Home Warranty Editor
Just as there are plenty of great home warranty providers around, there are just as many companies who are trying to take your money and leave you empty-handed. Every year new businesses start just as old businesses close up. To save you some stress, we have created a list of tips and tricks for home warranty buyers to be sure you’re getting the best policy.
The best way to find out if you need a home warranty policy and how much you need to spend on one is to use a home maintenance calculator to estimate your costs for appliances. A calculator will let you compare the cost of maintaining your items to the cost of taking out a home warranty policy.
Ask those around you if they have purchased home warranty policies. The best people to ask are your friends and neighbors who may be in similar positions that you are in. Ask them which companies they have used and get their opinions on their experiences with these companies to see which would be a good fit for you.
Based on your research and what people have recommended to you, make a list of the local companies that seem to be a good fit for you to look into more closely. There are tons of websites where you can check out the reviews of these companies and filter the companies by cost, number of reviews, and other options.
After you’ve done your research and found the last-standing best options for you, ask them for a free cost estimate. You can do this by submitting your zip code and email address to them, or by calling them on the phone and speaking with a representative.
Of course, different companies offer different plans. Depending on your personal preferences, you may want a plan that only covers your home systems or appliances, or you may want to look into a plan that will protect both your home systems and your appliances. Some companies have small details of things they will cover or not cover that is different in other companies, so it’s very important to ask for specific items.
Depending on the plan you choose, your deductible will vary. A call for service will usually cost somewhere between $50 and $125, depending which plan you sign up for. Generally speaking, if you pay more annually, you will have a lower deductible. If you’ve been residing in your home for over a year you may know better how often you may need to call for service. If you don’t think you’ll need service very often, you may feel more comfortable signing on to having a higher deductible.
Finding a company that will be able to service you quickly is important, so it’s a good idea to ask the customer service representative what the average completion time is before signing up for a company’s service. You should ask them what the maximum wait might be to get service during a busy time and if you’ll need to pay for another service call if something breaks again shortly after it’s been repaired.
You should ask the customer service representative if this specific company uses licensed contractors, and if you’re allowed to hire your own contractor if one provided from them is not available in your area or if the one that is available in your area has a bad rating.
Find out what exactly is considered an emergency, and how long it will take for them to come out and fix something that is considered to be an emergency. How do they handle emergencies that happen in the middle of the night? Make sure you are clear on whether you will be reimbursed or not if you have to contact your own technician in case of an emergency.
It varies by company when exactly your new policy will begin; some companies make you wait a month after you’ve made your first payment before the policy will begin, while some other companies let you start immediately. If you have something that needs to be fixed immediately, make sure to find a company that will let your policy start right away.
Try to find a company which allows new service requests 24/7 and will even allow you to submit new claims online. Finding a company with online services will save you a lot of time waiting on hold for a representative, and will help be sure that your file actually got sent in properly.
Read through the policy agreement thoroughly to be certain that everything you need covered is included in the contract. Though it is unlikely, there is always a possibility that the representative could have forgotten to include something you asked for in your policy. It is better to read
the policy word-for-word now than to get a surprise later that something is not covered.
No matter how great a contract sounds, it always has the fine print you need to pay attention to. Make sure to read through the fine print very carefully before signing any contract. It’s always a good thing to know what is covered as well as to what extent. This way, when the time comes to file a claim, you know the extent of the contract and you won’t get any unpleasant surprises. There is always a chance that the company could be occupied with a lot of work and therefore say that a certain appliance or repair isn’t covered. If you know exactly which repairs are covered in your contract, you’ll be able to make the most of the policy.
In the case of a buyout, figure out how the company would reimburse the money to you, how the procedure would go, and how long it would be. Be sure to check with the company if they are flexible enough to allow you to add money and buy an appliance that costs more at the time of a replacement. Another thing not to forget is reading online reviews. Find out if there is a tedious process to get reimbursed from the company.
There are home warranty companies that cover pre-existing conditions while others don’t cover repairs that are related to pre-existing conditions. A lot of the time, certain pre-existing conditions can’t be identified by a visual inspection or a simple mechanical test. It’s best to opt for a company that covers pre-existing conditions since there are companies that sometimes deny claims that it was a pre-existing condition.
Find out what the company’s cap on replacements is. With expensive repair and certain replacements, the home warranty company might not cover the entire cost. In these cases, the homeowner is expected to pay the difference. Make sure to ask the company representative what the cap amount is and compare it with other companies.
Pay attention to the company representatives and how they talk to you and treat you. See that they make time to clarify your questions properly, and how friendly and willing to help they are. It’s not always possible to find a home warranty company that has all these conditions, but try to make sure that it has most of them. If you follow these 17 tips, you’ll have a reliable home warranty policy.