That’s a perfectly reasonable question you may ask yourself, someone else, or the internet. If you’re in the process of buying a home, or even thinking about buying one, the phrase “home warranty” will cross your path. And it’s well worth knowing what it means, how to get one, and whether or not you should have one.
If you’re thinking it’s like any other warranty on an expensive device, say a TV or refrigerator, you’re on the right track. A home warranty is a service, typically paid for annually, that maintains and repairs your house’s major appliances and systems. Things like heating, central air conditioning, kitchen appliances, etc. It’s provided by a home warranty company that typically outsources specific tasks to local contractors and service providers near you. It lets you pay a single fee to a single business that covers any and all work it takes to keep your home in tip-top condition. The level of service and coverage varies between companies. And different companies may charge more to include certain appliances, like washers and driers. But they all operate fairly similarly.
All that may make a home warranty sound like a perfect solution to any potential problems a homeowner may experience. But there can be drawbacks. While it may seem very convenient, the home warranty company is still a middleman. They take the hassle off your hands, but you’ll usually pay more over time than you might to hire a contractor or repairman as needed. And, depending on how busy the company is, your issues may not be at the top of their priority list. You may end up waiting to get your needs tended if other clients have more urgent issues.
Additionally, a home warranty company has the right to deny a request if they claim something broke due to negligence. Or if they claim a breakage or malfunction occurs as a result of a pre-existing condition or default. If you’re thinking of buying a home warranty, do the research. Make sure the company you pick doesn’t have a history of denying claims willy-nilly.
The Bottom Line
A home warranty is an easy, one-stop way to cover maintenance and repair of all the things that keep your home livable. But you pay for the convenience and should be sure the people you’re paying are on the level.
For an even more detailed rundown of the costs and benefits, have a look at our article aimed at helping you decide whether or not to buy one.