Guide to Choosing the Best Home Warranty
Appliances and systems aren’t built to last forever. While your house insurance will cover you in case disaster strikes your property, a home warranty steps in with repairs and replacements when the inevitable more mundane wear and tear takes its toll.
You’re right to look for a home warranty, offering peace of mind in the event of an emergency. This policy will keep the cost down to an affordable monthly or annual fee which can be factored into your budget, with no surprises.
Which Factors Should I Consider Before Choosing my Home Warranty?
There are dozens of home warranty companies in the United States, and they are not all created equally. There are a few key considerations to check off your list before you settle on the right one for your home.
Ensure Value for Money
The general price bracket of a home warranty is between $350-$500 per year. Anything higher than this, and users should make sure they know why they are paying a premium. Perhaps the company offers flexible coverage, faster call-outs, or no service fees to explain the high price tag, which is fine if you value those factors more than a lower annual cost. If you’re simply looking for appliance cover for example, Choice Home Warranty starts from as little as $33 per month.
The service fee for call outs can range from $60-$100. Getting a certified and trained contractor out quickly in the case of a breakdown can easily be three times this service fee, and a repair or replacement of an item like a refrigerator can be $600 -$1000 alone. Added to this the peace of mind of knowing that you have the help you need when an inevitable failure occurs, and you can see why homeowners and landlords opt for a home warranty for value for money.
As studies have shown that having a home warranty can help sell a house faster and at a higher price, a home warranty is also a sensible investment for anyone looking to sell their home. It’s always worth asking when you sign up whether there are special joining offers. Select Home Warranty for example, offer two free months on sign up.
Guarantee Experienced and Specialist Support
In the vast majority of cases, your home warranty company will work with their own vetted and licensed contractors. There are pros and cons to this, and it will suit some customers more than others. If for example you prefer to research and review your own service providers, this might cause you more anxiety than peace of mind. If however, you prefer to have the hassle and research taken off of your hands, it’s a perfect partnership. Some companies such as Advanced Home Warranty will allow you to pick your own contractor in certain situations.
It’s worth asking around to make sure that you are choosing a home warranty where the service provided meets your needs. 24/7 coverage is a must-have, as well as a reasonable wait time for contractors. Will they send someone out within 24 or 48 hours, even at weekends or over public holidays? How do they vet the companies they use, and do they offer anything unique, such as female contractors on request?
Take Care to Read the Small Print
It’s worth taking a look at your contract thoroughly or having a frank chat with customer service before you sign on the dotted line, to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you think you’re signing up for. Some of the common issues customers have with home warranties come from misunderstandings over coverage or terms. Here are some elements to smooth out from day 1.
You might be able to pick and choose the systems and appliances you want on your policy, but that doesn’t mean that they are covered in all cases. Take a waste disposal for example. While this is a common item to see on a home warranty coverage list, it may only be covered for usual wear and tear, rather than if your toddler puts a non-food item inside. There will always be a claims limit to consider, too. Most companies cap this at about $2,000 or $3,000, while AFC Home Club goes above and beyond, offering as much as $7,500.
If you’re buying a home with old appliances, check that your coverage will include repairs and replacements for these. If your washing machine is already out of working order when you sign up for your home warranty, it’s unlikely to be included in your coverage.
Some companies will have a waiting time from the day you sign up, to when you can make a claim. This could be 2 or 3 weeks. If you’re buying a home which already has coverage and are simply changing the name on the policy this may not be the case, and it might also be waived if you are moving your policy from one company to another.
Make sure you know what the process should be in the event of a breakdown. In most cases you will need to get in touch with your warranty and provider and let them take the reins from there. If you call out your own service contractors, you may not be eligible for reimbursements or further support on that issue.
Emergencies and unexpected fixes
A home warranty is there to cover you in case of emergency. That means that routine service checks and updates are usually not included either. If your air conditioning unit needs a regular maintenance check and cleaning for example, this is unlikely to be covered. Some companies such as Landmark offer upgrades like their ‘No Fault’ policy which allows you to claim on items which were installed improperly or are broken due to code violations or mismatched systems.
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Where Can I Find This Information on the Top Home Warranty Companies?
One option is to visit every home warranty website, call for quotes, and discuss these considerations with their customer service teams. But this can be an arduous task. Our experts in home warranty can give you the lowdown on what makes each of the top home warranty companies in the United States shine. Whether you’re looking for the most experienced contractors, the most all-inclusive coverage, or just the lowest price tag, our home warranty companies comparison chart is a great place to begin.