Motor burnout cover

Digital Editor · 9 August 2021
Anyone who has taken out a home insurance policy is probably familiar with the term ‘motor burnout’, even if it’s not covered on their policy. We take a look at what motor burnout is and if it can be covered by insurance.

What is motor burnout?

Motor burnout, also known as electric motor burnout or fusion damage, is when the motor in a major household appliance, such as a fridge or washing machine, stops working. Such appliances have an electric motor in them, which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. However, a power surge or excessive current (such as lightning strike) can cause the motor to ‘burn out’ and stop working. In the case of something like your fridge or freezer breaking down or a front-loading washing machine stopping mid-cycle, motor burnout can cause huge inconvenience and waste. That’s why many people consider purchasing insurance policies that include cover for this type of mishap.

What is motor burnout insurance?

Motor burnout insurance covers you for damage or loss of electrical appliances from motor burnout in your house. The cover generally comes included as standard or as an optional extra in Home and Contents or Contents Only insurance policies.  If it’s an optional extra, it is a cost that is added on to the standard policy premium. It is sometimes called motor damage insurance, fusion insurance or electrical burnout insurance.

Tip: Our home and contents insurance comparison tables highlight which policies do and do not offer fusion damage or motor burnout cover. Select the “features” tab to see this information. 

What does motor burnout insurance cover?

Motor burnout typically includes cover for damage to major appliances, such as a:

  • fridge
  • washing machine
  • dryer
  • air conditioner
  • oven
  • cooktop
  • electric garage door or gate.

While most policies will offer it, at least as an add-on cost, the degree to which you’re covered for motor burnout will typically vary. This information can be easily found in the relevant product’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). For example:

  • some policies may also come with a Food Spoilage benefit, which means that you’ll be reimbursed a certain amount of money in order to pay for any food that may have gone off or spoiled as a result of your fridge or freezer’s motor breaking.
  • some policies may cover not only the appliance itself, but also belongings surrounding it that are damaged by the motor burnout event.

What does motor burnout insurance exclude?

Exclusions will vary from policy to policy, so check the PDS. However, some common exclusions for motor burnout coverage include:

  • smaller appliances, such as hair dryers, radios, televisions or portable heaters,
  • expected wear and tear,
  • motors over a certain age – some policies may only pay a claim on a burnout if the motor was less than five years old, or will require you to pay some of the replacement costs if the motor was older than five years,
  • different policies may have different maximum amounts you can be reimbursed for the motor (the maximum benefit limit), and some may be much lower than others.
  • the breaking or damage of a lighting or heating element, a fuse, an electrical contact or switch,
  • a motor covered by a guarantee or warranty,
  • a printed circuit board,
  • any amplifying electronic equipment,
  • damaged caused by the leaking of refrigerant gas,
  • retrieving or replacing pool pumps or other submersible pumps.

Is motor burnout insurance worth it?

Whether or not motor burnout insurance is worth the expense is a personal decision, but it could help to weigh up:

  • cost of premiums,
  • extent and conditions of cover (for example, if you usually have a large amount of food stored in a freezer, perhaps you might consider policies that have food spoilage cover on offer),
  • if there is any excess to pay on claims (and if you could afford this),
  • the age of your appliances and if they are covered by any warranties,
  • the cost to replace or fix your appliances,
  • what you can afford to pay in premiums,
  • what you think your likelihood of claiming might be.

Then, it could be a wise idea to research your options to work out what policy could best suit your needs. You can compare the features on offer in home and contents insurance policies with Canstar, using the ‘Features’ tab to discover policies offering motor burnout cover either as a standard inclusion or as an optional extra. You could use this to form a shortlist of policies before getting quotes from providers.

Cover image source: New Africa/

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This content was reviewed by Sub Editor Jacqueline Belesky and Deputy Editor Sean Callery as part of our fact-checking process.

A journalist for more than two decades, Amanda has covered a gamut of subjects, including property, lifestyle, data journalism, local news and careers. Previously, she worked for a major metropolitan news media organisation, in senior editing and reporting roles.

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