The NHSCA is one of the best places to find information about reputable home service contract providers. Their database contains reputable home service providers around the country.
If you’re like most homeowners, you love having a place that’s all your own, where you can make memories with your family, renovate to suit the needs of your lifestyle, grow into a community, own pets, and generally enjoy the freedom and independence that comes with owning your own home. But, all the benefits of home ownership come with a pretty big drawback – when things break around the house, you’re the one responsible for repairing them.
And if you’re not the handy type who loves repairing stuff around the house, it can be an ordeal just to find someone reputable and reliable who will actually show up and do the work. Then there’s the cost. Repair or replacement of your home’s systems and large appliances can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. That’s why many homeowners are taking out residential service agreements, also known as home warranties. The National Home Service Contract Association, or NHSCA, maintains a list of reputable home warranty companies that homeowners can turn to for their home and appliance service contracts.
What is the NHSCA?
The NHSCA is a nonprofit industry trade organization made up of reputable, reliable home service contract provider serving homeowners across the nation. It exists to establish industry standards, and to help homeowners find reputable home warranty and service contract providers. It strives to educate the public about home warranty companies and improve the industry by encouraging clear standards, ethical business practices, and better business methods among its member companies. It also works to enact laws to help the home service contract industry and to inform member companies about the passage of new laws, changes in industry business practices, and pending legislation that could affect the industry.
What is a Home Service Contract?
A home service contract, also known as a home warranty, is neither homeowners insurance nor a retail warranty. When a homeowner buys a home warranty, he or she pays a yearly premium, usually starting at about $400 to $500, to a home warranty company. In return, that company shares much of the financial burden of repairing or replacing a home system or appliance.
A typical home warranty or home appliance repair contract covers large appliances and home systems such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. It may also cover some structural elements of the house. Extra coverage might be needed for systems like pools, hot tubs, or saunas. Warranties typically cover damage due to normal wear and tear.
How to Choose a Reputable Provider
The best place to find information about reputable home service contract providers is the NHSCA. The NHSCA maintains a database of reputable home service contract service providers around the country, and can point you in the right direction. You can search their company directory to find trustworthy home warranty providers that meet their industry guidelines. The NHSCA gives each company a co-code to help consumers tell them apart.
Choosing the Right Plan for You
The most important thing to know when choosing a home warranty company is that the coverage offered can vary widely from one plan to the next. A basic plan at one company may cover much more, or much less, than a basic plan at another company. Costs can vary widely, too. So can the amount of coverage you’ll get. Most companies place an upper limit on how much they’ll pay out to repair or replace home systems in a given year.
The right plan for you will depend on what appliances and home systems you need to cover. You can buy a plan that covers just one appliance or system, or all of your appliances and systems. You can get a plan that also covers plumbing and electrical. You can also add on coverage for pools, hot tubs, and other systems that may not be found in every home.
When shopping for a home warranty, know what kind of coverage you want and compare plans to choose the one that best meets your needs. A common warning that Consumer Reports gives about home warranty companies is that consumers often expect more from a warranty plan than it offers, so don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Know what you’re getting when you buy a plan. Ask some of the following questions:
- How much are service call fees? Do I pay them every time the contractor comes to my home, or just once for each separate issue?
- What other fees are there?
- Does my plan have a deductible?
- What’s the maximum my plan will pay in one year for one covered item? For all covered items?
- If an appliance needs replaced, will the provider pay for an equivalent model?
When you know what to expect, you can make the most of your home warranty and you’ll be more satisfied with your coverage.
Using Your Home Service Contract
Let’s say you buy a home warranty that covers electrical, plumbing, HVAC and major appliances. Two months later, your HVAC system breaks. What now? You contact the home warranty company, who sends out a local contractor to evaluate and repair your system, or recommend replacement. You’ll pay a service call fee, usually around $65 to $75. The home warranty will pay some or all of the cost of repairing or replacing your HVAC system, depending on the terms of your plan. You may still need to chip in for some of the cost of a big repair, such as replacing your furnace or air conditioner, but sharing the cost with your home warranty company can save you thousands.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a home warranty, but don’t know where to look to find a reputable company, turn to the NHSCA. The NHSCA sets standards for the industry, and maintains a database consumers can use to find reputable member companies. With its help, you’ll soon be on your way to relieving a huge source of stress for homeowners — organizing and paying for home repairs.