The ductwork in your home is essential to your family’s health and comfort. Unfortunately, constant heat cycles in the winter and air conditioning in the summer can clog the ducts deep within your walls. Without regular maintenance, ducts can collect dust, hair, and mold and bring deadly spores and allergens into your home—or even pose a fire hazard.
Duct cleaning can cost thousands of dollars, and many homeowners wonder if their property insurance could cover some of the expense. Attorney Bill Voss explains insurance options for duct cleaning and repairs and standard exceptions to coverage.
A Home Warranty Is Your Best Bet for Ductwork Repairs
Home warranty policies may cover ductwork on a recently-purchased home or a newly-installed HVAC system for a limited time. You can call the company that issued your home warranty policy and file a service request. If your policy covers ductwork, they will send a technician to check the damage. If your ductwork needs to be repaired or replaced, you should only be responsible for a co-pay or deductible.
There may be some exceptions to your home warranty covering your ductwork. If it wasn’t installed properly or is the wrong size for the house, your insurer should have notified you of these problems after their initial inspection before buying the policy. Your claim will likely be denied if you knew about the problem but didn’t correct it.
Homeowners Insurance Could Pay for Air Duct Cleaning
If your home warranty doesn’t cover ductwork, your homeowners’ insurance could cover some or all of the cleaning and replacement services. However, the amount you receive may be influenced by:
- Cause of damage. Most homeowners’ policies will only cover damage related to a peril—a single event caused by an outside force. For example, if water soaks into your walls from a burst pipe, mold may grow and start to circulate through the air ducts. In this case, air duct mold removal may be covered. On the other hand, if flooding from rainwater has affected your pipes, it’s unlikely that your homeowner’s insurance will cover the damages.
- Coverage options. Hazardous conditions (such as mold) are usually only included under a policy when they stem directly from a covered peril. If you want mold itself to count as an active peril, you may be able to purchase add-on coverage for a relatively low increase to your monthly premiums. However, you may have to pay a separate deductible when it comes time to file a claim.
- Negligence. Insurers will deny claims for a hazardous condition in your ducts caused by something you did (or failed to do). For example, if your washing machine has a slow leak and you don’t get it fixed, you will have to pay for mold damage to the floor, walls, and air ducts out of your pocket.
- Caps. Even if your homeowners’ insurer agrees to cover the damage, there may be a cap on the amount they’re willing to pay for duct cleaning and mold remediation. Depending on the amount offered, it may be less costly to pay for the damage yourself rather than file a claim—especially if you have a high deductible.
- Failed maintenance. Homeowners are responsible for regular home maintenance, including having the HVAC system cleaned and inspected regularly. Insurance doesn’t pay for maintenance costs, so you must identify any leaking pipes or appliances, lack of airflow through the vents, or other concerns and fix them as soon as possible. They also may not cover mold damage after a covered event if you don’t take steps to protect the property from further damage, such as investing in a dehumidifier to prevent mold growth.
Let Us Help With Your Homeowners’ Property Damage Claim
If you have a significant repair cost and the insurance company denies your claim, the Voss Law Firm can help. We read your policy carefully to determine your policy limits and exclusions and demand full coverage from your insurance provider.
Call us at (888) 614-7730 or complete our contact form today to get answers to your questions, or start reading your copy of our free book, Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse, and Refuse.