What is motor burnout and does insurance cover it?

1 September 2016
Anyone who has taken out a contents insurance policy is probably at least vaguely familiar with the term “motor burnout”, even if it’s not covered on their policy. Some people may choose not to take out cover for motor burnout because they’re unfamiliar with what it is, and don’t think it’ll ever affect them, but they’re almost definitely wrong.

What is motor burnout?

Motor burnout, also known as electric motor burnout or fusion damage, is when the motor in household appliances such as your fridge or your washing machine dies. 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, motor burnout can cause huge inconvenience and waste.

What is motor burnout insurance?

Motor burnout insurance isn’t a separate form of insurance, but generally comes included as standard or available as an optional extra in Home and Contents or Contents Only insurance policies. It covers you for damage or loss of electrical appliances from motor burnout in your house.

Our comparison tables for Contents Only insurance highlight which policies do and do not offer fusion damage or motor burnout cover.

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Most policies will offer it, but the degree to which you’re covered will vary. For example, some policies will only pay a claim on a burnout if the motor was less than 5 years old, or will make you pay some of the replacement costs if the motor was older than 5 years.

Also worth noting is the fact that different policies will come with different maximum amounts you can be reimbursed for the motor (the maximum benefit limit), and some will be much lower than others. This information can be easily found in the relevant product’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

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. It’s surprising how much it can cost to restock a fridge!

Some common exclusions for motor burnout coverage include 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, leaking of refrigerant gas, and retrieving or replacing pool pumps or other submersible pumps. Sadly, radios and televisions are not covered by motor burnout insurance, as they are also excluded.

You don’t need to be a fan of second-hand washing machines from Cash Converters to be a fan of motor burnout or fusion damage insurance. New appliances can sometimes be faulty, too. And nobody wants to spend their weekends trying to fix a machine that has died:

Fixing broken clothes dryer
motor burnouts and fusion damage

Because motor burnout can smoke and fire damage to not just the appliance itself, but also any belongings surrounding it, it’s a good idea to add motor burnout or fusion damage cover to your policy. The additional cost to add it to your premium (if it is not covered as standard) is unlikely to be very expensive. As long as it fits within your budget, motor burnout or fusion damage cover could save you some serious trouble!

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