To buy or Not to Buy
In the buying and selling process of real estate you will most likely be offered the option of purchasing a home warranty. Please do your research - all home warranties are not created equal. Also, don’t confuse a home warranty with homeowners insurance, which covers your home’s structure and belongings in the event of a fire, storm, flood or other accident. Home warranties generally cover electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, washers and dryers and installed kitchen appliances (refrigerator, ovens, ranges). Typically a home warranty plan offered at the time of a real estate transaction will be more comprehensive and offer the best price point which makes it an ideal time to lock it in. At the end of the year, you’ll have the option to renew your plan or let it expire.
Not everyone considers a home warranty worth the cost but in general, the older the home, the greater the odds are that something is bound to breakdown. So, consider making the decision to be better safe than sorry, especially if you live on a budget.
So how does a claim actually work?
In this day and time we all want immediate action to an issue - the frustration in dealing with a home warranty usually comes when making the service call after something breaks down. You call the home warranty people to submit a claim, they find a contractor in your area who then has two days to contact you to set up an appointment for a service call -- which is when they come out to diagnose the issue ONLY - a service fee is paid to the contractor at this time. Then the repair person reports back to the home warranty company for approval. Once approval is obtained, the homeowner is notified to set up another service call for repairs. There is nothing quick and efficient about the process but it can save you money if you are patient. Again, know that home warranties do not pay 100% - there are always ancillary charges…..so clarify what will be expected of you up front. Read the fine print and ask questions.