By now, you’ve likely 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 closer look at home warranties and what they really have to offer. This will 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 of all, just what is a home warranty? This is an important question, because many people don’t actually know what a home warranty is for. A common assumption is that a home warranty is like some version of homeowners’ insurance, perhaps offering short-term coverage after closing on a home. While the timing aspect is pretty close, 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 buying 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 like most standard warranties, allowing you to get needed repairs or replacements while the warranty is still in effect.
What’s Not Covered?
Unless it’s specifically mentioned in your home warranty, general home repairs or other maintenance are not included in the warranty. This means that something like 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 on the specific warranty policy you take out. One of the most common warranty periods is one year, giving you a full year’s worth of peace of mind after you take out the policy. Depending on your needs, 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 cost. 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 letting you add only the features you want.
Do You Need a Home Warranty?
Whether you actually need a home warranty or not is kind of a big question. The answer depends on a lot of factors including the age of the home that you’re 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 included. The right home warranty can be a good buy, but it’s worth looking at the cost and coverage to make sure the plan is actually what you need.