Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Freezer Failure?

Opening up your freezer to find all your frozen foods thawed and ruined can be incredibly frustrating. But does your homeowners insurance policy cover the loss if your freezer unexpectedly stops working?

Unfortunately, standard homeowners insurance does not cover food spoilage due to mechanical or electrical failure of an appliance like a freezer. However, you may be able to get reimbursement if the failure was caused by a covered peril.

This article will explain when freezer failure damage is covered by homeowners insurance, when it is excluded, and tips to get the maximum refrigerator coverage.

What Causes of Freezer Failure Are Typically Covered?

While standard homeowners insurance excludes appliance breakdowns, your policy will likely cover food spoilage if the freezer failure was prompted by specific covered causes. Here are some examples of scenarios where your frozen food loss may be covered:

  • A lightning strike causes a power surge that shuts down your freezer.

  • A severe storm causes a power outage, resulting in your freezer failing.

  • Water damage from a burst pipe in your home shorts out the electrical to your freezer.

  • An electrical fire in your home damages the freezer wiring, causing failure.

The common thread is that a peril listed in your policy like windstorm, lightning, water damage, or fire caused the freezer malfunction rather than just age or mechanical issues. As long as you have documentation showing the covered peril precipitated the appliance failure, you can file a claim.

What Causes of Failure Are Excluded?

While perils are covered, a standard homeowners insurance policy contains exclusions that will bar coverage for freezer failure, including:

  • Mechanical or electrical breakdown – Parts wearing out over time or a defective compressor would not be covered.

  • Improper maintenance – Failure because you did not defrost or service the freezer regularly would be excluded.

  • Power outages – Spoiled food from a blackout due to a grid failure would likely be excluded.

  • Flooding – Food loss from freezer failure during a flood would not be covered since flood damage is excluded.

  • Your actions – Damage from accidentally unplugging the freezer yourself would be excluded.

The exclusions mainly relate to “perils” that are either not sudden/accidental in nature or specifically excluded in the policy language. Always check your policy wording so you understand exactly what causes of freezer failure are not covered.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Rotten Freezer Food?

If the failure of your freezer was caused by a covered peril, your homeowners policy will typically cover spoiled frozen food up to your personal property coverage limits. However, most insurers limit food spoilage coverage to $500 or less without purchasing a specific endorsement.

So if you have $300,000 in personal property coverage, food spoilage claims would max out at $500 unless you expanded the food spoilage coverage. Some insurers allow you to add higher spoilage limits like $2,500 or more for an additional premium.

Certain perishable items like high-end steaks may be reimbursed for actual cash value or cost to replace rather than the original purchase price. Your claims adjuster can provide more details on valuation.

Tips to Get the Most Freezer Failure Coverage

Here are some tips to get the broadest coverage from your homeowners insurance policy to protect your frozen foods investment:

  • Add endorsements – Get any available coverage add-ons like water backup or equipment breakdown to cover additional perils that may cause freezer failure.

  • Maintain the freezer – Keep up with suggested maintenance and cleaning to avoid excluded “wear and tear” losses.

  • Expand food spoilage limits – Consider adding higher spoilage coverage limits if available for valuable frozen items.

  • Use a surge protector – Add an external surge protector to minimize damage from power fluctuations.

  • Keep appliance records – Maintain manuals and purchase receipts to document the fridge value if damaged.

  • Take inventory – Keep a running list with photos documenting your frozen food items to submit as part of any claim.

How To File a Homeowners Freezer Failure Claim

If you open up your freezer to find your food supply has thawed and spoiled, follow these steps to file an appliance failure claim:

  1. Document the loss – Note the date/time, take photos of the spoiled food and damaged appliance. Get any error codes.

  2. Determine the cause – If unsure why it failed, have an appliance repair technician inspect and provide an estimate noting the reason for failure.

  3. File a claim – Contact your insurance company to report the loss right away. Provide documentation on the cause and food loss.

  4. Work with the adjuster – Answer any additional questions from the claims adjuster and submit photos of spoiled food.

  5. Receive payment – If approved, the insurer will issue a claim payment minus your deductible for the agreed upon spoiled food value.

  6. Repair or replace the appliance – Finally, have the freezer repaired or replaced so a failure does not reoccur.

Can You Get Payment Without a Claim?

Some options to recover freezer failure costs without filing an insurance claim are:

  • Contact the manufacturer – If the appliance is under warranty, the manufacturer may cover repair costs and food loss.

  • Ask your utility – In some cases, the utility company may provide food spoilage reimbursement if they were at fault for a power failure.

  • Use purchase protection – If you paid for the freezer with a credit card, it may provide supplemental coverage for mechanical failures for a period.

  • Tap your emergency fund – Ultimately, this is why you set aside an emergency fund in the first place – to pay for unforeseen losses without needing to file a claim.

Preventing Freezer Failures

While having comprehensive homeowners insurance can give you peace of mind, taking preventative measures can help avoid freezer failures and food loss:

  • Keep the freezer fully closed and sealed when not in use.

  • Maintain the correct freezer temperature (0°F or below).

  • Allow room for air circulation inside the freezer.

  • Defrost manually when frost builds up beyond 1/4 inch.

  • Have the freezer serviced if not cooling properly.

  • Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and catch issues early.

  • Place the freezer in a cool area away from heat sources like the oven.

  • Plug the freezer into a surge protector in case of power fluctuations.

  • Avoid overloading the freezer to let air circulate freely.

By taking these preventative measures and having adequate homeowners insurance, you can avoid most refrigerator breakdowns that lead to spoiled food headaches. File a claim promptly if you do suffer a covered loss.

Is Freezer Failure Coverage Worth It?

Having to frequently file claims for spoiled food each time your aging freezer breaks down can lead to non-renewal of your policy or increased premiums.

Rather than relying solely on your homeowners insurance, investing in a newer, more reliable fridge/freezer and adding equipment breakdown coverage is a better long-term approach if you want peace of mind.

You avoid frequent small claims that could jeopardize your insurance. And if the appliance does fail, equipment breakdown coverage will pay for repairs or full replacement cost along with any food spoilage.

The bottom line is that while useful as a backup, homeowners insurance should not replace proactive measures to prevent freezer failures and food loss in the first place. With some preventative care and the right policy add-ons, you can save money and avoid having to settle damaged food claims down the road.

Is Spoiled Freezer Food Covered If the Power Goes Out?

In the event of a wide-scale power outage that causes your freezer to fail, you may be wondering if spoiled food would be covered by your homeowners policy.

Unfortunately, food spoilage from a power outage is generally excluded. The reasoning is that a general power failure is not considered a direct physical loss covered under a homeowners policy.

However, some scenarios where power outage food spoilage may be covered include:

  • A lightning strike causing a power surge that affects your home’s electrical.

  • A fallen tree that knocks out power lines specifically to your house.

  • A severe storm that directly prompts a power outage only impacting your property.

As long as the outage was isolated to your home and caused by a listed covered peril, you may be able to successfully file a claim. You typically need to provide evidence like weather reports showing lightning or storm severity in your immediate area.

For wider scale outages, you likely cannot claim spoiled food. But some tips include:

  • Asking your utility company if they reimburse food spoilage costs.

  • Having a generator or backup power supply to keep freezers running.

  • Adding specialized endorsements like Utility Interruption Coverage.

The Bottom Line

When your freezer unexpectedly fails, you may hastily file an insurance claim hoping to recover the cost of hundreds of dollars

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?


Is freezing covered by homeowners insurance?

Most homeowner and commercial property insurance policies, in general, will cover damage from a frozen pipe that bursts.

Is a fridge freezer covered on home insurance?

If an event like a flood or power cut means your freezer stops working properly or breaks down, your home insurance will usually cover its repair or replacement.

Does homeowners insurance cover food spoilage?

Most standard homeowners insurance policies cover up to $500 in food loss after a power outage, but only if the cause of the outage is covered by your policy. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover maintenance issues, so if your food spoils because your refrigerator suddenly stops working, your policy won’t cover the loss.

Does homeowners insurance cover broken refrigerator?

Homeowners, condo, and renters insurance may cover appliances when a covered peril, such as a fire or theft, caused the damage. Insurance generally doesn’t cover wear and tear damage or manufacturer defects. Optional coverage for electrical and mechanical breakdowns may be available through your home insurance policy.

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