A lot of homeowners ask the following question: I already have homeowner’s insurance, so why do I need a home warranty as well? It’s a fair question to be sure, but what most homeowners don’t understand is that these two policies actually cover very different things. Homeowner’s insurance covers things like structural damage caused by fire, vandalism, hail, or other scenarios. A home warranty, though, covers your appliances and systems if they break down.
A home warranty is a tremendous benefit to homeowners as it covers the important major appliances and systems that they use every day. Things like your refrigerator, clothes dryer, and HVAC system aren’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance, and if they stop working, you are stuck without a home warranty. Fortunately, a home warranty policy is available online, so home appliance protection is just a click away.
As you can see, a home warranty is a godsend when you need it. It's important to understand what is covered under your home warranty policy though, so you aren't stuck paying out of pocket for damage that you thought was taken care of by the policy. While every home warranty service can decide what they cover, in general, these policies cover normal wear and tear of specific systems and appliances around your home.
Normal wear and tear is damage that occurs from using the item in the regular way that it was intended to be used by the manufacturer. So, a home warranty will cover your washing machine if the drain pump stops working, but it will not cover it if one of your kids stuck the cat inside and put it on spin cycle. Pre-existing conditions are not covered nor is damage from natural disasters.
The following appliances and systems are generally covered, though some will require a premium membership:
- Plumbing stoppage
- Water heater
- Whirlpool bathtub
- Garbage disposal
Additional coverage can be bought for items such as:
- Pools and spas
- Well pumps
- Central vacuums
- Second refrigerators
- Limited roof leaks
- Stand alone freezer
- Sump pump
- Septic system
- Septic tank pumping
The truth is, you don’t always need a home warranty. If your appliances are in great shape and you don’t mind paying out of pocket every time something breaks, skip the home warranty. If you prefer saving money or have appliances that aren’t brand new, then a home warranty is the right choice for you.
- One month free upon signup
- No home inspection required
- Covers most appliances and systems
- Service call fee is a little high
- Some limitations on coverage
Choice Home Warranty is an easy, straightforward home warranty service that covers all of your basic and complex systems and appliances. The pricing plans are competitive, and with a 24/7 claims department, there’s always someone available to help. With a network of 25000 technicians, response times are fast too, making Choice a great choice for you.
- Award-winning service
- Low premiums and deductibles
- No home inspection required
- Pricey cancellation fee to terminate contract
- Have to make claims quickly or won’t be covered
Select Home Warranty is a solid home warranty service with a lot going for it. There’s a huge network of contractors, so service is fast and convenient. Plus, Select Home Warranty covers a wide range of appliances and systems with their easy to understand plan structure. What’s more, you’ll get some of the cheapest premiums and deductibles from Select, making this home warranty service one of the most affordable in the industry.
- A+ accredited BBB provider
- Clear-cut choice between 3 plans
- Huge number of add-ons (23)
- Website lacks information
- Bigger houses get charged a lot
- Doesn’t operate in 11 states
Liberty Home Guard is a relatively new arrival on the home warranty scene, but it’s already shaking up the industry. It offers a clear choice between appliances, systems, and a combo plan, although the biggest benefit here is the huge number of add-ons – 23 in total. Whether you need coverage for pool, pest control, or ice-maker, Liberty Home Guard guarantees you for the parts of your home other companies don’t bother with.
The really good thing about this service is that a home warranty isn't an expensive investment. Especially when you consider that homeowners without home warranties shell out thousands of dollars every year in repairs, the cost of a home warranty is negligible. Every service can charge a different amount, but you’ll generally pay a few hundred dollars as a premium. That sum will be paid out either monthly or annually depending on the company.
Other than the premium, homeowners will only have to pay a service fee when a claim is made. So, if you call in a technician from your home warranty provider to fix something, you’ll pay the service fee directly to the technician. Service fees range from $50-$120 depending on the service, and many brands allow you to choose how much you want to pay.
More good news. It has never been easier to get a home warranty than it is in 2019. Today, you can fill out an application form online and have a policy in place within a few short days. If no inspection is required, that timeframe can be even shorter.
Once you have a policy in place, many home warranty providers will require a 30-day grace period to ensure that there are no pre-existing conditions. After this time, you can make a claim by following these steps:
- Reach out to your home warranty provider. Some companies require a phone call to submit a claim while others have a convenient online claims section right on the website.
- Once your claim is received, it's then reviewed against your policy.
- The home warranty provider will then dispatch a technician to come to your home and assess the situation.
- When the contractor gets to your house, they will diagnose the problem and determine whether or not it can be fixed.
- You will pay the service fee directly to the contractor.
- The contractor will make any possible repairs and replace any parts that they can (they may need to order replacement parts, so this can take a few days depending on the make and model of your appliance).
- If the damage cannot be fixed or replaced, the home warranty provider will replace the item as per your contract.
It’s a simple process and is generally wrapped up quickly
Finding the right home warranty service for you can get a little tricky with so many options available. Look for a company that has a 24/7 claims department, plenty of technicians in your area, and a wide range of coverage. It's also a very good idea to look for a provider with helpful customer service. Read online reviews, and make an informed decision today.