Spring in Indianapolis means flowers blooming, Mini Marathon running, and lots of crazy weather. Crazy weather like 50 degree drops in 24 hours, golf ball sized hail, and thunder and lightning seemingly out of nowhere. We see more air conditioning systems get knocked out during this time of year due to weather issues, than almost any other. Sometimes those A/C’s can be covered under your home owners insurance. If your A/C goes out, here are some things to know to help your chances of getting a new system.
1) When you report the claim always tell the truth, but don’t get detailed. If the system was working before the storm, and was not working after the storm – say that. Don’t get into your ideas why, or how, or if you had previous issues.
2) Get a licensed contractor to review the system, and be sure to tell them that you do not want any repair done. Many firms will try to fix your system, then charge you on the back end. Be clear, you are only looking to have an assessment done because you might file a claim with your insurance firm.
3) Get the details. Model number, serial number, a specific diagnostic on how the system was impacted by the weather. When submitting this information to insurance, again, say nothing beyond what is written there.
4) Know in advance that the insurance provider is not going to pay for a system better quality than the one you currently have. A major issue that we have run into is R22 (freon) based systems failing, and needing to be replaced with R410a based systems. With freon system no longer being manufactured, your air conditioning service provider needs to articulate that rationale very clearly. We have gone so far as quoting the Montreal Protocol which is what prompted the EPA’s change in regulations regarding R22 (freon). While you should be able to replace with an equal efficiency R410a system, you can use those resources provided to get a higher efficiency system, and you would pay the difference.
As a summary, you need to be vigilant from the outset that insurance providers are increasingly vigilant about claims. They will verify the weather in the area at the time you claimed your system was impacted, they will verify the quality of your selected HVAC contractor, and they will dig into the diagnostic with a fine toothed comb. But, if you’re honest, and the weather did do the damage you claim, you should find that your homeowner’s insurance coverage will provide for a new system.