When you buy a home, no matter how old or new the building is, you often have the chance to purchase a home warranty as well. Sometimes real estate agents buy one for their clients; sometimes a seller will add it to the deal; and sometimes you'll get offers from home warranty companies after you buy the home.
What's a home warranty? It's a short-term contract that provides discounted repair services on some of the issues you're likely to find in the home you purchase, like electrical or plumbing issues. Most policies are relatively cheap, at only a few hundred dollars for a year, and they may give you some peace of mind. But don't count on them for help in emergencies.
Why Home Warranties Aren't Designed For Emergencies
Let's say the old pipes in your wall burst and flood your kitchen. To make it worse, let's say this happens at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. In order to get this issue covered through your home warranty, you need to:
Once the plumber arrives, he or she must evaluate the issue and decide whether it would be covered by the warranty. Only then can the plumber make the fix. The system isn't designed for emergencies; it's really there to cover things like dry rot that you could not find during a home inspection.
Paying for Repairs
Even if you do have an emergency plumber come out to your home, you'll usually pay a set price for the service call -- kind of a like a co-pay at the doctor. You'll also pay something out of pocket, in addition to the cost of the warranty. Assuming this all works out, you may save some money over not having the warranty at all.
Find out before you buy what a service call costs and what the policy is if multiple tradespeople are required to fix your problem. You will probably have to pay each one the service fee.
Identifying the Best Plumber for the Job
Because you're not selecting the emergency plumber, you don't have any guarantees about the type of quality you'll get. While most of the time you'll have a competent professional, you may not feel comfortable with the approved service person your home warranty company has sent. If you don't work with the person they've approved, you are on your own for the cost.
Bottom line: Don't expect your home warranty to pay for any type of emergency plumbing problems. Have an emergency? Call right away and protect your home -- just don't expect it to be covered except, perhaps, by your homeowners' or renters' insurance policy.Share
26 March 2015
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