Your checklist for home protection plan coverage

Your checklist for home protection plan coverage

Key tips to remember

  • Understand the plan's replacement policy
  • Review the plan's coverage on items with pre-existing conditions and lack of maintenance
  • Be aware that a home protection plan is secondary to a manufacturer's warranty
  • Understand secondary damages are not covered

Home protection plans help homeowners protect themselves from expensive repair and replacement costs. Coverage varies among companies, plans and regions, but most policies cover all the major home systems, such as air conditioning, heating and plumbing, as well as major appliances, such as stoves, ovens, cooktops and water heaters. However, only some plans cover refrigerators, washers, dryers and garage door openers.

As with any contract, it’s extremely important to read the fine print to fully understand what your home warranty covers and what it doesn’t. Read below before you make a commitment to buy. 

Replacement policy 

If a home protection company determines that your item needs to be replaced, coverage typically does not apply to a brand name, but rather a model similar in features. In the case that your air conditioning unit needs to be replaced, you would get a system with the same ratings, size and efficiency. However, some home protection companies will allow you to upgrade to a more expensive brand as long as you pay the difference or provide a claims credit.

Pre-existing conditions and maintenance negligence

One of the most common complaints is that a home protection company rejects a claim because the homeowner did not properly maintain their item. Most home protection plans do not cover system or appliance failures if you do not properly maintain the item. In addition, home warranty plans typically do not cover mechanical breakdowns that result from mold or mildew, and sometimes rust or corrosion, which is why it’s so important to keep your appliances clean year round.

Also, many home protection plans will deny you coverage because of pre-existing conditions, such as past failures due to improper installation or modification of the item. This is often an inherited problem from a previous homeowner that may not come to your attention until it’s too late.

If you are purchasing a home, especially an older home, and you want to purchase a home protection plan with these exclusions, it’s important to know the condition of each of the covered home systems and appliance prior to signing a contract. A home inspector or qualified contractor can identify any pre-existing conditions or maintenance negligence.

Manufacturer’s warranty and incidental costs

Home protection plans are secondary to a manufacturer’s warranty. This means that if your new oven stops working, it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to repair or replace it. If labor isn’t included, then your home protection plan would cover this cost after the standard deductible.

In addition, only some plans may cover incidental costs associated with bringing systems up to code, getting a permit, disposing of old equipment, modifying new equipment to work with existing equipment or gaining access to equipment to service it (e.g., excavating to get to a well pump or concrete encased plumbing).

Secondary damages

Home protection plans do not cover secondary damages meaning if an appliance fails and causes damage within your home (e.g., your dishwasher floods the kitchen and ruins the hardwood floors), the home protection company is only responsible for the cost of repairing or replacing the appliance and not for the cost of any resulting damages. The good news is that homeowners insurance would cover the other incidentals. 

Like any other contract, it’s important to read the the plans' terms and conditions to ensure you understand what the plan covers. Once you do, you will have added protection and be rewarded with unbeatable value. For coverage details on all of Cinch's protection plans, click here or contact a home protection specialist today. 

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.

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