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If you want to avoid huge bills associated with appliance repairs, selecting a home warranty plan can be exactly what you need. This type of protection is different from insurance and might even be a more affordable alternative to it. However, it will offer protection and value for your money only if you choose the right kind of plan from a trustworthy company. Home warranty scams are common, so you have to research the company providing the coverage thoroughly.
What Is a Home Warranty and Why You May Need It
Home insurance is good protection for the home, but it usually doesn’t cover the appliances within it. As technology is widespread today, those appliances are most likely to be the most expensive items within your home. And their repairs and maintenance cost a small fortune.
Wear and tear will eventually destroy even the best devices. Home warranty plans stand at the ready to help cover your costs when this time arrives. They might not cover the cost of repairs or replacement in their entirety. However, these plans can make a difference between putting a strain on your monthly budget or getting deep into debt because of emergency repairs.
In this case, a warranty will make sense because it specifically covers appliances, which are most at risk. They are sure to break down eventually because they are regularly in use. Therefore, your monthly premiums are a legitimate preparation for the inevitable.
Think of a home warranty as an extension to the manufacturer warranty for the device. It provides you with protection after the point when the manufacturer legitimately acknowledges that the device can start failing. And it covers those repair costs, at least in part. Home warranties also cover plumbing systems, which are one of the major causes of homeowners’ headaches and huge expenses.
There are over 200 of these plans from over 80 companies in the US today, and they are usually very flexible. So you should be able to find the one that will offer perfect coverage for your home. However, it’s essential to not rush into things when dealing with a home warranty company. You need to make sure the provider can be trusted first.
How to Choose a Home Warranty Company
There is a great variety of home warranty reviews available online. However, to obtain relevant and valuable information from them, you need to learn how to choose the most reliable sources. Those can be defined by how detailed and unbiased they are.
You can also use specialized tools to get information on home warranty providers. Such a plan comparison tool should provide detailed information about the company, its plan selection, coverage, and even customer reviews. It’s the format, level of detail, and whether that information is unbiased that you have to pay attention to when studying different reviews.
Take a look at reviews on ConsumerAffairs. They have hardly any factual details about the company. Instead, they are focused on testimonials from its users, and you can’t be 100% sure those are verified. Even if they are, those are biased and oftentimes emotional opinions of people who want to vent.
It’s a proven fact that people who had negative experiences are very likely to share those online. Therefore, having negative some testimonials published on popular consumer forums doesn’t necessarily prove that the service provider is bad. Of course, you should take those opinions into account as well, but take them with a grain of salt.
Relevant Details to Look for in a Home Warranty Review
- Coverage area
- Plan coverage (list of included appliances)
- Business reliability details (whether it’s accredited with BBB, etc.)
- Plan costs breakdown
- Details on extra costs (for example, cancellation)
- Company contact details
- Company legal information
- Information on accessibility
- Company statistics (number of customers, amount of payouts, etc.)
- Information on promotions and discounts (if any are available)
- Terms and conditions explanations (look out for nasty details that can be usually hidden in the fine print, like extra fees)
- Customer testimonials
- Ratings of the company on popular consumer review platforms (like Yelp or Google Reviews)
- Review of the company’s customer service
Selecting a Home Warranty Provider: Final Considerations
When choosing a home warranty provider, you need to be extremely thorough in your research. It’s a decision you need to consider at length because there are too many stories about home warranty scams to take unnecessary risks.
In order to avoid being scammed, you need to find answers to several questions, right after checking the company’s history. To do the latter, you should study independent sources where you can learn actual truth about the provider’s history of payments and any legal scandals they are were involved in. For example, a quick look at Consumer Reports clearly shows that Choice Home Warranty isn’t to be trusted.
Yet, there are quite a few people who had positive experiences with home warranties and they are willing to share their stories online. Therefore, you should start by researching this kind of background information. And once you draw up a short list of trustworthy companies based on it, decide on the best one for you by answering the following questions:
- Is there a limit to the payout you’ll receive?
- How much will it cost you a year (all fees included)?
- How much coverage your appliances can realistically get considering their present condition?
- Which contractors are approved by the home warranty provider? Can they be trusted?
- Is routine preventative maintenance included in the home warranty plan?
- Does the plan cover cosmetic damage?
- Is it possible to switch to a different repair contractor?
- Can the warranty plan be adjusted to suit your needs better?
- Is the deal on offer too good to be true?
Pay attention to the latter question as it’s often a sign that there is some hidden issue that you simply haven’t noticed yet. Unfortunately, some home warranty providers are very good at scams, which gives the whole industry a bad name. However, if you are thorough in your research, you should be able to find a reliable home warranty company that will help you save a lot of money in the long run.