We’ve all experienced the hardship of receiving bills in the mail. The envelope sits on your kitchen table like so many others. But this one is different. This one holds the reminder you dread seeing, the electric bill.
Okay, so maybe the electric bill isn’t the one you dread seeing most each month. But it probably isn’t your favorite monthly obligation either. If the amount you pay for power bothers you then you might want to give some thought to the causes of the problem. And if you’ve never looked at how much it costs to run your major appliances then the following figures may surprise you. You just might find out that it’s time to replace one of the appliances you own with one that is more energy efficient.
This article does focus on electrical appliances. If your home relies mostly or entirely on gas to power your appliances then please find out which gas appliances consume more energy.
The place where you keep your perishable foods is not just an appliance. It’s a safe where you trust the hundreds of dollars you spend on groceries will be protected. So keeping your electric usage to a minimum is just one aspect of this appliance. You may have the most energy efficient model available, but if you fail to maintain it properly it may still use more electricity than is necessary. If you have not already read my article on refrigerator maintenance please take a moment to look at it today.
According to a study concluded in 2009 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration titled “Residential Energy Consumption Survey” or (RECS), the average American household spends 6.2% of its electrical costs each month on appliances as a group. Your fridge is quite likely the most expensive appliance to power in your home. If you have an old refrigerator then you could save hundreds per year simply by switching to a newer, energy efficient model. You might cut your energy costs by as much as ? for this one appliance according to information available on Energy.gov.
Unless you use a laundromat or send everything you wear to the dry cleaner you’re spending some of your monthly electric cost on these appliances. The washer and dryer, because of the work they do, are probably next in line behind your fridge in terms of energy use. Unlike most appliances your washer and especially your dryer may also contribute to other energy related costs by putting a great deal of heat back into the house. For this reason the placement of your laundry area may have a big effect on your cooling costs in the warmer months.
Aside from the soothing hum of a window unit there’s not much to be happy about if your home is cooled by a small air conditioning unit. Size is not everything when it comes to electrical cost, and a little air conditioner can make a big dent in your bank account. The same may be true of portable electric heaters. Keeping a home without a central heating and cooling system comfortable during hot and cold months can be a big burden on a homeowner living on a tight budget. But replacing these small units with more efficient central system components is often financially out of reach. There is hope in some cases though. Some utility companies provide help to homeowners who need assistance financing such upgrades.
Homes which require removal of excess moisture in the air have an added cost that can really impact the monthly electric bill. Dehumidifiers may add as much electrical usage as a refrigerator or freezer unit, according to data available on the Nebraska utility website, Cornhusker-Power.com.
Though you may not think if your water heater as an appliance it is probably using more electricity than any single operating part of your home, aside from your heating and cooling systems. A high electric bill can sometimes be due mostly to an inefficient water heater.
About the Author
Kevin Wallach is a freelance writer and marketing professional. His focus is on performance based marketing services for the home warranty and home service contract industry.
“Winter is coming” – Remember this famous dialog by the Starks from Game of Thrones? Well, it is true now. Winter is indeed approaching and that means homeowners have to prepare themselves for the chilly festive season.
While the idea of another Christmas is awesome, the idea of sub-zero temperatures and malfunctioning appliances is not. Fret not! There are some things that you can do to ensure that the chances of your appliances crashing are kept to a minimum. This article will provide you with a list of appliances that needs to be checked before winter sets in and also how to ensure that they don’t breakdown. Wondering why you need to check your appliances in advance? Well, like they say, a stitch in time, saves nine!
So here are some of the appliances that need a thorough check up before the temperature drops-
Let’s take a detailed look at how these appliances should be checked. Don’t worry, the steps are quite simple and only require a very basic examination on the appliances listed above.
This one is absolutely essential. If there is no heating in your home, you’ll probably get sick. Or worse, freeze. HVAC units are large appliances and they may require annual maintenance checks. If you have signed up for a warranty plan or similar arrangement that conducts frequent checks on your HVAC, now would be an ideal time. If you don’t have such an arrangement, worry not. Here’s what you need to do.
While you’re at it, you may want to read about common mistakes HVAC owners make.
Personal safety is always a primary concern. With all the heating devices going in full swing, having a fire, although uncommon, is still possible. Check your smoke detectors to ensure that they are in working order. If they fail, you could risk the lives of everyone in your home.
Here is what you need to do to check your smoke detector –
These are appliances that can get really hot if their vents are blocked, making them prime fire hazard material. Leaving them to function unattended during the cold winter season may not be a bright idea. Make sure somebody checks on them at frequent intervals.
The following steps can help you run a basic exam on your dryer-
While it is lovely to have a fireplace, there are somethings that you just cannot overlook while using them. To ensure that your fireplace is safe for use, do the following –
If you have a gas fireplace, look out for peeling wallpaper and eroding mortar. Ideally, get it inspected by a professional.
First time homeowners may need to do extensive research about making your home safe for winter. Apart from the appliance maintenance checklist we provided above, there are some general safety and wellness practices that you must follow. This would include things like keeping an emergency contact list ready, stocking up on food, check your car to see if it’s winter-safe and finally formulating a fire escape plan.
Also, do keep in mind that outdoor hose bibs may freeze in the winter and to prevent that, they should be shut off at the source or covered on the outside with an insulator. It should not be difficult to find an insulator as they are available at most home goods stores.
If you don’t have a home warranty, now would be a good time to think about one. Such appliance service contracts help you save money on repairs due to unexpected appliance breakdowns. You could also look into our general appliance maintenance checklist to ensure that your home runs smoothly always.
We hope you found this article useful. Let us know your thoughts. Cheers!
When it comes to appliance warranty protection plans, the choices are plenty. Should you buy a comprehensive home warranty or extended warranty at the point of sale? While home warranty is like an umbrella insurance that covers all major home appliances, extended warranty is purchased for each appliance separately.
Home warranties will charge annual premium and deductibles per repair incident but they can be purchased anytime during the life-cycle of the product. Extended warranties will charge up front fees, but no deductible per incident and these protection plans are generally sold during the initial stages of product’s use, although there are exceptions.
Generally, home warranties cover all used appliances, but extended warranties cover new items only. Recently, Warranty Week ran an article that questioned whether there is an overlap between the two. They interviewed several executives from home warranty and extended warranty companies. The general consensus appears to be that, there is some overlap, however two types of warranties serve different purposes.
Mike Frosch, president of The Warranty Group, North America, said “Home warranties are great, when you’re buying or selling a house and want to cover used appliances immediately. Service contracts are great, when you’re shopping for new appliances and want to extend the manufacturer’s warranty for additional years. So in a sense, the coverage may overlap, but the offers don’t really compete. When you buy a home warranty, for the sake of argument let’s say it’s $450. It’s a one-year coverage on used equipment. It’s providing some coverage on some amount of appliances, but it’s really about heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electric”
In our view, they do overlap if you are talking about big ticket appliances, but there is no need to buy both. If you are buying a new appliance, chances of it failing in the first 3-5 years is far less assuming you have researched the product before buying. So, there is no real need for extended warranties.
However, if homeowners still want peace of mind coverage, then they should simply go with home warranty as it covers all appliances in your home not just one specific product. The home warranty costs are higher than the extended warranty, however it covers far more items and you have a single point of contact for all repair needs.
Extended warranty companies argue that they provide better service and offer more economic protection plans. The argument is compelling on the surface, but keep in mind home warranties are useful where there is frequent need for repair such as old appliances.
We wonder what would be the service level if extended warranty companies offer maintenance service of 10-15 years old appliances such as heaters and air conditioners. The repair needs are much higher and their profit margins are much lower. Generally extended warranties are bought for new electronics items and repair incidents are much lower. For this reason, we think it is a wise decision not to buy extended warranty at point of purchase.
Are you longing for a home decorated with our green friends? You want a home that is eco-friendly and looks pretty at the same time? You have come to the right place!
Over the years plants have become much more than just a source of food. While being a very nutritious edible species, members of Kingdom Animalia are also very visually appealing. Even the prickly cacti are never an eye sore.
For all you homeowners out there who wish to add a hint of green to your home, this article shall give you all that you have to know about before you decorate your house with plants.
There are indeed a lot of benefits associated with gardening and using plants as decor. Let’s discuss about them.
Norfolk island pine, peperomia, aloe vera, English ivy, peace lily, snake plant, spider plant, bamboo palm, golden pothos etc are the most common varieties of indoor plants. Among them, aloe vera is known for its moisturizing properties and so it can double as an ingredient for homemade face packs. The English ivy is said to be a plant that purifies air effectively, while the most common indoor plant is the spider plant, which is also known for its air purifying properties.
Did you know, the golden pothos has the ability to remove formaldehyde from the air, if you thought plants simply stood lazily in a corner?
You can visit a local nursery or look up on the internet to identify the plants that best suit your lifestyle and home decor.
Window sills, kitchen counters, living rooms and balconies make ideal locations for plants. You can even use an assemblage of different plants to create a great ambiance.
Most indoor orchids require humid atmosphere to thrive well. They’ll make excellent additions to your kitchen or a sunny bathroom.
Bedrooms are not really recommended because, as you know, plants release carbon dioxide at night. This leads to reduced amount of oxygen in the air and that is most certainly not good for health.
Pots and containers for these plants are also decorative pieces themselves. So make sure that the pots you use are not only functional but also visually appealing. If you don’t want to spend loads of cash on fancy clay pots, you can simply buy some normal brown ones and paint them in a variety of colors.
If you have enough space, use big terracotta pots and paint them in a bronze or copper color. It adds a certain old world charm to the whole area. Although metal planters are ideal for this look, they are a wee bit expensive.
As much as possible, place your plants in sunny areas and avoid keeping them in places that are not frequently visited. plants like cacti can be kept in tea-cup sized pots and placed in smaller spaces.
This part is vital. Even though indoor plants require less maintenance as compared to their outdoor counterparts, they will still wither and die if you don’t care for them. Here’s how you should care for your indoor plants.
Plants are indeed a joy to have around living spaces. Having them in your home shall freshen the air and also lift the moods of people occupying that space. If you are someone concerned about environment, you should know about how green landscaping benefits the environment. Hope you found this article informative. Cheers!
No one needs to be reminded about the importance of insurance. It tends to be on people’s minds a lot these days. Insurance is basically a contract that agrees to offer financial protection or reimbursement of losses. It can be the best way to prepare yourself for large expenses that occur due to accidents or other unforeseeable events. All you have to do in pay a small amount as premium so that you can avoid paying major sums to rectify whatever your “money-draining” eventuality is. However what people really need to be briefed about is, are the kinds of insurance policies you have these days (Did you know? Football players can even insure their LEGS?) and which ones are the “must-have” ones.
What this does is quite simple. It insures your life for a certain amount of money, which shall be passed onto a person of your choice whom you shall nominate as your beneficiary. This way you can ensure that your family does to have to suffer due to your unfortunate death or any such unlikely event.
This is the kind of insurance that pays for medical emergencies and other health related expenses. These policies either reimburse the money incurred during payment or pay the treatment facility directly.
Automobile insurance covers your vehicles against damages and (God forbid) theft. If your foresee that in the near future your teenaged offspring decides to take your car for a ride and later bring it back in tatters, you must definitely have this one.
Protection for your home and other objects of value inside it are covered by this insurance. It can be availed only in the cases where natural calamities like fires, floods etc. This does not cover expense of the appliances damaged during a calamity.
Home warranty plan is different from home insurance plan. These plans cover repairs and replacement of major appliances inside your home. This kind of appliance protection plan is a must have if you live in areas where power supply is erratic or if you have an in-house Dexter whose experiments often burn up your household appliances.
It is also highly suited for folks who are having ageing appliances and wish to get peace of mind by avoiding unnecessary expenses.
Offer documents are often subject to Market risks. Make sure that you read the papers carefully before you sign up for anything. Thank you.
When you imagine of the four seasons, certain images instantly come to mind. For summer, its swimming pools, lawnmowers and barbecue grills. For fall, its turkeys, footballs and pumpkins. Winter is snowmen, stockings and hot chocolate. And spring? How about mop, brushes and buckets? Though the season is a sign of new birth, it’s also the time when most people take the instance to clean up.
Once spring has sprung, take some time to give your home a check-up along with its annual spring cleaning. Adding up some home maintenance tips to your schedule can assist your house function more proficiently. Precautionary maintenance is vital to the value of your abode. Keep your place in best shape with usual check-ups to put aside the headache and cost of emergency repairs.
Like many of us, homes require a tune up after the long winter months. Everything right from the roof to the sump pump requires an once-over after the season has taken its toll. For centuries, spring has been the cleaning time of year. In America, the thought of spring cleaning has become a custom for very sensible reasons. The cold and darkness that captured you in your house all winter grow fainter and are substituted longer days and warmer weather.
With much work to do, the job might appear overwhelming. The trick is to get organized. Prepare detailed lists of each set of tasks, possibly divided by room. After that, schedule one at a time, collect your tools, and get to it. Don’t allow the sum threaten you from beginning the parts.
To help you protect your most priceless asset —your home—check with these potential issues and find out how to fix them. To make things easier, download our home maintenance checklist that covers all four seasons.
Foundation, Masonry & Exterior Surfaces
Lawn & Landscape
Consult this comprehensive checklist for undoing winter’s damage to your home. Take care for these issues every year and your home will express thanks to you. Make sure you pay attention to other important things in your life such as reviewing your financial needs this year, ensuring you have adequate insurance coverage, health coverage etc.
Your home is the center of your everyday life and possibly your most valued asset. When your home is destroyed or damaged, you want your claim sorted out by an insurance company that realizes this simple fact. A right homeowners’ insurance company best meets your needs and provides you with the most valuable blend of quality service, custom-made coverage, and fair pricing in policies.
Depending on where you live – an apartment, house, or condominium – the right home insurance plan can give you peace of mind along with the money you need to replace or repair your home and/or stuff. Home insurance policies vary by the type of coverage you choose, the losses covered and the type of residence you own. You pick a policy that is best for you, whether it’s an all-inclusive policy that covers losses such as smoke, fire, falling objects, and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers specified losses.
Your home insurance plan is made up of the precise options you select. The amount you pay for your policy depends on what coverage you buy, how much you want to cover, and where you set your limits. There are many types of homeowners policies available when once you decide to be a homeowner or not. The most significant part of homeowners insurance is the level of coverage. Avoid paying for more than you require. Below are the most common levels of coverage.
As insurance policies come in many shapes and sizes, the same is true for insurance companies and agents, who can charge different rates for the same coverage. Bigger insurers are not always better and small don’t essentially have the best customer service. So, it’s always good to shop around for the top deals and ask the precise questions in an attempt to know what you are really receiving.
Prior to signing on the dotted line, you should understand that not all homeowners policies are the same. This is always one of the most common misinterpretations about insurance. According to a survey, more than a third of the homeowners said they did not have or didn’t identify if they had adequate homeowners insurance coverage. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina affected the city of New Orleans, and again in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy damaged numerous communities in New York and New Jersey, thousands of worried survivors got a rude shock when they found their standard homeowners’ policies did not cover flood damage.
Many catastrophic events are not covered in the basic homeowner’s policy, but they are still insurable and require additional levels of insurance. In some cases, homeowners need entirely different policies, which are usually several times costlier than the typical homeowners’ premium. Some homes are situated in high-risk areas such as flood, hurricanes and earthquake zones, which make buying additional insurance a top priority for these homeowners. Instead of the usual $250 to $1,000 deductible under basic coverage, you have to shell out 1 to 5% of your home’s insured value (up to 10% in Florida).
Hurricane season is an old threat for many residents living along the southeastern coast of the U.S. Hurricane Matthew, which made arrival on Oct 8, 2016, left an expected $6 billion worth of property loss in its devastation across states such as Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. If you live in a region that is prone to hurricanes, you must have certain emergency plans in place. Homeowners in hurricane-prone areas need to act fast to file damage claims with their insurance firms. For instance, if your home is insured for $200,000 and your plan has a 3% deductible for hurricanes, you will have to expend $6,000 out-of-pocket on a storm-related claim.
When you buy a homeowners insurance policy, one of the must have insurance policies, you must prepare the latest home inventory to speed up a claim settlement if you ever need to make one. A complete home inventory, help your insurance company verify the property easier, which in turn makes settling your claim easy. Additionally, you can validate losses for your income tax return with the latest home inventory without any hassles.
For many homeowners, insurance is something to be thought of again, i.e., until the worst occurs. Homeowners who wait until they experience a loss before assessing their own policies do not get the full value – may be little value – out of their incalculable premium payments.
Homeowners insurance is a monetary agreement, but it should also be treated as a living entity to be cherished over time. By reading your policy wisely, shopping around for the suitable agent, comprehending your coverage limits, and create an updated property inventory.
Claim denial is an incident in which a home warranty company rejects a customer’s request for repair service. Sometimes customer claims are legit and fully entitled to receive services stated as per the contract. Claim denials are considered to be a major reason behind spats between service contract companies and the customer.
While some claims are denied for genuine reasons, some customers argue that companies deny claims on vague grounds often stating fine print from the contract. Yet, there are also cases where the companies were falsely accused of unfair claim denial solely because the customer failed to understand the terms mentioned in the home service contract.
What we need to understand is that not all companies deny claims unfairly because doing so will severely damage their reputation. So unless there is a valid reason, reputable companies will not deny a customer’s claims randomly.
Let’s take a look at some common reasons for claim denials
This is often the most common reason for denying a claim. Most service contracts only cover a fixed set of appliances and not everything in your house. If your home service contract provider gives you this reason, go check your contract and make sure that the appliance is indeed not covered. In case you find that it is a covered item, place further calls to the company and let them know that the as per the contract, the item is covered.
No home service contract covers an appliance that has become damaged due to lack of maintenance. Regular wear and tear is not caused due to insufficient maintenance. It is the result of prolonged, proper usage. It is the homeowner’s duty to carry out regular maintenance routines, especially for HVAC appliances. However, if you believe that the damage is not caused due to insufficient maintenance, tell the company that you need to get a second opinion from a different contractor.
Home service contract providers often tell the customer that the damage was one that existed even before the contract was signed and hence it will not be covered. There’s hardly anything you can do about such a denial. However, you can avoid chances for such disputes by making sure that you get a home inspection done prior to signing the contract. That way the home inspector’s report will clearly state about what appliance has what damage. If it is not in the report and if the item is covered, you may be entitled to a repair service.
Wear and tear due to regular usage and wear and tear due to rough handling and careless usage can be distinguished quite easily. If the damage was caused due to the latter kind of wear and tear, your claim stands a chance to be denied. In this scenario too, you can ask for a another contractor to get a second opinion if you disagree on the diagnosis.
If the appliance was not properly installed and if it violates the codes laid down for safe use and installation, chances are high that your claim may be denied.
It goes without saying that the policy booklet, the contract and the inspection report, if any, must be preserved carefully. The moment you realise that your claim has been denied, go through your contract and policy document to make sure that the claim is denied purely based on the terms in the contract. If you have a home inspection report go through that too. If you feel that your claim has been unjustly denied, you can call the home service contract company again and press the issue.
You can also visit review websites and post a review about your experience. HomeWarrantyReviews.com has a feature called the Complaint Resolution Program (CRP) which is a platform for companies and their customers to resolve their issues. The customer merely needs to report his negative experience with HomeWarrantyReviews.com, following this, he will be asked if wants to take part is CRP. If he/she chooses to participate in it, the company will be notified about his/her grievance and will be given 30 days to respond/ sort it out. If the company fails to respond or resolve the issue, the customer’s negative review becomes public. Some review websites allows their users to resolve the issues with the contract provider by communicating with them through a specific platform. The advantage of this system is that if the home service provider fails to resolve the issue for the customer or fail to respond within a time frame, the review becomes public, thereby affecting the rating and reputation of the company. Most companies do not want that.
Whatever the reason could be, we request customers to make things clear before they react to a claim denial. It could be that the company is not at fault here and because of a misunderstanding, their name gets tarnished. Most of the unpleasant scenarios can be avoided if the company you pick is reputable. Hence we cannot stress enough on the importance of picking the right company, a good home service contract provider will always put the interests of the customer first. Remember, good communication is often the solution to the biggest of problems.
This letter was written by someone who worked in the home warranty industry for a long time. The views and opinions expressed are author’s own. However, we do think the author provides an insightful view along with some valuable suggestions.
Hello. I was just reading the letter from Robert Lehman of HSA Home Warranty along with the comments as well as other home warranty company reviews and am compelled to contact you.
I worked in the home warranty industry for almost 17 years. I was an outside sales rep, selling the home warranty through the real estate industry as well as related industries (lenders, title companies, system and appliance vendors, appraisers and inspectors). I have been in the insurance industry since 1983.
While I am no longer working in the home warranty industry, I do believe in it and would like to help both consumers and home warranty companies alike. To make it as simple as possible – The home warranty covers the items listed in the contract subject to limitations and exclusions. Just like any other contract, not everything is covered. It is not Carte Blanche. Things that are not covered by the home warranty plans may be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, a product recall, homeowners insurance or may just simply fall into the category of “the cost of owning a home”.
A home warranty is a wonderful service to have, reducing unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. But when there is a financial burden because of an unexpected problem, it’s so easy to not like who you have to call because you don’t like the situation. Not having to come out of pocket for the full retail cost of the repair is a whole lot better than coming out of pocket for the trade call fee and perhaps a bit
more towards the repair.
Now, having worked through many challenges with home owners, I know that the home warranty companies can improve in terms of both coverage and service. The challenge with coverage is the cost, the premium that is charged to the home owner. The challenge with service includes the home warranty company staff and the vendors that represent the home warranty companies.
Coverage provided by home warranty companies should be far more inclusive in my opinion. And I know it could be, but there has yet to be a home warranty company that is willing to make the move to charge a higher premium for that more inclusive coverage. It is a very competitive industry and no one wants to price themselves out of the market. But I know that I personally would rather pay $800 to $1,000 a year vs. $250 to $600 and not have to worry about more than my trade call fee.
Many home warranty companies have a basic plan with additional optional coverage for things like a kitchen refrigerator or roof leak coverage. Many times a home owner is justifiably frustrated to learn that this “option” was not purchased so they had no coverage. This is most common for home warranties that are purchased through a real estate transaction and the actual end user did not have say in the coverage purchased as the seller was the one who bought the warranty. The most common coverage complaint is when a vendor is dispatched for a system or appliance and the home owner has to pay above the trade call fee for an item that is covered by the home warranty. An example might be having the pay to bring a water heater to current code before the repair can be made. If the home warranty companies charged more for their covered items, they could very likely remove many limitations from their plans. There will always be exclusions, just like any other contract.
Service is big issue and it should be. The staff of the home warranty company should always have a smile in their voice and an empathetic ear. It’s a tough industry for service representatives at a home warranty company because they take a lot of heat from frustrated, emotional home owners. It is imperative that the home warranty companies properly and constantly work with their service reps to keep moral up and to coach on “empathy”. At the same time, it is equally important for the home owner to be polite and remain calm. It is not acceptable to speak rudely or abusively to a service rep at any company. But because people are emotional, there will always be times of poor communication, so the biggest burden should be with the home warranty company personnel. So many complaints about the service provided by the home warranty service rep would be eliminated if they would return a phone call in a timely manner; not keep someone on hold without checking back often and offering a return call rather than holding; and simply listening to the caller, completely, and having a genuine, unscripted conversation without pressure of ending the call in a certain time frame. And of course, the oh-so-important follow-up and follow-through.
Another challenge with service is with the vendor that has been dispatched to a home. Vendors do the dirty, physical labor, regardless of conditions including weather, traffic, conditions at the property they are servicing and the attitude of the customer. In most cases, the vendors working for the home warranty company are experienced and reputable and therefore should always treat the home owner with the utmost care and professionalism. Unfortunately, even though the vendor company may meet the requirements and expectations of the home warranty company, the home warranty company has no control over who that vendor hires; this is when many of the vendor related problems occur. It is so important for the home warranty company to have staff specifically assigned to vendor/contractor relations as well as requesting feedback from the home owner on how that vendor’s service was.
There is so much more that could be addressed, but hopefully this has helped someone somewhere.
– Anonymous Industry Veteran
The joys of home ownership and delight of self-sustenance comes hand in hand with maintenance anxiety and budgetary concerns. Let’s look at how to lighten the load and delegate some of the upkeep and repairs with the help of a home warranty plan or a home service contract!
Working towards keeping your home new, resolved and looked after always, Home Warranty is your one stop shop for all your servicing needs when it comes to your home – and all that without any unnecessary worry. Taking care of all issues when it comes to day to day wear and tear or appliance breakdowns, Home Warranty is like a homeowner’s insurance policy, but for the little things and routine aging of your home appliances and systems, which can be done by getting a free quote from HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s website. On the other hand, insurance tends to focus on major damage because of unforeseen circumstances and natural disasters.
If you’re diving into the deep end of the Home Warranty pool for the first time, here is some basic information to guide you through the process and keep you afloat.
Investing in a Home Warranty scheme can work out great whether you are a new homeowner, a seller looking to strike a no-nonsense deal, or even a realtor offering a perk to both parties.
From a homeowner point of view the incentives are straightforward. You have just sunk in a considerably large sum of money into a house, and for just a little more you can save yourself needless hassle and sudden repair and maintenance payments for at least the first year of owning the home. If you happen to be new to the home owning side of the fence, and have always lived as a tenant, then getting a Home Warranty works out even better – all the fixing the landlords usually took care off will still not be yours to worry about.
From a seller’s perspective, Home Warranty boosts the value of the home, builds trust in the prospective buyers that the current owner has confidence in the structure and appliances enough to invest in Home Warranty, allows for the buyer to know that a year in their lives after the purchase if taken care of and last but definitely not the least, lets you sleep peacefully at night knowing that you won’t be getting calls in a few months with complaints about the home.
Confused as to why Home Warranty can be a realtor’s best friend as well? In the time of market lows and steep competition, a Home Warranty scheme added to your list of services can act as quite the spur. Encouraging for both sellers and buyers, throw in a year’s warranty to the upcoming purchase and it shows not only your commitment to the deal but also your trust in the home they are about to call their own!
Depending on the plan you choose, which in turn will depend on the extent to which your home needs upkeep and you wish to delegate, Home Warranty plans generally cover all the major plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems, major appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens, amongst other things. The core plan may vary to include leakage and seepage, structural defects, drainage systems and outdoor mechanisms, pools and garages, but most companies prefer to keep these as additional maintenance factors.
Most companies also allow for unlimited service requests during the contract period, which can act as a great incentive when it comes to investing in warranty schemes, as well as replacements of appliances that cannot be fixed.
Most often, all known issues with appliances or systems that pre-date the purchase of the warranty are not covered by the company, and neither are unknown conditions that are due to mismanagement in the past.
That being said, certain unique cases are taken into account where in pre-dating issues are considered, but only if they were not known off before. The most common of these is when a Home Warranty scheme is purchased as a part of a real estate deal, wherein the coverage is extended to include circumstances where unobservable defects already existed in the home that was purchased.
Adding to that, when an appliance is already under warranty from the manufacturer or requires fixing of cosmetic damage or damage that is not related to its core functioning, then too the appliance will not be applicable for coverage. The most common example of such a claim is physical weathering, noise, and corrosion on the outside.
If you don’t treat your appliances right by the rules, or have a pet that could cause accidents, then any such damage will not be taken into account. As an extension, the Home Warranty does not overlap in function with insurance, so any acts of God such a fires and floods will not be covered either.
Lastly, any damage due to mold or pests are usually left out of Home Warranty terms and conditions as well, but some companies do tend to add it in their extended schemes. Knowing your scheme is important, and while we have covered the generalities, make sure you look through the terms, conditions and limitations of your schemes before you sign the papers.
Even though it isn’t a necessity to have a professional home inspection done before you get yourself Home Warranty, it is never a bad idea to get your new home checked for quirks and components that may need a little extra care along the way. In the opinion of most experts, getting a thorough home inspection done before the purchase can tell you all you need to know about the property, and get you up to speed about the kind of warranty scheme and coverage you should invest in. It is important for you to have an idea of the proceedings of an inspection as well, and not miss the essentials.
Just as a general rule, a warranty should cover appliances regardless of how new or old they are, as long as they are properly maintained and are in working condition when the contract begins.
Even though Home Warranty is about giving up responsibility and being able to delegate, it is just as useful for those of you who like to choose and have some control over who does the fixing.
Whether you’ve had a trusted repairman for years and prefer to call him when in need, or would rather make a quick call and call the service company down the road instead of waiting for the warranty service provider, all companies provide schemes that reimburse servicing charges as long as it falls under the terms and conditions of your specific coverage.
It is essential that you inform your Home Warranty company prior to calling for any repair, as failing to do so automatically nullifies your warranty. The first step is for you to thoroughly review your coverage and understand the repair, servicing and replacements limitations that going to be applied to the issue at hand. One you have identified the issue and gotten clear on the specifications, report the issue to the company, and they will call for a diagnosis and an estimate cost of the repairs.
The company will schedule an appointment, come and cross check the claim, and do some basic examining before calling for either replacement or repair. Simple repairs are easily tackled in the first appointment itself, but if the task at hand is complicated and requires further attention, it may take some time for spare parts to be ordered. Some companies choose to use service providers from their own list, whereas others may work with you to find one that is trustworthy and reputable.
Most often, you can decide whether your warranty scheme has an upper limit cap on expenses by picking the right deal for your needs. While schemes with unlimited spending when it comes to repairs and servicing can be enticing, they do often cost a lot. On the other hand, certain companies may choose to meet you halfway and not have a pre-set limit but yet reserve the right to decide, depending upon on each case that you bring them.
Most Home Warranties last for exactly one year from the date of payment, after which it requires an extension – the same as any legal lease. Extended plans for more than a year at a time do exist, but it isn’t the best plan to make such a long-term investment right at the first go. Your home and its systems will change and age as each year goes by, and often the premium on your warranty will increase as the appliances need more maintenance. It is best to take it one year at a time and give yourself the freedom to alter the plan when need be, unless the warranty you are purchasing is for a home that is new or nearly new.
All Home Warranties are easily renewable – most companies allow not only for quick and speedy renewal of schemes but also help you set up payment plans as per your convenience. Certain companies do have strict termination clauses though, which can be rather annoying if you wish to take a step back. The clause usually applies for cancellation or termination before a certain period, so make sure you keep your eye open for such sections in the terms and conditions before you sign! Last but not the least, laws change from state to state, so make sure to just information specific to your zip code.
The best way to find the perfect deal or company for you, know what to look out for, get to know the tricks of the trade and make the absolute most out of your warranty is to throw yourself into reviews and remarks from other Home Warranty users. Based on consumer research and a rating system that gives you both subjective information as well as statistics, HomeWarrantyReviews.com acts as a platform for all homeowners to share secrets on how to survive the complex world of being homemakers, and also provides for a systematic Complaint Resolution Program (CRP). It isn’t only about finding reviews; you can add to the data by leaving your own comments on the website as well – HomeWarrantyReviews.com acts as a bridge between you and the company without you having to get your hands dirty.
As a landlord, legal responsibility is a bigger issue for you. You need to guard yourself against the losses that can potentially crop up to your properties and in general financial health. What if your occupant is hurt on the rental possessions? You want to be sure that if you are prosecuted, you have the adequate insurance to lend you a hand.
As a landlord, you should guard your income stream and that’s your rental income. If the structure is adequately spoiled then it is not possible for the renter to dwell in your property, so you require a protection to your rental income so as to meet your obligations, together with the mortgage on the property, if any. This is where you have to reflect carefully on what your exact needs are and purchase the right coverage.
Take heart! While it may sound scary, insurers have previously designed policies for the landlord’s requirements. Always remember that there will be a dissimilarity in these policies, so you will have to verify the fine print and choose the one that suits your situation. By shopping around, you will get a better idea of what is obtainable in coverage and at what price.
There are some forms of insurance you can take to make your life simpler and less of a burden. Here is a list of essential insurances that a landlord must have:
Landlords most likely take issue with this one, as it appears to take money out of their pockets-especially those with the ability to do repair work themselves. However, you can draw a better class of tenant if they recognize that there’s a warranty in place. (i.e., they won’t have to hunt you down and request you to come by to make repairs). Besides, it will free you up to truly manage your belongings as an owner rather than just a handyman. To end with, a home warranty policy will pay for itself with one or two repairs.
To get an estimate of home warranty costs for your rental properties, visit our home warranty price quote section
If you possess a home then you likely know the significance of ensuring that it is properly protected. Having the correct insurance for your property is a good step towards making sure that you have the guard you require. Landlord house insurance is essential for anyone who possesses a home. The key to home insurance policies is ensuring that you receive the best price for your insurance.
Below is a list of ways by which you can decrease the rate of your insurance policy.
Many landlords believe that they do not require any insurance for the contents in their buildings. They hold the impression that these contents are taken care of by the building insurance they procured. However, that is not the actual case. To get the contents covered, they will have to spend extra in landlords’ contents insurance. Some landlords even feel that the contents will be covered by any insurance policy the tenant holds. But the actual fact is that the policies bought by the tenants will only cover possessions of the tenants and not that of the landlord.
If the landlords truly worry about the contents for which they put in a huge amount of money, they must procure landlords contents insurance. In this way, they can expect to get some reimbursement for the items in case they are damaged. Having no insurance for these items will leave them totally destructed if they face any incident causing damages.
It’s called “umbrella insurance as it is intended to give liability protection beyond when the liability on other policies has been exhausted. Depending on the insurance company, you can obtain an umbrella policy with an extra one to five million in liability protection.
Umbrella Insurance gives an added layer of liability coverage. It’s isn’t just for rich and famous. Whether it’s an incident on your policy or a serious auto accident concerning costly medical bills, you can find yourself liable for damages that exceed the limits on your homeowners, auto or boat policies. A pricey judgment is the last thing you want to be anxious about.
Landlords habitually handle different types of policies, but one of the most significant and frequently unnoticed types of insurance is the umbrella insurance policy.
Consider these factors if you are not sure if you would benefit from procuring umbrella insurance or not.
Taking no notice of these insurance policies is not recommended anytime. The consequence of such ignorance could lead to serious losses that will be hard to recover. On the contrary, landlords are strongly suggested to make an investment in such policies that will save them a lot of money in case of any accidents.
The National League of Cities surpassed a considerable milestone in February 2012 with more than 100 cities now taking part in the NLC Service Line Warranty Program. In this program, more than one million households are now entitled to participate. The program is administered by Utility Service Partners, Inc. and offers citizens in participant cities an affordable way to keep away from the unforeseen and large expenditure involved with a line break.
If you possess a home in Marshalltown your side drain main-the pipe that joins your home to the city main- is your responsibility. In case something goes wrong, you are responsible for the cost to fix it as your home owner’s insurance does not cover it.
A new program could grant home owners with auxiliary insurance to cover the cost of mending these sewer lines if something goes wrong. During the meeting of the Marshalltown City Council, Oscar Arras of Utility Service Partners Inc. gave a presentation applauding a new warranty program his company is offering. Neither the homeowners insurance companies, nor the home appliance warranties cover these expenses in their basic coverage.
According of Arras, the program moves the burden of coping with sewer main mishaps from the home owner to Utility Partners Inc.
Cities and towns all over the country from Rolfe, Iowa (population 566) to Atlanta, Georgia (population 540,922) are aiding inhabitants who have come across these unexpected repairs. Many citizen are not aware that they are only liable for the utility line that go from their houses to the utility connection. In case these lines break or leak, repairs can be very costly.
Dinald J. Borut, Executive Director of National League of Cities says, “”I am very encouraged by the warm reception this program has quickly received since its introduction 12 months ago,” stated Donald J. Borut, Executive Director, National League of Cities.” He continued, “In these difficult economic times, cities are actively seeking creative ways to assist their residents. This program was designed to help city residents save thousands of dollars on the high cost of repairing broken or leaking water or sewer lines.”
The warranty program offers up to $4,000 in coverage per incidence and costs just under $6 per month. There is no deductible and no limit on the number of repairs and homeowners can get any number of them in a year. In addition, there is no deductible.
As per the City Administrator Randy Wetmore, the city would get 10 percent in royalties from the fees Utility Service Partners Inc. charges. The program would make use of only local contractors and plumbers who will be required to respond to calls received via the company’s 24/7 800 number within an hour.
Wetmore says that one of the biggest benefits is that the program is voluntary and if someone wants to benefit themselves to it then they have it. He adds that the program is not dependant on the number of people making use of the service.
The program also helps with “soft calls” where city workers are send off only to notify the homeowner that the city is not responsible for the issue. Further the program costs nothing put into practice and has no evident downside. Customers are free to pay one of the three ways: online payment, monthly invoices or payment up to a year in advance.
National League of Cities is devoted to helping city leaders put up better communities. NLC is a source and supporter for 19,000 cities, villages and towns, on behalf of more than 218 million Americans.
The NLC Service Line Warranty Program helps city residents in saving thousands of dollars on the high cost of repairing broken or leaking water or sewer lines. Offered at no cost, this program offers participating cities with the whole thing required to bring it to its residents, converse with local media and make known where residents can get information about the program.
Headquartered in Canonsburg, PA, Utility Service Partners, Inc. (USP) is one of the self-governing providers of service line warranties in North America with a collection of over 375,000 products in the U.S. Ever since its formation in September 2003; USP has opened up partnerships with municipal/city governments and utilities to offer utility line warranties to their clientele.
Home warranty is a service contract that offers discounted repairs and replacements for your household appliances. If you have an appliance protection plan, and if one of your covered appliances breaks down, the home warranty company will repair it for you at a very nominal price.
In general, such plans are considered a wise purchase for those
If any of the above mentioned conditions are true, it will be a good idea to purchase an appliance protection plan. Folks who fall into any one of the categories stated above stand a high chance of encountering frequent damages leaving their pocket empty.
Several types of appliance protection plans are available in the market today. Most of them differ with the extent of coverage. Most of the first tier or basic plans cover only major systems and appliances in your home. This usually excludes outdoor appliances and systems and second sets of devices. Eg spa and pool units, sprinklers are common things excluded from coverage. Also second air conditioning unit, second cooler etc are also omitted. However, the best part about these plans are that their coverage can always be extended. Accordingly the annual premium you pay will be higher.
How Does the Plan Work?
If an appliance crashes while the warranty plan is still valid, all you have to do is to inform the company about the damage. Once you give them all the necessary details, they will call up a service vendor with whom they maintain business ties. The vendor then contacts you to fix an appointment and on the agreed time he arrives to take a look at your appliance. If the damage is minor, the technician will fix it right away.
However, major damages or part replacements may need approval from the home service contract company. Any parts that require replacement will be procured for you by the company.
Home Warranty plans are a great way to insure your household appliances if they are old or aging. However, people often tend to confuse this with homeowner’s insurance, which is quite a big mistake. Homeowner’s insurance can never be replaced with a home service contract or vice versa. Though they both offer protection for your appliances, their grounds for placing a claim are totally different.
May it be reminded again that the policy booklet and contracts are vital documents and should be studied and preserved carefully. If you have decided to go ahead with a home warranty, check out Top Home Warranty Companies listed on our site.
The Illinois department of insurance issued a warning earlier this year to its residents to avoid a Florida based home warranty company Arkidus Home Protection, Inc. Arkidus had been unlawfully advertising home warranty services via the internet to residents of Illinois and in many cases there were documented incidents of these consumers who purchased a warranty not receiving the services promised to them.
The company and its owner, Reinaldo “Ray” Berges has previously been served with a cease and desist order by the Illinois Department of insurance, but continued offering service coverage for household appliances and major system components. The company had its headquarters in Miami though more recent reports suggest that office has been closed for many months.
The company has not been granted any certificate of authority to sell insurance or home warranties to the consumers in the state of Illinois, thus the cease and desist order from that state was issued. This unfortunately may not help recover the money lost by the Illinois consumers who purchased home warranties, also referred to as residential service contracts or home service contracts.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), The consumers have launched over 245 complaints against the company in last three years. BBB indicates in its report that Arkidus conducted its business through a website, www.theahp.net.
BBB is a non- profit organization more than a 100 years old functioning in U.S and Canada. It collects and provides free business reliability reviews on over 4 million businesses. The BBB plays the role of an intermediary between businesses and consumers. Though it is not mandatory for any firm to get accreditation from BBB such accreditation is sought by some companies in order to build faith in their business. Arkidus is not accredited by BBB and thus the amount of involvement BBB may have had with Arkidus’s customers would have been limited to collecting and documenting complaints and then reporting complaints to the company. For further recourse consumers who have complaints against Arkidus would likely need legal representation or assistance from consumer protection entities.
According to publicly available information Illinois’s Department of insurance has also received many complaints from customers of Arkidus who allege they have been tricked by that company and were unable to obtain reimbursements for their claims or their canceled contracts.
The complaints from consumers are also publicly available on various websites. One such complaint posted online was from Jose. E who is a resident of Florida. In his post he said, “This Company is a scam. I started service with them in May, and they will not honor their policy. I keep getting calls from companies that were dispatched by them. I needed a plumber and an electrician, and both have been harassing me with the remainder of their bill, even though I paid my deductible. Do not purchase anything from this company, they are frauds.”
Arkidus appears to have ceased doing business but for a time the company was successful persuading customers to pay long term contract fees, in some cases for terms of two years or more. These customers spent thousands of dollars in some cases, all of which they now face losing forever. If significant legal action isn’t taken against the owner of the company it is unlikely that consumers will receive any reimbursement and this whole story will end sadly. Hence we warn our readers to be cautious about choosing home warranty companies with very little business history, no matter how positive the early reviews of the company may be.
If you suspect you are dealing with the wrong people already or believe you too have been scammed do not delay making a formal report to the appropriate agency or agencies. Both at the state and national level in the U.S. there are free and fast ways to make your voice heard when you feel you’ve been misled by a business or been the victim of a scam. The important thing is to act quickly and not give up if you feel your complaint is being documented but not being acted upon.
Ever wondered what is the difference between home warranty and homeowners insurance ? Are they not same? Let’s find answers for these questions.
While home warranty and home insurance products may come across as same, they are totally different. The coverage, cost, terms and conditions vary greatly. Home insurance is compulsory in some cases whereas home warranty is a recommended choice.
Home warranty offers protection for your major appliances, as well as plumbing and electrical units. It covers the cost of repairing or replacing major household appliances in case they break down, provided they meet the terms and conditions of the home service contract.
Home insurance covers your home in the event of damage due to natural calamity or man-made disasters and offers you liability protection from lawsuits in case of a third party involvement. If your neighbor came visiting you and accidentally fell and got injured and decides to sue you, then home insurance will take care of the claims. Home insurance is mandatory if you have a mortgage on your home.
Items covered by a home warranty may vary by company and plan, but typically includes the following items:
In case of an uncertain event like fire, theft, vandalism, or certain natural disasters, the cost of damages are covered. It also covers your personal items and gives you liability protection. Liability insurance will protect you from lawsuits in the event that someone is injured on your property. Home insurance will only insure your personal items in case they are stolen or ruined in a disaster. Repairs and replacements due to wear and tear are not covered.
The insurance policy varies depending on your state of residence and type of policy, but generally it will cover the following.
Home is the most prized and cherished possession any individual can have and nobody anticipates damages to this, therefore a home insurance provides you the following benefits when you cover your home.
A standard warranty runs $300 to $500 for a year of protection, which covers the cost of repairing or replacing a home’s major systems and appliances. Home sellers typically pick up the tab for the first year of coverage. Extended coverage plans for pools, spas and washers and dryers can be purchased at an extra cost.
Insurance cost varies from state to state and depends on the extent of coverage and the location of the property but a standard insurance can cost any homeowners insurance is between $300 and $1,000.
When you are planning to buy a home warranty, make sure that you do some research. Check our home warranty reviews section that provides pricing, comparison, quotes and consumer reviews of all major companies. When you are getting price quotes, inquire to look over a sample policy. Bear in mind to understand the entire policy, together with the fine print.
Another advantage of home warranty policy is that it is transferable. That means when you sell the house the warranty would be passed to the new owner. This has proved to be a well-liked feature amongst home buyers as homes having home warranties are selling at increased prices and in much shorter times. This in itself could make it sensible to get a home warranty policy.
When a covered appliance breaks down you need to contact your warranty company. A warranty company already has business ties with different service vendors. They will in turn contact a service repairman to come to your home and repair the appliance. The repairman will fix the item or recommend replacing it. The service repairman will bill your warranty company directly, but you have to pay a service charge when the repair person visits your home.
With any kind of insurance, it is always a good idea to shop around and evaluate benefits and prices as most insurance companies will provide you a policy discount. Ensure you read the policy before writing a check and ask any queries that you have in mind.
So, the conclusion is that home warranty and insurance are complementary to each other. You can choose to protect everything you own, provided you can afford to. Keep in mind that these insurance products do cost a bit more, but compared to the benefits they provide and the peace of mind you get, it seems like a very small amount. Insure your home as well as buy a home warranty all within your budget.
This infographic depicts the most basic definition of what a Home Warranty is all about. Although the title says that it is for dummies, we’re sure that even people with average/ above average intelligence can keep up!
Now, an appliance warranty is a form of protection your purchase for your household appliances and systems. It is a contract that offers to provide you discounted repair and replacement services should your device sustain any damages.
As you can see in the infographic, all major systems and appliances are covered. Now that would include refrigerator, built in ovens and microwaves, washer/ dryer, HVAC units and major systems like plumbing and electrical units. Additional coverage can always be purchased, so you can rest assured that all your devices can be protected!
This is how it works. When your covered device gets damaged, you simply place a call to the warranty company explaining your situation. If the damage is not an excluded one, your claim will be taken up. The warranty company then sends a technician to your home to fix the damage.
Let’s discuss the claims part. Like we said, when you notice a damage, all you need to do is inform the warranty company about it. Did you notice that title saying “Common reasons for claim denials”? Yes it is true. Although this does not happen often, it is still noticed that companies often deny claims. The grounds for claim denial varies from company to company and can be understood only after you go through their policy booklet.
However, common reasons for denial are as follows
Don’t worry too much about it. If you choose a reputable company, chances are low that your claims will be unjustly denied.
Moving on, let’s discuss the premiums and deductibles involved. As the image says, the annual premium for most basic warranty plans are somewhere in the range of $250- $500. This can vary depending on the extent of coverage. Larger the coverage, higher the premium.
Each time you raise an issue, you will be expected to pay a deductible/ service call fee (it’s nominal, around $50). The happy news is that there are some companies offering plans at zero deductible.
So there! That’s what the infographic is all about. Isn’t it an awesome image? Cheers!
Real estate transactions are always approached with caution. They often involve large amounts of money so being careful is a wise step. Having a skilled real estate agent may help you a lot in achieving a deal that’s perfect for you, especially if you are new to real estate dealings. But the questions is, how do you choose a real estate agent that suits your needs?
Irrespective of whether you are a buyer or a seller, there are certain things that you can do to ensure that your real estate agent is quite good. You can ask your friends and relatives in case if they have used the services of a real estate agent before for referrals.
But before you decide about an agent, understand why exactly do you need an agent. There are many benefits of hiring a real estate agent.
So our checklist for picking the right real estate agent involves doing the following things-
Some say that like doctors, real estate agents too have specializations. A certified real estate agent often belongs to any of the three categories-
Also, if an agent calls himself a Realtor, it could mean that he/she is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Based on what your requirement is – buying, selling or renting, pick an agent with the right credential.
Check with your state’s regulatory body to find out whether the agent you have in mind has a license to be a real estate agent or not. Most states have a board from whom practicing real estate agents are expected to obtain a license. This board also oversees the discipline of such agents. Such a regulatory body would be the best place to find out if there are any existing complaints, disciplinary actions or lawsuits against a certain real estate agent or not. This information could be available online.
This information can be obtained from the regulatory board in your state. The state licensing authority often gives more precise answers than the agents themselves. As you want someone who’s on top of their game, an agent who has not been active in the last few years may not be a good choice.
Keep in mind that you want someone who is familiar with your target location and price range. Someone with a bad market presence may not be a good choice.
These days most agents have a website through which they invite in potential clients and also display their current listings. If you are a seller, you should be ware that most buyers begin with the Internet. So you want someone who makes use of the Internet effectively, as being web savvy definitely has its advantages.
If the real estate agent’s website has a database of current listings and its details, it is definitely a good sign.
If a real estate agent is good, he/she would’ve closed many deals and would have many clients who recommend them strongly. The greater the number of closings, greater is the agent’s experience. Make sure that you call up most of the references provided by the real estate agent. Clients are often the best people to give you feedback.
While we have given you really cool tips, we strongly suggest that you do ample research before you pick an agent. Ideally, meet several real estate agents and shortlist the ones that meet all the above mentioned pointers. You can then pick one from that list. If you are a seller, we would also like to remind you that offering a home warranty with your home may increase the sales price of your property. And if you are a buyer, if a property comes with home warranty, it could mean that your budget could stay protected if major appliances and systems require repairs.
We hope you found this article useful. Do let us know what you think. Cheers!
An offshoot of Home Warranty, Structural Warranty is a legal agreement between the builder of the home and you – the owner. Structural Warranty functions basically in the case of new homes, wherein the builder assures that the home he has built will have no structural defects for a period of ten years after its construction. His claim is covered by the company which offers him warranty coverage for the building, at times additionally including workmanship and internal systems.
The system functions just like Insurance, but covers defects which may occur due to age and wear and tear, not natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances. Like the Home Warranty covers the items in a home – its appliances, wiring and plumbing systems, interiors etc. – Structural Warranty covers elements like the foundation, girders and beams, roofing, and flooring.
Before the purchase of a home, it is advised for either the new owner, seller or realtor to purchase Home Warranty, in order to establish a relationship of trust and confidence in both parties involved. Just as a Home Warranty leaves the new owner knowing that his home and all that is in it is secure for at least a year after its purchase, Structural Warranty establishes the same sense of security in the buyer of a new home straight from a builder.
It is rather simple – all structural defects are now to be fixed by the company that the Warranty has been purchased from or by the builder offering the warranty himself, and as long as the terms and conditions are met, neither the builder nor the new owner is liable.
We see before our eyes appliances, electrical systems and plumbing leaks occur every once in awhile – but most of the time structural damage is noticeable only after it is too late. Given that large parts of the US are known to have soil that expands with seasonal changes, statistics show that more than 25% of all buildings in the country experience some kind of structural damage during the first decade of their life, almost 10% of this being major and often irreversible.
It isn’t always about how reputable the builder is, in fact, the more reliable the builder the higher the chances are of them investing in warranty for the homes they have built. Years after a deal is signed, sealed and delivered, a matter like soil expansion that is out of the hands of both the parties can spring up, making Structural Warranty the only way to guard against massive expenditure out of your own pocket in the future. Studies show that the warranty is most often claimed 4 to 7 years after a home is built to completion.
The chances of an individual investing a sum as large as the cost of a home in anything else in his or her lifetime is very slim, making this purchase one that could develop complications if not done right. Builder’s offering Structural Warranty for the home they have built can not only assure the buyer of their expertise but also give them a legal document to go back to in case frivolous lawsuits or complaints are lodged. Like in the case of any two-way agreement, responsibilities, terms, and conditions are clearly outlined.
If a third party company is used to establish a warranty, then any complaints, disputes or discussions will be handled by them – until the point of reconciliation. This saves time and discomfort for both parties involved, especially the builder.
If you happen to be a builder with larger holdings or varied properties and houses, then the value of each building is sure to increase if Structural Warranty is added to the mix. Use it as a marketing strategy, one that is true to every word and will help you build lasting relationships with your clients.
Structural Warranty functions according to the guidelines of the Housing and Urban Development department of the US, which stipulates particular criteria within which a company must cover damages. Larger builders may choose to provide their own Structural Warranty schemes to the buyer, while builders without a department to handle such claims or smaller building agencies may choose to use third-party warranty companies. Even more so than Home Warranty claims and structures, Structural Warranty coverage and insurance backing vary drastically from builder to builder and company to company. If you happen to be a part of the decision making of who to choose, make sure you do your research and pick a coverage that is extensive and appropriate to your home.
If you go through a Structural Warranty contract or guide, you will notice one important point – the extremely specific and near legal language used to describe what that particular company or builder covers. Structural Warranty owes this specificity to regulations set by the Housing and Urban Development Department of the US, as well as to the builders’ need to protect themselves from futile claims and lawsuits.
Due to each Structural Warranty being unique (much like Home Warranties state-wise laws), we will get into what the warranty covers in general. Know that this isn’t ironclad, and you have to cross check the terms and conditions with your builder.
As a whole, third-party companies offer two kinds of warranty, one which accounts for any damage to the structure of the building from the moment the deal is closed between the builder and buyer. The second stipulates that the company will only begin to cover damage to the home 3 to 4 years post the sale, implying that any structural damage before then is up to the builder to fix.
Each company usually has a base plan and other additional perks that you can choose to opt for.
The basic coverage usually covers the following:
The last of these, load bearing partitions, are often accompanied by the additional coverage of non-load bearing partitions. These claims are almost purely cosmetic, and certain Structural Warranty companies do assure the fixing of these, keeping in mind the original material integrity of the home.
Integral to any warranty and insurance difference, Structural Warranty doesn’t cover any damage due to natural disaster, accidents or unforeseen circumstances; anything that is covered under insurance, basically.
Lastly, any structures added to the original home – an extension, outhouse and detached garage space for examples – would not be covered. If the need is felt, the builder could then purchase a separate Structural Home Improvement Warranty.
Individual state laws in the US tackle Structural Warranty in different ways, making the cost different in each state as well. On an average, if the basic warranty is purchased, then it shouldn’t cost more than 1% of the purchase cost of the home. In most states which are positioned in low-risk areas (minimal soil expansion, etc.), the price is only about half a percent of the home’s price, whereas in high-risk zones the price can go up to 1.5% to 2%.
When looked at it in terms of a median example, while Structural Warranty would cost anywhere between $500 and $1500 for ten years, the repair in case of structural damage could be between $50,000 and $100,000; Structural Warranty being about one percent of the estimated repair budget.
Home warranties, or home service contracts as they’re more correctly called in Washington and elsewhere in the nation, covers the costs of some repairs that are needed around a house each year. These repairs are often small things, but even small costs add up. And then there’s the time taken away from work and family life to deal with the arrangements for the repairs. So the point of a home service contract is to help save time and money when things around the house stop working properly. But there’s a catch to the whole thing. That catch is the quality and availability of professional contractors to do the work required.
Most established home warranty companies have huge networks of home repair contractors, ones they regularly check for customer satisfaction and overall quality of work. So customers of big home service contract companies can typically count on there being an abundance of good repair contractors in their areas. But this does vary when you consider small towns, states with highly rural populations, or crowded metro areas with more customers per square mile than in suburban or rural areas. With all this under consideration, it pays for home warranty buyers to understand which companies are the top ones in their local areas. In short, it pays to understand the market for qualified contractors before buying a home warranty.
Today we will cover the state of Washington. What’s the home warranty market like for people living in the state of Washington? That’s today’s topic in our top companies series!
Residents of the state of Washington live close to the heart of the U.S. home warranty industry. The western part of the country is home to some of the largest and oldest home warranty companies. And the homeowners out west are typically more knowledgeable about using home warranties too. Between the savvy consumers and the abundance of choices, there is a thriving market for these service contracts for homeowners.
Among the most popular companies in Washington are ones you’ll find in our top ten companies list. But there are also companies such as Fidelity National Home Warranty which fall outside of HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s top ten companies, by our website’s users’ ratings. According to Google, one of the most searched companies in the home warranty space among search engine users in Washington is Fidelity National Home Warranty. And though search volume is not an indication of sales volume it’s still worth noting that we don’t necessarily capture all the data needed to say for sure which companies are selling the most home warranties in individual states. So as you read on, please keep in mind that these top companies are a reflection of what you’ll find in our website’s users’ reviews and company ratings.
According to HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s statistics, ratings and reviews accumulated for many years now, homeowners in the state of Washington overwhelmingly prefer American Home Shield. We reached out to the company for comment after discovering this to be the case.
Mike Clear, VP of Operations at AHS weighed in on what he believes is behind American Home Shield’s success in Washington.
|“Homeowners in Washington expect and deserve outstanding service and value. At American Home Shield, our employees and network of local service contractors proudly provide both, each and every day. When things break down, we solve problems, plain and simple. This means being there when you need us most; making sure you have convenient access to technicians who have the expertise to diagnose and repair covered items; and protecting your budget against unexpected repair costs. We founded the home warranty industry 45 years ago, and no one pays more in servicing claims or protects more customers than American Home Shield.”
AHS is by far the largest company in the industry today. So in some ways it makes sense to see them on nearly every top companies list we publish here on HomeWarrantyReviews.com. But there’s something to keep in mind when you consider that the company that’s the biggest also has the most customers. And that something is customer satisfaction. Though no company keeps every customer happy all the time, AHS has done an extraordinarily good job pleasing its customers who post reviews here on our website. So whether you’re in Washington or elsewhere in the U.S., American Home Shield is one you should probably include in your list when comparing home warranty companies.
Based in Colorado, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty has been serving American homeowners for almost four decades. Like American Home Shield, 2-10 is one of the top companies in the industry in terms of longevity and number of customers. In addition to providing home service contracts, 2-10 also sells home warranties in the true legal sense, meaning the contract covers defects in the builder’s work or materials.
As one of the original companies in the home warranty industry, 2-10 has a presence across the U.S. and an expansive network of professionals serving its customer’s repair needs.
As part of the Direct Energy family of companies, Home Warranty of America brings its home service contract offering to the western U.S. via its network of regional sales representatives. HWA assists real estate professionals and homeowners with many different scenarios in which coverage of home repairs are important. This includes periods in which a house is listed for sale or has just been purchased, as well as longer periods of time in which an owner of a home would want to offset the costs of repairs due to an unexpected system or appliance breakdowns.
We reached out to them for a comment about their service to Washington residents, and Monica O’Neill, HWA Product Manager, had this to say.
“Home Warranty of America has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and we are very grateful for our loyal customers. We truly enjoy providing reliable solutions and being a home warranty partner to real estate agents and homeowners across the great State of Washington.”
Customers of Home Warranty of America have the security of working with a home service contract provider backed by a big parent company, well known in the energy space. And financial stability is one of two of the most important things to look for in a home warranty provider.
That wraps up our short list of top companies in the state of Washington. Come back here soon for new articles about companies providing home service contracts in other parts of the country.
Readers in Washington, if you have a company you’d like to give a shout out to, please do so in the comments below! If you represent a home warranty company doing good things in Washington, please feel free to mention your company in the comments below as well.