Some property owners assume that just having a homeowners’ insurance policy in place will be enough to protect their families from unexpected expenses. What not all of them realize is that homeowners’ insurance only covers damage that occurs due to specific types of unforeseeable events. Homeowners who want maximum protection against unexpected financial emergencies should also have home warranty plans. Check out the home protection plan comparison below to see what to consider before buying.
What Are Home Warranties?
Before moving on to discuss different types of home warranty plans, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page by nailing down a more general definition. Home warranties are service contracts. Homeowners pay a monthly bill to the warranty company that provides the contract, then the company makes arrangements for repairs and replacements if anything goes wrong with covered appliances during the warranty period. Unlike homeowners’ insurance, home warranties explicitly cover issues related to normal wear and tear.
Most home warranties are appliance-only plans, especially in the most affordable parts of the price range. They’re designed to cover major kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, ranges, dishwashers, and built-in microwaves. These plans are good for homeowners who don’t have many other household appliances and are confident that their major home support systems are in good shape.
Complete-home warranty plans cover more than just appliances, although those are certainly on the list. They also cover certain elements of plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems. A good home warranty company will provide a detailed list of what’s covered under a complete-home service contract. As with appliance-only plans, the company will make arrangements with the appropriate local contractors to inspect, repair, and/or replace parts or equipment as needed.
Most home warranty companies have at least one package that offers total coverage for the entire home. That includes more comprehensive coverage for HVAC, electrical, and plumbing parts and equipment along with appliance repairs and replacements for washers and dryers as well as kitchen appliances. They offer the greatest peace of mind but also come with the highest price tags.
Some home warranty companies go above and beyond to offer homeowners the ability to customize their plans. Homeowners start with a basic appliance-only, complete-home, or supreme plan, then add items as needed. That might mean adding a second refrigerator if there’s a full-sized fridge in another part of the home or requesting coverage for washers and dryers without a full complete-home plan.
Read the Fine Print
Homeowners should be sure to read the fine print before signing on the dotted line. All home warranty plans come with service fees, but some companies also charge hidden fees that don’t become apparent until after the contract goes into effect. Working with a well-known home warranty provider that has a reputation for reliability and transparency is the best way to avoid unexpected fees and ensure that the company holds up its end of the bargain, but it’s smart to read through the contract and ask questions to clarify anything confusing anyway.