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Wind Damage to HVAC Condensing Units Guide

Wind can be a devastating force to HVAC equipment. However, the damage it causes ranges from catastrophic to easily repairable, and other causes of loss may be misreported as wind. Knowing what wind damage looks like, possible repair methods, and other common causes of loss may help prevent claims leakage.

Fill out the form for your copy of the Wind Damage to HVAC Condensing Units Guide, which provides an overview of the most common wind damage to HVAC condensing units. You’ll also see data about actual causes of loss for equipment reported as damaged by wind, and learn why you shouldn’t settle these claims without verifying the scope of damage.

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Commercial Claim with Hail Case Study

Hail impacts HVAC and Refrigeration equipment in different ways – even during the same storm. Some systems or components may have irreparable damage, while most will have failures that require minor to moderate repairs to return to pre-loss condition. Adjusters shouldn’t speculate on the scope of damage for claims with reported hail impacts or they risk settling a claim with unnecessary replacements.

An adjuster sought HVACi’s assistance on a commercial claim with more than a dozen different HVAC and Refrigeration items that had been impacted by hail. The need for quick results and evaluation of multiple complex systems made the claim particularly important for HVACi’s experts to provide recommendations.

This claim demonstrates that not all HVAC and Refrigeration equipment will be affected the same way and each need a thorough and consistent evaluation.

Fill out the form to receive your copy of the Commercial Claim With Hail Case Study. You’ll learn more about HVACi’s processes to provide objective and fast claim solutions, which include cause of loss verification, repair and replacement advice, and settlement recommendations.

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Impacts to HVAC Systems: Wind and Hail Claims

Hail is the most often reported peril for HVAC and Refrigeration claims that adjusters assign the HVACi team. Wind impacts are also frequently claimed. Find out why our expert team is least likely to recommend full replacements for these perils and which repair solutions are often more appropriate.

Fill out the form to receive the link to our interactive guide, which covers:

  • Spring Storm Claims Trends
  • Other Potential Causes of Loss
  • Repair and Replacement Solutions
  • Reported vs. Actual Cause of Loss

You can also use it to sign up for access to the spring storms webinar.

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3 Expert Tips For Settling HVAC Claims With Wind Damage

Wind blows trees and other debris causing claimed property damage. Photo Credit: “Firefighters, Storm, Tree, Wind” by Kollinger / CC BY 4.0

Wind is a common peril associated with storms, but the number of HVAC system claims that need a full replacement shouldn’t be blown out of proportion.

Between 2015-19, the combined perils of wind and hail accounted for the largest percentage of homeowner claims – 34%, according to the most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute. In contrast, these losses had lower claims severity than fire and lightning, bodily injury and property damage, or water damage and freezing during that same time.

Expert Tip No. 1: Adjusters should understand how HVAC systems could be impacted before settling property claims with reported wind damage.

Wind Claims Trends

Adjusters assigned HVACi tens of thousands of claims in 2021, and policyholders reported wind as the cause of loss for nearly 10% of them. Of those with claimed wind damage, 17% of equipment was non-damaged at the time of assessment and 11% was damaged by wear and tear, which is not typically a covered peril – more than a quarter of the equipment did not require a settlement.

When wind was a verified cause of loss, HVACi’s expert analyses concluded that 58% of equipment could be repaired to return to pre-loss condition.

Expert Tip No. 2: Adjusters should always verify cause of loss to ensure the most accurate settlements and reduce the risk of claims leakage.

Wind-Related Impacts to HVAC Systems

Wind, from storms, tornadoes, or hurricanes, can affect HVAC systems in multiple ways resulting in varying degrees of damage.

Dust And Debris Impacting Coils

Split systems are the most common residential HVAC system, and their condensing unit, which releases and collects heat through refrigerant, is outside.

Condenser coils inside the condensing unit include the copper tubing holding refrigerant and the aluminum fins that protect it. Fins are susceptible to collecting dust and debris that the wind blows in. Coils may become clogged or flattened from debris, hail, or other foreign objects, which could impact system efficiency if airflow is blocked. However, efficiency won’t be largely affected until nearly 100% of coils are flattened.

Leaves and other debris were blown into this condenser coil. Cleaning the condensing unit and straightening any flattened fin would restore it to pre-loss condition.

HVAC system replacements are unlikely for this type of wind impact. Policyholders could clean or comb the condenser coils using appropriate materials to return them to pre-loss condition.

Sometimes the fins in the condenser coils tear or are unable to be combed. If this happens, the most appropriate action may be to replace the condenser coils, but this again is considered a minor repair to return equipment to pre-loss condition.

Condensing Unit Damages Requiring More Major Repairs

Wind is a force of nature, and it could cause impacts to HVAC systems that require more major repairs – but replacements are still the most unlikely claim solution.

Large tree branches, lawn equipment, or other heavy objects may blow into the condensing unit causing dents, damaging the refrigerant tubes, or crushing parts of the system. An HVAC expert should evaluate the scope of damage to see if individual panels can be replaced or if a new condensing unit is necessary to return equipment to pre-loss condition.

Tree limbs or other heavy objects could be blown onto the condensing unit causing minor to major damage.

A condensing unit may also be blown over or shifted off its pad, depending on the wind speed or force. The condenser coil and/or the fan assembly may be affected and require replacement. Additional components at risk of damage if the condensing unit moves are the lineset and the electrical whip, which transport refrigerant to the indoor equipment. Contaminants could enter the refrigerant tubes and cause significant damage.

Even if a new condensing unit and lineset are needed, it is unlikely that the indoor HVAC equipment, such as the furnace, will also have to be replaced. The type of refrigerant and the configuration of the equipment are the variables that would impact that. But if there is a refrigerant mismatch, such as a new condensing unit that uses R-410A and a furnace that uses R-22, additional components and actions can be taken to make the equipment compatible without a full system replacement.

Expert Tip No. 3: Get an objective HVAC system expert to determine how much of the equipment was impacted and recommend the best solution.

Expertise and Objectivity Are Keys to Accurate Settlements

The scope of wind damage to an HVAC system varies. Only someone with HVAC experience should determine the most appropriate course of action to return equipment to pre-loss condition. However, adjusters shouldn’t simply accept estimates provided by policyholders’ contractors.

Often, contractors are more likely to suggest replacing equipment that is unnecessary, compared to a more minor repair such as cleaning or replacing condenser coils. It’s critical that adjusters obtain an objective assessment for more accurate claim settlements.

Objective HVAC system experts should complete comprehensive evaluations to determine the most accurate claim solutions.

The experts at HVACi have decades of experience and first-hand knowledge about HVAC systems and the insurance industry. Our thousands of vetted technicians located nationwide aren’t allowed to discuss findings with policyholders or solicit work to guarantee their objectivity. The HVACi team then analyzes diagnostic data to deliver reports that include cause of loss verification, repair and replacement recommendations, and market value pricing for all available equipment.

Don’t throw caution to the wind when making settlement decisions for claims with HVAC systems. Submit a claim to HVACi to receive data-driven results quickly.

Read the Wind Claim Case Study

Wind Claim Case Study

It may be challenging for adjusters to evaluate claimed HVAC system damages when policyholders list cause of loss as wind. It requires expert HVAC equipment knowledge, comprehensive testing, and an understanding of best practices for potential repairs.

The adjuster in this case study sought HVACi’s help to verify wind was the cause of loss for two residential split systems and to know how to best settle the claim for repairs or replacements. Our expert evaluation likely saved this carrier from an unnecessary settlement.

Fill out the form to read what our experts determined was the actual cause of loss and how we came to that conclusion.

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Scary Story: Refrigerant Mismatch

Think refrigerant type doesn’t matter? Here’s proof that it does.

In this scary story, a policyholder opted for a different method of repairing hail damage than HVACi had recommended. Soon after, new issues popped up. The insured filed a claim seeking a full replacement and the adjuster again looked to HVACi for cause of loss and a solution.

With so many different complex HVAC components, any number of things could have happened, including a weather-related incident, a problem with the refrigerant, or an equipment malfunction. Fill out the form to find out how HVACi determined the scope of damage and what we recommended the policyholder – and the adjuster – do to return the equipment to pre-loss condition.

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Hail Claims Involving Residential and Commercial HVAC Systems Webinar Recording

Be more familiar with which HVAC components are susceptible to hail damage and what measures can return your policyholder to pre-loss condition during HVACi’s Hail Claims Involving Residential and Commercial HVAC Systems Webinar. Find out the significance of hail damage in insurance claims, ways to identify if cause of loss is hail or another peril, and repair options that could be available.

During the webinar, we’ll review:

  • The significance of hail damage to HVAC systems
  • Components frequently damaged by hail
  • Signs of hail damage to residential and commercial HVAC systems
  • Real-life residential and commercial hail claims
  • Potential repair options

Watch our Hail Claims Involving Residential and Commercial HVAC Systems Webinar recording by filling out the form provided.

Important: Pre-recorded webinars do not qualify for CE credit.

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Restaurant Hail Claim Case Study

Rooftop HVAC systems are prone to hail damage because of their location outdoors; however, adjusters shouldn’t be so quick to settle for unwarranted major repairs or replacements – even if they receive pushback from an insured or public adjuster.

Fill out the form to read about the experience of an adjuster who was handling a claim related to 17 HVAC systems, ranging from package units to exhaust fans, that had an estimated replacement value of more than $110,000. Find out what HVACi advised to return the policyholder to pre-loss condition and how we could uphold that recommendation with data-driven facts when a public adjuster questioned it.

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Ins and Outs of Hail-Related HVAC Claims eBook

Hail causes billions of dollars in property damages to commercial and residential policyholders each year. Any outdoor equipment could be at risk, and that includes your insured’s HVAC systems. But before you automatically assume hail damages will require settlement for a full replacement, fill out the form to receive your copy of the HVACi hail eBook.

This comprehensive overview includes:

  • The significance of hail in insurance claims
  • Components likely to be affected by hail, depending on the system type
  • Tips to confirm hail is the cause of loss
  • Repair options that are more likely than requiring a full replacement
  • Images and diagrams to make this information easy to read and understand

Hail-related claims can come in at any time of the year. Keep this resource on hand to refer to for your next one.

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Residential Hail Claim Case Study

Hail is a common cause of peril for residential HVAC equipment because of the outdoor components that can sustain damage. However, often contractors recommend replacements that may not be the best option to return the policyholder back to pre-loss condition – at a cost that isn’t in line with market value. This case study illustrates how an adjuster sought HVACi’s help in determining if hail had damaged the policyholder’s HVAC system and to what extent. The result was the insurance carrier potentially avoiding thousands of dollars in claims leakage.

Fill out the form to find out what HVACi determined about the scope of damage and the difference in the contractor’s estimate versus our recommended settlement price. You’ll discover what we can do to stop unnecessary claims leakage from happening to you, too.

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