August 9, 2015 by Jeff Lowen
Such a loaded question. I’ve read countless reviews from consumers, many an article from very thorough sources, yet a few points I thought were missed I’ll address here.
I’ve been on all sides of this one. As a preferred contractor doing service calls for a handful of Home Warranty Companies, negotiating repairs on what’s covered and what isn’t, as a homeowner receiving the service, and as an agent recommending companies to my clients. Heck, I’ve even dated a home warranty company representative! Lol (Does that even count?)
There’s some great information out there that ranks the warranty companies by reviews, ratings, money; there’s even a homewarrantyreviews.com website!
“Did you know you can buy a home warranty policy anytime?
Just bear in mind what a home warranty company is, and is not. READ THE POLICY! Yeah, I know this is a no brainer, but many people have a home warranty and don’t know what it covers. Or even how to use it. So here’s a list of tips to discover if it’s right for you:
- Research with an open mind. Just because you see a couple of reviews of disgruntled customers, don’t automatically pass.
- Choose a solid, highly rated company. What happens if your home warranty company goes out of business?
- Find out how do they choose the contractors that do business for them. Just ask them. Would you want them if all they do is choose the lowest bidder regardless of reputation? What is their feedback process?
- Know what their deductible is and how it’s used. Usually, that pays the contractor and unless the contractor is in-and-out quick, he’s not making much unless there is additional work.
- Find out about pre-existing conditions and how they are handled.
- Learn about add-ons and choose what makes sense for you.
- And, Read the policy! What’s covered, what’s not.
The important thing to remember, is that home warranty companies are a business – and an insurance company. They are in business to make money. Often the claims process takes time, they negotiate the best cost for them on specific, common repairs with the contractors they use and will not pay someone if you hire them yourself. Sort of the HMO of the home repair industry. You must call the warranty company, not the contractor when you need service.
It helps to evaluate, with a little help, your home and its condition with respect to the age of the systems and overall health of your home. According to This Old House, the average age when stuff begins to break varies. Bounce this off the policy premium and a few deductibles.
On a personal note; if changing a light bulb is something you call a handyman for, get a home warranty! Yet, even if you’re handy around the house, paying $500 for a policy and a $100 deductible might feel better than a $6,000 HVAC replacement! I keep them on investment properties, too.
For more information, check out the website above or contact us for some help.
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