Weighing the Benefits of a Home Warranty

When you invest in a home, whether it is brand new or beautifully aged, you want to make sure it is protected. Homeowners insurance covers major occurrences like fire and crime. However, homeowners’ insurance will not cover specific parts of your home, like your plumbing or heating and cooling system.  A home warranty that will take care of specific appliances and equipment if they need to be repaired or replaced.

One of the biggest perks of buying a home warranty is purchasing peace of mind. With a home warranty, you are entered into a contract with a company that already has an established list of reputable service providers on hand. This means that homeowners who are covered simply need to contact their warranty company. The company will send out a contractor to assess the issue and take care of the service request.

Another way that your home warranty can provide peace of mind is by simply knowing you have it – even if your home systems are operating perfectly. You just never know when your dishwasher might need to be repaired or you’ll have an unexpected plumbing issue. To know that you are covered against these costly and often unforeseen expenses can be reason enough to purchase a home warranty.

Of course, as with any warranty, there are fees involved with having a home warranty. Homeowners pay an annual premium that is often around a few hundred dollars.  The fee will vary depending on the size of the home and the items covered – pool equipment and some appliances may cost extra.  In addition, similar to the way a deductible works with home insurance, there is a minor fee when a homeowner places a service request. However, when you’re considering the cost of replacing one of your home’s major appliances or your HVAC system, the annual premium and service charges are rather minimal.

A home warranty company will always try to fix the system or appliance, with replacement being a last resort.  If the appliance is already old, it may break again and require additional repairs.  If it is a different problem, you will pay the service fee again.  Be sure to check with the home warranty company on the maximum amount they will contribute to a new system or appliance if yours cannot be repaired.

Homeowners must exercise a bit of responsibility when it comes to the appliances and equipment that are covered. Many warranty contracts clearly state that home items must be properly maintained to qualify for coverage. If you follow the maintenance schedule for your major systems, this should be no problem. Homeowners who purchase older homes can run into difficulties proving the equipment they purchase within a home has been properly maintained. So, asking for service records and full disclosure when you buy an older home is especially important if you plan to purchase a home warranty.

When you are thinking about a home warranty, think about this: your home is likely the largest investment you’ll ever make. A home warranty is one way to provide certain protection on that investment. If you know you want to move forward with a home warranty, here are a few tips:

1. Do your research. There are a lot of home warranty companies and contracts out there. Find a reputable company with good reviews before entering into any agreement.

2. Read the fine print. Each home warranty contract is different and will cover different appliances and equipment in your home. Find out what might be excluded and check on required maintenance before agreeing to any coverage plan.

3. Consider the overall cost. There is no set price for a home warranty. Find out the exact cost of your annual premium and service fees before selecting and signing a warranty contract.

Once you find a warranty that fits your home’s needs, enjoy the peace of mind and protection you’re provided!