The Rising Cost of Freon (r-22)

Freon is not as common a word in the American lexicon as it used to be.  And that is greatly due to the phase out of the product that started decades ago. That common household name was once the main chemical component in central heating and cooling systems, but that started to gradually change in 1987 when the U.S. government decided to gradually get rid of the ozone damaging chemical. That chemical, technically referred to as r-22, is only a handful of years away from the end of its U.S. phase out timeline.

What does this mean for you as a homeowner?

Your home’s air conditioner, when it’s working the way it should, does not need added coolant.  But like most machines, the ideal condition and the real world condition of the average central heating and cooling system differ.

Cost of Freon

 

People who have recently discovered leaks in their older HVAC systems will already be aware that it’s getting more expensive to recharge the coolant. As less r-22 is available to technicians and homeowners the costs will probably continue to increase. Here’s what I learned about this trend and what we all may expect in the future.

Some U.S. homeowners are immune to the problem of rising Freon costs. Newer homes, particularly ones built after 2010, typically have HVAC systems that use newer coolants, ones that will be around for a long time and are produced and distributed in greater quantities. But those of us with the older systems face a dilemma. Do we upgrade to a newer HVAC system, a decision that involves lots of out of pocket costs, or do we continue to accept the rising expense of recharging the coolant in leaking systems that regularly require a refill?

How do I decide whether to convert my existing HVAC system to run with the new coolant type, replace the system entirely or just leave things alone?

After researching this myself I concluded that the most cost effective choice is to leave the existing system in place at least until 2020, but that is only true if the system is running well and not leaking coolant. I also believe that a system that requires some component repair or replacement but does not leak is cheaper to keep than replace. I found that to be true after looking at the prices of replacement parts. Long after r-22 is no longer made there will still be new parts manufactured for the older systems. Those parts will not contain any coolant though.  That is the most important thing to consider when making your own decision. At what point is it more expensive and time consuming to find a technician or coolant source still carrying the old coolant type? That will likely vary from one area of the U.S. to another. But keep in mind that some of that coolant will still be available in the form of reclaimed product, taken out of systems and reused, for years to come.

What if the system is leaking heavily or near to failing?

If your HVAC system is in poor condition then you may be better off trying to find a way to afford the cost of replacing the entire system. I arrived at that conclusion after examining the costs of replacing individual components of an older system. And here is the real problem with continuing to fix that old system. The newer coolant type, r410a, does not work with older systems. Trying to convert a system from r-22 to r410a is highly impractical. The system pressure is higher for r410a, the lubricant type is different and overall it’s a throwing good money after bad to even attempt a conversion for most homeowners.

So what is best for someone on a tight budget whose HVAC system is leaking and doesn’t appear to have much time left before things start breaking?

Anyone in this situation who plans to keep the house for more than a few years should think seriously about financing options. Some local utility companies and some HVAC installers offer financing options. And in some instances the monthly payments may be very reasonable. On the other hand a homeowner who does not intend to keep the house much longer can’t look at such a hefty cost as a good idea unless the new HVAC system will result in an equal or greater boost in the sales price of the house.

There’s another thing to consider in all of this. If your system is leaking heavily then it’s not just costing money to recharge. It’s also releasing a chemical into the air in your house and ultimately into the atmosphere.  And there is a good reason that the chemical was marked for phasing out in the first place. It certainly isn’t helping the environment to have it being released into the air from lots of older homes. For some homeowners that, coupled with the greater efficiency of newer HVAC systems from an energy use standpoint, is enough to make the cost of the new system acceptable.






Do you have a trusted appliance lying around your household for the past few years that you don’t want to give away or replace? Yet you are worried that it’s going to crash pretty soon leaving you with no other option other than repairing it or replacing it with a new one? Fret not! This article will shed some light on how to insure your household appliances against potential breakdowns

Let’s begin by comparing Home Warranty from the Homeowner’s insurance policy. The primary difference between the two is that Home Warranty covers repairs and replacements of failed appliances and systems, while the the Homeowner’s Insurance covers damages caused to your home and its content by natural hazards or theft. You can always find a contractor to repair your damaged appliances, but more often than not the costs involved in such scenarios are rather high. The other option that you have is to apply for a Home Warranty plan.

The Home Warranty plan is a contract of service that covers repairs and replacement of appliances and systems in your home. Depending on the kind and extent of coverage you wish to avail, the annual premium for the Home Warranty plan can range anywhere between $ 250 to $ 450. In addition, each time you approach the warranty company for a service, you have to pay a service fee usually called as the deductible. This is around $ 50. You can take a look at the table below if you want to know he systems and appliances that are covered under the Home Warranty Plans.

Home Appliance Warranty Plans

If you have doubts regarding whether or not your appliances need a Home Warranty Plan right now, take a look at the following chart. It tells you what the average lifespan of the common household appliances.

Table2 for Appliance Warranty article

Now lets discuss the most important question.

What kind of plans are available and do I actually need them?

Let me clear the former first. You have two options, you can either avail an extended warranty for each appliance or you can get a Home Warranty which covers all your appliances. Although, getting extended warranty on each appliance is not a wise decision, the best way out is to get a Home Warranty.It is also suggested that if your appliances are not new and over four years old, getting a Home Warranty will turn out to be highly useful. However, if your home and the appliances you own are reasonably new and still covered by the Manufacturers warranty, you may want to consider taking an extended warranty. You can click here for further details and comparisons between the two.

If you are wondering how this works then here’s the answer. The company offering a Home Warranty plans often sign contracts with vendors offering repair services to appliances. Each time you approach your warranty provider with a claim, they  call up these repair facilities which in turn sends a technician to evaluate the condition of your appliance.He shall decide if your appliance needs to be repaired or replaced.Service charges(deductible fee) of the technician shall be paid by you and it is always nominal.

Things to know about appliance protection plans

If you have read so far, then it would mean that you are genuinely interested to know as much as possible about Home Warranty plans. Few hiccups that you may encounter are as follows:

  • Home warranty plans are a way to ensure security and to reduce maintenance costs. They don’t provide blanket coverage nor do they pay for pre-existing issues.
  • All companies do not offer the best customer service. Make sure that the Home warranty company you choose comes with high recommendations.
  • Ensure that you read the contract for Home Warranty thoroughly.This ensures that conflicts do not arise later.
  • Many a times, it is often seen that Home Warranty companies opt for repairs rather than replacement of the damaged appliance. Further, waiting period for this is also considerably long in some cases. Worst of all, claims are sometimes rejected on unclear grounds or by bringing up small clauses from the contract that are often overlooked by the customers.

It is again stressed that you read your contract carefully and have it looked over multiple times , paying immense attention to the monetary factors.

Do I really need Appliance Protection?

Despite the issues that were mentioned, it is advised that you insure your appliances by availing a Home Warranty Plan. Costs incurred during repairs and replacements can be considerably reduced if you have a sound Appliance Protection plan. Also, if you choose to sell your home while the Home Warranty plan is still valid, the value of the property is likely to be higher than when it is sold without a Home Warranty. Most buyers recommend strongly in favor of Home Warranty plans. You are likely to do the same if your choice of  home warranty provider is good.

Here is the summary of benefits you shall have if you avail a Home Warranty Plan

  • Confidence: This is something that can rarely be bought with money. Home Warranty Plans provide you a tension free life. It does so by relieving you from worries about unexpected expenses occurring due to damage of your appliances.
  • Broad coverage: Almost all your appliances and systems are covered by the U.S. Home warranty contract.
  • Affordable prices: The annual premium as well as the deductible you pay are both affordable to an average U.S. citizen.
  • Budget protection: To those of you who just purchased a new home and had to spend quite a lot on one time expenses like drapes, landscaping etc, the first year in your new home is not the ideal time to expect financial drains due to faulty appliances.
  • Lawsuit avoidance: Assuming that you sold your home while it was still covered by the Home Warranty, any appliance that sustains damages will be taken care of by the home warranty company. If the appliance was not covered by a Home Warranty, it may often result in the buyer suing the seller.

May it be reminded again that reading the contract well is of utmost importance. You can get a free estimate on home warranty from top rated companies on our website before you purchase the plan.




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.

extended warranty

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.




Spring Lawn Care

An appealing lawn counterparts the rest of the garden and makes the whole garden seem fantastic. Spring is the best season to repair your lawn and sort out problems. It is the best time to spend less effort getting it into shape-mowing the grass, nourishing with a lawn fertilizer and dealing with ugly weeds, moss and bare patches.

The most cultivated plant in the world is the grass that grows in your yard. In reality, almost 18 million acres of land is landscaped with grass in the U.S., as per the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Americans are so infatuated with keeping their lawns green that they together dump 70 million pounds of fertilizers and pesticides on it every year and use 30% of all obtainable water on the East Coast irrigating it.

In case you have not begun organizing your lawn for the warmer months, now is the time to begin. Prepping your lawn now ensures that your grass will always be greener in the coming spring and summer.

6 Tips for a Healthy and Beautiful Lawn

Here are some handy tips to make sure your lawn is looking its best coming into spring. The secrets of success to a great looking lawn are:

Aerating SoilAerate Your Soil

This will be most imperative the first few seasons when you choose to get your lawn off chemicals and treat it organically. Aerating removes inch-long plugs from the lawn to let air and water into the soil. When you aerate for the first time and inspect the plugs, you will observe that the soil near the grass roots is thick and possibly clay-like when it should be dark brown and crumbly.

Regular Mowing

MowingThe most essential lawn care job for a wonderful looking lawn is correct and regular mowing. You need to cut the grass whenever it’s growing – which is probably to be weekly or even more often as the weather warms up in spring.

The plan must be to keep at the same height all through spring. For most lawns this must be about 2.5-4cm (1-1.5in) high. For lawns that take a lot of wear and tear the height is better raised to 5 cm (2 in). For shaded areas, it is advised to mow at a height of 7.5cm (3in).

Mowing too short and as a result weakening the grass, is the easiest and quickest way of letting weeds and moss to become established and spoiling the lawn.

Lawn Feeding

Lawn feedingNext on the priority list is feeding the grass, and a good range of lawn feeds will produce a lawn to boast about.

A good feed with a lawn fertilizer, not only makes the grass greener, but makes it grow thicker and enhances its strength, vigor and health. Good feeds also make the grass more robust and better equipped to compete with weeds, moss and weather-related stresses. In spring, best results are achieved by making use of a granular feed that supplies a usual amount of nutrients over some weeks.

When using a granular lawn feed it is vital to apply it evenly over the whole lawn at the suggested rate. The simple way to do this is to use a lawn spreader, such as the built-in spreader in the smaller sizes.

If you feed the lawn again in 6 week’s time it will stay strong and healthy all summer.

Treating mosses and weedsTreating Weeds and Moss

Lawn weeds are the main headache that can prevent you getting pleasure from your lawn. A strong, healthy and well-fed lawn will be able to deal with moss and weeds far better than one that is not looked after and fed properly.

You need to deal with weeds and moss promptly. You should do a treatment that builds up the lawn’s resistance to drought, heat and other stresses. Where major moss or weed attack is a trouble, dealing with them with an extra application of liquid weed killer can produce excellent results.

Deal with Bare PatchesDealing with Bare Patches

After the damages of winter, many lawns have bare areas that not only appear ugly, but are perfect places for weeds and moss to occur. Give your lawn a treat by giving it the unique combination of grass seed, coir and slow-release feed that will cover bare patches in no time and produce a thick grass covering of the bare area.

Overseeding lawnOverseed Your Lawn

Each year up to a quarter of the grass in the lawn can die, more after a cold, wet winter. Overseeding- planting new grass seed into the existing lawn – can revitalize the lawn and bring it back to life.

By increasing the density of the grass, overseeding enhances lawn’s appearance and reduces weed and moss invasion.

Few More Hints and Tips for Better Lawns

  • Cut the edges of the lawn whenever you mow to keep crisp lines that evidently show you care for your lawn.
  • Cut lawn edges with a half-moon edging iron to make sure they appear neat and well shaped.
  • Scarify with a spring-tine rake to take out dead grass, thatch and other debris that will or else prevent healthy grass growth.
  • On heavy clay soils, aerate the lawn in early spring with a hollow-tined aerator or garden fork to improve drainage and help lessen water logging issues and make grass grow better.
  • Add a top dressing after aerating to further improve drainage and enhance grass growth.
  • Water the grass thoroughly and ensure that the roots are also watered.

This simple lawn care program will give you a lawn to be proud of, keep it in perfect condition and make friends and neighbors green with envy!




Home: The Lifelong Dream

Buying your own home is a dream that many of us cherish and wish to realize one day, but with increasing property prices and taxes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to become a homeowner. While the real estate market is booming with hot options, and extensive marketing to push people to buy a new home over renting, potential American homeowners are more skeptical of the costs and potential return on investment than in past years.

homeowner+rent+buy

Important Factors In Decision-Making Of A Homeowner

1. Tenure Of Living

Buying a home is profitable as long as one can commit to living in the home for a longer period, thus avoiding any extra rental expenditure. But with today’s work culture, it has become considerably uncertain to live in the same city forever and hence may put one in a dicey situation to pay for a mortgage as well as rent while moving to a new city for work or studies.

2.  Mortgage Terms

The mortgage terms should be read through and well understood before buying a home as the value appreciation by buying a home could cause loss, if the home maintenance cost like replacing the heaters or repairing a ceiling or water bills and the actual amount of money going into the principal is considered. In such a scenario, you can opt for a home warranty plan to cut down on the maintenance cost.

3. Overall Stability

Overall stability is a factor that dominates each one of your financial decisions. Stability, in terms of job, relationships, promotion, savings, and family plans determine the amount of money that could be needed for future expenditure and can hence allow you to buy a home or not.

Pre-Requisites And Risks Of Buying A New Home

While buying a home can get you some tax deductions, there is a lot of added pressure as well, in terms of an assured amount that’s needed to pay-off the mortgage, unless you wish to lose your assets to the bank. Also, as per figures, value appreciation in property rates since 1975 has been disappointing and not earned much profit to the homeowners in comparison to other investment options available in the market.

Apart from paying for a mortgage, savings for future and sufficient planning for family expansion is also important as the place should meet all your requirements without piling you with a burden, for life.

Benefits Of Being A Homeowner

Owning a home gives people the benefit to painting it the way they desire, or, make a small basketball court in the backyard and add tons of elements that define your personal space, but the fact that it also adds to a lot of responsibility cannot be overlooked. It is suggested that one should be able to pay at least 20% of the sum as down payment while planning to buy a home but at the same time what is more important is to maintain a constant cash inflow for a good 30-yr time until the mortgage is waved off and the property is entirely owned by you.

Also, it is the great freedom to make or change a carpet or any other thing in the home that comes in as a pleasant surprise while owning a home, where people are free to make their own decisions and not worry about a second opinion for changes that they make.

History of Real Estate Market

But the property market has been quite misleading and unforgivable to many, in terms of considering a new home as an investment for future as factors like selling off a home and at an escalated price which is at par with homeowners’ expectations, may not be the case every time. Realtors charge up to 6% of the property price and finding a deal that land you in profit is not guaranteed while making the purchase, as a homeowner. In the case of an emergency, selling a beloved property at loss may come as a shock to many homeowners. Also, dealing without a realtor may close doors to the best possible price for the property.

Perks Of Renting A Home

Rented properties, on the other hand, come with a bag full of its own positives and negatives. For e.g., living in a rented home lets one move to a new place without worrying about anything, unlike owning a home. But there is also a possibility of the owner escalating the rent, or, willing to discontinue the tenant once the lease is over.

Homeowner: Making The Decision

All in all, there is no better feeling that creating a place that’s a representation of one’s personality, beliefs and ideologies. But leaving the emotional part of it, if planned carefully, one can afford to buy a place with a lesser mortgage and lower interest rates and proudly become a homeowner. Also, one may cut down on extra expenses by availing home warranty plans and similar saving options. As long as that takes the time to be realized, living in a rented home away from the hassle of repair and maintenance is a good idea in order to live life freely, and save enough till one can actually afford to buy a home that they can call their own!

 




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.

Spring

Spring House Maintenance For You!

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.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

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

  • Test out chimney for loose, deteriorated or missing mortar. Mend problems.
  • Verify floors, concrete, floors and masonry for cracking, deterioration or jam packed. Repair problems.
  • Check for the patio, deck, porch and railings and external stairs for any damage. Fix now or this summer.
  • Take away debris from downspouts and gutters. Make sure you repair the leaks.
  • Check grading for proper slope away from foundation walls. Build up soil wherever required.
  • Ensure all wood surfaces-particularly at the soil level for peeling paint, dry not and weathering. Fix now or this summer.

Roof

  • Verify for open closures, bald areas or blisters on flat roofs. Get these fixed.
  • Test out flashing around sidewalls and surface projections.
  • Check antenna wires for possible leak sources.
  • Check for any loose, missing or damaged shingles. Have these substituted.
  • Check roof louvers for plugging or damage such as bird nests.
  • Check front and soffits for damage and deterioration.
  • If ice dams were a difficulty last winter, have your garret property ventilated and insulated.

Interior

  • Check crawlspace and basement for leaking water or moisture. Pay attention to all moisture problems.
  • Replace or repair broken windows or torn screens. Substitute broken sash ropes or hold-open devices.
  • Open vents crawl spaces in basements and open vents in crawl space.
  • Check your smoke detector when you alter clocks in advance.
  • Check your home’s cooling system before summer arrives.
  • Take notice of slow drains or back-ups. If required, clean your drain pipes before a really big back-up occurs.
  • Once windows can be opened, do varnishing, interior painting or other projects where smell can be a problem.

Lawn & Landscape

  • Spring is planting time of year, and a big time to clean up the yard from the winter.
  • Plant shrubs, trees, vegetables or flowers.
  • If required, apply pre-emergent weed preventer. Fertilize lawn, if wanted.
  • Plant grass seed in bare patches.
  • Take away left-over fallen leaves, lawn debris and dead plants. Trim bushes that brush against the house.
  • Unless trees are damaged by storm, postpone tree trimming until autumn or winter when it’s better to trim trees.

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.




If you have been planning to buy a house or you have already bought a house, realizing the importance of homeowners insurance is very important. Make sure you have adequate coverage. Studies reveal that approximately 20% of the Americans have cut back on their insurance costs to meet their other monthly financial obligations.

Home Insurance Premium

However, insurance coverage is one thing that should never be compromised upon. Your home insurance should be such that it should not only give you adequate coverage but it should also do justice to the amount you shell out as premium. And your premium should be within your reach. It is only when you find it difficult to make payments for the premium that the insurance policy appears to be a financial burden to you.

The ideal way to find the best quote for homeowners insurance  is to shop around. You can compare quotes online or talk to insurance carriers personally. There are many insurance carriers that offer different plans to meet the requirements of the consumers. You can try out these and after evaluating the pros and cons of the plan, should you buy your  insurance policy.

It is very important that you are not underinsured. If you save some cash now by staying underinsured, you may have to shell out just the double in case of a financial emergency or an unforeseen event.

Ways to cut down homeowners insurance costs

Instead of buying inadequate coverage for your homeowners insurance policy, there are many things you can do to cut down expenses related to your insurance policy in a reasonable manner. Given below are few measures you can take to reduce insurance costs.

  • Do not insure the land, insure your home – The land that is attached to your house isn’t prone to theft, fire or windstorms. So, don’t waste money by insuring the land too. Insure your house and its belongings instead.
  • Enhance safety and security measures – You can install safety devices such as safety alarms and burglar alarm to enhance the safety and security of your house. It reduces the insurance cost to a great extent. And you may also avail discounts up to 20%.
  • Review your policy once a year – You want to get adequate coverage. So, if you review or check your home insurance policy every year, you will be able to make the necessary changes and adjustments as needed.
  • Stick to a single insurer – If you have been with one insurance carrier for several years, your insurance carrier may extend special discount to you. Studies reveal that several insurance carriers offer approximately 5% discount to consumers who have been with the same insurance carrier for a period of 3 years or more. And if you have managed to continue with the same insurance carrier for a period of 6 years, you can as well be given a discount of 10%.
  • Make electronic payments – It has been observed that there are many insurance carriers that charge approximately USD$5 for sending payments by mail. The best way to make your insurance payment is to have your premium deducted directly from your account. So, try to make payments electronically.
  • Review your credit rating – Maintain a good credit rating and make sure you keep track of the same. Often insurance carriers allow you to enjoy better rates if you have a good credit rating,

So, when you have the above measures to keep your insurance cost down, it is not necessary to reduce the coverage to save costs.




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

1. Appliance is not covered

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.

Home Warranty Claim Denials2. Appliance is not maintained properly

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.

3. The damage is pre-existing

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.

4. Unusual wear and tear

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.

5. Code Violations and improper installation

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.

What should a customer do when claims are 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.

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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.

An open letter to the home warranty Industry

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




How a home warranty benefits for aged? You might ask! Visualize this scenario: In your later part of life, when all the burdens have been released, you decide to finally live in peace. Enjoying all the luxuries of life, you decide to have a cup of coffee with the morning newspaper. And right at that time, you notice your ceiling fan is not working leaving you to sweat out all your calmness. You are now sitting there, brooding over the broken fan.

It is at this time, the role of Home Warranty comes into play and you can comprehend the home warranty benefits for aged.

Home Warranty Reviews and home warranty benefits for the Aged

Home Warranty aids you by taking up your responsibilities of such broken appliances and types of machinery. American Home Warranty  Companies provide you with the service contract of repairing or replacing the damaged appliances. Thus, the elderly at home need not fret about any appliance that has gone old. Now that’s a home warranty benefit for aged if you ask us!

Why Home Warranty For The Aged?

The Physical Inability of Aged

There are a lot of incapabilities that comes along with old age. Elderly folks do not have the energy to go out every time when an errand has to be done. Thus, an intervention into the lives of the aged, in the form of a home service contract can make a lot of differences in their lifestyle. Home Warranty or Home Service Contract helps them immensely this way by interceding to help them out. The elderly have to just dial the number of their preferred Home Warranty company.

When a repair has to be done, the Home Warranty company will send a technician to their home for repair. The incapacity to go out and search for a technician is a serious problem. With Home Warranty, the elderly would not have any such unwanted physical stress.

After thoroughly checking the Top Rated companies on the HomeWarrantyReviews.com, evaluate the companies that offer maximum benefits and get a quote. The problem is sorted. Thus, turning the negative of old age to a positive of peace of mind garnered by the home warranty benefits for aged!

Trustworthiness In The Technician

By sending an authorized technician from the Home Warranty company, the vulnerability of being tricked on repairs is avoided. It is often a serious affair to find a trustworthy technician who knows what is to be done and how it can be done with minimum cost.

An efficient technician is one of the home warranty benefits for aged, who are not aware of the technicalities of appliances and can be easily fallen into the pit of deception. The elderly at home can pick up the phone and the companies are just a call away. And moreover, as an icing on the cake, the repair contractors provide the aged customers with necessary insight for further maintenance, which is such a relief to understand the proceedings.

Financial Capacity

After retirement, the income of the elderly decreases relatively. Keeping that in mind, if any major repair or maintenance has to be done, a huge chunk of money is spent on a single appliance itself. This adds to the insecurity of the elderly. To avoid such bulky expenditure, home warranty provides with the option of repair contracts with lesser spending.

Even with a standard Home Warranty Plan ranging from $200 to $600, most of the appliances are covered. After every issue is raised, a mandatory deduction of $50-$100 is done. Some companies even provide with Zero Deductible Services. Hence, Home Warranty assures a sheltered old age.

Home Warranty For A Tension Free Old Age

Here’s a thing for the children who are either working/living away from your Aged parents. A peaceful life is all that the elderly look forward to. Who would expect a heater break down in the cold American winter when your parents are all by themselves? A situation of helplessness arises. It would be an unpleasant state for you to see them suffer. Therefore think afar and get a Home Warranty quote for your aged parents.

Home Warranty covers the repair works of the appliances at home to avoid any kind of panic at old age. All you need to do is go to our website and read some of the home warranty guides completely. Decide on which warranty provider you are going to opt for after going through the Reviews.

On another note, your warranty provider may sometimes deny covering your claim due to various reasons. Unless there is a valid reason, no claims are denied.

Meanwhile, for the convenience of elderly, HomeWarrantyReviews.com provides you with the option of estimating your Home Warranty costs with the Home Maintenance Calculator. Thoroughly assess it and come to a conclusion. Choose the wise way to be protected. Then sit back and relax! Enjoy the perks of being old! With a lot of free time and favorite things to do, but never have to sweat when the Air Conditioner breaks. Because all you need to do is make a call to your warranty provider!




Home Warranty Hidden CostsWhen is the homeowner supposed to buy home warranty? A home warranty is not a plan that can be purchased and used for the life of a home, but it is a warranty coverage for home appliances. It is procured before the sale of a home and acts as insurance for the new homeowner. Selling a home can be much easier if there is a home warranty drawn in. Shopping for a new home is a pricey endeavor.

People accept loans to purchase real estate, not wanting or expecting to spend extra on repairs for systems, appliances and things such as roofing. These hidden costs usually leave new homeowners in complex positions. A home warranty protects the new homeowner against these unexpected problems. Sometimes issues with different household features such as appliances come up in the closing days of a real estate contract. This can make a closing tricky and cost the original owner large sums of money they had not intended on spending. These issues might also convince the potential buyer to pull out of the deal, resulting in a failed transaction. The seller must then perform the necessary repairs before putting their home back on the market. A home warranty can only be implemented to working appliances and systems. The age of the item is not taken into consideration as long as it is in working order.

Prior to Purchase

Retailers, installers and manufacturers may provide separate warranties, each of which covers a different part of the home. Inquire for copies to take home and contrast against other packages from other retailers. Ensure that you get a copy of the complete warranty, not only a summary brochure. Glance at the combined terms of all the warranties that cover a home. All new homes must have a warranty but old or used homes may not, or may have a limited warranty. Be cautious of homes sold with no warranty – there may be several hidden problems with the home.

What is and not covered before purchasing any home warranty

  • How long does the warranty last? For existing homes, warranties last about a year after which you can renew them. For newly built homes sold by the builder, the warranty provided by the builder can last for as long as 10 years, but incorporates shorter coverage terms for certain systems and materials. For instance, the doors, trim and drywall may be covered for the few years of the warranty term, while major damage or structural defects to load bearing portions of home are covered for quite a few years longer, as long as it meets the severity of defect stated by the warranty coverage. Again, make sure to read the fine print.
  • What is covered and what is barred? Warranties usually disclaim responsibility for consumer abuse, normal wear and tear, neglect of maintenance, and site preparation. Many exclude “cosmetic” items and some exclude important items such as wall cracks and leaky faucets, and doors and windows. Used homes typically have extremely limited warranties. To learn more, check out What is not Covered by Home Warranty article
  • What can cancel the warranty? Sometimes moving or selling the home together with improper site preparation can void the warranty. Does the home need regular maintenance to keep the warranty in force? If yes, what kind of maintenance?
  • Are appliances covered by a separate warranty? Whom do you contact for service? Who performs the warranty work? How does the retailer, manufacturer, and installer split job? Whom do you contact first? It is recommended to purchase directly from a manufacturer, but it is not possible in all states due to licensing laws.
  • Be wary of “extended warranties.” These are often little more than high-priced insurance products issued by 3rd party companies. Terms of the extended warranties may be dissimilar than the original warranty, so assess them as closely. If you are financing the extended warranty, then interest costs should be considered as one of the factors.
  • Arbitration Clauses: These contract terms restricting your right to take legal action are more common in manufactured homes than conventional buildings. You must ask whether any of manufacturers, retailers or the finance companies uses mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts. What does it cost file a claim? Will they sell you the home warranty without the clause, or with the clause changed to your satisfaction? Request to see the argument while shopping.
  • Quality of Service: Check whether the retailer has references from previous customers. Verify with more than one, possibly people who have been in their homes long enough to endure the excellence of warranty service. You can also check the history of the manufacturer, retailer and installer. Many states want retailers to be licensed.

After the Purchase of Home Warranty

  • For new homes sold by builders, store all documents pertaining to the sale of your home, in addition to any correspondence with the retailer, manufacturers and state or federal agencies. Evaluate the homeowner’s guidelines and other information found in the homeowner’s manual that your retailer gives you upon receiving your new home. This manual is needed by the Federal law. There must be facts on how to deal with warranty issues, as well as maintenance necessities that may need to be pursued to keep your warranty valid.
  • Maintain credentials of maintenance performed on the home.

Small Print Clauses and Hidden Costs of Home Warranty

  • Waiting period – normally 30 days from the date of purchase of home warranty
  • Claim denials are very common and some of the reasons include negligence and lack of maintenance of appliances. For HVAC units are you supposed to get the annual maintenance performed by a professional. Make sure you keep maintenance records.
  • Trade/Service Call Fee – You are required to pay service call fee per repair incident. The amount is anywhere between 50 to 100 dollars.
  • Repair Over Replacement. Even if an appliance is faltering very often, the service providers tend to repair it rather than replace it as it will cost them less. Due to this tendency of service providers, you have to face the same problem repeatedly, without having much control over it as you are tied down by spending in the plan.
  • Max Limit – Some companies will set the ceiling on maximum amount on repair expenses they incur. Make sure you understand these limitations.
  • As you near the end of your warranty period, cautiously examine the home for signs of problems.

As a consumer, identify what is and is not covered before purchasing any home warranty. Ensure the details are clarified in any contract before you sign it.

None of these aspects should deter a buyer from purchasing a warranty that meets his or her needs but it takes a fair amount of due meticulousness to identify all the hidden costs in buying a home regardless of whether it is new or used.




Florida State Insurance Commission ordered National Home Protection Inc. to stop marketing and selling home warranties. State officials say the firm is not licensed to sell the products and has a reputation for denying claims.

The Office of Insurance Regulation said it began investigating National Home Protection Inc.’s marketing and claims handling practices earlier this year.

“This company has been selling these products without a license all across the country,” said Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. “Florida law clearly authorizes me to take action to stop the practices of unlicensed entities to protect consumers in this state.”

The investigation also revealed that many of the claims made for household repairs or service were denied.

In April 2009, we reported that the New York Attorney General filed law suite against National Home Protection. NY AG office announced that their office received more than 300 consumer against the home warranty protection company from consumers in at least thirty-two states.

The Florida order also requires National Home to honor all policies that are in effect for the duration stated in each contract. The company has 21 days to file a challenge to Florida’s action but it is highly unlikely that the company will contest the order.

 




There are few home warranty companies that do not charge service trade fee or “deductible”. If you are looking for such companies, please read on. Please note that we do not endorse any of these companies.

IMPORTANT: To read most recent list of companies that offer Zero dollar deductible, please visit our Home Warranty Plan Comparison section and sort the companies by Deductible (low to high)

Zero Deductible

Home Warranty Plans with No Service Call Fee

Following are the home service contract companies that offer zero deductible as of this writing:

  1. Complete Protection
  2. UtilPro Appliance repair
  3. HomeServe USA
  4. Stanley Warranty
  5. Hi Tech Home Warranty
  6. Certified Warranties
  7. AHPS Home Warranty

As a website dedicated to offering honest information about the various matters related to Home Warranty, we have collected the feedback of several appliance warranty customers in the form of reviews. Please check out our tool to find top rated home warranty companies in your area. There, you can sort through the various companies based on their premium amount, deductible amount, ratings and total reviews.

What is a deductible?

In an insurance policy, a deductible is the sum of money paid by the insured party before an insurer will pay any expenses. It is usually a fixed amount and is a part of most policies covering losses to the policy holder and must be paid by the insured before the insurance company’s own coverage plan begins.

For example, an auto insurance policy may bear a $500 deductible. If the owner of a car hits another car by mistake while parking and both drivers decide that the loss is minimal, he or she would pay the repair bill $500 out of his own pocket. Insurance companies would not support a claim for such small damages. Based on the incident, the deductible may apply per covered incident, or per year. For policies where we can’t restrict the incidences, the deductible is usually applied per year.

What is a premium?

An insurance premium is the definite amount of money charged by insurance firms for active coverage. Cost of a premium can differ widely for the same service, which is why experts strongly suggest getting several quotes before committing to an insurance policy. Insurance brokers or agents takes basic information from people and evaluate an insurance premium estimate depending on the answers and other factors.

The lowest quoted cost on a premium may be the better deal, but the level of coverage may also be lesser. Insurance premium is mainly based on statistics, while people’s habits and history can cause the premium to be lower or higher. For example, a 22 year old male looking for car insurance for a sports car can often predict a higher insurance premium than a 45-year old woman driving a mid-size sedan. Both may perhaps have excellent working records, but the insurance company considers the younger driver in faster car to be at more risk for accidents. Thus, the premium quotes will be clearly different.

In general, a faster car will cost more to insure, just because the owners of those vehicles tend to drive faster. The amount of a deductible is typically related to the amount of premium charged by the insurers. That is, higher deductible amount are usually related with lower premium rate and vice versa. Try to find stability between reasonably priced premiums and a fair deductible when buying insurance.




Adding to a long list of home warranty companies which have entered the home service contract space only to quickly exit, Stanley Warranty announced recently that the company is immediately terminating its services.  Visitors to Stanley’s website see this message:

Stanley Warranty

The company’s closing may come as little surprise to those who are aware of last year’s announcement of an investigation into the new company’s business practices.  In June 2015 New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs announced that it had filed a complaint against Stanley Warranty, LLC, alleging that the company had committed acts contrary to its contractual commitments to its customers.  Among the state’s specific complaints against the company were alleged offenses that specifically involved Stanley’s home service contract customers.  Stanley also operated a business unit which provided consumers with extended service agreements for motor vehicles, commonly called auto warranties.

Here’s a quick analysis that we can provide to readers seeking more information about Stanley Warranty’s abrupt closure and the precedences set by other companies that pulled this same move in recent years. Come back to HomeWarrantyReviews.com for updates as we learn more about the fallout from Stanley Warranty’s announcement.

This Isn’t The First Time That A Home Warranty Company Has Gone Belly Up

Like Sensible Home Warranty did in 2014 when it closed shop, Stanley provided no apparent warning to their customers that pre-paid services would not be provided, though at this time it’s still unclear to HomeWarrantyReviews.com whether the company contacted customers via telephone or postal mail prior to closing its doors.  It’s also not known yet whether Stanley’s failure to uphold its commitment to any pre-paid customers will compound the company’s problems with New Jersey’s consumer agency.

Another company in the home warranty space that closed its doors in 2014, Colonial Home Warranty, sought bankruptcy protection.  Through bankruptcy, the company appears to have been able to escape financial responsibility for unfulfilled service contracts and repair bills from their contractors.  Whether or not Stanley Warranty will seek similar protection is not clear at this time.

The Signs Were All Over The Place That Stanley Warranty Was Trouble

Reviews for Stanley Warranty, also known as Stanley Safe Club, here on HomeWarrantyReviews.com are almost entirely negative.  The reviews reflect an apparent trend of the company not honoring its promises to customers or contractors who performed repairs on its behalf.  Many of the worst reviews mention repair contractors pursuing payments from the homeowners after Stanley Warranty failed to fulfill its duty to make those payments in a timely manner.

On its Better Business Bureau page, Stanley Warranty already had an F rating prior to the announcement of its cessation of services to its customers.  On Yelp, a recent review includes a comment about a refund check from the company to the customer, who had canceled services ahead of the expiration of the contract period, being denied due to insufficient funds.  That review was created in December of 2015, leading to the obvious question whether or not Stanley was insolvent well before it closed its doors in 2016.  Interestingly, reading past reviews on Yelp leads you to at least one claim in 2014 that Stanley Warranty had announced on its company website that it was closing.  And no matter how far back in time a reader travels on Yelp, the story seems to be consistently poor, one unhappy customer after another.

Perhaps the most insulting element of this story is that Stanley Warranty sold its service contracts with a promise of zero service fees.  Anyone familiar with the home service contract industry knows that most companies charge a fee, paid by the customer to the service provider, at the time of a service call.  For a company to offer competitive rates with no service fees is a pretty compelling deal for consumers.  And many of the consumers lured in by that deal are now left with every required repair being paid entirely out of their own pockets, despite having paid well in advance for home service contracts from this company.

What Happens Next May Not Be Good For Stanley Warranty’s Pre-Paid Customers

The home warranty industry has a history of companies like Stanley Warranty popping in and out of the space and taking loads of customers’ money out the door when the companies fold or burning up the money received from customers through mismanagement and unhedged risks.  Consumers who have been buying home warranties for years probably recognize some of the company names, ones like Arkidus, Sensible Home Warranty, Colonial Home Warranty, and  Certified Warranties Corporation.  All of these companies have something in common.  They sold home service contracts right up until the day they shut the office lights off and locked the doors.  

This may be the single biggest black eye that the home warranty industry has received in the last decade, and it just keeps happening.  As if companies being able to enter an industry that is so much like insurance, often undetected by the state agencies that regulate their industry, improperly funded, and perhaps even criminally intent on defrauding their customers is not enough, the end result of the companies is consumers left with financial losses sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars in service contract fees paid in advance.  All too often the regulators in the states where the customers live are powerless to retrieve those customers’ funds, and even when bankruptcy courts are involved the individual consumer is usually out of luck when liquidated assets are divided up among registered claimants.

In a nutshell, the chance of Stanley Warranty’s customers seeing refunds is very, very slim.  It’s quite likely that this story will end the same way it did for customers of Sensible Home Warranty in 2014 when that company disappeared overnight.  But that should not stop consumers willing to do whatever they can to seek justice.  Readers who wish to pursue legal action should immediately seek advice from an attorney, preferably one with experience with defunct service contract companies.

What’s A Nice Homeowner To Do?

If there’s any worthwhile piece of advice we can give to our readers who are shopping for a home warranty company it’s this:

Do your homework!  Despite it not always being easy to do, consumers must research companies in the home service contract space before making a purchase.  Here’s an example of the kind of detailed reporting available to consumers trying to evaluate the financial health of companies selling home service contracts in the United States.  That article by Warranty Week is an excellent resource.  Keep in mind that if the home warranty company you choose is using its sales to finance its claims then you can probably count on two things happening.  One, the company will do whatever it can to avoid paying your claims.  Two, the company will eventually get into hot water and close up quickly in order to try to avoid the owners bearing personal responsibility for the actions of the company.

Be safe out there.  And if you are a Stanley Warranty customer who would like to share information with other readers in the same boat as you then please share your story in the comments section below.




There are five types of warranties plans available such as manufacturer warranty, home warranty, seller’s warranty, extended warranty, appliance service contract etc. All the above mentioned terms are basically protection policies of your household appliances. All these warranty contracts are slightly different and we will get into them in just a moment. Please note that we do not cover homeowners insurance here but you can refer to the article that talks about home insurance and home warranty differences

Types of Warranties

Home Warranty

Home warranty is a service contract on your home appliances and it covers repairs and maintenance of household machinery. Home warranty plan takes care of repair and replacement of all your insured appliances by the qualified service provider. This plan is also referred as

  • Appliance Protection Plan
  • Appliance Service Contract
  • Home Maintenance Plan
  • Home Protection Plan
  • Home Appliance Insurance
  • Appliance Repair Service
  • Home Warranty Insurance

Manufacturer’s Warranty

One of the basic thing people look for while purchasing any appliance or gadget is the warranty. A warranty is a kind of assurance provided by the manufacturer for the product and if the item does not meet the expectations then the insurance provider is bound to repair or replace the product within the stated warranty period. The standard coverage is generally for the period of one year. A warranty is a legal binding which means if the seller does not stick to their words, then you can legally file lawsuits against them.

These days all the online stores and offline stores are providing manufacturer’s warranty and the original bill along with the purchased product. The products shipped are also completely sealed and as good as what you can get from retail stores. You can extend the warranty for additional years if you desire, although it is not necessary in most cases. Generally, big ticket items such as HVAC units come with 5 years warranty, but the coverage will be limited to parts only from second year onwards. That means you will have to pay for the repair service.

Home appliance warranty companies generally do not cover an equipment when it is under manufacturers warranty.

Seller’s Warranty

Seller Warranty is also known as dealer warranty. The warranty is basically provided by the respective seller or the dealer of the products. Most of seller warranties last for the period of 6 months. In case of any sort of defect of malfunction of the product, you have to take the product particularly to the seller from whom you bought it.

Extended Warranty

You have an option to extend manufacturer’s warranty when it expires. It is recommended only for those appliances that are not covered by home warranty, such as laptop, PC, TV and other electronics.

You can also extend home warranty when your original plan expires. Usually the breakdown period of appliances starts just before or after your warranty expires because of its usability. If you want to avoid such hassles of contacting repair services, extended warranty service just makes things easier

Home Service Contracts

Service contracts are also considered as agreement or protection agreements. Most of these are offered by vendors selling the appliance, a service company, or a third party service provider. Home service contractors are basically local, licensed, and insured team to provide service. The price, terms and coverage choices widely vary as these companies tend to be local service providers. The repair and customer service may also vary depending on the vendor. Make sure you thoroughly understand the contract before you sign it.

Do your homework before buying home warranties, extended warranties, or service contracts for your major appliance. Understand the “Terms and Conditions” of the contract, especially its limitations.

Make sure you know and understand:

  • The reputation of the selling agent or the service provider
  • If the agreement contains a service repair cost “deductible” clause
  • If you must get second opinions or price estimates before repair
  • If you renew annually and what is the cost to do so
  • Any repair not covered such as plastic, glass, rust, corrosion non-functional parts, and installation, wiring or plumbing corrections
  • Costs involved if you have to take the appliance to the repair shop (against being repaired in your home)
  • What happens when the necessary part is no longer available
  • Any other terms and conditions of the contract, especially its limitations

Asking the right questions BEFORE PURCHASING will prevent unwelcome surprises.




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.

Home Warranty Dummies

Share this Image On Your Site

Coverage

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!

How Does Home Warranty Plan Work?

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.

Claims

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

  • Insufficient maintenance
  • Improper installation
  • Code violations
  • Unusual wear and tear

Don’t worry too much about it. If you choose a reputable company, chances are low that your claims will be unjustly denied.

Premium and Deductible

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!




If you’re on the lookout for a home or if you are planning to sell a property, chances are you may have hired a real estate agent. Such agents are the godsend when it comes to real estate transactions as they can help you get really good deals. That said, they can also be a pain in the neck if they are not competent enough. So the question is, is your real estate agent good enough to get you that dream deal? Let’s find out.

Qualities Of A Good Real Estate Agent

When you hire someone to help you buy or sell a property, keep in mind that the money involved is not little by any means. You may want to look for the following qualities in a potential agent.

  • Commendable experience in the field
  • Good knowledge of the locality you are interested in
  • Well organized and the kind who pays attention to detail
  • Hardworking and honest
  • Tech-savvy
  • Has a good network to rely on

Although there is no foolproof way to find out if a potential agent has these qualities, the best approach would be to interview multiple agents and pick the one who reflects most of the above qualities.

Analyzing Your Real Estate Agent

 Real Estate Agent

If you have already hired an agent, here are few things you could check to decide whether your agent needs to be replaced or not.

1. He/She is a part-time agent

You’re not ok with a part-time doctor to treat your illness, then why-oh-why would you let a part-time agent handle your real estate transactions? Most part-time agents are off their game and may fail to get you the best deal.

If the one you have right now is indeed a part-time agent, you may want to consider replacing him/her.

2. Charges very low commission

The typical commission charged by agents for buying/selling a house is 6%-7%, which is equally split by the buyer and the seller. Most agents refuse to sell for a commission lower than that. So if your agent agrees to a lower commission, be cautious. This does not mean that the commission is not a negotiable sum. It’s just that most good real estate agents disagree to go below the typical norm.

3. Lack of or difficulty in communication

If your agent doesn’t return your calls or messages within two days or is, in general, a very difficult person to get through, it could be a bad sign. Competent agents are always on top of their game so they would never keep a client waiting.

4. No, or negligible experience

This is especially true in the case of part-time agents. One way to check for experience is to ask for references. If the references span over many years, well and good or you can directly ask your agent to give you details about how many deals he has closed.

5. No online presence

It wouldn’t have been a bad thing 10 years back, but today, not making use of resources available online to market/sell properties is a bad call. This should be one of the signs that your agent needs to be replaced.

The Final Word  

Like in any profession, there are good ones and there are bad ones. But in this particular case, picking a bad real estate agent can cost you heavily so you may want to interview many agents before you make your final pick. If you are a seller, you should look into some ways to get your home sold faster. And if you are a buyer, you should also be aware of what to look for when you buy a new home.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. 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.

Top tips for Structural Warranty for Newly constructed homes

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.

What is Structural Warranty?

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.

Is Structural Warranty Necessary for me as a Buyer?

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 Builder’s Perspective

Settling Terms of the Deal

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.

A Middleman

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.

Value of the Home

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.

How Structural Warranty Works

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.

What Structural Warranty Covers

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:

  • Beams, Pillars, and Columns
  • Girders and Lintels
  • Foundation of the home
  • Masonry arches
  • Roof beams, and framing systems
  • Flooring
  • Walls and partitions that bear the load and contribute to the building’s structural validity.

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.

The Cost

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.

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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.

How to know which is the best home warranty company in Wahington?

Top Home Warranty Companies In The State Of Washington!

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.

American Home Shield

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.

2-10 Home Buyers Warranty

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.

Home Warranty of America

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.