Why Your Policy Doesn’t Cover Wear and Tear

Your Insurance Policy Does a Lot

Whether your policy covers your car, truck, house, apartment, boat, or motorcycle, it does a lot to protect you from a variety of bad things that can happen.  Most policies cover you from natural events like fire, lightning, wind, vandalism, theft, and other nasty surprises.  And that’s why we have insurance in the first place – if something does happen and your home catches on fire or your car is stolen, we don’t want to have to pay for the loss out of our own pocket.  There are something that your policy does not cover, however.  And one the we get asked about a lot is wear and tear.


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Did you think this was covered?

What is wear and tear and why isn’t it covered?

According to Dictionary.com, wear and tear is, “damage or deterioration resulting from ordinary use; normal depreciation.”  In other words, if you have a refrigerator, and after ten years of steady use it suddenly breaks down, that is wear and tear.  Or if your eight year old vehicle needs the brake pads replaced after them becoming worn from use – that’s also wear and tear.  Basically, if time takes its toll on something, and it begins to wear and break, that is exactly what we are talking about.

So you, the savvy and practical consumer, must be asking – why?  Why isn’t that covered?  Isn’t it damage to my home or car?  Isn’t that why I have insurance in the first place?  And the answer is – well, not really.

Insurance covers things that can happen to you suddenly.  The phrase in the industry is “sudden and accidental,” and is usually referred to as pure risk or event risk.  The risk has to be a risk without the possibility of financial gain – for example, gambling is a risk with a potential financial gain, and is therefor non-insurable (sorry Vegas lovers).  It also must be something that happens in a single event, like a fire breaking out in your kitchen, a car hitting your vehicle at an intersection, or the loss of someone’s life.  Insurance protects against these kinds of pure risk by taking on the risk for you for a fee, your premium.  Essentially, you’re paying for someone to hold the risk for you if something bad happens.

Wear and tear is nothing like that.  It happens over time, without one specific event.  It is not a true risk because all mechanical devices and structures eventually erode and decay, especially without proper maintenance.  This is a beautiful world we live in, but also a tough one, and forces like friction, decay and time can wear just about anything down.

It happens, but it isn’t what your insurance policy does.

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Well, there is something that covers wear and tear.

You can get wear and tear covered.  But it’s not insurance.

It’s called a Home Warranty.  Various companies (not insurance companies) will agree to cover the eventual breakdown of home appliances, important home systems like your HVAC and electrical system, and some add-ons like pools and well pumps.  These coverages are exactly for wear and tear, and not for the things your insurance policy covers.  If your dish washer has a part break and stops working, your home warranty would cover that.  If lightning strikes and shorts out your dishwasher, your insurance policy will cover it.

Also, keep in mind that your insurance agent usually does not sell home warranties.  For pricing and service options, do some searching online to find companies that are right for you.

But you’re a savvy consumer, so you already know how to do that!

If you do need insurance help, fill out the form below and we can walk you through the coverage you have – or help you get those missing gaps in coverage, well, covered.

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Why yes, you are.


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