So, you’ve survived buying your first home? Now that you are finished with the loan process, have signed your name a million times and finally unpacked that last box, it’s time to revisit one important issue… Your Home Warranty.
This is one of the things your real estate agent should have gone over with you during the buying process. This warranty covers a multitude of items and systems in your home should something go wrong after you close.
Whether you or the property seller paid the cost of the warranty, hopefully it was a part of your home purchase transaction. Somewhere in all the disclosures and agreements is a policy or brochure from the Home Warranty Company. Real Estate agents typically have their “preferred” warranty providers.
Don’t spend too much time searching for your paperwork. If you can’t find it, call your real estate agent and he or she can help you track down your home warranty representative. As a last resort, if you used an escrow company your escrow officer will have the contact information for the warranty company.
I always try to stress to my home buying clients the importance of reading their Home Warranty Protection Policy thoroughly. It’s hard to remember everything we agents tell you, I understand.
Recently I was talking to a client and she told me the thermostat wasn’t working. She had only been in her home a couple months. I asked her if she called her Home Warranty Company. She had forgotten all about it. With one phone call and a $50 service fee, my client has a new air conditioner. Awesome!
Here is some general information to help you better understand Home Protection Warranties.
How Do They Work?
There are plans that provide specific types of coverage but most operate the same way.
- If a home system or appliance breaks or stops working, the homeowner calls the home warranty company.
- The home warranty company calls a service provider to deal with the issue at hand.
- The service provider calls the homeowner to make an appointment.
- The provider fixes the problem. If an appliance is malfunctioning and cannot be repaired, depending on contract coverage, the home warranty company will pay to replace and install the appliance.
- The homeowner pays a small trade service fee, typically less than $100.
Types of Coverage
Because there are a variety of plans available, check to see specifically what yours covers. It can be confusing. You may want to ask your real estate agent exactly which plan you or the seller purchased for your home. Note: It’s a good idea to check whether the home warranty company will pay for repairs to make certain types of systems or appliances compliant with new regulations.
What If I Disagree With the Diagnosis?
Sometimes a service provider will deny a claim. If that happens or if you are unhappy with the service provided, call your real estate agent and complain. If your agent has a good working relationship with the home warranty company representative then he or she can seek resolution for you. Many agents are going to be upset at this suggestion, but it works. I have personally called my warranty representative many times when my clients’ claims have been denied.
I want to know if a client is not satisfied with any service provider I have recommended. If a client calls me with a problem, I immediately call my rep. She works hard to find a solution acceptable to parties. In short, don’t take “no” for an answer! Call your real estate agent.
What is Not Covered?
- Outdoor items such as sprinklers
- Faucet repairs are not covered under all plans
- Not all plans pay for refrigerators, washers & dryers or garage door openers
- Spa or pools, unless specific coverage requested
- Permit fees
What Can Cause Denial of Payment?
- Improper maintenance
- Code violations
- Unusual wear and tear
- Improper installation
- Air conditioning
- Furnace / heating
- Water heater
- Garbage disposal
- Inside plumbing stoppages
- Ceiling fans
- Electrical systems
- Range and oven
- Microwave oven
- Telephone / cable wiring
Note: Because coverages vary from state to state and from policy to policy, be sure to confirm with your real estate agent or Warranty provider exactly what is covered by your particular policy.
Diane Rogers, e-PRO, CDPE | DRE Lic# 00977423
619.787.7998 Direct | 619.239.9973 Fax