Maintenance has never been about just appearance and aesthetics – more than anything, it is vital to maintaining your home and its appliances for safety. From electrocution to sparks, and short circuits to full blown fires, faulty electrical wiring can be extremely dangerous and must be dealt with caution and professional expertise.
Wondering how you know when to check your electrical wiring systems? Besides the fact that a routine check of all your sockets and circuits is recommended at least once a year, there are a few signs to look out for when it comes to possible electrical damage.
The far-reaching effects of faulty wiring bring to mind the much used saying ‘better safe than sorry’. A small investment in a professional, DIY check-ups of your electrical wiring or getting the home warranty for your home can be imperative to keeping you and your loved ones safe. Repairs are costly and maintenance is no doubt an easier way to prevent future problems, so we bring to you seven simple tips to keep track off and maintain your entire electrical wiring system.
Mark your calendars and keep a monthly check on your electrical outlets, you can do this by yourself and won’t need any assistance. The testers are inexpensive – you can find them at any home hardware store. A three-prong plug, the tester will have indicator lights on each prong. As you plug the tester into each outlet, the lights indicate any problems with the individual outlet. The earlier you know the problem the easier it is to get it solved and the risk of fire or a greater electrical malfunction is avoided.
Damaged and worn out wiring should be replaced immediately. The process is very simple and you might be able to change the wiring outlets on your own. If the problem seems to be more complicated do not hesitate to call a professional electrical who can perform the work. In fact, if such handy-work isn’t your cup of tea, a home warranty is a simple preemptive measure to rid yourself of unnecessary worry!
There are many occasions where it might seem preferable to procure a cheap knock off, but substituting your wiring outlets is not a place to economize. It is ideal to choose parts that are certified by a recognized safety certification institution, as you are rest assured that the product is completely safe and has gone through extensive testing.
This might seem the most obvious one, but most cases of electrocution are direct results of electrical appliances close to water outlets – kitchens, outdoor sockets, garages, and washrooms especially. Keep appliances as far from the taps and showers, constantly check the wiring in such parts of the house, don’t multitask with things like your hair curler and washing your hands and immediately get outlets tested if the tap or any pipes give you a shock when you touch them.
If the problem seems to persist and is more than your normal wear and tear, it is best to hand over to a professional electrician and in such situations, you should refrain from repairing your own wiring. Large numbers of electrical fires are likely to be caused by faulty repairs. By handing it over to the professional, you become risk-free and it is cost effective in the longer run.
To help prevent power outages, make sure there are not too many appliances plugged into one circuit. Overloading is one of the widespread problems of any wiring issue. When you have too many outlets working at once that exceeds your wattage consumption, the components heat up, causing your breakers to trip or spark up. So it is prudent to know which appliances are power hungry.
Electrical systems should be maintained well in its entirety – outlets, cords, trip breakers, circuit box, and bulbs amongst other things – and should be replaced if they show signs of malfunction.
Bulbs are especially prone to malfunction, especially when their wattage doesn’t match that of the outlet. Open outlets are dangerous, make sure that such ones are sealed and are untouched by seepage.
Do not disregard the wattage consumption, which is a common problem with bulbs. By putting high wattage consumption bulbs, it would increase your bills and cause the bulb to burn out faster, also causing the base to heat up and in turn risking a fire.
While you are getting your home checked for faulty wiring, you should also check the wiring outdoors, in the attic and the basement. These are places that you might forget to get checked and unattended, they could cause greater damage.
Even with all the steps above, maintaining the entire home’s wiring can be a task – making home warranty a worthy investment, especially during the winter season. Similar to insurance but a lot more specific in nature, Home Warranty takes care of repair and replacement of your appliances and wiring systems, amongst other things.
Repair and maintenance as a task as well as a financial burden can kill the joy of being a homeowner. The responsibilities only pile up, however trivial the task may seem, and keeping track of servicing and fixing is never easy. Taking care of both regular maintenance as well as problem-solving when your electrical system may hit a snag, Home Warranty can be life changing when it comes to the keep up of your home’s electrical wiring and appliances.
In a typical Home Warranty scheme, central air conditioning and heating systems, all appliances however big or small in your kitchen, washer and dryer of both clothes and vessels, entire electrical systems, plumbing systems, leaks, and seepages are covered for all levels of repair and replacement. Nevertheless, it is a good idea for you to do some pre-research before signing the papers!
There are a few simple ways you can get a hang of how Home Warranty works, what it covers, whether or not you need it and what plan will suit you best. Besides asking for recommendations from friends and family, reading up on consumer research based websites can give you not only a clear understanding of what you are getting into, but also substantiate the information with honest reviews from consumers.
HomeWarrantyReviews.com is one such site, giving you a comprehensive list of reviews from users across the country – many of which are specific to the laws of each state. The buying and selling of a house and all the laws that go with it are essential to follow when it comes to such procedures, making it tricky if you land up getting into a deal which doesn’t go hand in hand with the policies of the state.
The website also brings you a Home Maintenance Calculator to help you understand the expenditure your home will require in the long run, as well as awards and ratings of different companies, across the country.
Considering that you are on a website devoted to home warranties, you may already know what a home warranty is. It is essentially a service contract that agrees to provide you with repair/replacement services for appliances or systems in your home. Most homeowners wonder whether annual premiums are put to better use if they are set aside as emergency fund instead of being paid to warranty providers, hoping that they will come to the rescue if a breakdown happens. The question here is, what if the annual premium is paid and no claim is raised in that year? This article will address the question in detail.
A home warranty company maintains a network of technicians and service vendors, who are dispatched to a customer’s house as and when a claim is raised. The customer is often charged only a service call fee and not the entire expense of fixing a damage. Here’s how home warranty benefits the homeowner–
What they fail to recognize is the very real potential that they will spend more than a few years’ home warranty premiums when a major appliance or system component breaks down without any service contract coverage. Don’t you think it’s worth?
Many homeowners have expressed concerns about the annual premium that is paid for a year in which no claim was made by them. However, what they fail to recognize is the very real potential that they will spend more than a few years’ worth of home warranty premiums when a major appliance or system component breaks down without any service contract coverage. Minus a warranty, an average repair cost would be around $500-$1000 for a typical household appliance. Replacing would definitely cost more, sometimes several years worth of annual premiums.
As you can see, annual premiums seem like a very small fee in comparison with the amount you would have to pay if an appliance breaks down.
Let’s take an example of a typical homeowner, we’ll call him Mr. Bond. Mr. Bond believed that setting aside $400 every year for emergency repairs would make more sense than purchasing a home warranty plan. Three years into this practice, his HVAC unit decided to call quits. Mr. Bond asks around and finds out (to his dismay) that a high end HVAC system would cost around $5,800. He had saved up around $1200 and all of that wouldn’t help him get a new one.
Had the story been different and if Mr. Bond had opted for a home warranty instead, he could’ve had the replacement done at a fraction of the cost.
The only time it doesn’t make sense to opt for a home warranty over saving that money is when your house and the appliances in it are new. As a rule, home warranty is only recommended for folks whose house and its contents are over four years old. If you belong to this category, then the chances of your appliances or systems breaking down are low. So paying annual premium to a home warranty provider may not make sense, especially when many of the appliances at your house are still under warranty.
If you meet any of the conditions mentioned below, buying a home warranty will likely provide you with budget protection and not to mention, feeling of confidence. Here are the parameters-
If you meet any one of the above mentioned conditions, you will probably benefit from an appliance warranty. As long as you go with a company that is reputable, you should find yourself with nothing but pleasant outcomes.
If you are still unsure, we suggest that you look into our guide for home warranty buyers. Once you do that, you may want to look at some of the best home warranty companies in the country to get things started. Should you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to holler at us. Cheers!
When it comes to appliance warranty protection plans, the choices are plenty. Should you buy a comprehensive home warranty or extended warranty at the point of sale? While home warranty is like an umbrella insurance that covers all major home appliances, extended warranty is purchased for each appliance separately.
Home warranties will charge annual premium and deductibles per repair incident but they can be purchased anytime during the life-cycle of the product. Extended warranties will charge up front fees, but no deductible per incident and these protection plans are generally sold during the initial stages of product’s use, although there are exceptions.
Generally, home warranties cover all used appliances, but extended warranties cover new items only. Recently, Warranty Week ran an article that questioned whether there is an overlap between the two. They interviewed several executives from home warranty and extended warranty companies. The general consensus appears to be that, there is some overlap, however two types of warranties serve different purposes.
Mike Frosch, president of The Warranty Group, North America, said “Home warranties are great, when you’re buying or selling a house and want to cover used appliances immediately. Service contracts are great, when you’re shopping for new appliances and want to extend the manufacturer’s warranty for additional years. So in a sense, the coverage may overlap, but the offers don’t really compete. When you buy a home warranty, for the sake of argument let’s say it’s $450. It’s a one-year coverage on used equipment. It’s providing some coverage on some amount of appliances, but it’s really about heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electric”
In our view, they do overlap if you are talking about big ticket appliances, but there is no need to buy both. If you are buying a new appliance, chances of it failing in the first 3-5 years is far less assuming you have researched the product before buying. So, there is no real need for extended warranties.
However, if homeowners still want peace of mind coverage, then they should simply go with home warranty as it covers all appliances in your home not just one specific product. The home warranty costs are higher than the extended warranty, however it covers far more items and you have a single point of contact for all repair needs.
Extended warranty companies argue that they provide better service and offer more economic protection plans. The argument is compelling on the surface, but keep in mind home warranties are useful where there is frequent need for repair such as old appliances.
We wonder what would be the service level if extended warranty companies offer maintenance service of 10-15 years old appliances such as heaters and air conditioners. The repair needs are much higher and their profit margins are much lower. Generally extended warranties are bought for new electronics items and repair incidents are much lower. For this reason, we think it is a wise decision not to buy extended warranty at point of purchase.
For decades now, the American Dream has been synonymous with Homeownership. Even though the housing market has not got back up after the recession hit of 2008, a majority of the population still strives to own their dream home, looking at it as a sign of stability and accomplishment. The only thing that changes is what each individual, couple or family unit is really looking for in a home, and at what time in their lives, they choose to take the leap.
Statistics show that an approximate 70% of all Americans hope to own a home of their own, comprising a solid 80% to 90% of millennials, aged between 18 and 34. Even though there is a postponement of getting married and having children in the lifestyles of the latter, parents – single or in committed relationships – have dream homes high on their priority list.
As far as dream homes go, it can be safely said that a mere one-third of the cross section across generations claim to already be living in their ideal residence, most aspiring to own a space larger and more luxurious. Yet, size isn’t everything and a very large percentage do want homes that are sized neither too small nor too big, between 1500 to 2500 square feet on an average.
At the end of the day, aspirational homes are greatly dependent on the age-bracket that you fall under – each generation having constantly changing needs, wants and family structures. While Millennials prefer to invest in homes which are high-tech and modern in both structure and amenities, the Baby Boomers (between 50 and 70 years at the moment) are in search for or have already invested in ranch-style homes which are comfortable and easily accessible.
The want for modernity has blended right in with the need to entertain, socialize and have a good time. Countering the luxury of numerous bedrooms, the new dream home features a large spread out floor plan with incentives and perks like French windows opening onto decks, views of the city or the sea, gourmet kitchens, fancy wet bars and open terraces.
A style of building, interiors, and structure that are appreciated across generations, French Country is making a comeback into the list of homes that Americans aspire to own.
Having its own touch of fantasy with its French feel, these country homes combine to perfection the resourceful American architectural techniques with French flair and decorative elements. What is more, being a type of home which first gained popularity in the early 1900’s, these country houses can be structured as anything from a small old-worldly cottage with a yard and a fence to an extravagant castle-like mansion with French windows and elaborate décor. Whichever it may be, they are known for their warmth and comfort, with tall window panes letting in plenty of morning sun and a mix of stepped roofs and gables with arches over the doorways to balance out the sharp edges.
The French traditional façade and elements of elevation are kept up through the use of stucco, brick, wrought iron rails and window panes, while the floor plan of the home tends to be more modern and functional – altering itself to fit the needs of your current lifestyle.
Colonial homes are known to be one of the most popular styles of architecture in America, characterized by their sharp geometricity brought by the European colonists in the 18th century. Themselves influenced by the Greeks and Romans in the past, European stylistic tendencies soon cropped up in various parts of both urban and rural America and is still known for its grandeur, symmetry, and stable stature.
The house is the epitome of formal balance, with the entrance being centrally located and brought to focus by the use of columns, often decorated around the capital or fluted from top to bottom. The formal balance is echoed in the sturdy and square foundation, on which stand an approximate of two or three floors. Taking it a step further, the windows are usually all the same size, symmetrically distributed on the façade with decorative shutters and multiple panes.
The past two to three centuries have seen very little change in this style, though certain homeowners do add elements to suit their needs. As far as dream homes go, the Colonial three-floor home in the city acts as the perfect bridge between the bustle of urban life and a safe and secure space for you and your family. It’s efficient and need based design caters perfectly to the new age priority of functionality while incorporating elements such as classical decorative detailing, hardwood floors and fireplaces without any compromise on the traditional look and feel of the space.
Tudor style homes date back to England in the 1500’s, owing its name to the Tudor Dynasty which witnessed the last developmental phase of medieval architecture in England. The Tudor we know today owes a great deal more to modern alterations made to the style of that time, known now as Tudor Revivalist architecture.
Bringing in elements of both the Victorian charm and tradition as well as ornate gothic height and elevation, the Tudor Revivalist structures feature decorative timber on their façade, placed to give the entire house a sense of stability and weight even though they are purely ornamental in reality. In complete contrast to the colonial style of building, Tudor homes are characterized by their marked lack of symmetry, which is noticeable in all aspects of the interior and exterior of the home. Stressing on the abstract over geometric formal balance, the houses have a mix of angles and shapes which are rather varied, though they fall together in perfect harmony.
In recent times, newer constructions have been shying away from building Tudor style houses, but its archaic quality mixed with its abstract structural plan still keeps it in demand with the present generations of Americans.
A style which came into being wholly in America, Traditional Ranch Homes are the Baby Boomer’s dream right about now. Ideal for family units and retirement, ranch homes are known for their close to ground single story plans, minimal or no decorative elements, and functional priority in all aspects.
Influenced by North American colonial architecture from the Spanish colonies, Ranch houses cut out direct sunlight and heat, offering the owner a covered porch with a view of the street – right out a country western flick.
Similar in functionality and priority as the Ranch homes, Cape Cod-style houses too boast of low floor plans and modest exteriors. These have now been subject to some experimental design in the past few decades, opening out the floor plan further and increase ventilation, living space and light. The new age American home is beginning to look at the importance of privacy and elbow room, which low floor plans can easily be altered to provide.
With amenities at the minimum, the house was once associated with the simple life, fusing modern ideas of to-the-point design with the American belief system of casual living spaces and informal communities and family units.
The last of the major shifts in architecture in the US, the nineteenth century saw the advent of the Arts and Crafts movements which came into existence in direct opposition of the opulent Victorian style (which was characterized by decoration in all fields) as well as the continued revival of classical styles of the past.
These styles developed into the contemporary ideals of home ownership shared by the present generations of Americans and focused on simplicity and inspiration from the surrounding nature itself. Not wanting to construct obstructive structures or spend excessively, the building materials and amenities were kept to a minimum in both, though each style was distinctly different.
The Craftsmen style featured small, sturdy and extremely well-built bungalows known for their expert craftsmanship and lasting strength, while Prairie homes were characterized by spread out floor plans that echoed the prairie through its extending porches, courtyards, and balconies.
While many of us dream of owning the home down the street from theirs or a cottage that they once drove by in the countryside, a large number of Americans in recent times prefer being able to control and individualize their dream home’s floor plan and structure.
The Contemporary and New American trends in construction are rooted in the need for basic form and function over decorative opulence, incorporating abstract floor plans and leveled rooms and spaces to allow for a flowing interior while not compromising on private spaces.
A touch of luxury has entered the privacy of bedrooms and baths as well, bringing in leisure into busy lifestyles by introducing simple tweaks like couple sinks, bath tubs, walk in closet spaces and oversized windows to greet you in the morning.
The spaces blending into one another also serves well when it comes to the love for entertaining, where open kitchens, terraces and landscaped backyards become a part and parcel of what a dream home should have.
Open floor plans are supported by open facades as well, with numerous windows, minimal dividing walls and doors, and a stress on abstract and asymmetry over formal balance. This focus on function has led to bigger questions regarding the environment as well, with homeowners who are building or renovating using natural and eco-friendly materials available close to the site of construction over large amounts of concrete.
While owning your dream home can be an aspirational standard you work towards, every home can be made to suit your best and serve its every purpose to the fullest. Even spending a few hours every Sunday on a little gardening or a spruce up cleaning spree can make a great difference in the feel of your home, and bring to the fore elements of its structural beauty that you never noticed before.
HomeWarrantyReviews.com holds within its array of articles not only guides to Home Warranty coverage and companies but also Do It Yourself guides and hacks to maintain your home and garden, giving you a space to discuss and learn about various ways to bridge the gap between physical appearance and functionality when it comes to your home.
Discussing the various types of the home is something cool. But what is cooler is to keep it that way. How? You might ask!
We only have three words for that – Research, Ratings & Reviews!
So take out those keen eyes and get online, check for the track record of the home warranty company in question by seeing the innumerable reviews on the internet. Check for their ratings and gauge how the company is performing and see for a fact how clearly the site’s rate a home warranty company, you know you can betcha on our site because we understand how important credibility is & we’ve been the go-to site for many such types of internet researches on home warranty shenanigans!
The dream of possessing a home has become increasingly non-achievable for many Americans, and the condition is not possible to get better soon, as the fall of the housing market and the downturn continue to take their toll. That is the worrying conclusion to be drawn from the U.S. Census Bureau’s lately released report which is an overview of the national home market at the end of the last decade.
Homeowners in the United States also tend to have higher incomes and the households staying in their own home were more likely to be families than were their tenant counterparts. The name “home ownership rate” can be deceptive. As defined by the US Census Bureau, it is the percentage of homes that are occupied by the owner. It is not the percentage of adults that have possession of their own home. The second percentage will be importantly lower than the home ownership rate as many households that are owner occupied contain adult relatives (most frequently young adults, descendants of the owner) who do not possess their own home, and because single bedroom multi-bedroom rental units can have more than 1 adult, all of whom do not possess a home.
According to Consumer Insights 2012, here is what consumers are thinking today about home ownership:
In the U.S. the homeownership rate is shaped through Housing Vacancy Survey by the US Census Bureau. It is formed by dividing the owner occupied units by the total number of engaged units. This is a significant point to comprehend changes in the homeownership time over time. The bust of the housing bubble resulted in many houses becoming foreclosed. However, the decrease the in the homeownership rate from 3Q2007 to 4Q2007 mainly a result of an increase in the renter’s populace and less because of a decrease in the homeowner population.
The impact of the bursting of the U.S housing bubble is still being felt across the country. In the first quarter of 2012, the homeownership rate fell to a 15-year low as per the Census Bureau. The 65.4% rate in the 1st quarter of 2012 is down from the 66% rate in the 4th quarter of 2011 and from the rate of 66.4% in the first quarter of 2011. Prior to the housing bubble burst, the rate of homeownership in the U.S. had been as high as 69.2% in the 4th quarter of 2004.
Economists say the rate could trip further. While low mortgage-interest rates and declining home prices have made homes more reasonable than at any time in the past decade, mortgage-lending standards stay tight. Besides, more Americans may feel less confident about property ownership after the sharp price declines of the past 6 years.
According to New York-based Reis Inc. (Reis) the vacancy rate fell to 4.9%in the first quarter, an 11-year low. The Census Bureau said that the vacancy rate for rental homes was 8.8% in the first quarter when compared with a 9.7% a year earlier.
Of the expected 132.6 million U.S. homes, 18.5 million, or 13.9%, were available in the first quarter a year before, about 19 million homes were empty, as per a report. That comprises homes for rent or sale or held off the market, and vacation properties used seasonally.
According to Stephen East, an analyst with International Strategy & Investment Group LLC, the dropped rates of both homeowner and rental vacancy during the 1st quarter bodes well for housing as shrinking inventory will enhance rents and urge demand for new homes.
Almost 6 million borrowers will lose their properties in the next five years because of inability to pay, creating 4 million new rental households.
The homeownership rate fell 3 percentage points from a year earlier to 61.4% in the 1st quarter for people aged 35 to 44, the highest drop of any age group. The Northeast has the largest regional decline, with the ownership rate falling 1.4% points to 62.5%. The West has the lowest ownership rate at 55.9%, down 1% point from a year before.
In 2004, when President George W. Bush, running for re-election, called for expanding home – loan availability to create an “ownership society”, the U.S homeownership rate rose to a record. The present rate of 65.4% matches the average since 1965, when the Census Bureau began reporting the figures, according to data collected by Bloomberg.
Home prices fell 3.5% in February from a year earlier and are 35% below their July 2006 peak, as per the S&P/Case-Shiller index of 20 U.S. cities. The average rate for a 30 year fixed loan was 3.88% and reached 3.87% in February, the lowest level in at least four decades.
Following are the home ownership rates of various states in U.S.
|State||First Quarter 2012|
|District of Columbia||45.7|
Most of us consider homeownership as a treasured experience. It is a common dream to own a home someday. While the experience is indeed one that gives tremendous joy, it too has a certain not so joyous side. Most common troubles associated with homeownership are usually monetary in nature. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics that are sure to shock you!
For many, the initial days of being a homeowner are filled with happiness and a sense of accomplishment. Once those days pass, the reality sinks in, homeownership is a pricey experience. For those of you who are not aware of the various costs that are associated with homeownership, this article may surprise! We’ve borrowed the results from the U.S. Census Board’s survey that conducted a study to identify the various costs of being a homeowner. Let’s take a look at some such costs
This is a very familiar term. Everyone knows that a house will require maintenance, but does anyone know exactly how much? The Census Board believes that, on average, every home requires annual maintenance costs that is around 1-4% of the home’s value. And this percentage steadily rises as the house ages.
It’s no big secret that appliance repairs/ replacements are expensive affairs. Maintaining them will be hard on your budget if you don’t have any form of protection or service contract for that. As per the studies, home maintenance makes for the biggest chunk of expense any homeowner is bound to encounter.
Research revealed that on an average a $200,000 home will require at least $2,000 in repairs and general maintenance expenses alone. Average appliance repair costs alone range between $100 to $350 in a year. This is precisely why home warranty plans were invented. Such plans cost only around $200-$600 a year and they will provide you with discounted repairs/replacements, which in the long run would help you save thousands of dollars!
This too should be a familiar term. The Census Board says that between the years 2007-2011, around 60% of the counties in U.S. reported the average property tax to be somewhere around $500 – $1,500. Here’s a fact to shock the living daylights out of you, the average annual property tax in Westchester county, NY was $9,647. Worried?
Now this one must not have crossed your mind. Almost all homes in U.S. are equipped in heating and cooling units. As per surveys, home’s using electricity for heating will spend $900, homes using propane $1,666 and homes using heating oil will spend $2,400 on average heating costs.
Cooling thankfully runs on electricity alone and research suggests that on average a home incurs around $300 annually by using air conditioning systems.
Yet another one that makes up for one big chunk of money. HVAC repairs, on average cost around $400 a year. Furnace repairs sometimes cost upto $800 a year. At least for the sake of avoiding such expenses for HVAC units, we recommend that you purchase a home warranty plan. $300 a year for a host of appliances is better than $800 a year for one unit. Is it not?
Sadly this list does not cover all the expenses that a homeowner has to meet, it lists only the main ones. We strongly recommend our readers to go through the various benefits of home warranty and to purchase one if your home and its contents are 4+ years old. You can even use our website to obtain a free quote and to take a look at top 10 home warranty companies.
Our readers are encouraged to approach us should they have any concerns or queries. We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Do come back for more. Cheers!
Your home is the center of your everyday life and possibly your most valued asset. When your home is destroyed or damaged, you want your claim sorted out by an insurance company that realizes this simple fact. A right homeowners’ insurance company best meets your needs and provides you with the most valuable blend of quality service, custom-made coverage, and fair pricing in policies.
Depending on where you live – an apartment, house, or condominium – the right home insurance plan can give you peace of mind along with the money you need to replace or repair your home and/or stuff. Home insurance policies vary by the type of coverage you choose, the losses covered and the type of residence you own. You pick a policy that is best for you, whether it’s an all-inclusive policy that covers losses such as smoke, fire, falling objects, and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers specified losses.
Your home insurance plan is made up of the precise options you select. The amount you pay for your policy depends on what coverage you buy, how much you want to cover, and where you set your limits. There are many types of homeowners policies available when once you decide to be a homeowner or not. The most significant part of homeowners insurance is the level of coverage. Avoid paying for more than you require. Below are the most common levels of coverage.
As insurance policies come in many shapes and sizes, the same is true for insurance companies and agents, who can charge different rates for the same coverage. Bigger insurers are not always better and small don’t essentially have the best customer service. So, it’s always good to shop around for the top deals and ask the precise questions in an attempt to know what you are really receiving.
Prior to signing on the dotted line, you should understand that not all homeowners policies are the same. This is always one of the most common misinterpretations about insurance. According to a survey, more than a third of the homeowners said they did not have or didn’t identify if they had adequate homeowners insurance coverage. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina affected the city of New Orleans, and again in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy damaged numerous communities in New York and New Jersey, thousands of worried survivors got a rude shock when they found their standard homeowners’ policies did not cover flood damage.
Many catastrophic events are not covered in the basic homeowner’s policy, but they are still insurable and require additional levels of insurance. In some cases, homeowners need entirely different policies, which are usually several times costlier than the typical homeowners’ premium. Some homes are situated in high-risk areas such as flood, hurricanes and earthquake zones, which make buying additional insurance a top priority for these homeowners. Instead of the usual $250 to $1,000 deductible under basic coverage, you have to shell out 1 to 5% of your home’s insured value (up to 10% in Florida).
Hurricane season is an old threat for many residents living along the southeastern coast of the U.S. Hurricane Matthew, which made arrival on Oct 8, 2016, left an expected $6 billion worth of property loss in its devastation across states such as Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. If you live in a region that is prone to hurricanes, you must have certain emergency plans in place. Homeowners in hurricane-prone areas need to act fast to file damage claims with their insurance firms. For instance, if your home is insured for $200,000 and your plan has a 3% deductible for hurricanes, you will have to expend $6,000 out-of-pocket on a storm-related claim.
When you buy a homeowners insurance policy, one of the must have insurance policies, you must prepare the latest home inventory to speed up a claim settlement if you ever need to make one. A complete home inventory, help your insurance company verify the property easier, which in turn makes settling your claim easy. Additionally, you can validate losses for your income tax return with the latest home inventory without any hassles.
For many homeowners, insurance is something to be thought of again, i.e., until the worst occurs. Homeowners who wait until they experience a loss before assessing their own policies do not get the full value – may be little value – out of their incalculable premium payments.
Homeowners insurance is a monetary agreement, but it should also be treated as a living entity to be cherished over time. By reading your policy wisely, shopping around for the suitable agent, comprehending your coverage limits, and create an updated property inventory.
Americans buy home warranty to protect themselves from repair and replacement costs of home appliances that fail due to normal wear and tear. Unfortunately a lot of policy holders feel let down by the result after filing a claim with their warranty company. Some people are ignorant that they have the power to dispute the outcome of a claim when one is filed; others are conscious that many customers succeed when they dispute a claim correctly. The procedure involved in disputing a claim can be extensive, but can be worth time investment.
A home warranty is a service contract that covers systems and items in your home that are usually not covered by homeowner’s insurance. Furnaces and outside air conditioning units, plumbing and electrical systems are items commonly covered under a home warranty protection plan. The homeowner requests a claim with the warranty company when a covered item requires repair. Some home warranty providers repay the homeowner for the cost of the repair while others send a contractor directly to the home for repairs.
You should look at these factors carefully for any items that you estimated to be covered by the home warranty contract you aim to procure. Make sure you read the contract one more time and understand the reason for denial. In some cases, even courts cannot help you if the claim was denied for a reason clearly stated in the contract.
So what are some of the common reasons for denial of claims on home warranty?
Always be polite and be friendly with customer service professionals. They will go an extra mile if they like you. The first step should always be that you speak to customer service supervisors and their bosses who make the decision. Assuming those steps did not result in a favorable outcome, you can follow these escalation steps:
American Home Shield is one of the most widely acclaimed and also the biggest player in the home warranty industry. With over 40 years of experience in caring for its patrons, AHS has established itself as a leading home protection plan company. While the company is highly reputable, there have been cases where lawsuits were filed against the company and some of them have resulted in AHS agreeing for settlements. One such lawsuit against American Home Shield resulted in a settlement, even though the company did not admit any illegal behavior or liability in the settlement.
During the settlement of two lawsuits against AHS in which the company was accused of paying kickbacks to real estate brokers to promote their service plans, the company was allegedly trying to protect the brokers and agents from any legal responsibilities.
On that subject, American Home Shield, the nation’s largest provider of home warranties, has stated that the payments they made to real estate brokers to market its products, did not violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA.
The company admitted to no wrongdoing but has currently agreed to pay up to $26 million to determine allegations that the payments violated RESPA.
AHS put an optimistic spin on the settlement and released brokers and agents involved from any form of liability. This supported the company’s position as its current broker compensation program; ProConnect is in accordance with RESPA guidelines and regulations.
About 500,000 homebuyers and sellers who procured warranties between May 27, 2008, and March 4, 2011, may be qualified to collect an average of $52 each under the terms of the settlement.
Edleson v. American Home Shield filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court in San Diego in July 2007. The California court declined a proposed settlement of Edleson v. American Home Shield, which would have formed a review desk for homeowners to resubmit earlier denied claims.
The court hearing the Edleson case expressed concern that AHS would have the right to readjudicate claims, and the consumers included in the settlement would be giving up “possible” and “realistic” rights in exchange for the hope that a defendant that has supposedly not acted on good faith” before”, would do so.
After the proposed Edleson settlement was declined, American Home Shield reached tentative settlement in Faught v. American Home Shield, which also called for a review desk for consumers to resubmit claims.
The proposed Faught settlement was opposed by 24 homeowners and by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
The settlement was the outcome of a class-action lawsuit filed by Laura and Steven Faught against AHS in support of people in the US who procured or were issued a home service contract from AHS on July 24, 2001 throughout October 19, 2009. As part of the agreement, AHS decided to set up a review desk to reflect on claims from settlement class members whose claims were declined during the class period.
The Faught lawsuit suspected that American Home Shield engaged in a pattern and practice of failing to accomplish its contractual responsibilities to its customers. This includes declining to provide repair and replacement services to which its customers were entitled and also inappropriately denying claims in the first year of a customer’s home service contracts for “lack of maintenance” (from the Notice of Class Action and Settlement; faughtclassaction.com).
In spite of entering into a settlement, AHS has denied any misconduct or any legal responsibility. However even this claim no of wrongdoing has not prevented a different lawsuit against them. This lawsuit also alleges that American Home Shield was unsuccessful in paying for its customers’ claims.
The complaint, filed by Brigette and William Guadet, on June 23, 2011 according to The Louisiana Record (June 30, 2011) alleges AHS of denying claims made by class members under grounds of “lack of maintenance, pre-existing condition, or failure to clean, in spite of not examining the appliances when policies are issued.”
In addition to this, the lawsuit alleges that AHS denies claims because of negligible uncleanness, even if external factors were the cause of the appliance’s breakdown. Plaintiffs allege that contractors were given an additional benefit for declining legal claims. The lawsuit claims violation of agreement and fake misrepresentation. Plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $75,000.
In the meantime, consumers of other home warranty companies have filed lawsuits of their own or may be looking into possible lawsuits, suspecting that their claims were denied improperly.
The 2008 Abney v. American Home Shield lawsuit alleged that the company violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act through its compensation of real estate brokers with regard to the sale and marketing of home warranties.
American Home Shield strongly denied the allegations made in the lawsuit and chose to resolve the suit due to the potential costs in defending the case. Details on the resolution of this case are available at www.abneyclassaction.com.
The Bottom Line
According to D. Frank Davis, a lead attorney for consumers in both the Abney and Faught cases, the Faught settlements is more favorable to all the class members in a lot of important ways.
Under Faught, individuals whose rejected claim incurred in the first year of their contract and involved a heating or air conditioning unit are likely to have their claim paid on reconsideration because of specific language in the settlement about the standards to be used by the review desk. All the other claims resubmitted are also likely to be paid this time because of the negotiated penalty provisions.
The joys of home ownership and delight of self-sustenance comes hand in hand with maintenance anxiety and budgetary concerns. Let’s look at how to lighten the load and delegate some of the upkeep and repairs with the help of a home warranty plan or a home service contract!
Working towards keeping your home new, resolved and looked after always, Home Warranty is your one stop shop for all your servicing needs when it comes to your home – and all that without any unnecessary worry. Taking care of all issues when it comes to day to day wear and tear or appliance breakdowns, Home Warranty is like a homeowner’s insurance policy, but for the little things and routine aging of your home appliances and systems, which can be done by getting a free quote from HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s website. On the other hand, insurance tends to focus on major damage because of unforeseen circumstances and natural disasters.
If you’re diving into the deep end of the Home Warranty pool for the first time, here is some basic information to guide you through the process and keep you afloat.
Investing in a Home Warranty scheme can work out great whether you are a new homeowner, a seller looking to strike a no-nonsense deal, or even a realtor offering a perk to both parties.
From a homeowner point of view the incentives are straightforward. You have just sunk in a considerably large sum of money into a house, and for just a little more you can save yourself needless hassle and sudden repair and maintenance payments for at least the first year of owning the home. If you happen to be new to the home owning side of the fence, and have always lived as a tenant, then getting a Home Warranty works out even better – all the fixing the landlords usually took care off will still not be yours to worry about.
From a seller’s perspective, Home Warranty boosts the value of the home, builds trust in the prospective buyers that the current owner has confidence in the structure and appliances enough to invest in Home Warranty, allows for the buyer to know that a year in their lives after the purchase if taken care of and last but definitely not the least, lets you sleep peacefully at night knowing that you won’t be getting calls in a few months with complaints about the home.
Confused as to why Home Warranty can be a realtor’s best friend as well? In the time of market lows and steep competition, a Home Warranty scheme added to your list of services can act as quite the spur. Encouraging for both sellers and buyers, throw in a year’s warranty to the upcoming purchase and it shows not only your commitment to the deal but also your trust in the home they are about to call their own!
Depending on the plan you choose, which in turn will depend on the extent to which your home needs upkeep and you wish to delegate, Home Warranty plans generally cover all the major plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems, major appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens, amongst other things. The core plan may vary to include leakage and seepage, structural defects, drainage systems and outdoor mechanisms, pools and garages, but most companies prefer to keep these as additional maintenance factors.
Most companies also allow for unlimited service requests during the contract period, which can act as a great incentive when it comes to investing in warranty schemes, as well as replacements of appliances that cannot be fixed.
Most often, all known issues with appliances or systems that pre-date the purchase of the warranty are not covered by the company, and neither are unknown conditions that are due to mismanagement in the past.
That being said, certain unique cases are taken into account where in pre-dating issues are considered, but only if they were not known off before. The most common of these is when a Home Warranty scheme is purchased as a part of a real estate deal, wherein the coverage is extended to include circumstances where unobservable defects already existed in the home that was purchased.
Adding to that, when an appliance is already under warranty from the manufacturer or requires fixing of cosmetic damage or damage that is not related to its core functioning, then too the appliance will not be applicable for coverage. The most common example of such a claim is physical weathering, noise, and corrosion on the outside.
If you don’t treat your appliances right by the rules, or have a pet that could cause accidents, then any such damage will not be taken into account. As an extension, the Home Warranty does not overlap in function with insurance, so any acts of God such a fires and floods will not be covered either.
Lastly, any damage due to mold or pests are usually left out of Home Warranty terms and conditions as well, but some companies do tend to add it in their extended schemes. Knowing your scheme is important, and while we have covered the generalities, make sure you look through the terms, conditions and limitations of your schemes before you sign the papers.
Even though it isn’t a necessity to have a professional home inspection done before you get yourself Home Warranty, it is never a bad idea to get your new home checked for quirks and components that may need a little extra care along the way. In the opinion of most experts, getting a thorough home inspection done before the purchase can tell you all you need to know about the property, and get you up to speed about the kind of warranty scheme and coverage you should invest in. It is important for you to have an idea of the proceedings of an inspection as well, and not miss the essentials.
Just as a general rule, a warranty should cover appliances regardless of how new or old they are, as long as they are properly maintained and are in working condition when the contract begins.
Even though Home Warranty is about giving up responsibility and being able to delegate, it is just as useful for those of you who like to choose and have some control over who does the fixing.
Whether you’ve had a trusted repairman for years and prefer to call him when in need, or would rather make a quick call and call the service company down the road instead of waiting for the warranty service provider, all companies provide schemes that reimburse servicing charges as long as it falls under the terms and conditions of your specific coverage.
It is essential that you inform your Home Warranty company prior to calling for any repair, as failing to do so automatically nullifies your warranty. The first step is for you to thoroughly review your coverage and understand the repair, servicing and replacements limitations that going to be applied to the issue at hand. One you have identified the issue and gotten clear on the specifications, report the issue to the company, and they will call for a diagnosis and an estimate cost of the repairs.
The company will schedule an appointment, come and cross check the claim, and do some basic examining before calling for either replacement or repair. Simple repairs are easily tackled in the first appointment itself, but if the task at hand is complicated and requires further attention, it may take some time for spare parts to be ordered. Some companies choose to use service providers from their own list, whereas others may work with you to find one that is trustworthy and reputable.
Most often, you can decide whether your warranty scheme has an upper limit cap on expenses by picking the right deal for your needs. While schemes with unlimited spending when it comes to repairs and servicing can be enticing, they do often cost a lot. On the other hand, certain companies may choose to meet you halfway and not have a pre-set limit but yet reserve the right to decide, depending upon on each case that you bring them.
Most Home Warranties last for exactly one year from the date of payment, after which it requires an extension – the same as any legal lease. Extended plans for more than a year at a time do exist, but it isn’t the best plan to make such a long-term investment right at the first go. Your home and its systems will change and age as each year goes by, and often the premium on your warranty will increase as the appliances need more maintenance. It is best to take it one year at a time and give yourself the freedom to alter the plan when need be, unless the warranty you are purchasing is for a home that is new or nearly new.
All Home Warranties are easily renewable – most companies allow not only for quick and speedy renewal of schemes but also help you set up payment plans as per your convenience. Certain companies do have strict termination clauses though, which can be rather annoying if you wish to take a step back. The clause usually applies for cancellation or termination before a certain period, so make sure you keep your eye open for such sections in the terms and conditions before you sign! Last but not the least, laws change from state to state, so make sure to just information specific to your zip code.
The best way to find the perfect deal or company for you, know what to look out for, get to know the tricks of the trade and make the absolute most out of your warranty is to throw yourself into reviews and remarks from other Home Warranty users. Based on consumer research and a rating system that gives you both subjective information as well as statistics, HomeWarrantyReviews.com acts as a platform for all homeowners to share secrets on how to survive the complex world of being homemakers, and also provides for a systematic Complaint Resolution Program (CRP). It isn’t only about finding reviews; you can add to the data by leaving your own comments on the website as well – HomeWarrantyReviews.com acts as a bridge between you and the company without you having to get your hands dirty.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows several home related expenses to be deducted from income tax. While most homeowners enjoy tax exemption on expenses like mortgage interest, property taxes etc, some are unaware whether home warranty premiums are allowed deductions.
When some of our readers approached us with this question, we realized that this could be a common question among homeowners across the country. We have tried to address that concern up to the best of our ability and we hope that this article will clear up any confusion you had about such tax deductions.
As you may know, a home warranty is essentially a service contract that agrees to provide you with discounted repair and replacement services. In the United States of America, homeowners unfortunately do not enjoy the benefit of exemption on a home warranty premium you pay for your residence.
However, warranty premiums can be tax deductible if they are on an income producing building. Which means if your house is something like a home office or if it is a house that you have rented out, the premium you pay towards home warranty will be considered as a deductible expense.
A premium paid towards home warranty is considered as a pre-paid maintenance cost of your home and will therefore be non tax deductible. Which means that repairs and replacement costs, no matter how they are covered, will not be a valuable tax deduction.
If you are a tenant in some house that enjoys the protection of a home warranty plan you pay for, you will not be able to claim exemption on its premium. Only the owner will be able to consider premiums as deductible expense.
Even if you don’t have a home warranty or a home insurance policy, expenses towards repairing and replacing household appliances/ systems will be considered as maintenance costs and hence will not be tax-deductible.
In this case too, if the repair/replacement was needed for an income producing building/home, you may be able to claim an exemption.
Typically, no. IRS allows homeowners to deduct private mortgage interest from federal taxes. But, homeowner’s insurance premiums shall not receive tax exemption. Same applies to flood or title insurance. This is pretty much the way home warranty premiums work. Unless an income is generated by the building like in the case of rental properties or home office, you are out of luck.
IRS allows the following expenses to be considered as tax deductible expenses-
The following are considered as non-exemptible expenses-
We have noticed that it is a common practice to confuse home insurance and home warranty. While homeowner’s Insurance is mandatory for homes with mortgages, a home warranty is usually a choice. Though home warranty premiums may not help you save tax dollars, if your home and its contents are 4+ years old, they are a very wise purchase. Such service contracts provide you with discounted repairs and replacement services if your appliances/systems break down due to normal wear and tear, such damages are typically omitted by homeowner’s insurance. At the end of the day you save more money if you pay premiums for a warranty than if you pay for a repair/replacement job.
If you are worried that a home warranty is going to be expensive, we earnestly encourage you to use our website to get a free quote. You’ll be surprised to find that there are some companies that sell warranty products at compelling prices, some even at zero deductible rates. You can also browse through our site to compare plans and their features. While you are at it, don’t forget to take a look at top ten companies and our annual home warranty award winners!
Our readers are welcome to reach out to us should they have any questions or concerns. We hope that you found this article helpful and informative. Thank you!
The National League of Cities surpassed a considerable milestone in February 2012 with more than 100 cities now taking part in the NLC Service Line Warranty Program. In this program, more than one million households are now entitled to participate. The program is administered by Utility Service Partners, Inc. and offers citizens in participant cities an affordable way to keep away from the unforeseen and large expenditure involved with a line break.
If you possess a home in Marshalltown your side drain main-the pipe that joins your home to the city main- is your responsibility. In case something goes wrong, you are responsible for the cost to fix it as your home owner’s insurance does not cover it.
A new program could grant home owners with auxiliary insurance to cover the cost of mending these sewer lines if something goes wrong. During the meeting of the Marshalltown City Council, Oscar Arras of Utility Service Partners Inc. gave a presentation applauding a new warranty program his company is offering. Neither the homeowners insurance companies, nor the home appliance warranties cover these expenses in their basic coverage.
According of Arras, the program moves the burden of coping with sewer main mishaps from the home owner to Utility Partners Inc.
Cities and towns all over the country from Rolfe, Iowa (population 566) to Atlanta, Georgia (population 540,922) are aiding inhabitants who have come across these unexpected repairs. Many citizen are not aware that they are only liable for the utility line that go from their houses to the utility connection. In case these lines break or leak, repairs can be very costly.
Dinald J. Borut, Executive Director of National League of Cities says, “”I am very encouraged by the warm reception this program has quickly received since its introduction 12 months ago,” stated Donald J. Borut, Executive Director, National League of Cities.” He continued, “In these difficult economic times, cities are actively seeking creative ways to assist their residents. This program was designed to help city residents save thousands of dollars on the high cost of repairing broken or leaking water or sewer lines.”
The warranty program offers up to $4,000 in coverage per incidence and costs just under $6 per month. There is no deductible and no limit on the number of repairs and homeowners can get any number of them in a year. In addition, there is no deductible.
As per the City Administrator Randy Wetmore, the city would get 10 percent in royalties from the fees Utility Service Partners Inc. charges. The program would make use of only local contractors and plumbers who will be required to respond to calls received via the company’s 24/7 800 number within an hour.
Wetmore says that one of the biggest benefits is that the program is voluntary and if someone wants to benefit themselves to it then they have it. He adds that the program is not dependant on the number of people making use of the service.
The program also helps with “soft calls” where city workers are send off only to notify the homeowner that the city is not responsible for the issue. Further the program costs nothing put into practice and has no evident downside. Customers are free to pay one of the three ways: online payment, monthly invoices or payment up to a year in advance.
National League of Cities is devoted to helping city leaders put up better communities. NLC is a source and supporter for 19,000 cities, villages and towns, on behalf of more than 218 million Americans.
The NLC Service Line Warranty Program helps city residents in saving thousands of dollars on the high cost of repairing broken or leaking water or sewer lines. Offered at no cost, this program offers participating cities with the whole thing required to bring it to its residents, converse with local media and make known where residents can get information about the program.
Headquartered in Canonsburg, PA, Utility Service Partners, Inc. (USP) is one of the self-governing providers of service line warranties in North America with a collection of over 375,000 products in the U.S. Ever since its formation in September 2003; USP has opened up partnerships with municipal/city governments and utilities to offer utility line warranties to their clientele.
Most homeowners are quite concerned about maintaining their household appliances in good working condition. Any homeowner worth his salt will admit that it is no easy task. Hence it calls for some expertise in the form of appliance maintenance plans. What confuses homeowners is the fact that there are so many appliance maintenance plans out there and they end up wondering which ones to sign up for!
Here’s an article that’ll help you decide what plans you need to buy to ensure smooth running of your household appliances, while going easy on the pocket too.
There are quite a few things you need to consider before you decide whether or not you need an appliance maintenance plan.
In short, folks who have old appliances, lack DIY repair skills and sufficient money and do not have a trusted contractor should purchase some form of protection for their household appliances.
Let’s make this easier for you. An HVAC maintenance plan covers only heating, ventilation and cooling units. A basic home warranty plan covers all the major systems and appliances in the home which includes HVAC units and other appliances too. In simple terms, the coverage is often more for home warranty contracts.
Let’s take a look at some of the common advantages
Now let’s take a look at the advantages separately
Advantage of HVAC maintenance plans:
Advantages of Home Warranty plans:
Who needs an HVAC maintenance plan?
The U.S Dept. of Energy advises having your HVAC systems checked at least twice a year. This could be expensive for some.
Homeowners whose homes are aged should definitely think about purchasing a home warranty plan. It covers more than just your HVAC units. Ideally, following are the types of homeowners who need a home service contract:
Although most home warranty plans include coverage for HVAC units, the services are not as extensive as provided by an HVAC plan built specifically with heating and cooling needs in mind. If you feel that you are okay with basic coverage, then it would make more sense to go for a home warranty as your other appliances get protection too. Another option (safer one) is to buy a home warranty plan that covers on general household appliances and electrical systems and then to top it up with an HVAC plan. It may cost a little more than just a single plan, but it will be useful in the long run.
Yet another vital thing to do is to get your HVAC appliances get checked by a professional at least once a year. Regular maintenance checks are often helpful in diagnosing problems at an early state. Hence, no matter what the age or the make is, annual maintenance checks are a must for every HVAC appliance/system.
You can also read about Home Maintenance Tips on our website. We host several articles that explain the maintenance regimes for various household appliances and systems.
Remember, no matter how much thought you give into deciding a plan, if you don’t take the same effort for picking a reputable company, it may disappoint you. Always, we repeat, always select a trusted warranty provider and do sufficient research before you sign the contract. You can visit websites like ours, HomeWarrantyReviews.com, to see reviews and ratings about various warranty providers. Our website provide readers with reviews from genuine customers who are more than willing to share their experiences with others.
The Illinois department of insurance issued a warning earlier this year to its residents to avoid a Florida based home warranty company Arkidus Home Protection, Inc. Arkidus had been unlawfully advertising home warranty services via the internet to residents of Illinois and in many cases there were documented incidents of these consumers who purchased a warranty not receiving the services promised to them.
The company and its owner, Reinaldo “Ray” Berges has previously been served with a cease and desist order by the Illinois Department of insurance, but continued offering service coverage for household appliances and major system components. The company had its headquarters in Miami though more recent reports suggest that office has been closed for many months.
The company has not been granted any certificate of authority to sell insurance or home warranties to the consumers in the state of Illinois, thus the cease and desist order from that state was issued. This unfortunately may not help recover the money lost by the Illinois consumers who purchased home warranties, also referred to as residential service contracts or home service contracts.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), The consumers have launched over 245 complaints against the company in last three years. BBB indicates in its report that Arkidus conducted its business through a website, www.theahp.net.
BBB is a non- profit organization more than a 100 years old functioning in U.S and Canada. It collects and provides free business reliability reviews on over 4 million businesses. The BBB plays the role of an intermediary between businesses and consumers. Though it is not mandatory for any firm to get accreditation from BBB such accreditation is sought by some companies in order to build faith in their business. Arkidus is not accredited by BBB and thus the amount of involvement BBB may have had with Arkidus’s customers would have been limited to collecting and documenting complaints and then reporting complaints to the company. For further recourse consumers who have complaints against Arkidus would likely need legal representation or assistance from consumer protection entities.
According to publicly available information Illinois’s Department of insurance has also received many complaints from customers of Arkidus who allege they have been tricked by that company and were unable to obtain reimbursements for their claims or their canceled contracts.
The complaints from consumers are also publicly available on various websites. One such complaint posted online was from Jose. E who is a resident of Florida. In his post he said, “This Company is a scam. I started service with them in May, and they will not honor their policy. I keep getting calls from companies that were dispatched by them. I needed a plumber and an electrician, and both have been harassing me with the remainder of their bill, even though I paid my deductible. Do not purchase anything from this company, they are frauds.”
Arkidus appears to have ceased doing business but for a time the company was successful persuading customers to pay long term contract fees, in some cases for terms of two years or more. These customers spent thousands of dollars in some cases, all of which they now face losing forever. If significant legal action isn’t taken against the owner of the company it is unlikely that consumers will receive any reimbursement and this whole story will end sadly. Hence we warn our readers to be cautious about choosing home warranty companies with very little business history, no matter how positive the early reviews of the company may be.
If you suspect you are dealing with the wrong people already or believe you too have been scammed do not delay making a formal report to the appropriate agency or agencies. Both at the state and national level in the U.S. there are free and fast ways to make your voice heard when you feel you’ve been misled by a business or been the victim of a scam. The important thing is to act quickly and not give up if you feel your complaint is being documented but not being acted upon.
Life is certainly unpredictable, you cannot control the outcome but surely can prepare yourself through careful planning and minimize the risk and be on the safer side. Insurance is one such protection mechanism which covers major expenses with an understanding that you will pay a smaller fee as a premium.
An insurance is a contract in which an individual receives financial protection or reimbursement against losses from an insurance company against the payment of a premium.
We have an inherent need to protect ourselves and our family, so why not buy insurance and secure the unknown future. According to needs you have various insurances. Some are a must while others are worth. Here is a quick tour into the world of insurance policies.
As the term suggests you are insuring your life with a certain amount. It is an insurance that pays out a sum of money either on the unfortunate death of the insured person or after a set period.
It is a type of insurance coverage that pays for medical and surgical expenses that are incurred by the insurer. Health insurance can either reimburse the insured for expenses incurred for illnesses or injury or pay the care provider directly.
It is an insurance for all your automobiles against theft and accidents.
A home warranty is a contract for repair and replacement of major home appliances such as refrigerator, washing machine, garbage disposal etc. on payment of a premium.
This insurance covers the home including the structural elements as well as the valuables inside the home. However, you can claim this insurance only where there is a natural disaster such as flood, fire etc. Please note that this does not cover the appliance repair and replacement costs.
Often Home warranty and insurance are thought to be similar but they are completely different in the coverage they provide. Home insurance is a must to have whereas home warranty you can choose to get.
When it comes to insurances you have a plethora of options to choose. From travel insurance to disability insurance etc, you can choose and plan according to your needs. All insurances have advantages and disadvantages but insurance no matter which protects your peace of mind. While buying insurance always make sure to do a background check of companies you are dealing with and read the reviews and fine print thoroughly.
Click here to check for Home Insurance and warranty companies.
Future is unpredictable yet securable therefore get insured stay assured.
This infographic depicts the most basic definition of what a Home Warranty is all about. Although the title says that it is for dummies, we’re sure that even people with average/ above average intelligence can keep up!
Now, an appliance warranty is a form of protection your purchase for your household appliances and systems. It is a contract that offers to provide you discounted repair and replacement services should your device sustain any damages.
As you can see in the infographic, all major systems and appliances are covered. Now that would include refrigerator, built in ovens and microwaves, washer/ dryer, HVAC units and major systems like plumbing and electrical units. Additional coverage can always be purchased, so you can rest assured that all your devices can be protected!
This is how it works. When your covered device gets damaged, you simply place a call to the warranty company explaining your situation. If the damage is not an excluded one, your claim will be taken up. The warranty company then sends a technician to your home to fix the damage.
Let’s discuss the claims part. Like we said, when you notice a damage, all you need to do is inform the warranty company about it. Did you notice that title saying “Common reasons for claim denials”? Yes it is true. Although this does not happen often, it is still noticed that companies often deny claims. The grounds for claim denial varies from company to company and can be understood only after you go through their policy booklet.
However, common reasons for denial are as follows
Don’t worry too much about it. If you choose a reputable company, chances are low that your claims will be unjustly denied.
Moving on, let’s discuss the premiums and deductibles involved. As the image says, the annual premium for most basic warranty plans are somewhere in the range of $250- $500. This can vary depending on the extent of coverage. Larger the coverage, higher the premium.
Each time you raise an issue, you will be expected to pay a deductible/ service call fee (it’s nominal, around $50). The happy news is that there are some companies offering plans at zero deductible.
So there! That’s what the infographic is all about. Isn’t it an awesome image? Cheers!
Hagerstown, Maryland is one of the prime cities in Western Maryland. The Hagerstown-Martinsburg urban area is home to almost 270,000 residents, while the Hagerstown suburban area has over 40,000 people and about 30,000 jobs. Currently, there are approximately 500 homes for sale in Hagerstown at a median listing pricing of nearly $180,000.
The top-rated realtors in Hagerstown are well aware of properties, neighborhoods, and newest for sale listings in the city. The experts can provide you with updated information about home buying and selling trends in Hagerstown. Below is the list of top 5 real estate professionals based on their recent activity, years of experience, and total sales volumes in dollars.
Tina is a Realtor with Exit Preferred Realty and licensed in Pennsylvania and Maryland. With an experience of more than three decades, she specializes in short-sale, consulting, and buyer’s agent. She is a proud Member of Pen Mar Regional Association of Realtors, Member of Metropolitan Regional Information System, Member of Realtors Association of York and Adams County, and Member of National Association of Realtors. Tina is an accredited short sales and foreclosure resource (SFR) as she knows how to help sellers maneuver the intricacies of short sales as well as help buyers pursue short sale and foreclosure opportunities. Tina understands that buying or selling a home is one of the most significant things you do in life and she assists in making the experience as smooth and successful as possible. Her extensive experience and expertise in the Hagerstown, Chambersburg, Fayetteville, Greencastle, Mercersburg, and Waynesboro real estate market benefit her customers in their buying and selling process.
If you want to buy a home, Tina and her team can help you find the home of your dreams by patiently listening to your needs. She works untiringly to find the right home so that no one has to compromise when it comes to such a huge purchase and decision! Besides, her real estate knowledge ensures that you get the best price possible for your property. Her strategic marketing program makes sure the right people view your home. Whether you are seeking Homes for Sale or Mortgage information, Tina and team are always available for service by phone, email, or appointments. Experienced in all facets of real estate, Tina enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, gardening, riding horses, and taking a hike.
“So if you or someone you know is looking to Buy or Sell a home give me a call. Thinking Real Estate! Think Tina Long!”
Joan possesses more than 33 years of experience in the real estate industry spanning across Residential and Commercial Development in the Washington D.C. Cosmopolitan Area, Property Management, and Certified Buyer and Seller Representation in the Western Maryland and South Central Pennsylvania neighborhoods. A consistent multi-million producer, she can assist first-time buyers and people scaling up or down with their home size or moving to a new area. Joan is skilled in all facets of real estate including but not limited to equestrian or farm properties, urban, suburban or rural homes, historic properties, primary or second homes, and Country Properties. Currently a part of the management team at Coldwell Banker Innovations, she operates mainly in Hagerstown, Boonsboro, Braddock Heights, Clear Spring, Funkstown, Sharpsburg, Chambersburg, Mercersburg, Greencastle, Waynesboro, Knoxville, Fairplay, Saint James and more. Joan believes that experience and understanding are priceless when purchasing or selling a home and hence she provides the right guidance to attain your real estate goal.
An alumna of the University of Buffalo, Joan is constantly acknowledged as one the area’s leading real estate professionals. She has served as President of PenMar Regional Association of Realtors providing guidance for the local membership to boost their abilities and opportunities to prosper through cooperation, participation, promotion of professional integrity and moral standards, and providing educational opportunities to further their careers. She is also engaged in teaching the Introduction to Real Estate licensing course at Hagerstown Community College. Joan has steadily maintained a multi-million dollar award winning sales position in the top 10% each year. She has won the following awards:
Call, email or text JOAN anytime with real estate queries you may have.
Mike has spent more than two decades working in the real estate industry serving the needs of both the residential and commercial market. He is a resident of the Frederick and Washington County neighborhood and displays an amazing sense of leadership and integrity in everything he does. Mike received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland University College and operates mainly in areas such as Hagerstown, Adamstown, Saint James, Brunswick, Boonsboro, Middletown, Smithsburg, Keedysville, Ijamsville, Williamsport, Maugansville, New Market, Point Of Rocks, Thurmont, Cascade, Cavetown and more. After spending his initial 17 years with Mackintosh Realtors, a local independent firm in Maryland, Mike established Atlantic Real Estate in January 2013 and since then is building a business model that incorporates the customary services expected from a real estate brokerage firm while combining state-of-the-art technology and advanced ideas. Atlantic Real Estate manages all aspects of real estate including property management, buyer & seller representation, real estate investor strategies & planning, professional marketing & sales, consulting & advisory services, land development, and new home sales & marketing. He established Atlantic Home Construction in 2015 after renovating & remodeling investment properties for many years. The company builds custom new homes and remodels existing homes for resale.
In 2016, Mike established Atlantic Companies, recognizing the void between the real estate and building industries. Atlantic Companies is comprised of a real estate division (Atlantic Real Estate) and a construction division (Atlantic Home Construction) along with other ventures. This allows both divisions to work together providing superior quality and long-term value, forward-thinking ideas, and honest customer care.
Mike’s commitment to work responsibilities sets him apart from the rest and has helped him achieve the following:
In addition, Mike has earned the following:
A licensed agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty, Karen serves neighborhoods such as Hagerstown, Clear Spring, Chambersburg, Fort Loudon, McConnellsburg, Mercersburg, Orrstown, Williamsport, Boonsboro, Shippensburg, Waynesboro and more. Whether working with a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, she believes in striving for excellence. Her specialties include short-sale, investors, senior real estate consumers, residential, distressed homeowners, luxury homes, listing agent, and relocation. After graduating from Mercyhurst College, Karen spent 25 years as a registered nurse in Erie, PA. When her husband relocated to the Cumberland Valley around 17 years ago, her 5 children were very young. Her passion for bringing the best to a community led her to get involved with the local Boy Scouts of America. She held numerous leadership positions such as Cubmaster and leading district training events. Later she also became a board member of the Mason-Dixon Council as Vice President of Cub Scout Program. Karen is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award which is the highest Council award and her 4 sons have earned their Eagle Scout award. Her daughter is the pharmacist at the local Greencastle CVS and one of her sons is a pilot for the United States Coast Guard.
Karen’s expert skills along with hard working attitude and interest in marketing led her to pursue a career in real estate in 2004. In her very first year of service, she was awarded PenMar’s Rookie of the Year. Since then, she has continued to be a top volume producer. “Helping people with one of the biggest decisions of their life is such an honor. Being their advocate and making their move as easy as possible are my goals. People look to us for guidance with life changes and this is a responsibility that we cannot take lightly. I BELIEVE that Realtors who base their practice on the latest guidelines and marketing principles are “doing their best” for their clients and their client outcomes are then optimized.” Karen helps the first-time buyers by making them understand the assets and liabilities of a property. She believes that preparing the home for selling and staging the house are critical when buyers are so selective. Premium virtual tours are her specialty.
Finding Keller Williams, the second largest Real Estate Company in the US has been impeccable for Karen’s wish to be the best. Working at Keller Williams has offered her the following:
Karen has earned the following designations and certifications:
“My mission is to always “DO MY BEST” in providing professional real estate services to you the buyer or seller!”
Kari Shank is a full-time realtor with RE/MAX Achievers and licensed in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. She is keen in making your real estate transactions as seamless as possible. She is a permanent resident of Washington County, MD and also has great exposure to the Washington and Baltimore areas. Kari loves working with both buyers and sellers and always takes a tailored approach to the business. Besides, she works as a buyer’s agent emailing you with new listings, setting up custom home searches, negotiating deals, and setting up custom home searches on your behalf! She has a proven track record selling real estate and is available to you seven days a week to answer any of your concerns. Kari has a long list of clientele as she carefully listens to understand the goals and guides them through the complete process of selling their property from listing to sale.
With nearly 11 years of distinguished service, Kari has won the following awards:
Kari is mainly active in neighborhoods such as Hagerstown, Middletown, Smithsburg, New Market, Falling Waters, Boonsboro, Adamstown, Chambersburg, Shepherdstown, Brunswick, Clear Spring, Fairplay, Frederick, Keedysville, Maugansville, Myersville, Sharpsburg, Williamsport, Greencastle, Waynesboro, and Martinsburg. Her skills include sellers, buyers, first-time buyers, relocation, condos/townhomes, short sales, foreclosures, investment properties, and new construction. She is very active in the real estate community serving on the PenMar REALTOR® Association’s YPN Group and as a presenter at the Hagerstown Home Store. As a certified distressed property expert (CDPE), Kari is proficient in effective short sale negotiations. “If you must sell and the current value of your home is no longer enough to satisfy your mortgage a short sale can be a wonderful opportunity to avoid foreclosure. I have worked on many of these sales and would be glad to help you consider your options.” An alumna of University of Maryland College Park, Kari is interested in historic properties, music, photography, traveling, animal rights, and vegetarianism.
“Just tell me what you are looking for and I will search all of my sources and provide you with a convenient report of all the properties that you may be interested in complete with photographs of the properties and detailed neighborhood information.” Kari guarantees to advertise through multiple sources, competitive commission rates, and guides you through your next move! Call her today for more information on the current market.
It is not surprising that homeowners often wonder whether home warranty is more cost-effective than the actual repair expenses. Top home warranty review, rating, and comparison website, HomeWarrantyReviews.com has introduced Home Maintenance Calculator to better make an informed decision in purchasing a home warranty. There is also a widget code for all the realtors out there to use it on their websites and blog posts. This is a nice to have feature and sends out the right signal for all of the potential customers coming your way! (<iframe src=”https://www.homewarrantyreviews.com/home-maintenance-widget”></iframe>)
An offshoot of Home Warranty, Structural Warranty is a legal agreement between the builder of the home and you – the owner. Structural Warranty functions basically in the case of new homes, wherein the builder assures that the home he has built will have no structural defects for a period of ten years after its construction. His claim is covered by the company which offers him warranty coverage for the building, at times additionally including workmanship and internal systems.
The system functions just like Insurance, but covers defects which may occur due to age and wear and tear, not natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances. Like the Home Warranty covers the items in a home – its appliances, wiring and plumbing systems, interiors etc. – Structural Warranty covers elements like the foundation, girders and beams, roofing, and flooring.
Before the purchase of a home, it is advised for either the new owner, seller or realtor to purchase Home Warranty, in order to establish a relationship of trust and confidence in both parties involved. Just as a Home Warranty leaves the new owner knowing that his home and all that is in it is secure for at least a year after its purchase, Structural Warranty establishes the same sense of security in the buyer of a new home straight from a builder.
It is rather simple – all structural defects are now to be fixed by the company that the Warranty has been purchased from or by the builder offering the warranty himself, and as long as the terms and conditions are met, neither the builder nor the new owner is liable.
We see before our eyes appliances, electrical systems and plumbing leaks occur every once in awhile – but most of the time structural damage is noticeable only after it is too late. Given that large parts of the US are known to have soil that expands with seasonal changes, statistics show that more than 25% of all buildings in the country experience some kind of structural damage during the first decade of their life, almost 10% of this being major and often irreversible.
It isn’t always about how reputable the builder is, in fact, the more reliable the builder the higher the chances are of them investing in warranty for the homes they have built. Years after a deal is signed, sealed and delivered, a matter like soil expansion that is out of the hands of both the parties can spring up, making Structural Warranty the only way to guard against massive expenditure out of your own pocket in the future. Studies show that the warranty is most often claimed 4 to 7 years after a home is built to completion.
The chances of an individual investing a sum as large as the cost of a home in anything else in his or her lifetime is very slim, making this purchase one that could develop complications if not done right. Builder’s offering Structural Warranty for the home they have built can not only assure the buyer of their expertise but also give them a legal document to go back to in case frivolous lawsuits or complaints are lodged. Like in the case of any two-way agreement, responsibilities, terms, and conditions are clearly outlined.
If a third party company is used to establish a warranty, then any complaints, disputes or discussions will be handled by them – until the point of reconciliation. This saves time and discomfort for both parties involved, especially the builder.
If you happen to be a builder with larger holdings or varied properties and houses, then the value of each building is sure to increase if Structural Warranty is added to the mix. Use it as a marketing strategy, one that is true to every word and will help you build lasting relationships with your clients.
Structural Warranty functions according to the guidelines of the Housing and Urban Development department of the US, which stipulates particular criteria within which a company must cover damages. Larger builders may choose to provide their own Structural Warranty schemes to the buyer, while builders without a department to handle such claims or smaller building agencies may choose to use third-party warranty companies. Even more so than Home Warranty claims and structures, Structural Warranty coverage and insurance backing vary drastically from builder to builder and company to company. If you happen to be a part of the decision making of who to choose, make sure you do your research and pick a coverage that is extensive and appropriate to your home.
If you go through a Structural Warranty contract or guide, you will notice one important point – the extremely specific and near legal language used to describe what that particular company or builder covers. Structural Warranty owes this specificity to regulations set by the Housing and Urban Development Department of the US, as well as to the builders’ need to protect themselves from futile claims and lawsuits.
Due to each Structural Warranty being unique (much like Home Warranties state-wise laws), we will get into what the warranty covers in general. Know that this isn’t ironclad, and you have to cross check the terms and conditions with your builder.
As a whole, third-party companies offer two kinds of warranty, one which accounts for any damage to the structure of the building from the moment the deal is closed between the builder and buyer. The second stipulates that the company will only begin to cover damage to the home 3 to 4 years post the sale, implying that any structural damage before then is up to the builder to fix.
Each company usually has a base plan and other additional perks that you can choose to opt for.
The basic coverage usually covers the following:
The last of these, load bearing partitions, are often accompanied by the additional coverage of non-load bearing partitions. These claims are almost purely cosmetic, and certain Structural Warranty companies do assure the fixing of these, keeping in mind the original material integrity of the home.
Integral to any warranty and insurance difference, Structural Warranty doesn’t cover any damage due to natural disaster, accidents or unforeseen circumstances; anything that is covered under insurance, basically.
Lastly, any structures added to the original home – an extension, outhouse and detached garage space for examples – would not be covered. If the need is felt, the builder could then purchase a separate Structural Home Improvement Warranty.
Individual state laws in the US tackle Structural Warranty in different ways, making the cost different in each state as well. On an average, if the basic warranty is purchased, then it shouldn’t cost more than 1% of the purchase cost of the home. In most states which are positioned in low-risk areas (minimal soil expansion, etc.), the price is only about half a percent of the home’s price, whereas in high-risk zones the price can go up to 1.5% to 2%.
When looked at it in terms of a median example, while Structural Warranty would cost anywhere between $500 and $1500 for ten years, the repair in case of structural damage could be between $50,000 and $100,000; Structural Warranty being about one percent of the estimated repair budget.
Georgia, the state that has everything from marshlands to beautiful beaches! This state has many things to be proud of and on top of the list is the fact that its capital city, Atlanta is the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For the 10 million Georgians out there, here’s an article that discusses some of the best home warranty companies in your state.
There are many home warranty companies out there, but some of them stand out from the rest due to an enhanced customer service and benefits that they provide. In this article, we are going to be talking about the top 5 home warranty companies listed on our website as of September 2015.
Reviews about this company suggest that they offer excellent services when you get their coverage and they will always find the most professional work for the best deals. That is what home warranty services are all about and these guys do it extremely well. They have been in the business or a very long time and they know exactly what people need and what kind of plans they should be providing to them.
The general feedback from customers is that AHS is a truly incredible service provider that goes the extra mile for their customers and that is the thing that really makes them the best at what they do in the eyes of hundreds of customers who have left their feedback. This is the kind of customer feedback that can be extremely good and it can make a company gain a great reputation fast.
They are offering some excellent home warranty plans that are going to be extremely beneficial to a lot of people. There are also many variations of each one of these plans and the price ranges are pretty good. There is a good chance that you will find one plan that will be ideal for your needs.
One of the best things they offer is the “Build Your Own Plan” option, which basically allows you to customize the coverage and this makes it even easier for you to get something that fits your budget and needs.
These guys really go the extra mile with their 24/7 customer service features and they will get people to repair an appliance of yours fast and efficiently. This is the one thing that makes the Home Service Club stand out from the competition in a very positive and appealing way. People like the idea of being able to ask for help at any hour of the day and even at the latest hours of the night. No matter how late or how early in the morning, they will have someone answering their phones and providing emergency services to you if necessary.
The client feedback for the company is predominantly excellent and there are many people who are always giving praise to their 24 hour availability. There is no doubt that these guys have earned a good reputation. There are a few disgruntled customers who report having to call third parties in regards to some issues, but 99% of their feedback is excellent.
They have a standard plan which is good enough for most people and they have a comprehensive plan that gives coverage to a larger number of states.
Home Warranty of America is very proud of the way they strive to simplify the lives of their customers. They provide help with very immediate responses and that is what makes them part of this top 5. This is the kind of customer service that needs to be provided to the customers if a company wants to be able to gain any kind of respect and positive reputation.
The Client feedback is for the most part very good and there are many customers who are very satisfied with the service. You will find that some people who own very old appliances will complain that they did not get assistance for those items, but most people seem very satisfied with the service. It’s remarkable to see a company with such a high rate of satisfaction from its customers.
Their customizable home warranty plans are very efficient and a lot of people have mentioned that they have a lot more options available since they started using this company. This is one of the reasons why it’s so highly recommended to anyone that wants to get proper home warranty plans for their appliances.
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty has a host of online and offline services for their customers. They have a large contractor network of over 10,000 licensed and experienced technicians. The company takes pride that they have served more than 2.5 million American homeowners so far. The official website of 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty provides customers with the provision to manage their account online and also place and track claims through the Internet.
This is a company that has been in the industry for close to 30 years. They’ve built a strong reputation for themselves and is therefore a popular choice among new and existing homeowners. Feedback from customers was mostly positive with some instances of claim denials being reported here and there. Overall, this is a company that holds an A+ rating with the BBB and is also a favorite among homeowners.
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty has different plans for homeowners, builders and real estate agents. For homeowners, there are two basic plans. A 10 year structural plan and a Systems and Appliances plan. For real estate agents, the company provides one year service agreements for townhouses, condos or multi-family homes. Builders can avail comprehensive protection plans that provide structural warranty and reduce the builder’s liabilities.
These guys are known for their quick and efficient customer services as well as their ability to provide the most professional repair services for all the covered appliances. This is a very solid company that has plenty of experience and it has become quite obvious to their customers that they are in this business to stay.
The client feedback is extremely good for this company and there is a very small number of people who have complained about the services not being what they expected, but this is inevitable in any large business. Even when everything gets done as it should, there will always be someone who is not going to be 100% satisfied with the work.
They have very good standard home warranty plans that cover a wide range of appliances and they also offer more flexible plans that allow their audience to fully customize their services. There is definitely nothing more important than having a certain degree of flexibility when you are working with any kind of flexibility plan and that is all that you really need to learn.
While this article discusses top five companies based on user reviews, we want our readers to understand that this is not some kind of authoritative list. Please do keep in mind that there is a large number of home warranty companies that are just as good and efficient as the ones we mentioned. We actively encourage you to go through our website and the user reviews on it before you make a choice. Plus we’ve got a free quote tool and listings of top home warranty companies serving in each state, which you are free to exploit.
If you think there’s another company that deserves to be on the list, do tell us about it and If you found this article useful, don’t forget to share it with your friends! Cheers!