By now, you have probably seen the ads, gotten the emails and maybe even hung up on a few robocalls going on and on about the benefits of a home warranty. Are they actually worth getting, though?
Let’s take a much closer look at home warranties and what they really have to offer. This can help you to decide if a home warranty is right for you or if it would just be a waste of your money.
What Is a Home Warranty?
First and foremost, just what is a home warranty? This is an important question, because many people don’t actually understand what a home warranty is for. A notable assumption is that a home warranty is similar to some version of homeowners’ insurance, perhaps offering short-term coverage after closing on a home.
While the timing aspect is pretty near, a home warranty is actually significantly different than a homeowners’ insurance policy. Instead, a home warranty covers certain things within the home to allow for their replacement in case they break soon after purchasing the property.
What Does a Home Warranty Include?
The specifics of what a home warranty covers can vary a bit depending on the specific home warranty plan you purchase. In general, though, home warranties are designed to cover major systems and appliances within the home.
When you’re buying a home, your home warranty will have you covered if something like the refrigerator or water heater breaks down a few months after you move in. In most cases, major systems such as plumbing and HVAC are covered as well. The policy functions similar to most standard warranties, allowing you to get needed repairs or replacements while the warranty is still in effect.
What’s Not Covered?
Unless it is specifically mentioned in your home warranty, general home repairs or other maintenance are not included in the warranty.
This means that something such as a broken window, a weak spot in the floor or peeling paint would have to be repaired as an out-of-pocket expense if they aren’t covered under your homeowners’ insurance. The home warranty is designed to cover only your new home’s appliances and major systems.
How Long Do Home Warranties Last?
Again, the term of a home warranty depends upon the specific warranty policy you take out. One of the most typical warranty periods is 1 year, giving you a full year’s worth of peace of mind after you take out the coverage. Depending on your requirements, however, you may be able to get a home warranty for shorter or longer periods as well.
Can You Add Extra Services?
Depending on the home warranty provider you choose, there may be add-ons that you can include with your warranty service for an additional price. These can include things like swimming pool maintenance and repair, well maintenance and expanded services such as maintenance tune-ups for your HVAC system.
Some providers even use add-ons to create customizable warranty plans, offering up a basic general plan and then expanding it to meet your needs by permitting you to add only the features you want.
Do You Want a Home Warranty?
Whether you actually need a home warranty or not is sort of a big question. The answer depends on a lot of factors including the age of the home that you are buying, the amount of coverage you get from your homeowners’ insurance and even what you have in the house that would be covered by the home warranty.
The price of the warranty plan should also be a consideration, since this can vary by several hundred dollars depending on the provider and the amount of coverage contained. The ideal home warranty can be a fantastic buy, but it is worth looking at the cost and coverage to make sure the plan is actually what you need.