Shopping Tips for Buying a Home Warranty
Home warranties can be attractive to home owners or buyers who are looking at purchasing a property. These service contracts can cover all of a home’s major systems, such as the furnace or air conditioner, and will cover needed repairs if the appliance breaks or damaged.
Some sellers are offering a home warranty to try to lure buyers.
But not all home warranties are the same. Experts say you should carefully weigh costs, policy allowances, and customer feedback before making a decision so that you ensure you’re getting the best deal. Home warranties cost about $250 to $500 a year.
Here are some more tips from experts in shopping for a home warranty:
- Find customer reviews. Web sites, such as homewarrantyreviews.com, provide reviews of home warranty companies. You also might check how each company is rated with your local Better Business Bureau.
- Check for extra fees. Will you have to pay a fee for service calls?
- Check the coverage allowance. Are there any exclusions to coverage? Will the allowance cover the entire cost of a broken appliance or just some of it? For example, if you have older appliances and mechanicals, will the policy cover the full cost of replacing it or just the depreciated value? If the policy only covers the depreciated value when a 20-year-old furnace dies, for example, the reimbursement may not be enough to buy a new one. Also, verify what appliances are all included in the coverage. Some companies will allow you to add coverage for swimming pools, while others won’t.
"The biggest thing is awareness of what the exclusions are," Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, told the Chicago Tribune. "The mere presence of a warranty, by nature, tends to have exclusions. Being aware of that can aid in the decision-making process."
Source: “When Home Warranties Are Worth It,” Chicago Tribune (Feb. 8, 2011)