A home warranty helps provide protection of your home’s systems and appliances. Examples of systems companies cover are electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc. Warranty companies consider appliances to be items such as dishwashers, garbage disposals, washer/dryer, etc. Home warranties do not protect your home from major perils such as fire, flooding, hail, etc.
A Home Warranty is Optional
Home warranties are optional and not required by most lenders. But if you’re buying a home, there is a section in home purchase contracts where you may request the seller to pay for the first year’s home warranty, up to a certain dollar amount. If a seller agrees to covering the first year, then it’s time for you to do your research and figure out which company you want to choose.
Questions to Ask a Home Warranty Company
There are many companies to choose from and the task of finding the right one can be overwhelming. So here is a list of questions to ask when looking for the right home warranty company for you.
- What kind of coverage options are available? Usually, companies have 3-5 different plans available to choose from that cover a combination of particular systems and appliances. Some allow for you to do a ‘Build Your Own’ plan, which lets you customize your coverage. Others allow you to pick only the systems you want covered, so you only pay for that. Pay attention to the language as systems coverage and appliances coverage are two different things.
- What are the ‘extra coverage items’ that you can add on to your plan? Depending on the warranty company, ‘extra coverage items’ are an additional cost. Sometimes though, these items are already covered in a particular plan. Examples of ‘extra coverage items’ are: pools, pool pumps, hot tubs, sprinkler systems, septic systems, roof coverage, ice makers, etc.
- Does the warranty company require a home inspection before approving your coverage plan? This question goes in line with – does the warranty company exclude coverage on pre-existing conditions?
- What type of guarantee is provided on the work done? Most warranty companies have a limit of under 180 days. Some will provide up to 1 year. America’s 1st Choice Home Club provides a lifetime guarantee.
- Does the warranty company have their own crew who perform the repair or do they outsource to work to a third party?
- Are they offering any discounts? If you purchase more than 1 year upfront, you might be able to get a discount.
- What types of service fees are there?
- How quickly is a technician sent out once a claim is made?
- What percentage of claims do they approve?
- Is there any type of payout limit?
- How are their reviews? OneGuard, a small company that only provides warranties in Texas, Arizona, and Nevada, is highly rated by reviewers, according to Consumer Affairs.
What Type of Coverage Do You Need/Want?
So, how do you determine what type of coverage you need? Well, look at the condition of your home. Are you purchasing a brand new home or is it 25 years old? How much life expectancy do you think you have on your roof? On your HVAC system? Are the appliances old or are they still under the manufacturer’s warranty? These are questions you need to answer to determine the level of home warranty coverage you might want.
Contracts of Inclusion
Home warranties are contracts of inclusion. This means that their contracts cover only items they list and spell out in detail. Don’t be surprised if your claim is denied because the warranty company doesn’t cover a specific part, for instance, in your HVAC system! The devil is in the details so read the fine print!
Research from Consumer Affairs
Consumer Affairs created a list of their top picks, based on varying factors. Their list was:
- American Home Shield – Consumer Affairs (CA) favorite overall pick
- Select Home Warranty – CA choice for best service coverage
- HomeServe – CA pick for value
- Liberty Home Guard – CA choice for most customizable plans
- OneGuard Home Warranties – CA pick for easiest claims process
- America’s 1st Choice Home Club – CA choice for best customer service
- Cinch Home Services – CA pick for service guarantee
Do your research and determine which home warranty company is best for you. And if you have any questions or concerns, always feel free to contact us at Baker Realty.