Let’s face it, for many of us home ownership is a dream. Of course, as with all things this dream can easily turn into a nightmare. In order to avoid this scenario, your first and best step is to find a reliable and supportive real estate agent who will guide you through the maze of purchasing a home. But as daunting a task as it is, purchasing a home is only the beginning of home ownership. Imagine that you’ve just made one of the largest purchases of your life and the last thing you want to do is spend even more money on maintenance, repairs, or failed appliances. This is where a good home warranty comes in.
Not to be confused with home insurance, a home warranty is a service contract that protects your home's appliances and some systems from repairs or possible replacements. A convenient benefit of a home warranty is that when you report an item, they will assign a service provider to evaluate whether it should be repaired or replaced without the owner having to act like a middleman - for most of us that translates to stress relief AND time saving!
By contrast, homeowner's insurance is required by most mortgage lenders when there is an outstanding loan. This coverage protects the structure and the dwelling and the homeowner's personal property from named occurrences like theft, natural disaster, or accident. Homeowner's insurance does NOT cover the systems and appliances for repairs or replacements due to normal wear – that is the realm of home warranties.
The fees for home warranties can vary based on deductibles and how much of the risk the homeowner is willing to accept.
Additional items can be included to the standard coverage to include pool, spa, additional refrigerators, septic tanks, and other items. There may also be some named items that are not covered that could include sprinkler systems, window air conditioning units or other specific items.
Contracts usually are for a one-year period, may have a waiting period, and usually will not include pre-existing conditions. However, each contract is different so be sure to read the contract and/or consult your real estate agent. The premium, or fee, is paid in advance often by the seller in the case of home sales.
Many homeowners learned about this type of service when they bought a home. It was provided by the seller and probably gave some element of peace of mind. Home warranties can be purchased even when the home is not being sold and by the current owner. Even rental property owners are using this type of coverage to manage the repairs and replacement expenses.