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What is ‘Mechanical ‘Breakdown’ and am I covered?

The sudden and unexpected mechanical break-down of major household appliances can lead to major frustration, not to mention hefty bills.

But when a breakdown happens, will your critical home appliances be covered?

The standard definition of ‘mechanical & electrical breakdown’ in most homeowner’s insurance policies is defined as:

“The sudden and unexpected malfunction of mechanical and electrical equipment.”


Your fridge is five-years-old and in perfect working condition, then the following happens: 

  • A: While mopping the floor, you accidentally overturn the bucket and water runs under your fridge. There’s an electrical short and the fridge stops working.
  • B: You open the door to find your fridge isn’t cooling your food as it should. You call the fridge experts and their report finds the fault is due to gas pipe corrosion.

Which of these scenarios will be covered under the Mechanical & Electrical breakdown section of your policy?

  • A: IS covered – ‘electrical breakdown caused through a sudden and unexpected event’.
  • B: IS NOT covered – ‘mechanical breakdown due to corrosion and wear & tear that happened over an extended period of time’.

What else is NOT covered?

Loss or damage caused by:

  • Malfunction that happens gradually
  • Rust and corrosion
  • Wear and tear
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Loss, damage or deterioration caused by cleaning, repair, restoration or alteration
  • The use of an item in an incorrect manner
  • Loss or damage covered by a manufacturer’s guarantee, purchase agreement or service contract

There are no worse words an insured homeowner wants to hear than: “It’s not covered.”  The first thing you think is: “Well why do I have insurance in the first place?” 

But you’ll find the wording in most insurance policies state in layman’s terms:  “you hold up your end of the bargain and we will hold up ours”.

As your broker, we urge you to service your appliances regularly and to protect them from the perils of load shedding by installing the appropriate power surge protectors.

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