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How Can a Home Warranty Help With Home Maintenance

Owning your home can be financially and emotionally rewarding, but it can also cause a lot of headaches. When something goes wrong with your home, you’re responsible for fixing it; there’s no landlord to call when you’re the homeowner. And even though you should always get an inspection before purchasing a new home, you still run the risk of buying a home with issues – or of having a major home appliance or system crap out right after you move in.

How Can a Home Warranty Help With Home Maintenance

A home warranty can help you repair or replace home systems and appliances, so the financial burden of keeping your home in good shape doesn’t overwhelm you. While a home warranty won’t cover everything that goes wrong with your home, it can help cover at least some of the cost of repairing or replacing major home systems and some appliances. Know the pros and cons of a home warranty before committing to one, and shop around to make sure you’re getting the warranty policy that best suits your needs. 

Pros of Home Warranties

For most homeowners, a home warranty offers the peace of mind of knowing they’re protected in case of the failure of a major structural component, home system or appliance. This is especially valuable for those who own older homes with older systems and appliances. If older systems and appliances break down, a home warranty can help defray the cost of repairs that may total in the thousands.

Another pro of home warranties is their convenience. Home warranties are basically service contracts. If you need some work done under the warranty, the warranty company will contact a local service person and send them to your house. You’ll pay a service fee, and the warranty company will pick up the rest of the bill. This eliminates the hassle of reading online reviews, calling around and tracking down someone who will come out to your house.

Cons of Home Warranties

The biggest drawback of home warranties for most homeowners is that they do take away some of the homeowner’s control over the repair process. You won’t be able to choose your service provider, and you may not be able to make the decision regarding whether to repair or replace a component or appliance. For example, your warranty company may not fork over the cost of a new furnace if a cheaper repair can get it in working order again.

Many homeowners are also surprised to discover that a home warranty doesn’t cover everything they thought it did, so it’s important to know what you’re getting out of a home warranty policy. For the most part, home warranties are designed to cover appliances and home systems. Your warranty company might cover some structural problems, if they threaten the continued integrity of covered systems and appliances. However, most structural issues will come under the purview of your homeowner’s insurance policy.

How to Choose a Home Warranty

If you’re still wondering how to get a home warranty that works for you, you should know that the most important things to do are:

  • Shop around
  • Vet the company
  • Read the fine print

Most home warranty companies will offer basic policies starting at $300 to $400 a year. Basic plans will typically cover:

  • Plumbing
  • Wiring and electrical components
  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Ductwork
  • Repairs or replacement of some major appliances, including the water heater, range, dishwasher, built-in microwave, or garbage disposal.

If you want more coverage, you can pay $500 to $1,000 for a premium plan. Warranty companies will let you add on coverage for additional appliances and systems, including refrigerators, hot tubs and pools. Make sure you ask plenty of questions before you commit to a home warranty. Find out what specific systems and appliances are covered, what level of control you will have over choosing replacements and whether you’ll be responsible for things like sales tax, haul away fees, work permits, corrections of code violations discovered during repair, recovery and disposal of refrigerants and other incidentals. Find out how much the service charge costs and whether you’ll have to pay it each time if a service person has to come out multiple times for the same issue.

Home warranties can be an important part of your plan for maintaining your home. They can help defray the cost of repairing and replacing important home systems. Do your due diligence when purchasing a policy – it’ll pay off when your home needs service.

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