Is your trusty AC unit finally giving out after years of keeping your home cool and comfortable? Getting a home warranty company to replace it can save you a ton of money, but the process isn’t always straightforward. This handy guide will walk you through everything you need to know to maximize your chances of approval, from what’s covered to managing denied claims.
How To Get Home Warranty To Replace Air Conditioner
First things first – let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about home warranties and air conditioners.
Home warranties provide service and discounts on repairs and replacements for covered appliances and systems like heating and air conditioning units. You pay a monthly or annual fee and then pay a service call fee plus any deductible when you need to file a claim.
Air conditioners use a refrigerant to cool and dehumidify the air and have several mechanical components like compressors, evaporator coils, and condensers. These parts wear out over 5-15 years depending on climate, maintenance, and usage.
Replacing an AC unit can cost $3,000 to $7,000 – ouch! But home warranties can help significantly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses if you know how to get the most out of them.
What Parts Of Your AC Does A Home Warranty Cover?
When it comes to AC coverage, home warranties typically cover components rather than the full replacement of your AC unit. Here are some of the parts generally included:
- Evaporator coil
- Electrical components like capacitors and relays
- Refrigerant lines
- Blower motor
Ductwork, drain pans, and registers may also be covered. Mini-splits, wall units, and window ACs tend to have less coverage.
Make sure to check your specific contract, as policies vary. Some things like underground piping for geothermal systems are often excluded. There are also usually dollar limits per claim.
The takeaway? Understand exactly what components your home warranty does and doesn’t cover before making a claim.
When Will Your Home Warranty Company Replace Your AC?
Generally, home warranty providers prefer repairing issues over complete AC replacement. But there are a few scenarios where they will approve replacing your AC unit:
If Repair Attempts Are Unsuccessful
Most companies will require their technicians to attempt repairing your AC first. If the same component fails again after repair, replacement is more likely to be approved.
Multiple Components Are Failing
If the technician diagnoses issues with the compressor, coil, and other parts, the company will recognize your AC is unsalvageable.
Repairs Exceed The Coverage Limit
Each claim has a dollar limit, usually $500-$1500. If the cost to fix your AC is higher, replacement makes more financial sense for the company.
Your AC Unit Poses Safety Risks
Gas leaks, electrical issues, or dangerous components like faulty capacitors that could explode justify full replacement.
It’s Up To Company Discretion
At the end of the day, the company makes the final call based on your specific circumstances. Older ACs on their last legs are more likely to get approved.
Navigating The AC Replacement Process
Replacing an AC unit through your home warranty involves a few key steps:
File A Claim
Call your home warranty provider’s customer service line to start a claim. You’ll pay a service call fee, usually $75-$150.
Schedule The Inspection
The company will assign a local HVAC technician to inspect your AC unit. This appointment is usually set within 1-3 days.
Technician Makes Recommendation
After diagnosing the issues, the technician will contact the home warranty company if they recommend replacement as the best option.
Company Reviews And Approves
The home warranty company will review your claim, technician’s report, and factors like age of unit and cost of repair vs replacement. If approved, they will contact you to arrange replacing the AC.
Finally, the technician will return to remove your old AC unit and install the new replacement unit provided by the home warranty company.
One thing to consider is whether to use the company’s preferred contractor vs your own. While choosing your own technician allows more control, it also carries more risk of denied claims if they are unlicensed or improper installation causes issues. Sticking with the company’s network of licensed contractors covers you if anything goes wrong.
Bummer – Claim Denied? How To Appeal
After going through the process, the last thing you want is your claim denied. But it does happen, so it’s crucial to know your options if you get stuck here.
Reasons your AC replacement claim could be denied include:
- Non-covered components – Home warranties won’t cover window units or parts like ductwork they exclude in the contract.
- Unauthorized modifications – Any DIY alterations you made could void coverage.
- Lack of maintenance – If you didn’t replace air filters and schedule annual check-ups as recommended, the company may not approve replacement.
- Natural disaster damage – Unfortunately, damage from storms, floods, lightning strikes, etc. isn’t covered.
- Normal wear and tear – Home warranties exclude “acts of God.”
If you feel the denial was unjustified, don’t give up hope. You can appeal the decision by:
- Requesting a second inspection to confirm if replacement is truly needed. Get documentation from both technicians to back up your case.
- Asking what documentation is required for an official appeal, and submit it.
- Following up persistently with the claims department. Squeaky wheels tend to get grease!
As a last resort, you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau to light a fire under the company.
Factors That Affect Replacement Costs
While the home warranty company foots most of the bill for your AC replacement, you’re still on the hook for deductibles, service fees, and any overages. Here are some factors that influence the out-of-pocket costs:
Deductible – Usually $100-$500 you pay per claim. Higher deductibles mean lower monthly fees.
Service Fees – $75-$150 fee you pay for each technician visit.
Contractor Rates – If you choose your own contractor, their labor charges apply. Using the company’s contractor network can be cheaper.
AC Unit Size – Larger, more powerful ACs naturally cost more to replace.
Your Region – Replacement costs vary across different climates.
Additional Installation Needs – Any enhancements like new electrical work or ducting required during installation add to the total price.
Coverage Limits – If replacement costs exceed per claim limits, you pay the overage.
Understand all these costs before filing your AC replacement claim to avoid any surprise bills.
Your Top AC Replacement Questions, Answered
Replacing your AC through a home warranty understandably brings up a lot of questions. Here are answers to some of the key ones:
How long is my AC covered by my home warranty?
The coverage term is usually one year, but you can renew annually to maintain coverage.
What are signs my AC compressor is failing?
Warning signs include higher energy bills, reduced air flow, odd noises, the AC not turning on, leaking refrigerant, and coils icing up.
What should I do if my AC claim is denied?
First carefully review why it was denied, then appeal if it seems improper. Also request a second inspection, submit documentation, and follow up persistently.
Does [top provider] replace AC units?
Most major providers like American Home Shield do offer full AC replacements, but usually only after attempting repair first. Check with your specific company.
Should I replace just the compressor or the whole AC unit?
If the current unit is over 10 years old or showing signs of other component failures besides the compressor, replacing the full unit is best.
How much does it cost to replace an AC compressor?
The national average for just replacing the AC compressor is $1,000-$1,500 in labor and parts. Whole AC replacement ranges from $3,000-$7,000 installed.
Will my home warranty replace a 20 year old AC unit?
Most will provide a replacement AC for units that old with evidence it’s non-repairable. But check policy fine print for any age restrictions.
Does [top provider] cover full AC replacement costs?
Yes, they will cover the full replacement up to your coverage limits after deductibles and fees. You pay any overages beyond those limits.
Breathe Easy With A New AC
Successfully getting your home warranty to replace your wheezing, outdated AC unit requires understanding what’s covered, navigating the claims process, and appealing denials if necessary.
The key tips are knowing your policy’s coverage, getting strong technician documentation on the need for replacement, and persistently following up if your initial claim is denied.