If you’re trying to work out how much to budget for home maintenance, stop trying to Google “how to use home warranty” because that’s not going to get you the information you need. Don’t confuse a home warranty with homeowners insurance either; that deals with structural damage, fires, crimes and weather events that impact your entire dwelling. If you’re a homeowner or planning on becoming one, you’ll need to consider what a home warranty covers sooner or later, and whether it’s the right choice for your situation.
Home warranties defined
Home warranty providers employ an array of approved, experienced service technicians. If you have a problem with a system or appliance, you call the company, and the company assigns the job to one of these expert professionals. You typically pay only a service fee, along with your monthly rate for coverage, rather than the full cost of repairs, parts or replacement of whatever you have serviced. A home warranty can help you out by protecting you from costly surprises, allowing you to meet your budget with a low monthly fee.
Home warranties can also give you peace of mind, knowing that if something comes up, like the need for a new washing machine or a massive HVAC repair, it’s covered, and you know who to call to get right on it. Unless all your home’s systems and appliances are brand-new (and even then), a home warranty is worth your serious consideration. Here are five reasons this is true.
1. Heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC)
Repairing or replacing an HVAC system is among the most expensive costs to homeowners today. To replace an HVAC system when it reaches the end of its typical life span, which can average around 15 years, the American homeowner will spend nearly $20,000 or more. Does a home warranty cover A/C? Yes, a good home warranty from a reputable company should cover any necessary HVAC repairs or replacement.
Do home warranties cover freon leaks? That’s a good question, and it depends on your specific warranty coverage, but the short answer is yes, it should. If you’re covered by a competent home warranty company that professes to offer you full HVAC system coverage, coolant leaks should be a part of that deal as well. A good home warranty will also cover coolant recharging, seasonal maintenance, run capacitors, filter dryers and other integral parts.
Plumbing system repairs and replacement costs typically average as the second-largest investment homeowners will make in their homes, and plumbing professionals don’t come cheap. From clearing clogged drain lines to replacing broken, leaky or corroding pipes and related systems, plumbing bills can add up quickly, along with the water damage plumbing problems can cause. A good home warranty leaves you on the hook for a service-call fee, which will hurt a lot less than the full cost of the visit, parts and repairs — count on it.
Your home’s electrical system is another big, complex and expensive investment expected to last for decades. Still, issues come up, and when they do, it’s nice to have an experienced professional at the ready. Some homeowners dabble in DIY, but most will steer clear from electrical issues and the danger involved in repairs and replacing parts.
After your home’s major systems, its major appliances are next in line for coverage in a standard home warranty from a reputable company that carefully vets the service professionals it employs. These include washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, garbage disposals, trash compactors, and even hood vents and microwaves, depending on your plan's coverage. Most plans include repair coverage and also replacement when necessary.
There are many other things a good home warranty might cover, like water heaters, ice makers, heat pumps, radiators, furnaces, forced air systems, electric baseboards and wall-mounted HVAC units. When considering a home warranty, look closely at the available coverage options and what they include. Don’t Google “does home warranty cover door locks,” please. You’re better than that. Some home warranties do cover rekeying. Again, reviewing the coverage you’re considering and comparing it with competing offers is best.
The bottom line
With a home warranty, most major systems and appliances are covered, so you’re protected from big, surprise expenses. Still, you could save the money you’d spend on premiums and keep it in a special account for maintenance and breakdowns. But then you’d have to find a network of trusted professionals when something goes wrong, and you’d still have to shell out major cash when something significant — like from the five categories we mentioned — decides to break down. So, are home warranties worth it? You wondered, and we answered. We hope this article helped. If you’re interested, check out what complete home warranty coverage from Cinch includes!
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.