Kristi Hernandez

Broker

Home Warranties 101: What You Need to Know Before Choosing a Policy

By Keith Loria


Whether you’re in the process of buying or selling a home, you’ve most likely heard the term ‘home warranty’ thrown around on more than one occasion. Designed to protect against expensive, unforeseen repair bills and provide peace of mind for homeowners across the board, it’s important that you do your research ahead of time so that you pick the product that’s right for you. 

In its simplest terms, a home warranty is a contract between a homeowner and a home warranty company that provides for discounted repair and replacement service on a home’s major components. This includes the furnace, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical system. Other things typically covered in a home warranty include ductwork, ceiling fans, telephone wiring, the water heater and even a pool. A home warranty may also cover major appliances.

Let’s say during the first year of living in a new home your dishwasher breaks. If you have a home warranty, you would simply file a claim with your home warranty service and they would be responsible for finding a provider they work with to fix the problem. If the item can’t be repaired and there were no care issues on the part of the new homeowner, the warranty company would be obligated to replace it.

According to real estate insiders, for newer homes, a home warranty is often unnecessary, as components covered by the warranty will last longer than five years. For homes that are between five and 15 years old, a warranty may be more beneficial.

When it comes to purchasing a home warranty, the good news is that they aren’t too costly. In fact, they generally run less than $750 with small deductibles. Many home warranty companies run special sales and either discount policy prices or offer additional coverage.

All policies are for a one-year period and can be renewed at the end of each year.

Home warranties also make sense for people who aren’t too handy or for those who don’t want to worry about tracking down a contractor when they have a problem. Warranties can also make sense for people with expensive taste in appliances.

In order to get the most from the policy, a homeowner must make sure they have properly maintained the item or system in question. There have been cases in which claims have been denied because of the “improper maintenance” clause, so make sure you do your homework and thoroughly check out any home warranty companies before deciding which one to go with.

This could also become problematic if the previous owner didn’t maintain the equipment. Regardless of how well the new owner cares for it, this will affect whether you get to claim it with your home warranty company.

Choosing a home warranty is a decision every buyer will have to make. Just like making a decision on an insurance policy, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons before making a decision.

For more information about home warranties, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.