There are a number of things to know about before getting your first Home Warranty Plan. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself and the provider when comparing your options.
Purchasing a home warranty to cover your major appliances and system components (refrigerator, dishwasher, garage door entry system, HVAC unit, etc.) can be tricky. You have to balance consideration of each warranty's options, premiums, deductibles, terms and conditions. At the end of the day, what you really want is some assurance that, in times of need, you and your family will remain safe, comfortable and suffer the least amount of inconvenience.
What should you look for in a home warranty? There is no simple answer, and there is no one-size-fits-all home warranty solution. As with all your other investments, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to enter negotiations as well-prepared as possible. So we’ve assembled this checklist of questions to ask before you commit to a home warranty agreement to help you better understand your needs, your expectations, your reservations, and your own attitudes towards what makes a house a home.
1. How much wear and tear do your appliances already have?
Appliances exist for one reason: to make our lives easier and that means taking on the dirty work (literally, in the case of a dishwasher or washing machine). Some of us use them harder than others and age can add up over the years, but as long as you use your appliances according to manufacturer's instructions, a home warranty can help you keep your machines running without worrying about unexpected repair or replacement costs. Should your appliance's or system's major components break down due to your normal use, a home warranty can be there to help cover the costs to get back in working condition.
2. Do you plan on upgrading or replacing your appliances any time soon, even though they are still functioning?
New appliances and systems come with manufacturer's warranties which are great protection, however, they run out and are unit specific. A home warranty can provide more of an umbrella of protection for your home to cover multiple appliances and systems. Plus, some companies, American Home Shield, for example, provide programs such as the Appliance Discount Program that can save you money on the purchase of brand new, brand-name appliances.
3. Are you aware of any pre-existing conditions or problems with your appliances that have gone unaddressed?
Home warranty companies want to help you keep your home in working order but there may be some limitations when it comes to addressing certain pre-existing conditions. Check with your potential provider.
4. Are there any essential components on your appliances (e.g., your refrigerator’s ice-maker; your HVAC system’s ductwork) that may not be covered by a particular warranty?
Today's appliances are amazingly complex machines with evolving pieces and parts. However, they still basically rely upon essential core parts to perform their necessary duties. Those components are what require protection and often can be most expensive to repair. Your home warranty should cover these core components.
5. How does a particular warranty complement or supplement your existing homeowners insurance policy?
Home insurance is great protection for your home for what MIGHT happen (fire, flood, natural disaster, etc.). However, what about protection for things that WILL happen? For example, your air conditioner condenser finally giving out or your clothes dryer refusing to dry your clothes. Having a home warranty plan to work side-by-side with your home insurance can greatly help your home remain a comfortable and happy place.
6. Will a specific home warranty policy help you pay for routine preventative maintenance of your major appliances?
A home warranty may not cover your routine preventative maintenance, however, they may penalize you for NOT taking that action. American Home Shield will not do that. We understand you're busy and that time gets away from you. That's why we can help cover you when your major system and appliance components break down from normal use.
7. Will a specific home warranty policy help you to pay for significant cosmetic damage to your major appliances?
Home warranties are designed to cover parts and components that are designed to wear down from normal wear and tear. If that normal use causes cosmetic damage, you should be covered. However, if an overly excited family member causes damage to your dishwasher door, for example, you will not be covered.
8. Are any repairs, services or appliances too minor (e.g. your microwave oven) to be covered by a specific warranty?
It all depends on your provider and your contract. An AHS Home Warranty Plan, for example, covers every part of your refrigerator. Other companies may exclude coverage for a dozen or more parts.
9. What is the upper limit for repairs and replacement that the warranty will cover?
This depends on your prospective provider, but AHS offers some of the most competitive levels of coverage. In some cases, AHS provides twice or even five times as much in terms of replacement coverage.
10. When can you make a claim with your prospective warranty provider?
You may currently have appliances in need of repair. Most companies may make you wait 30-60 days before you are able to submit a service request. AHS has a 30-day waiting period.
So, which home warranty combines the best reputation, the greatest expertise, and the most satisfactory customer service?
That warranty is the one that can be of the most benefit to you when the time comes for you to maximize your home’s equity. And American Home Shield is confident that the home warranties we offer are world-class in that regard. As the home warranty industry creator and leader, we are proud to offer the best, most comprehensive and award-winning home warranty plans. Learn more about AHS Home Warranty Plans and get a quote today.