Ah, February, love is in the air. But what’s that other smell? Why, it smells like a great and affordable home protection plan.
This Wednesday, Feb. 10 is National Home Warranty Day, so it’s a good idea to sit down and have a discussion about home warranties and just what they entail. What exactly is a home warranty? What does and doesn’t it cover? Do you really need one, and which one is the best one for you?
We’ve answered some of these burning questions today. Continue reading to find out what a home warranty can do for you, and what our recommendations are for the best home warranties available on the market.
What does a home warranty cover?
Typically, a home warranty would cover all the most important appliances and systems in your home that you wouldn’t be able to live without. There are different levels of coverage, but you can expect most plans to cover the following:
- Heating/Air conditioning
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Clothes washer/Clothes dryer
Basic plans may start smaller, offering coverage only for the most essential elements of your home. Companies will offer a variety of upgraded plans providing more coverage to less critical but expensive items in your home such as hot tubs, pools, and garbage disposals. Many companies will also allow you to add on items a-la-carte for an extra fee.
What’s not covered by a home warranty?
Although home warranties will cover most of the essential appliances in a home, they won’t cover things that weren’t working or were improperly installed to start with.
That’s why it’s important to have your home inspected before moving in. A home inspector will conduct a thorough examination of a property and identify any underlying issues in a home. It’s critical for a homeowner to understand the condition of a home before they sign a contract for a home warranty. If the issues in the home can be corrected, you can probably still secure a warranty on the home.
Certain repairs in the home are also subject to limitations from the warranty company. For example, the average cost to replace a refrigerator is $2,000, but the average home warranty will only cover the cost of replacing a refrigerator for up to $1,500. That means if your refrigerator breaks down, the home warranty will cover most of the expense, but you will have to cover $500 from your own pocket.
When to get a home warranty
It’s advisable in most cases to secure a home warranty unless you’re moving into a brand new home. In older homes, the manufacturer’s warranty on many household items and appliances will have already run out, and in this case it’s a good idea to make sure your essential fixtures are protected.
Home warranties are most ideal for first-time homebuyers, people moving into older homes, hands-off homeowners, and those intending to sell in the near future.
When a home is covered by a warranty, getting the problem fixed is simple. The homeowner will call the home warranty company, a contractor will be scheduled to handle the repair, and a time will be coordinated to take a look at and complete the work needed. Most times the homeowner will only be responsible for the service fee.
Difference between Warranty and Insurance
Home insurance and home warranties can be easily confused. They’re both intended to provide protection in the case of damage to your home, but for different reasons.
Home insurance comes in handy if your home is damaged in an event beyond your control, such as a fire or a flood. However, it won’t help in the case of an outdated stove gone haywire.
Sometimes you may be able to make a claim through your home insurance to fix broken appliances and home systems on the fritz, when the cause is due to a situation beyond your control. However, most of the time the cause will be normal depletion through aging and frequent usage, and that’s where a home warranty will help.
A myriad of home warranty services are available for homeowners to choose from, and all offer several different levels of coverage.
As previously stated, basic plans will start by covering the most essential appliances and home systems, while upgraded plans will offer more complex coverage.
We have listed our top three picks here for you to consider.
American Home Shield
Ranked the number one company in Market Watch’s list of Best Home Warranties in Florida, Landmark Home Warranties has been providing protection to American homeowners across 49 states since 1971.
There are a few great benefits to working with AHS; they have 50 years of experience in the industry and are a trusted provider of home insurance. There is a free cancellation period within 30 days of signing up, so customers who haven’t received service can cancel with no extra fees. Customers can also choose from three different service fees which correspond to varying monthly costs.
AHS plans includes three plans: the Systems Plan, which covers all major systems; the Appliances Plan, which covers all major appliances; and the Combo Plan, which combines the other two plans.
First American Home Warranty
This company offers extensive coverage of appliances and systems within the home and offers several a-la-carte options for additional flexibility.
Several aspects of FAH’s service make it a stand-out company. It offers several exclusive perks that can’t be found in other home warranties, such as the option to upgrade a plan to cover household items which were improperly installed or poorly maintained before moving in.
First American is often recommended by agents because it offers fast, 24/7 customer service, as well as unlimited service calls. FAH also covers a number of expenses which are rarely included in plans from other providers.
The two plans offered by First American are the Basic Plan, which primarily covers most household appliances, and the Premier Plan, which covers both major appliances and systems.
Select Home Warranty
Select Home Warranty, founded in 2014, has many service perks you won’t find anywhere else. They offer a variety of levels of service, as well as a few bonus services which come free when you sign up.
SHW is reasonably affordable compared to their competitors, however there is a $75 cancellation fee and their coverage caps for certain items are lower than other warranty companies.
The upside of SHW is the additional perks it offers, such as free roof leak coverage, discounts on multi-year coverage plans, and a premium team of customer service representatives.
SHW offers three tiers of coverage: Bronze Care, which looks after home systems; Gold Care, which is occupied with the maintenance and coverage of appliances; and Platinum Care, which covers a combination of both appliances and systems.
There are a myriad of other warranties available out there, and we recommend doing your research before deciding which one – if any – is the right one for you. Whichever home warranty you choose, we hope you’re pleased with the decision you make. The most important thing is that you feel safe and comfortable living in your home.