs needed due to a disaster like a fire or storm.
    • Homeowners insurance classifies appliances based on whether they are built-in or portable. Built-in appliances, like a furnace or built-in stovetop, fall under dwelling coverage, while portable appliances, such as microwaves or refrigerators, are usually covered by personal property coverage. Appliances in detached structures may be covered by other structures coverage, like if you have an appliance housed in a detached garage. Coverage is generally for damage from covered perils, not wear and tear or defects.
    • Home insurance typically covers appliances for specific perils like fire or theft but not for wear and tear. For broader protection, consider adding equipment breakdown coverage to your policy or purchasing a separate home warranty plan.