Looking for the quickest answer? Our top choice for home warranties is Choice Home Warranty.
Investing in a home warranty policy now can help you avoid expensive home repairs and replacements. However, with so many companies offering home warranty policy options, selecting the right coverage can feel like an impossible task. Read on to learn everything you need to know about home warranties and the buying process to find the best possible coverage for your home.
How to Buy a Home Warranty
When you buy a home warranty, research is key. Use these steps to find the best home warranty policy for the unique components that make up your property. Remember, you want to gather as much information from the home warranty company as possible before making a final decision.
Think About Coverage Needs
Every home warranty policy is different — the terms you find on one contract from one home warranty company can be completely different from the terms of another. This makes it important to consider your individual needs as a homeowner or homebuyer before you begin shopping for a policy. Once you know what you need coverage for, you can search for a home warranty that offers complementing benefits.
Begin by taking a walk through your home and making note of everything you want covered under your policy. Examples include major appliances like your refrigerator and washing machine, systems integrated into the structure of your home and additional appliances like an outdoor barbeque pit or swimming pool. If you’ve had a major home repair or replacement in the past, review your records and note the cost of the service. This can help guide you in determining whether a home warranty’s coverage limits justify its cost and present a good value for you.
You should also review your homeowners insurance coverage when selecting a home warranty. Home warranty options fill in some of the gaps left by your home insurance, and reviewing your insurance can provide you with additional insights into home components you need protected. For example, your insurance policy’s inclusions might remind you that you have a sump pump or well pump out of view that you’ll want included in coverage.
Research Home Warranty Options
After you know what you need to be covered, you can begin searching for the right home warranty protection. Benzinga offers insights into a number of the country’s most popular home warranty providers, including Choice Home Warranty, Amazon Home Warranty and Sears Home Warranty. Use these reviews and additional resources listed below to start your search for coverage.
Make note of at least three companies with policy options that appeal to you, narrowing down your list based on home components included in each policy and state availability. Remember, also, that your service contract is set in stone. The technicians or contractors that come to your home will abide by that contract when you make a service request, and there is no way to get around any extra fees you might incur.
Get Multiple Quotes
The price of your home warranty can vary depending on where you live, the size of your home and the extra components you need coverage for. Once you’ve narrowed your list to a few local providers, get a quote online from each company you’re considering. Keep a record of each quote you receive, and make sure to keep a copy of each quote in writing.
Review the monthly cost of coverage and the service fees for each option, keeping in mind that your service fee will be due each time you use your policy benefits. Also, make note of overall coverage limits and any upper limits on individual appliance benefits. Yes, you are defraying repair costs you may incur, but you also need to look at exclusions, extra services fees, approved contractors in your area, etc.
Review Policy Details Online
After you’ve found a policy you want to purchase, take a final second to read through your policy details in full. If you were never provided with an official service contract, request one from a representative. Make sure you understand exactly when you can use your policy and how you can file a claim.
Most home warranty policies include waiting periods that dictate when your coverage goes into effect. Make note of your home warranty’s waiting period and the start date of your benefits. If you must submit maintenance records when applying for coverage, search for records now. You should also use this time to contact the home warranty provider’s customer service team to ask any last-minute questions before you sign onto your policy.
Buy Your Policy Online
Home warranty companies now allow you to enroll in a policy entirely online in as little as a few minutes. Visit your home warranty service provider online and enroll in coverage. If you’re interested in purchasing multiple years of coverage ahead of time, you may be able to claim a discount on each year of protection. Contact your home warranty provider if this option isn’t offered to you during checkout. Make note of the date that any auto payments will be billed to your account or credit card on file.
Store Your Coverage Details
You should receive a confirmation from your home warranty service provider over email confirming the details of your policy. If your home warranty provider offers an online customer portal service, set up your account using your new login details early to avoid delays in policy changes or claims when you need to file. Keep a copy of your policy details with your other important home protection documents and add your home warranty provider’s contact information to your home’s list of important providers.
Who Can Buy a Home Warranty?
Anyone who owns a home can purchase a home warranty. People who purchase home warranties and how they benefit from these plans include:
- Single-family homeowners: If you own a home, you might already be familiar with just how heavy a toll an unexpected breakdown can have on your budget. Some homeowners purchase a home warranty to protect them against the sudden unexpected cost of replacing or fixing a home system or appliance.
- Investment property owners: If you’re a landlord, you have an obligation to provide your tenants with quick repairs when something in the rented unit breaks down. It can be smart to purchase a home warranty plan for your rental unit to gain access to a convenient resource you can call 24/7 to schedule affordable repairs.
- Real estate professionals: Real estate professionals can often claim a discount from home warranty companies because they’re likely to purchase bulk policies. Real estate agents, for example, may be able to draw in new customers by offering a home warranty along with a home they are showing.
What Does a Home Warranty Cover?
Though the specifics of what is included in your home warranty plan will vary depending on your policy, it may cover the following:
- Home appliances: Most home warranties cover major appliances in your kitchen and laundry room. Common examples of included components range from your refrigerator and oven to your dishwasher and washer-dryer combo. Home warranty plans do not typically include coverage for small countertop appliances like toasters and food processors.
- Home systems: Your home warranty may also include coverage for the major systems that make up your home. Examples of systems you might find under your policy’s coverage may include your electrical wiring, your air conditioning system and your HVAC unit. Most home warranty policies that cover systems include coverage for both the physical structure that makes up your plumbing system as well as stoppages in the system.
- Deductible reimbursement: Some home warranty policies include reimbursement for your homeowners insurance deductible. This benefit only applies if you need to file a homeowners insurance claim and is usually offered as an optional add-on coverage.
Home Warranty Exclusions
When you get a home warranty quote, make certain that you understand the exclusions that are built into the plan. This is no different than purchasing homeowners insurance because these plans do not necessarily over everything. Common home warranty exclusions include:
- Major replacements like appliances, the heating system, air conditioning, etc.
- Flood damage
- Earthquake or landslide damage
Other plans may exclude your garage doors, or you may discover that you cannot have repairs done to, for example, gas lines in the house. It’s best to compare what the service contractor can do with the issues that concern you most in the home.
Compare Home Warranty Policy Providers
The key to finding the best home warranty coverage is knowing and comparing as many options as possible before you sign up for benefits. Benzinga offers reviews and insights on the following home warranty plan providers. Consider continuing your search for the right coverage using a few of the links below.
- securely through Choice Home Warranty's websiteBest For:A la carte protectionRating:
- securely through Select Home Warranty's websiteBest For:Appliance and Home WarrantiesRating:
- securely through Amazon Home Warranty's websiteBest For:High-Maintenance HomesRating:
- securely through Home Warranty of America's websiteBest For:Home Component RepairsRating:
- securely through 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty's websiteBest For:Low Service FeesRating:
- securely through First American Home Warranty's websiteBest For:Replacement CoverageRating:
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you look for in a home warranty?
You should look for a list of inclusions that justify the price of a home warranty when you shop for a policy. Look at overall coverage limits as well as individual limitations on each system or appliance covered under the policy and compare it to your premium costs. Also, consider your policy’s service fee and remember you must pay the service fee each time you use your benefits.
Is it too late to get a home warranty?
It is not too late to get a home warranty. Many major home warranty companies do not put age limitations on covered systems and appliances, meaning that you can qualify for coverage even in an older home.
Should homeowners buy a home warranty after moving in?
You may want to purchase a home warranty after moving in, but it is better to ask the seller or agent to add that warranty to the sale so that the costs are covered before you move in.