Home Warranties: Abusive or Misunderstood? Money Saving or Wasting?
Home warranties are a service homeowners can purchase to help cover costs of repairs and replacements of unforeseen issues with their homes appliances and home systems. On average a home warranty can cost anywhere from $30-50 a month, operating only in the USA.
Understanding what your policy covers will involve some reading, which most people will skip if there is a chart breaking it down for them. If you look at a chart and you see a picture of a washer and dryer that does not automatically mean that anything that goes wrong with your units will be covered. This However reading what is covered is important in understanding what you actually have purchased.
Checking out a home warranty review on the Better Business Bureau might give you a good idea on whether or not you are potentially buying into a service contract that you will feel confident about. If they are not on the BBB.org, like First American Home Warranty, is not. You might want to check other references before purchasing from that company. No rating can quickly give you the opportunity to look elsewhere for coverage. You want to look for years in service and area covered. Buying from a local company versus a national company could potentially be more beneficial when you have a service call need.
Check out Angie's List review of home warranties can also provide some insight into what you are buying when looking at home warranty service coverage.
To get a more comprehensive list of reviews by company check out ReviewHomeWarranties.com’s 29 reviews. It is best to check out a few different sites to get the best overall idea of which home warranty to go with when making your purchasing decision.
What is Actually Covered
Read the policy, yeah it might be in tiny print and it might be long, but read it. You will know and have a better understanding if something would be covered. I have read my policy, albeit it has been a while and I have missed things that would have been covered and called on things that were not covered. I have learned it is better to start by calling my home warranty service department before trying to call any repair service on my own. While it did not cover replacing my toilet, it would have covered repairing a leak inside my wall in a pipe. I had contacted my home insurance and while they covered repairing my home, they didn’t cover the actual repair of the pipe. My home warranty would have covered this repair to my pipe.
After learning several years later of this issue being covered I have made it a point to call before calling for a repair when it comes to my home. I was disappointed that replacing my toilet was covered, but I have had my water heater fully replaced twice! So having coverage is still better than not.
If you have a home warranty and believe the an issue should be covered be sure to consult your policy paperwork. If you can prove that there is a vaugues around coverage or that an issue should have been covered, not only should the home warranty cover the repair or replacement, but it shouldn’t need to escalated. LIke with any insurance company sometimes a miscoding or miswording can lead to an automatic denial, but does not mean with a little more work on the policy holders part it couldn’t still be covered.
This is just the reality of working with any insurance type business, car insurance, home insurance, medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and of course home warranty coverage. We as the customers would like to believe that all of our claims would be fully covered and that just isn’t the case.
One thing that isnt always considered in rating home warranty companies is the contractors or companies they use to repair or replace appliances. Actually having a reputable service person can go a long way, just like when you do not have a reputable one can also go a long way as well.
If you home warranty company offers service through a company or contractor that is less than stellar, be sure to let your home warranty company know, they might have had other issues with them in the past and may drop them as a result of the negative review. I have had a contractor come in through the referral of my home warranty and the service person blatantly bashed home warranties, which essentially was mocking my own intelligence about choosing to buy one.
Reporting the service person and company is the best thing you can do. I have also had a contractor tell me that they used a non standard part and forced it to work. This means I paid for professional service and that is not what they provided. If a contractor says they were able to make it work with a part that isn’t supposed to fit your appliance it is likely it will not continue working and or will not be covered if there is a future issue with that same appliance. Be sure to listen to what the contact
Bad Companies Give the Industry a Bad Name
Secure Home Warranty, a company that has closed, is a prime example of a company not providing the service it promised to its customer and meeting its ultimate demise because of it. While it was in operation it had an F rating at the Better Business Bureau. As of January 2018 the court system awarded a judgement against Secure Home Warranty for fraud.
This is why it is important to check the reviews online and with friends and family before making a purchase of a home warranty. If they have good things to say you are probably ok to buy with confidence.
Just keep in mind that just because an issue isn’t covered by your policy does not mean you are being victimized, but you need to be aware of what is covered and what is only partially covered. Being in the know about your policy can save you a lot of anguish but also can make you aware of what you are buying and comparing it to other home warranties.