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crazy hair guy_cropBy Diana Fishlock

Some people opt for the extended warranties on their televisions or cars to protect their valuables if something goes wrong after their purchases. A home warranty offers the same kind of protection, but for the major appliances and systems in a house. Since a house is the largest purchase most people ever make, a home warranty can add a layer of security to the purchase process.

Home warranties usually cover some of the following home features: heating and cooling systems, heat pumps, air conditioners, water heaters, major appliances, electrical and plumbing systems, washers and dryers and even septic systems and swimming pools.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN PURCHASING A HOME WARRANTY?

Cost Effectiveness

Before committing to a plan, consumers should double check the cost of the plan, the amount of deductibles and what’s included in the policy. The homeowner pays a deductible or co-pay for each visit. If the repair charge is still costly, the warranty may not be much of an asset. Anyone considering a home warranty should add up the costs of the policy and the co-pays to see whether a warranty makes sense or if they’d be better off putting money aside for emergency household repairs.

Convenience

With a warranty, a homeowner or renter only needs to call the warranty company when there’s a problem. Then the warranty company finds an available local repair service. Consumers should make sure warranty companies use bonded and reputable repairmen.

Buyers should check their policies to make sure all repairs will be completed in a short timeframe. Check for loopholes in the policy that eliminate most major items from plan coverage. A good warranty will replace what can’t be repaired.

People should ask friends and neighbors to recommend regional or national home warranty companies that hire good repairmen and are fair to consumers.

WHEN TO PURCHASE A HOME WARRANTY?

Upon Buying a Home

Because the true costs of mortgages are so expensive for buyers, a home warranty that reduces their financial risk often facilitates a purchase. Buyers don’t know how well previous owners maintained their furnaces or dishwashers, but those items are protected with a warranty (usually for the first year after the sale). Adding in a warranty can be the tipping point that leads to a home sale. Home buyers can negotiate with property sellers for a warranty with the most coverage.

For Handy Repairs

A warranty can simplify life for people who are busy or not handy with home repairs. Not everybody owns a tool set or wants to call around for estimates. A warranty can shorten the to-do list when little things go wrong around a house. Since a policy has a prescribed deductible, a homeowner understands up front how much the job will cost.

In Old Age

A warranty can become a comfort for older homeowners who should no longer stand on ladders or move refrigerators out from the wall. In just one call, all of the home repairs can be addressed on budget.

As a Landlord

A home warranty is helpful for people who weren’t expecting to become landlords. Sometimes people decide to rent out a house instead of selling it, which adds inconvenient repairs to their busy schedules.

Home warranties can help renters, landlords and homeowners, but it’s important to understand what’s covered and how long repairs should take. A good policy encourages owners to have the small things fixed so they don’t become bigger and more problematic.


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