Does Car Insurance Cover AC Repair? What to Know About Filing a Claim for Air Conditioning Damage

Air conditioning is an essential component of any vehicle, providing comfort and relief from heat during summer driving. But what happens if your AC breaks down and needs repair? Will car insurance help cover the potentially expensive costs of fixing or replacing your AC system?

Unfortunately, in most cases the answer is no. Routine AC malfunctions and repairs are generally not covered by standard car insurance policies. However, there are some specific situations where you may be able to file an AC repair claim with your insurer.

Below is an in-depth look at how AC damage may or may not be covered, examples of when you can submit a claim, and tips for getting the repairs paid for when possible.

Standard Car Insurance and AC Breakdowns

Most standard car insurance policies only cover damages resulting from collisions, accidents, vandalism, or other sudden events. Gradual mechanical breakdowns over time due to normal wear and tear are excluded. This means issues like:

  • Leaking refrigerant
  • Compressor failure
  • Blower motor malfunction
  • Faulty control units

Are usually not covered even under comprehensive or collision insurance. You would bear the full repair costs yourself unless the vehicle is still under its original factory warranty.

Key Takeaway: Routine AC repairs for aging, defective components are generally excluded by insurers as regular maintenance needs.

When Can AC Damage Be Covered?

While standard operating failures are not covered, insurers may pay for AC repairs resulting from a covered loss like:

Car Accident

If your AC components are damaged in a collision, you can make a claim under either collision coverage (if you were at fault) or the other driver’s liability insurance (if they were at fault). This includes physical damage to parts like the condenser from impact as well as leaks or cracks in the AC system.

Vandalism or Theft

If someone deliberately damages your AC or steals components like the compressor, you could file a claim under your comprehensive insurance. This covers losses from non-collision events.

Falling Objects/Flying Debris

A tree branch falling on your car or debris from an accident damaging the AC condenser may be covered under comprehensive as well. Events like hail storms could also qualify.

Fire Damage

Heat and smoke from a vehicle fire, or fire-suppressant chemicals used to extinguish it, can damage your AC system. Comprehensive insurance would cover the repairs.

Key Takeaway: While wear and tear isn’t covered, AC damage from a covered loss like an accident, vandalism, or fire would be covered under your collision or comprehensive insurance.

Steps to File an AC Repair Claim

If your air conditioner sustains damage in an event covered by your policy, here are the steps to file an insurance claim:

  • Report the incident to your insurance company right away. Provide details of when and how the damage occurred.

  • Take photos of the AC damage to share with your insurer. Close-ups showing dents, cracks, missing pieces etc. help support your claim.

  • Get a written estimate from an auto repair shop detailing the necessary repairs and costs for the AC. This gives your insurer an idea of the claim amount.

  • Submit all documentation such as police reports (for accidents), fire reports (for vehicle fires), repair estimates, and any other evidence you have.

  • Be prepared to pay your deductible amount before the insurance company pitches in for the remaining AC repair costs.

  • Cooperate fully with the claims adjuster through the entire process to avoid delays.

Key Takeaway: Promptly report AC damage from a covered peril, document it thoroughly, and work closely with your insurer’s claims staff to get your air conditioning fixed affordably.

What is Covered in an AC Repair Claim?

If you successfully file an insurance claim, here are typical AC repair expenses that should be covered:

  • Parts: Damage to components like the compressor, condenser, evaporator, expansion valve, blower motor, and control unit. Replacement of destroyed components.

  • Refrigerant: Repair costs related to recharging your AC system with fresh refrigerant after repairs.

  • Labor: All labor costs for the repair work, including diagnostic time, part removal/replacement, and recharging the system.

  • Towing: Getting the vehicle to the repair shop if it is inoperable.

Anything directly related to fixing accident-related AC damage should be covered. Your insurer will exclude any pre-existing wear and tear issues though.

Key Takeaway: Both parts and labor to fix AC issues stemming directly from the covered incident will be reimbursable through an approved insurance claim.

Limits of AC Repair Coverage

While you can file a claim for AC damage in many cases, there are some limitations:

  • Older vehicles with high mileage may only receive compensation for the depreciated value of the AC parts, rather than full replacement cost.

  • Labor costs may be capped at prevailing auto repair shop rates to prevent excessive charges.

  • Pre-existing AC issues or routine maintenance needs found during repairs may be excluded from coverage.

  • Claim payouts are subject to your coverage limits and deductible amounts.

  • Insurers typically replace damaged parts with standard, stock components. Upgraded or customized ACs may not be fully covered.

Key Takeaway: Make sure to understand exactly what your insurer will cover for AC repairs to avoid surprises down the line. Don’t assume they will pay for everything.

Steps to Take Before Filing an AC Claim

To make the claims process smoother, be sure to:

  • Keep all maintenance and repair records to prove the AC was in good working order before the incident.

  • Photograph the engine compartment showing AC components before any damage occurs. This documents the original undamaged state.

  • Know your coverage amounts ( collision, comprehensive, liability limits) and deductible amounts before starting a claim.

  • Ask your insurer upfront exactly what they will cover for AC repairs under your policy. Get specifics.

Taking these steps demonstrates that AC damage was directly related to the covered incident and not pre-existing issues. It also shows you understand your coverage fully.

Key Takeaway: Do your homework before filing an AC repair claim to show the insurer the damage is covered and get the maximum reimbursement.

What is Not Covered for AC Claims?

Some things your insurer is unlikely to pay for include:

  • Routine AC recharging and refills for refrigerant leaks.

  • Wear and tear breakdowns like compressor pump failure from old age.

  • Aftermarket components like turbochargers, custom AC controls, or upgraded condensers.

  • Pre-existing AC problems you knew about before damage occurred.

  • Damage stemming from non-covered events like floods, rodent infestation, or nuclear hazards excluded under your policy.

  • Business losses from vehicle downtime while AC is being repaired.

Knowing exclusions helps avoid having portions of your claim denied after filing. Check your policy language for specifics.

Key Takeaway: Standard mechanical breakdowns and wear and tear, custom ACs, and non-covered losses are usually excluded by insurers when paying AC claims.

Using Manufacturer Warranties for AC Repair

New vehicles often come with multi-year manufacturer warranties on major components including the AC system. If your AC needs repair during the coverage period, the maker may fix it free or at reduced cost.

However, warranties have expiration dates and mileage limits, so an older car may not qualify. Extended warranties can provide protection when the original warranty expires if you purchased this option.

The repair process using a manufacturer warranty is similar to filing an insurance claim. You’ll need to take the car to an approved repair facility and provide documentation on the issues to the maker for review.

Key Takeaway: Manufacturer and extended warranties can provide coverage for AC repairs for a limited time, even when regular insurance will not.

Alternatives If Insurance Won’t Cover AC Repair

If your AC repair claim gets denied by insurance, here are alternative options to consider:

  • Tap your car repair fund or emergency savings to help pay out-of-pocket if repairs aren’t too expensive.

  • Put the charges on a credit card with an intro 0% APR offer so you can pay it off over time without interest.

  • Ask the repair shop about payment plans or financing options they may offer.

  • Consider getting quotes from salvage yards for used AC components to save money over new replacement parts.

  • Delay repairs and use lower-cost cooling alternatives in the car like rolling down windows, using seat covers, parking in shade, and driving during cooler times of day.

  • Sell the vehicle in “as-is” condition without fixing the AC and put funds toward a replacement vehicle. Disclose the AC issues.

Don’t just neglect critical AC repairs. Without professional help, you risk further damage to the car in the long run. Explore affordable options to get it fixed.

Key Takeaway: Even if insurance won’t pay for AC work, look into alternative payment methods and cost-saving repair strategies so you can get your air conditioning

Does Auto Insurance Cover Air Conditioning? – 3 Ways Your Repairs Can Be Covered


Can insurance cover AC compressor?

Home insurance only covers AC units for damage from a covered peril. This rules out most mechanical breakdowns and maintenance issues. A broken air conditioner can be expensive to fix. Unfortunately, homeowners insurance only pays to repair or replace ACs damaged by covered perils such as fire or hail.

Can you drive with a broken air compressor?

At the end of the day, it’s never a good idea to drive with a broken compressor. Doing so can result in expensive repairs that are otherwise avoidable.

How much will my insurance go up after a claim?

That said, you’ll usually be looking at an increase of 20%-50%. Unless it’s protected, you should also expect to lose any no-claims discount you’ve built up. Even if it’s protected you could still see your premiums rise – this is because a no-claims discount is a reduction from a baseline car insurance premium.

Will full coverage insurance cover a blown engine?

If you have collision and comprehensive, then your vehicle may be covered if the engine is damaged in an accident or by an event outside of your control. A blown engine that’s the result of a mechanical failure or wear and tear won’t be covered by comprehensive or collision coverage.

Leave a Comment