Home Warranty Buyers Guide
Home warranties are most useful for homeowners, home buyers, home sellers, and real estate professionals. These plans, which are purchased in addition to standard home insurance, differ from traditional insurance policies in some key ways. While regular insurance covers for things like catastrophic events, home warranties bundle various appliances and systems found in most homes and offer warranties that cover repairs or replacements for items that stop functioning correctly due to normal wear and tear.
There are many home warranty providers to choose from, and the task of making a decision can be daunting. There are so many things to consider in regards to coverage, cost and reliability. Luckily, after reading this, you’ll be fully prepared to purchase the right plan to fit your unique needs.
Before You Begin Your Hunt
Make a list of the appliances and systems you want to be covered by your warranty. That way, you will be able to see how comprehensive your needs are, and you can easily avoid companies that don’t carry plans that fit them.
What to Keep in Mind
Coverage: Not all warranty plans are made the same. Some companies offer plans that combine primary appliances and systems into one package, while others only offer plans for one or the other. Most of these companies do offer a more expensive, comprehensive plan that includes all of the appliances and systems in the home, but it may provide coverage for things you don’t need. Also, most home warranty companies don’t cover things like unknown pre-existing conditions or rusted parts, so be sure to read your contract to fully understand what you will be protected for.
Network of Service Providers: Home Warranty Providers each maintain their own network of service professionals within the regions they provide coverage. Some companies feature survey programs that let consumers rate their experiences in order to keep professional standards high. Some companies don’t have enough service providers in certain locales, which can create problems for consumers when they go to submit a claim. It is important to ask questions about how the company controls the quality of the professionals they work with.
Costs: Sure, the plan’s premium will jump out at you when you get a quote, but also be careful to check the deductible rate. All home warranty plans require the policyholder to pay a service fee to the professional who comes to diagnose the claimed appliance or system. These run from about $60 up to $125. Some companies offer variable deductibles that depend upon what premium you choose, so the higher the premium you choose, the lower the deductible you pay. Also, most plans do not include disposal of items that need to be replaced.
Guarantees: Some plans come with workmanship guarantees, so if a service provider fixes something, and it breaks again within a certain amount of time, the policyholder won’t have to pay the deductible to get it fixed again.
Replacements: If a repair will cost more than the appliance is worth, the home warranty provider replaces the item. Most, if not all, home warranty providers choose a replacement that has comparable features for the policyholder, but they don’t promise exact models or color. Most companies also offer a cash out option, so the policyholder can pick their own item, but it is usually a lot less than the cost of replacement. Some companies supplement this contrast by including membership to appliance clubs that offer low prices the public doesn’t normally get access to.
Some Last Minute Tips
Check online reviews written by real people. There are thousands of reviews for most home warranty companies. That number makes them a reliable source in finding a reputable company that you can trust.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, don’t be afraid to ask questions before you make a purchase. Talk to company representatives and confirm the details of coverage, the claims process, and the network of independent contractors who perform services in your region. This will ensure you’re not surprised when you go to make a claim, leaving you a worry-free homeowner.