Have you been asking yourself questions like “How do I know if I have a home warranty?” We’re here to help you find some answers, not only to that specific question but also to several other related and important questions about home warranties that you may or may not yet have thought to ask. Have you thought about what home warranty coverage can mean for your budget? It can prevent you from using up your hard-earned savings and resorting to high-interest credit cards when expensive home systems and appliances require repairs or replacement.
Being surprised with a big bill for a new HVAC system or stovetop isn’t fun; it can break your bank and ruin your credit. If you don’t have home warranty coverage today, your overall financial picture will be safer tomorrow if you decide to get covered. But first, put a little effort into finding out whether you already have a home warranty and the essential coverage it can offer you and your family.
Searching for home warranty coverage online
Before you start plugging awkward phrases like “how do I find out home warranty” into your search engine, take a breather from your quest and spend a few minutes reading this post. We’re here to help with some techniques you can use to determine your current level of coverage (or lack thereof). We’ll also look at how and why you should look into adding home warranty coverage if you discover that you’re living without it.
If you’re wondering how to find home warranty coverage you might already have and not be aware of and why you might need this important coverage in addition to your homeowner’s insurance, you’re in the right place. Meanwhile, if you’re in the process of buying a home or plan on buying one soon, add “find out about existing home warranty coverage” to your to-do list for your upcoming home purchase. That way, you’re sure to know all about what’s covered and what’s not upfront before all that mortgage paperwork and having to sign your name 500 times.
Won’t homeowners insurance cover the same stuff? Nope.
The most common misconception about home warranties is that they are somehow equal to, the same as or included in your homeowners insurance coverage. Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your home itself and the belongings it contains, protecting you from unexpected damages from theft, accidents, weather and disasters. It’s not at all related to the ongoing functionality and reliability of your home’s essential systems and appliances, precisely what a home warranty covers. Your home’s heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical system, dishwasher, dryer, washing machine, refrigerator, stove, oven, garbage disposal, water heater and more are the systems and appliances you rely on daily to keep yourself and your family comfortable, clean, healthy and functional. Don’t they deserve a similar level of protection so you’re sure they’ll be fixed or replaced promptly and within your budget when problems arise? Without any of them, home wouldn’t quite feel like home.
What is a home warranty, anyway?
A home warranty is a service contract that protects the buyer from spending a lot of money whenever the major systems and appliances within a home need to be fixed or replaced, as all of them will eventually. Unlike homeowners insurance, a home warranty covers repairs or replacement needs for all the major systems and appliances that keep your home running smoothly and comfortably. A home warranty is a service contract designed to ensure these systems and appliances keep working as they should at an affordable and predictable price. It means no budget-bursting surprise expenses, like replacing a water heater or fixing a backed-up household plumbing system.
A home warranty covers repairs and replacements for all these key systems and appliances at a reasonable, monthly or yearly rate, plus nominal service fees as services are rendered. It allows the buyer to avoid the full cost of expensive repairs or replacements. Without a home warranty, the homeowner is responsible for the cost of literally everything. A home warranty can easily pay for itself with a single use whenever a major system or appliance fails and must be fixed or replaced. A home warranty shields the owner from this potentially massive expense.
What benefits do home warranties offer?
Most responsible homeowners have worked out a budget that effectively balances their living expenses with their income and financial goals. The most obvious benefit of a home warranty is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’ll be able to stay within your budget and won’t be hit with those expensive surprises that can break the bank when a major appliance or system inevitably fails when you least expect it. Sometimes home systems and appliances require maintenance and replacement, so having these covered by a predictable, regular, affordable charge that you can plan for like any other bill is a great way to save money over time and keep your budget intact.
Home warranties are also attractive for homebuyers, as some coverage can and will transfer from seller to buyer as homes change hands. This coverage can make a home stand out in the marketplace for buyers who are wary of moving into a new place with unfamiliar systems and appliances while bracing themselves for potential unpredictable maintenance and replacement expenses. For this reason, sellers often offer home warranties as a perk with homes they list for sale, so check with your REALTOR for terms.
Some home warranty companies provide specific recommendations for service professionals, which can save homeowners time, preventing them from researching to find trusted, reputable, experienced, licensed service professionals. Other home warranty companies handle the contracting of service professionals entirely, establishing prior relationships with quality service professionals. This allows the homeowner to simply make a single call to the home warranty company and wait to hear from the company’s designated service provider to schedule a service visit, adding extra convenience and peace of mind.
What coverage does a home warranty include?
Like any coverage offered by multiple warranty companies and service providers, coverage can vary among plans and brands. The price you pay for coverage can also vary according to the depth and breadth of coverage in different plans. Some plans focus on specific systems or appliances, while others focus on the inside or outside of the home. Yet others are comprehensive and appear to cover nearly everything, from the roof to the basement. It’s important to read any agreement before signing and make sure you fully understand the extent of the coverage you’re purchasing. In general, it’s safe to assume that your home warranty is a contract covering specific appliances and systems. It holds the company offering the home warranty responsible for the repair and replacement (when necessary) of these covered components of your home.
Some home warranties offer additional, custom coverage that goes above and beyond the basics of a contract’s standard coverage. You can sometimes add these a la carte items to your home warranty for expanded protection, covering items like septic systems, sprinkler systems, pools, spas, wells and more. But be sure to read the fine print and look for coverage exceptions and exclusions that may apply.
You’ll also want to select a warranty company with a reputation for good customer service and reliable, quality workmanship. Remember, when a replacement appliance or system is required under a home warranty, you are more likely to receive one similar to the one you had before rather than an upgrade. Also, home warranties often include annual limits on how much they will pay, so be aware of and informed about any spending caps. A home warranty may cover the following systems and appliances:
- HVAC systems
- Electrical systems
- Plumbing systems
- Septic systems
- Sprinkler systems
- Telephone systems
- Ovens and ranges
- Washers and dryers
- Garbage disposals
- Built-in appliances
- Roofs and foundations
- Fireplaces and chimneys
- Attics and exhaust fans
- Water heaters
- Water softeners
- Water (sump) pumps
- Garage doors
- Spas and wells
- and more!
How do I find out whether I already have a home warranty?
Sometimes sellers, REALTORS or title companies will purchase home warranties and add them to the home listings in the interest of adding value for potential buyers. Sometimes home sellers already have coverage that extends beyond the sale. In either scenario, a buyer might overlook this coverage upon purchase. It could go unmentioned due to the number of other issues that must be addressed at the time of sale, and a buyer will be unsure about whether there is existing home warranty coverage and what its terms are. After all, buying a home requires a lot of paperwork and plenty to think about. If you’ve recently purchased a home, it’s possible that you already have an existing home warranty. If you’re wondering how to find your home warranty coverage details after confirming that you have one, there are several ways to find out.
How do I find my home warranty?
If you’re unsure whether you have a home warranty, you can first ask the previous owners. This may mean contacting them via the REALTOR, who should have this information for you if it applies. But if the owner sold your home without a REALTOR involved, it might be easier to contact the seller directly. If a warranty still applies, the seller should be able to provide some documentation or at least the name of the home warranty company, which you could contact directly for more information. Failing these, the title company is another source to contact about whether or not your home has an existing warranty. It should also have records indicating whether the sale included one.
Where can I find my home warranty?
Suppose you’re still not having any luck finding out for sure about any existing home warranty that could apply to your situation. In that case, you may want to take a slight detour and check with the manufacturers of your individual appliances and systems to see if any original manufacturer warranty coverage still exists and whether this coverage transfers to you upon purchasing the home and its included components. New and nearly new homes are more likely to have newer systems and appliances that could still be under the standard manufacturer warranty coverage. If you suspect this might be the case, it’s worth looking into before investing in additional home warranty coverage.
Another place to check for possible pre-existing home warranty coverage is with your local state laws, many of which may require the seller to guarantee home components to the buyer for a set time. If your state maintains such requirements and you’ve been in your home for less than a year or two, chances are good that you’re still covered under a home warranty. Also, home sales are generally a matter of public record. If you’re having trouble finding out about home warranty coverage on a recent home purchase and can’t seem to get a straight answer from the seller, REALTOR, title company or elsewhere, check with the public records department in your local municipality to see if there is more to learn about the transaction.
How much does a home warranty cost?
It’s not easy to assign a single number to the total cost of a home warranty. It can range widely according to the amount of coverage you receive versus the monthly or annual cost of the payments. Also consider nominal service charges incurred when service visits are required. Square these with your own estimates of what you might have to pay for breakdowns, maintenance, and appliance and systems replacements without the coverage provided by a home warranty. That said, average home warranty coverage often ranges between $300 and $500 a year but can be more expensive, particularly with customized or extended coverage options. When you’re trying to figure out the total cost of coverage, consider the risk you take by forgoing coverage and the value of the protection you’ll gain when you need it most. There are multiple variables to consider.
Keep in mind that a single repair or replacement of only one of many systems or appliances covered by your plan, like an HVAC system or a new oven/range, could easily exceed the cost of a year’s worth of coverage. In that case, you’d pay for your annual investment and then some in only one instance. Also, remember that service fees are typically attached to claims, usually averaging around $75. A single repair or replacement could force you to spend all your savings and break out those high-interest credit cards. So, the idea of an affordable monthly (or annual) payment for blanket coverage, a stabilized budget, untouched savings, avoided credit cards and peace of mind makes good sense.
How do I get a home warranty?
Hopefully, you’re not still tempted to type “how do I find out home warranty” into your search engine. Though manufacturer warranties come with many consumer products automatically at point of purchase, it’s not safe to assume that home warranties are included with all home sales. As we mentioned earlier, sellers are sometimes required by local laws to add some warranty coverage. With most home warranties being considered voluntary purchases, not to mention attractive assets for sellers to offer when listing homes for sale, it’s unlikely that you’ll have one and be unaware of it. Still, it can happen.
If you determine that you lack the home warranty coverage you’d prefer and are ready to start looking for a good home warranty on your own, you can purchase an affordable, reliable protection plan with award-winning customer service from the experienced experts at Cinch Home Services to give yourself and your family all the coverage you want and deserve. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind that you’ll be fully covered when you need it most.
Thanks for reading through this post on how to find home warranty coverage; we hope it was helpful. Feel free to stick around and read more of our vast collection of informative home maintenance and improvement posts designed to maximize your ability to take care of your home.
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.