Spring Has Sprung! Let’s Clean the House

When you imagine of the four seasons, certain images instantly come to mind. For summer, its swimming pools, lawnmowers and barbecue grills. For fall, its turkeys, footballs and pumpkins. Winter is snowmen, stockings and hot chocolate. And spring? How about mop, brushes and buckets? Though the season is a sign of new birth, it’s also the time when most people take the instance to clean up.

Spring

Spring House Maintenance For You!

Once spring has sprung, take some time to give your home a check-up along with its annual spring cleaning. Adding up some home maintenance tips to your schedule can assist your house function more proficiently. Precautionary maintenance is vital to the value of your abode. Keep your place in best shape with usual check-ups to put aside the headache and cost of emergency repairs.

Like many of us, homes require a tune up after the long winter months. Everything right from the roof to the sump pump requires an once-over after the season has taken its toll. For centuries, spring has been the cleaning time of year. In America, the thought of spring cleaning has become a custom for very sensible reasons. The cold and darkness that captured you in your house all winter grow fainter and are substituted longer days and warmer weather.

With much work to do, the job might appear overwhelming. The trick is to get organized. Prepare detailed lists of each set of tasks, possibly divided by room. After that, schedule one at a time, collect your tools, and get to it. Don’t allow the sum threaten you from beginning the parts.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

To help you protect your most priceless asset —your home—check with these potential issues and find out how to fix them. To make things easier, download our home maintenance checklist that covers all four seasons.

Foundation, Masonry & Exterior Surfaces

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

Roof

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

Interior

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

Lawn & Landscape

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

Consult this comprehensive checklist for undoing winter’s damage to your home. Take care for these issues every year and your home will express thanks to you. Make sure you pay attention to other important things in your life such as reviewing your financial needs this year, ensuring you have adequate insurance coverage, health coverage etc.






On the lookout for appliance repair costs? Fret not! We have collected the information you need. In this article we have covered the repair costs for the common household appliances.

This is just a generalized average national cost for the whole of USA. The cost will vary from state to state. If you have a Home Warranty you can save loads of cash on repairs and replacements. The chart we have here lists the costs for appliances that are fairly old (above 4 years) and normally in such cases, an appliance warranty is highly recommended.

Appliance Repair Costs

The figures displayed above was computed by taking the average of the prices from various sources including Home Advisor and HomeWyse

With the data available on sites mentioned above, we calculated the values by taking the average national repair costs. Another thing to keep in mind is that the labor charges also vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. You need to account for that as well.

May we remind you again that this is simply an estimate of the amount involved in repairs of household appliances. As mentioned before, the costs vary significantly with the state you reside in. Costs can be higher than the prices quoted here. If your appliances are over four years old, consider purchasing an appliance warranty. For assistance, you can refer to our Home warranty buyers guide.

Home Warranty To The Rescue

According to various reports, the repair/replacement cost of a single appliance is almost equal to the annual premium of a home warranty plans. On an average, a basic home warranty plan would cost somewhere around $250-$600. From the table above we can see that in some cases, repair charges alone are $250+.

Hence, on many aspects it seems wise to purchase a home warranty. These plans also have the added beauty of being convenient. No homeowner will have to go looking for a technician or carry the broken appliance to a service vendor to get it fixed.

That said, it is vital to purchase the home warranty from a reputable provider to avoid unpleasant experiences.

Maintenance tips

Wouldn’t it be much more easier if the appliances would take care of themselves? Sadly that is so not happening. Every homeowner must ensure that his/her devices are maintained well because, mind you, common warranty programs do not cover damages resulting from lack of maintenance (unless you opt for such plans.). So let’s discuss a few tips that helps maintain clean and properly functioning appliances.

Garbage disposal

That’s one place that requires quite a lot of work.  Let’s begin with what we must NOT do so that they don’t get clogged up and cause a headache

  • Never put bones, corn husks, egg shells, uncooked rice/ pasta into the garbage disposal. In short no hard, non-biodegradable substance must go into it.
  • If you have to dispose veggies and fruit peels, chop them into small pieces. Do not think that the big chunks would naturally break down in the drain. They will only clog it up leading to a rather expensive cleaning procedure.

For further assistance, read All you need to know about Garbage disposals.

HVAC

This one needs major attention because a badly maintained HVAC gadgets such as a furnace can be a source for carbon monoxide, known as the gas that causes asphyxiation (which by the way is fatal)

Moving on to the tips

  • Keep the vents and also the area around the appliances sparkling clean
  • Never let any combustible substance come near the HVAC units.
  • Units that need lubrication for smooth running must be regularly serviced by experienced technicians.
  • If your heating/cooling unit has been damaged for quite a bit of time, consider shifting elsewhere until the issue is fixed. As mentioned before damaged HVAC devices produce carbon monoxide, if you inhale that, your health will be adversely affected.

Refrigerator

  • Keep the coils clean.
  • Set the right temperature.
  • Refrigerators need “thermal stuff”. That means you should not keep it empty.
  • Be prepared for power losses. Keep the refrigerator closed if power goes off, so that some amount of coolness is retained.
  • Always close the doors properly.

Well we could go on all day discussing tips, because trust us there are quite a lot of appliances out there. For your convenience (and ours), let’s just take a look at Home Maintenance Tips for a much more detailed description. Hope you enjoyed the read, thank you!




“Winter is coming” – Remember this famous dialog by the Starks from Game of Thrones? Well, it is true now. Winter is indeed approaching and that means homeowners have to prepare themselves for the chilly festive season.

While the idea of another Christmas is awesome, the idea of sub-zero temperatures and malfunctioning appliances is not. Fret not! There are some things that you can do to ensure that the chances of your appliances crashing are kept to a minimum. This article will provide you with a list of appliances that needs to be checked before winter sets in and also how to ensure that they don’t breakdown. Wondering why you need to check your appliances in advance? Well, like they say, a stitch in time, saves nine!

Appliances That Need Care Before Winter Hits

Appliances That Need Care Before Winter Hits

So here are some of the appliances that need a thorough check up before the temperature drops-

  • HVAC unit
  • Smoke detectors/ alarms
  • Fireplace (if you have one)
  • Dryer

Let’s take a detailed look at how these appliances should be checked. Don’t worry, the steps are quite simple and only require a very basic examination on the appliances listed above.

HVAC

This one is absolutely essential. If there is no heating in your home, you’ll probably get sick. Or worse, freeze. HVAC units are large appliances and they may require annual maintenance checks. If you have signed up for a warranty plan or similar arrangement that conducts frequent checks on your HVAC, now would be an ideal time. If you don’t have such an arrangement, worry not. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Examine the entire unit visually. Find out what you must look for in an HVAC unit.
  • Check the filter. If it appears old and worn out, replace it.
  • Check the thermostat. If you use a mercury thermostat, now would be a good time to shift to a digital one. They are said to be more accurate.
  • Examine the heating ducts. They may need cleaning to remove any dirt or debris accumulated in them.
  • Finally, keep the area around the unit clear and free of inflammable materials.

While you’re at it, you may want to read about common mistakes HVAC owners make.

Smoke Detectors

Personal safety is always a primary concern. With all the heating devices going in full swing, having a fire, although uncommon, is still possible. Check your smoke detectors to ensure that they are in working order. If they fail, you could risk the lives of everyone in your home.

Here is what you need to do to check your smoke detector –

  • Let the others in the house know that you are going to test the detector. You don’t want everyone panicking when the alarm goes off.
  • Press and hold the test button on your smoke detector. This should trigger the alarm. If it doesn’t. The device could be faulty.
  • If you want to test it in a more real scenario, try spraying some smoke detector aerosol on the detector.
  • If the alarm is triggered, suck out the test material using a small hand held vacuum cleaner. This should silence the alarm.

Dryers

These are appliances that can get really hot if their vents are blocked, making them prime fire hazard material. Leaving them to function unattended during the cold winter season may not be a bright idea. Make sure somebody checks on them at frequent intervals.

The following steps can help you run a basic exam on your dryer-

  • Take a look at the vent behind the dryer. It should not be blocked or damaged.
  • Clean the lint filter. Ideally, this should be done after every few wash cycles.
  • Make sure the area around the dryer is not blocked by objects that could easily catch fire.
  • Finally, if you are going to be away for a long time, unplug the dryer.

Fireplace

While it is lovely to have a fireplace, there are somethings that you just cannot overlook while using them. To ensure that your fireplace is safe for use, do the following –

  • Make sure that the damper opens and closes without hiccups.
  • Arrange a professional sweep to clear out any soot or particulate material that would have accumulated in the chimney.
  • Inspect the mortar around the bricks in the fireplace and chimney. There should not be any cracks or breaks in the bricks.

If you have a gas fireplace, look out for peeling wallpaper and eroding mortar. Ideally, get it inspected by a professional.

General Winterizing Advice

First time homeowners may need to do extensive research about making your home safe for winter. Apart from the appliance maintenance checklist we provided above, there are some general safety and wellness practices that you must follow. This would include things like keeping an emergency contact list ready, stocking up on food, check your car to see if it’s winter-safe and finally formulating a fire escape plan.

Also, do keep in mind that outdoor hose bibs may freeze in the winter and to prevent that, they should be shut off at the source or covered on the outside with an insulator. It should not be difficult to find an insulator as they are available at most home goods stores.

If you don’t have a home warranty, now would be a good time to think about one. Such appliance service contracts help you save money on repairs due to unexpected appliance breakdowns. You could also look into our general appliance maintenance checklist to ensure that your home runs smoothly always.

We hope you found this article useful. Let us know your thoughts. Cheers!




Builder’s warranty is a written statement by the builder assuring that the house was completed as per a stipulated set of standards. This provides a form of protection to buyer from latent defects.

This form of warranty is also called a Limited warranty and is issued by the builder on their work. This is done either within the sales contract or as a separate document. The period of duration of such contracts are usually between one to ten years.

Coverage

A Typical Builder’s warranty covers only the material and workmanship issues of various components relating to a new building. This includes

  • Windows
  • HVAC units
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Stolen construction materials are also covered in some plans.

As mentioned before, the duration is largely dependent on the component. For example, material and workmanship issues are covered for a year. This would include paint, drywall, siding and stucco, door and trim etc. HVAC, plumbing and electrical units are usually covered for two years. Major structural defects like a roof that may collapse or any other structural damage that pose danger to the residents are covered for a period of up to ten years.

These warranties do not cover the cost incurred by the owners as a direct consequence of material and workmanship issues. Eg, staying away or moving out temporarily while a repair is being conducted. They also DO NOT cover the following:

  • Household appliances.
  • Components that are still covered by the Manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Minor cracks in tiles, bricks or drywall.
  • Damages sustained as a result of your own abuse, outsider or people whom you hired to work on the property.
  • Deterioration of materials used in construction within an expected level.

Making a claim

If you wish to make a claim for your repair, first and foremost, refer to your warranty contract to ensure that the damage is indeed a covered one. If so, place a request to the builder informing them about the damage and requesting for a repair. It is recommended that you place this request in writing even if the company has a telephonic submission method. Ask for receipts and keep records of all correspondence. These records will help you if a dispute arises.

Things to keep in mind

The builder’s warranty cannot replace the Homeowner’s Insurance or Home Appliance Warranty. All three are very different and have their own unique features.

For your own safety, it is suggested that you ask the following questions about your warranty.

  1. What is not covered?
  2. Name some of your previous projects so that you can speak with some owners
  3. What is the extent of your liability?
  4. What do I do if I have a claim or dispute?

The laws related to enforcing these warranties vary in each state. Therefore it will be a wise step to check with your State’s attorney general’s office or contractor licensing board to ensure that your builder follows all the laws as required by the state law.

Make sure that the contract is thoroughly studied and preserved. Experts say that the longer the contract, lesser the benefits. Such long contracts indicate inefficient builders who use vague clauses to narrow down the possibility of you succeeding in filing a claim. Shorter the contract, better the builder.

You may be asked to sign a “Warranty document” at the time of closing the sales. This is often a way to impose more rules on you and thereby narrow down your chances of making a claim on your warranty. If you have already agreed to sign such a document on your sales contract, you can’t do much about it. But if you have not consented to any such thing, you can and you should refuse signing this.

Towards the end of the duration of your contract, get your home inspected by a professional home inspector. This will help you make the best out of your warranty.

Difference between Home Warranty and Builder’s Warranty

We stated earlier that the builder’s warranty cannot be used to replace a home warranty.  Although both these plans cover home and it’s components, they are poles apart on certain matters.

Builder’s Warranty

You can also read about Differences between Homeowner’s insurance and Home Warranty.

The builder’s warranty is always a good way to ensure that you won’t have to pay for any repairs caused due to faulty or badly constructed structures. Always remember to clear all questions you have prior to signing the contract. Once signed, preserve the contract and other documents carefully. Should you ever feel that the service you received is not up to your expectation, spread the word. You can visit websites like ours to read about warranties and other topics related to owning a home. Cheers!




Moved into a new home recently? Congrats! We hope the new home brings you loads of happiness. While you might not have started enjoying your new home yet, we’re sure you’ll settle in quickly. Now, this brings us to the topic at hand – what are the most vital elements for a functional kitchen?

Kitchen Appliances

 

If you are a first-time homeowner, things may seem too much to handle, but believe us, by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need for your kitchen.

Before we begin, let us make it clear that we are going to provide you with a list of things that will make your kitchen “functional” and not completely equipped. Only the most essential things will be described in this list. So, if you are a budding chef, this may not be the list you want ;).

So, in no particular order, here goes-

1.  Stove/Induction Cooker

The very idea of having a kitchen is that you can cook your food, which is hard to achieve without a stove or an induction cook-top. Of late, people have been favoring induction cook-tops owing to their many, many advantages. Primarily because they come in compact sizes, generate less heat and do not require gas to function. It also has the added advantage that it is portable. That said, there are still folks who believe that a stove with a fire in it is essential for four walls to become a home.

Give it some thought and depending on the amount of cooking you plan to do, select which type of and what sized stove/induction cook-top you want.

2. Refrigerator

Can’t do without this one either. Nobody can guarantee that you’ll finish all the food you cook. So unless you are heartless enough to simply throw the excess food away, we recommend that you get a refrigerator. Besides, you’ll need a fridge to store some of your groceries, milk, vegetables, fruits and other basic edibles, as most of them decay quickly unless kept chilled.

Thankfully, refrigerators come in all sizes and power ratings. This means that there are plenty of options available in the market to suit your budget and your refrigeration needs.

3. Microwave Oven

Well, you’ll need to heat up all that food you refrigerated, right? Third on this list is the microwave oven which can also multitask as a cooking, baking and grilling appliance should you choose to buy a high-end model. Microwave ovens became a really popular by the 1980’s and in no time became a household staple.

Microwave ovens too come in various sizes and features making it easy for you to pick the one that suits your needs. Mind you, if you get an oven, you may need to buy some special microwave safe containers too.

4. Water Purifier

Unless you plan to boil liters and liters of water using up copious amounts of gas/electricity, investing in a good water purifier may not be a bad idea. It is strongly advised that you don’t skimp on your water purifier because the quality of water you drink largely decides how healthy you will be. Besides, boiling water may not remove harmful chemicals that could potentially damage your kidneys.

5. Blender/Food Processor

Food processors and blenders help save you tons of cash on canned purees and pastes. Besides, nothing matches the flavor provided by freshly ground purees and pastes. If you think you don’t want to buy an expensive food processor right away, opt for a counter-top mixer instead. The high-end mixers often come with features like a chopper, grinder etc that would help you save time in cooking but could be a little expensive.

Don’t Just Buy Them, Maintain Them!

Keeping any appliance in good working order requires regular, if not frequent, maintenance checks and cleaning. We have a host of articles on how to keep your household appliances well conditioned. We recommend that you begin with a checklist for maintaining your refrigerator. You could also look into our article on the list of appliances that makes a homeowner’s life easier.

 




Warranties for newly built homes guarantee to replace or repair certain elements of the home, if needed, within a definite time. If you are bearing mind a new home warranty, it is significant to realize what it covers, how to make a claim, and the procedure for resolving disputes with the builder or warranty company.

Protection for your Newly Built Home

Home warranty for new homes

A new home warranty can offer peace of mind for homeowners, assuring that if something goes wrong in the early stages of a home’s life, it will be covered. Many appliance service contracts sold to homeowners are backed by the builder; others are procured by the builder from an independent company that presumes liability for certain claims. For added protection, homeowners may pay for coverage on their own from third party warranty companies in order to supplement the coverage their builder offers. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs want builders to buy a third-party warranty as a way to defend buyers of new homes with FHA or VA loans.

New Home Warranty: What’s Covered?

New home warranties usually offer limited coverage on workmanship and materials relating to different components of the home, such as heating, windows and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical systems, and plumbing for definite periods. A warranty also normally defines how repairs will be made.

The length of coverage differs depending on the component of the house. Coverage is offered for workmanship and materials on most components all through the first year. Coverage for plumbing, electrical systems and HVAC is usually two years. Some builders offer coverage for up to 10 years for “major structural defects,” sometimes defined as problems that make a home insecure and put the owner in danger. For example, a roof that could crumple is a “major structural defect.”

Nearly all warranties for newly built homes, however, do not cover costs an owner may acquire as an outcome of a major construction defect on warranty repair, similar to the expense of having to move out of one’s home while repairs are being made. Nor do they in general cover:

  • Household appliances
  • Small cracks in brick, tile, cement or drywall
  • Components covered under a manufacturer’s warranty

To know more about coverage, look into what’s typically covered in a home warranty plan.

Filing a Claim

If you have a flaw in your new home that may be covered by your warranty, first study the warranty or service contract cautiously to ensure that your problem is covered. Give particular concentration to the length of specific types of coverage.Home Warranty Claim Form

Specialists suggest that its owners pursue the matter with both the original builder and the home warranty company. The builder possibly will defer to the warranty company, but at least they have been alerted.

Homeowners must make a list of the troubles that they want to get resolved and should make sure that the problems are covered under the home warranty. Pay attention to the “performance standard” section of the document, which records common problems and explains to what extent the builder is liable for fixing them.

Next, file your claim as per the instructions in your warranty, and put your application for repair in writing, even though the company offers a hotline for urgent needs. Ask for a return receipt, and keep a record of your correspondence and conversations with the company. Probabilities are your claim will be managed to your satisfaction, but if a dispute occurs, it’s good to have a record of your dealings with the builder and the warranty company.

In best-case scenario, the builder or the home warranty company will fix the problem. If issues continue, however, the problem could go to settlement.

Protect Yourself from Future Problems

One way to safeguard against future problems is to appoint a home inspector to inspect the house before taking custody. Many new homeowners think that they don’t need a home inspection since municipal building inspectors have signed off on the work done in the home; the house is new; and it is covered by a home warranty.

New homeowners should also bear in mind to keep a maintenance file comprising documentation of everything done on the home, including regular and special maintenance. The paperwork will come in handy if a claim is required.

In filing a claim, homeowners must keep in mind to be persistent. It may take a while. In the end, diligence pays.

New Home Warranty: Disputes

Frequently, a dispute occurs between a homeowner and a builder or third party company over whether a defect is covered or whether repair was finished appropriately. Many warranties provide for meditation of disputed warranty claims on newly built homes, followed by compulsory binding arbitration. In meditation, a unbiased third party – a mediator – assists the homeowner and the company resolve the problem by making the discussion easy between both parties. It is up to the homeowner and the company to settle an agreement.

In case meditation does not work to resolve the dispute, it is possible that the homeowner would be needed to put forward any claim to arbitration, instead of going to the court. In this procedure, an “arbitrator” or panel makes a decision or award once the participants present their cases. Some warranties let the homeowners pick an arbitrator from a list acceptable to the builder or the third-party warranty company.

Arbitration is less formal than court. Most warranties want that both parties obey the arbitrator’s decision, without appeal. If your loan is funded through the FHA or VA and you file a claim against the third-party warranty company, you can opt between arbitration and going to court. If you pick arbitration, realize that you are bound by the verdict.

Costs of a New Home Warranty

Home Savings

Even though arbitration is normally less pricey than going to court, home owners can anticipate shelling out several thousand dollars so as to take their claim through the process, based on the complexity of the arbitration. Understand your warranties carefully to decide what arbitration outlays or costs the homeowner is liable for and what expenses the builder must pay.

A few companies provide homeowners the option of arbitration or going to court. Sometimes builders disburse all costs related with arbitration to support a homeowner to agree not to take the issue to court.

You can also use our absolutely cool tool to get a free home warranty quote!

More Information on New Home Warranty

To discover more about warranties on newly built homes, get in touch with your state or local builder’s board. If you have loan insured by FHA, call the closest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development field office for additional information. In case you have a VA loan, you can contact the nearest VA office.

Further, you can also compare and choose home warranty companies depending upon your requirements.




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.

Am I Required To Have Home Insurance If I Own A Home?

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.

New age policies for American Homeowner

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.

  •  HO-1 & HO-2 – Broad policy that guards against 16 perils that are stated in the policy
  •  HO-3 – Covers the structure against all perils except those specifically excluded by the policy
  •  HO-4 – If you rent or lease your home, you need a renters policy to cover your personal property and liability
  • HO-5 – Premium policy that guards newer, well-maintained homes; it covers against all perils except those specifically excluded by the policy
  •  HO-6 – Insurance for co-ops/condominiums, which includes liability coverage, personal property coverage, and coverage of improvements to the owner’s unit
  • HO-7 – Similar to an HO-3 policy, but for mobile homes
  •  HO-8 – Policy particularly for older homes, with similar coverage to an HO-2 policy. However, it only covers actual cash value. In Florida, many insurers are offering this policy

Comprehending Your Policy

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.

Additional Insurance And Endorsements

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.

Some Popular Endorsements And Extra Policies Include:

  •  Guaranteed Replacement Cost Coverage – A policy that pays to reconstruct your home completely, even if the cost is above your policy limits. You can expect to pay $400 to $1,000 more in premiums each year for this endorsement
  • Inflation Guard – A policy that automatically raises your dwelling coverage limit yearly in proportion to inflation, so that your limits are at least 80% of its value. Incremental premium increases in relation to the limit are often charged when the policy is renewed
  • Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance – A policy that broadly covers assets. It increases your liability coverage above the limits available in any of your “basic” policies, comprising auto, boat, and homeowners insurance. Umbrella coverage can extend to other excluded coverages, such as the invasion of privacy, false arrest, and slander, which can kick in once your primary coverage is exhausted. Premiums for this coverage begin at around $150 to $300 per year for $1 million in coverage, an additional $75 for $2 million, and $50 extra per year for each additional $1 million in coverage
  • Scheduled Personal Property – A policy that covers high-value objects such as stamps, jewelry, coins, antiques, guns, computers, furs, and other items that could go beyond the limits of your homeowner’s policy

Creating Your Home Inventory

When you buy a homeowners insurance policy, one of the must have insurance policies, you must prepare the latest home inventory to speed up a claim settlement if you ever need to make one. A complete home inventory, help your insurance company verify the property easier, which in turn makes settling your claim easy. Additionally, you can validate losses for your income tax return with the latest home inventory without any hassles.

For many homeowners, insurance is something to be thought of again, i.e., until the worst occurs. Homeowners who wait until they experience a loss before assessing their own policies do not get the full value – may be little value – out of their incalculable premium payments.

Homeowners insurance is a monetary agreement, but it should also be treated as a living entity to be cherished over time. By reading your policy wisely, shopping around for the suitable agent, comprehending your coverage limits, and create an updated property inventory.




Claim denial is an incident in which a home warranty company rejects a customer’s request for repair service. Sometimes customer claims are legit and fully entitled to receive services stated as per the contract. Claim denials are considered to be a major reason behind spats between service contract companies and the customer.

While some claims are denied for genuine reasons, some customers argue that companies deny claims on vague grounds often stating fine print from the contract. Yet, there are also cases where the companies were falsely accused of unfair claim denial solely because the customer failed to understand the terms mentioned in the home service contract.

What we need to understand is that not all companies deny claims unfairly because doing so will severely damage their reputation. So unless there is a valid reason, reputable companies will not deny a customer’s claims randomly.

Let’s take a look at some common reasons for claim denials

1. Appliance is not covered

This is often the most common reason for denying a claim. Most service contracts only cover a fixed set of appliances and not everything in your house. If your home service contract provider gives you this reason, go check your contract and make sure that the appliance is indeed not covered. In case you find that it is a covered item, place further calls to the company and let them know that the as per the contract, the item is covered.

Home Warranty Claim Denials2. Appliance is not maintained properly

No home service contract covers an appliance that has become damaged due to lack of maintenance. Regular wear and tear is not caused due to insufficient maintenance. It is the result of prolonged, proper usage. It is the homeowner’s duty to carry out regular maintenance routines, especially for HVAC appliances. However, if you believe that the damage is not caused due to insufficient maintenance, tell the company that you need to get a second opinion from a different contractor.

3. The damage is pre-existing

Home service contract providers often tell the customer that the damage was one that existed even before the contract was signed and hence it will not be covered. There’s hardly anything you can do about such a denial. However, you can avoid chances for such disputes by making sure that you get a home inspection done prior to signing the contract. That way the home inspector’s report will clearly state about what appliance has what damage. If it is not in the report and if the item is covered, you may be entitled to a repair service.

4. Unusual wear and tear

Wear and tear due to regular usage and wear and tear due to rough handling and careless usage can be distinguished quite easily. If the damage was caused due to the latter kind of wear and tear, your claim stands a chance to be denied. In this scenario too, you can ask for a another contractor to get a second opinion if you disagree on the diagnosis.

5. Code Violations and improper installation

If the appliance was not properly installed and if it violates the codes laid down for safe use and installation, chances are high that your claim may be denied.

What should a customer do when claims are denied?

It goes without saying that the policy booklet, the contract and the inspection report, if any, must be preserved carefully. The moment you realise that your claim has been denied, go through your contract and policy document to make sure that the claim is denied purely based on the terms in the contract. If you have a home inspection report go through that too. If you feel that your claim has been unjustly denied, you can call the home service contract company again and press the issue.

You can also visit review websites and post a review about your experience. HomeWarrantyReviews.com has a feature called the Complaint Resolution Program (CRP) which is a platform for companies and their customers to resolve their issues. The customer merely needs to report his negative experience with HomeWarrantyReviews.com, following this, he will be asked if wants to take part is CRP. If he/she chooses to participate in it, the company will be notified about his/her grievance and will be given 30 days to respond/ sort it out. If the company fails to respond or resolve the issue, the customer’s negative review becomes public. Some review websites allows their users to resolve the issues with the contract provider by communicating with them through a specific platform. The advantage of this system is that if the home service provider fails to resolve the issue for the customer or fail to respond within a time frame, the review becomes public, thereby affecting the rating and reputation of the company. Most companies do not want that.

Whatever the reason could be, we request customers to make things clear before they react to a claim denial. It could be that the company is not at fault here and because of a misunderstanding, their name gets tarnished. Most of the unpleasant scenarios can be avoided if the company you pick is reputable. Hence we cannot stress enough on the importance of picking the right company, a good home service contract provider will always put the interests of the customer first. Remember, good communication is often the solution to the biggest of problems.




May 20, 2014: A fast growing home service contract company, Sensible Home Warranty has announced that the company has closed down its operations once and for all. The company, reported to have its main office in New York made the declaration through their website announcing that they were shuttering their services.

“To our loyal customers and dear friends:
It is with great regret that we must notify you that Sensible Home Warranty has shuttered its operations. We wish you all the best of luck and thank you for your years of support.” – read the announcement on the official website of the veteran warranty company.

Growing discontent among customers

For the past several months, customers of Sensible Home Warranty have been reporting instances of displeasure and dissatisfaction with the services they received from the company. Despite the fact that the company has been functioning for more than a half decade, Sensible Home Warranty failed to build a sustainable business.

According to customers, the company repeatedly failed to process claims and provide adequate service. The latest reviews about the company revealed that the company frequently denied claims on vague grounds. It is worth noting that the company had mostly positive reviews in its early years. It is not clear what caused the downfall.

Sensible Home Warranty

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) shows that over 1811 complaints were filed against them during the last 3 years of which 1037 complaints were filed during the last three months. Furthermore, it was revealed that the company had been banned in three states.

Following the announcement of their closing, customers of Sensible Home Warranty have expressed shock and betrayal through various review sites and social media. One irate customer expressed her disappointment and stated that she felt cheated as she had purchased a long term plan from the company. The customer had been trying to contact the company regarding a claim for several weeks when the announcement of the company’s closing came through.

Did Sensible Home Warranty deserve this Fate?

Despite some bad PR around, the company did have a loyal base of satisfied customers who vehemently said that their services were exceptional. Some even expressed their sadness at the news of them closing down. This makes us want to believe that in spite of what the reviews on the internet say about such companies, home warranty is one industry were misunderstandings are common leading to an unpleasant interaction between the companies and their customers. Like many, a company which succumbed to infamy, Sensible too may have been judged badly.

As customers all over the nation reel in shock from the news, the company has requested that customers direct inquiries to [email protected] until further announcements are made. The company has been unavailable for a statement.

UPDATE June 26, 2014: ABC News covered a news story on this topic. According to them, you can collect refunds from the State Dept. of Insurance if you are in Arizona. Other states may or may not have such a provision.

 

What Choices Consumers Have Now?

It is not easy to recover your losses since home warranty companies are loosely regulated. Here are your choices:

  1. Make Sure You Have Adequate Coverage – First and foremost, it is important to make sure your appliances and HVAC units are protected. Since you no longer have the coverage, you should find a reputable home warranty company on our site, request a quote and then buy a home protection plan. Make sure you are covered from day one, by showing them proof of coverage from the now defunct company.
  2. Recover Your Losses – Contact your State Insurance Department and find out if they can recover your costs from the company. Some States do require companies to put down deposits, so if you are lucky, you will be paid from those reserves. The other option you can pursue is to hire a lawyer and go after this company’s assets while the company is still going through the bankruptcy process.

UPDATE 09/26/14:

Here’s an update on this news. The Nevada Division of Insurance is trying to reach out to customers of Sensible Home Warranty in Nevada who have unpaid claims against the company. All customers who fall into this category are requested to file a Proof of Claim form to the organization on or before 26 March, 2014. The Commissioner for Insurance will be evaluating the forms received for granting approval. The Division does not guarantee that a fixed percentage of claims will be paid, they have also stated that the funds available for the program are limited.

For more information, check the Nevada DOI press release.

 




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

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

Home Warranty Reviews and home warranty benefits for the Aged

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

Why Home Warranty For The Aged?

The Physical Inability of Aged

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

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

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

Trustworthiness In The Technician

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

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

Financial Capacity

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

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

Home Warranty For A Tension Free Old Age

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

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

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

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




Is the increasing price of home warranty and insurance your concern?

You may be wondering why appliance warranty costs are always on the rise. We know that it is a huge financial strain to keep your expenses within your budget. It therefore comes as no big surprise that the yearly increase in your annual premium or just the cost of procuring a home service contract makes you want to scream.

Naturally, you begin to wonder if it is a good idea to drop home warranty. My dear friend, that may not be a very wise move. With the prices of everything around you skyrocketing, what makes you think that the prices for appliance repairs would drop? Labor charges, material charges and every other charge on the surface of Earth has gone up.

This means that if your appliances stop working, you will be paying quite a huge sum of money to get it repaired. And in another two years, the price may vary significantly. Now, if you had an appliance warranty, you wouldn’t have to pay so much. We suggest that you keep your warranty.

Now we can’t alter the prices for you, that would be difficult (read impossible). But we can explain why the prices have gone up over the years. Before that, let’s tell you what an appliance warranty does.

How A Home Warranty Works

Home service contracts are usually bought for a specific period of time during which expenses incurred for repairing your household devices will be covered. As long as the damage occurs for a covered device in the designated time frame, your only expense will be a nominal service call fee while the expenses for the repairs will be paid by the warranty company.

Why Prices Rise

So, with prices of materials and labor rising each year, is it not natural that the annual premium rises along with it? Yet another significant reason for annual price hike goes like this. As each year passes, your house becomes older and so do the appliances in it. Which means that the chances of them breaking down are also increasing.  So you see, the risk of malfunctions and system damages increase with each passing year. Hence to keep up with things, the warranty companies often hike the rates by a certain percentage. Also, if you make a claim, the annual premium may hike by a small margin in the next year.

We don’t have precise numbers from the appliance warranty industry, but we can get you a glimpse into the hikes in the homeowner’s insurance industry. The figures are often comparable.

Let’s take a look at the places where there is highest hike after a claim is made

Rising Costs of Home Warranty

Now let’s take a look at the places that have lowest hike following a claim.

state with lowest premium

Source – insurancequotes.com

The reasons for these differences are many. The labor and material costs vary from one region to another and contribute to the premium.  The state regulatory requirements can also add to increase in costs.

The average increase in annual premium varies from company to company and therefore you can get price quotes for home warranty companies and compare. Most companies determine the annual premiums based on your location and the age of your house. Sometimes it is also dependent on the number of service requests they take each year.

How to keep your premium low?

  • Make fewer claims. For smaller claims, get the repair done out of your pocket.
  • Get your appliances inspected regularly; especially the heating and cooling appliances should be professionally inspected once every year. This will improve the life expectancy and reduce repair needs. Remember, issues caused due to lack of maintenance are not covered.
  • Do comparison shopping if the premium is excessively high. But make sure you stay with a reliable home warranty company

Numbers from the Industry

The appliance warranty providers industry has exhibited a decent growth over the last few years. The industry revenue is expected to increase at annual rate of 0.4% to $1.8 billion. Their profit stands at $197.4 million with wages amounting up to $176.1million. Over the years, a few providers were acquired or merged by/with their peers.

In the next five years, the industry is expected to show an annual growth rate of 1.8% to become a $2.0 billion industry. It is believed that the recovery of the housing market, home sales and homeownership rates will increase. This in turn may lead to an increased demand for appliance warranty. Also, as the economy improves, incomes and consumer confidences are expected to rise leading to an increased spending on home appliances and other fixtures.

The final word

We certainly hope that you found this article helpful!  We have presented a true description of the industry and its working in the most honest way possible.

Yet we have to say that inspite of all the costs, a home service contract is indeed a very wise purchase if any of the following are true. You can also read our Guide to Home Warranty buyers for further assistance.

As a quick advice, if any of the following are true, it is recommended that you purchase appliance warranty.

  • Your house is over 4 years old.
  • You don’t have time for DIY repairs.
  • You don’t wish to pay up for frequent and expensive repairs.
  • You don’t have a trusted contractor.

Keep in mind that the policy booklet and the contract documents are vital documents. They have to be studied and preserved very carefully to avoid future conflicts and annoyances.




Mar 5, 2012 – Direct Energy confirmed that it has finalized an acquisition of Home Warranty of America (HWA), a chief supplier of home protection plans, giving it operating capabilities and licenses to provide household protection plans across United States.

Direct Energy

Direct Energy, one of the North American’s major competitive energy and energy-related service providers has over six million customer relationships in Canada and United States. The company was founded in Toronto in 1986 as an energy retailer and in the year 2000, it was acquired by Centrica, the UK based parent of British energy retailer British Gas.

The contract gives Direct Energy both authorizations and capabilities in all 50 states to provide protection plans to millions of US household seeking to save their projects in opposition to pricey breakdowns. This potential, along with the currently acquired operations of Clockwork Home Services, offers ability to sell protection plans nationwide and provide service coverage.

Home Warranty of America (HWA) makes us unique in that we can now provide competitively priced protection plans to our customers across the US home services market,” said Eddy Collier, President of Direct Energy Services. “We can also service their needs directly through our strong consumer brands of One Hour, Benjamin Franklin and Mr. Sparky, which build on the national network of HWA contractors already in place and providing excellent service.”

“Importantly, HWA also provides us with the systems and operations to offer protection plans and services to our residential energy customers,” added Collier.  “The potential for cross-sell opportunities further complements our North American strategy for growth.”

In 2010, Direct Energy had already acquired Clockwork Home Services which is a Sarasota, Fl.-based home services company, thereby establishing itself as the biggest home services company providing plumbing, HVAC and electrical services across 46 U.S states and Canada. Earlier 2010, Direct Energy said that it is shifting its headquarters from Toronto, Canada to Houston, but more than 2000 workers already work in Texas. Being a part of the entire value chain, right from sourcing to supplying to energy efficient products and services, Direct Energy is able to offer its consumers with steadiness and added value.

About Direct Energy Direct Energy is one of the North America’s leading energy-related services provider that offers customers with option and support in managing their energy expenses through a collection of products and services. Direct Energy functions in 46 states plus DC and 10 regions in Canada. To find out more about Direct Energy, visit www.directenergy.com




When you compare “promise contracts”, such as home warranties, you must first comprehend exactly what is being assured. You can then evaluate attributes. Fraction of the research should also be aimed at comparing customer’s ratings of the companies that offer the warranties.

Comparing home warranty companies facilitates you to find the policy that suits your budget and needs. A home warranty is an individual policy you can procure to provide coverage for your home’s important appliances and systems. The precise prices and coverage obtainable to you varies by each home warranty company functioning in your area, so comparing the exact rates and services from each company is a significant step when picking a policy for your home.

When buying a home warranty, you are not only giving capital to the supplier, you are also giving your belief that they are going to cover you when you need it most. That’s why it’s so imperative to verify into a company’s history, see how they function and what they ought to offer, plus learn how they entertain their customers. It’s worth exploring before you purchase.

Six Steps to Choose a Home Appliance Warranty

  1. Determine the Coverage: Jot down the kind of coverage you need. Include exact items you want to be covered. Electrical systems and plumbing are typically covered under a basic home warranty, but you have to shell out for coverage for some other main appliances such as spa or garage door opener.
  2. Shortlist companies:  Visit Compare Home Warranties section to make a list of companies that you like. You can also check with your friends and family members or with a local real estate agent for a list of suggested home warranty providers.
  3. Research Providers and Pricing: Note down the pricing and ratings info for each company. You can also get price estimate of appliance warranty policy in the same section. Visit the official website of each warranty company if you desire.  Jot down the overall annual price for your preferred policy from each company.
  4. Talk to Companies: Contact home warranty company and inquire more about pricing information and a quote if the information isn’t available online or to verify data you received online. Ask how much fee they charge for a service call, and make a note of prices for each company next to policy price information you already listed. Ask about the typical wait times for a technician to know if there will be someone available promptly to help you when you need it. Also inquire if emergency and 24-hour service is available. Observe how they handle their customers.
  5. Read the Fine Print: Evaluate policy and service fee prices as well as service terms offered in the contract. Don’t assume anything. Pre-existing conditions are generally not covered. Few companies also require you to get maintenance & inspection done on HVAC units by a professional every year. But some  companies add lots of fine print clauses so as to exclude coverage on many things. This is the MOST important step among all.
  6. Customer Service: Finally, remember to check the customer service of the company you choose. When you call to inquire, observe how they treat you. Are they well mannered and kind or intolerant and impolite? Do you have to waste a lot of time on hold before getting through to speak to someone? Realize what their hours so you can make out whether there be someone accessible to help you when you call for it. Also, discover who the company employs for repairs. Ensure it’s a company individual you are happy with, and that they are near enough that they will be able to facilitate your repairs in a timely manner.

This video will help you compare home warranty companies.




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

Stanley Warranty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s A Nice Homeowner To Do?

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

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

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




Ever wondered what is the difference between home warranty and homeowners insurance ? Are they not same? Let’s find answers for these questions.

While home warranty and home insurance products may come across as same, they are totally different. The coverage, cost, terms and conditions vary greatly. Home insurance is compulsory in some cases whereas home warranty is a recommended choice.

Difference Between Home Insurance And Home Warranty

difference between home warranty and homeowners insurance

Home warranty offers protection for your major appliances, as well as plumbing and electrical units. It covers the cost of repairing or replacing major household appliances in case they break down, provided they meet the terms and conditions of the home service contract.

Home insurance covers your home in the event of damage due to natural calamity or man-made disasters and offers you liability protection from lawsuits in case of a third party involvement. If your neighbor came visiting you and accidentally fell and got injured and decides to sue you, then home insurance will take care of the claims. Home insurance is mandatory if you have a mortgage on your home.

What Does A Home Warranty Contract Cover?

Items covered by a home warranty may vary by company and plan, but typically includes the following items:

  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC)
  • Electrical system
  • Plumbing system
  • Water heater
  • Kitchen appliances such as refrigerator, stove/oven/range, built-in dishwasher, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, built-in trash compactor
  • Clothes washer and dryer
  • Garage door opener
  • Coverage for pools, spas, well pumps and other items may be available for an additional fee.

Benefits Of Home Warranty Coverage

To The Homeowner

  • Placing a claim and getting your appliance repaired is lot more easier.
  • Helps save up huge costs.
  • You can get repaired as many appliances you want provided they are covered.

To The Seller

  • Home may sell faster and at a higher price.
  • Protection from after-sale legal disputes.
  • Increases marketability of home.

To The Buyer

  • Warranty coverage on major systems and built-in appliances.
  • Protects your cash flow.
  • Access to network of qualified service technicians at your fingertips.

Home Insurance

In case of an uncertain event like fire, theft, vandalism, or certain natural disasters, the cost of damages are covered. It also covers your personal items and gives you liability protection. Liability insurance will protect you from lawsuits in the event that someone is injured on your property. Home insurance will only insure your personal items in case they are stolen or ruined in a disaster. Repairs and replacements due to wear and tear are not covered.

What Does A Home Insurance Policy Cover?

The insurance policy varies depending on your state of residence and type of policy, but generally it will cover the following.

  • Structure and contents of the house.
  • Personal property such as indoor and outdoor furniture, clothes and home electronics such as computer, TV, stereo, etc.
  • Jewelry may be covered up to a certain value, or itemized for its full value, or excluded entirely.
  • Living expenses if your home is uninhabitable as a result of a natural disaster.
  • Events like theft, vandalism, fire, windstorm, lightning, hail, falling objects such as a tree.
  • Liability claims such as someone got hurt while in your property and decided to sue you. The policy will take care of it.

Benefits Of Home Insurance

Home is the most prized and cherished possession any individual can have and nobody anticipates damages to this, therefore a home insurance provides you the following benefits when you cover your home.

  • Covers accidental damages to your interiors and exteriors as well.
  • Easy to renew all you have to do is pay the premium on time.
  • Processions are covered regardless of new or old.
  • Assures you peace of mind and gives you a feeling of safety and security.
  • Pays for loss and minor damages like broken glass of a window.

Cost/Pricing For Both

A standard warranty runs $300 to $500 for a year of protection, which covers the cost of repairing or replacing a home’s major systems and appliances. Home sellers typically pick up the tab for the first year of coverage. Extended coverage plans for pools, spas and washers and dryers can be purchased at an extra cost.

Insurance cost varies from state to state and depends on the extent of coverage and the location of the property but a standard insurance can cost any homeowners insurance is between $300 and $1,000.

How To Choose A Home Warranty?

When you are planning to buy a home warranty, make sure that you do some research. Check our home warranty reviews section that provides pricing, comparison, quotes and consumer reviews of all major companies. When you are getting price quotes, inquire to look over a sample policy. Bear in mind to understand the entire policy, together with the fine print.

Another advantage of home warranty policy is that it is transferable. That means when you sell the house the warranty would be passed to the new owner. This has proved to be a well-liked feature amongst home buyers as homes having home warranties are selling at increased prices and in much shorter times. This in itself could make it sensible to get a home warranty policy.

How To Make A Claim?

When a covered appliance breaks down you need to contact your warranty company. A warranty company already has business ties with different service vendors. They will in turn contact a service repairman to come to your home and repair the appliance. The repairman will fix the item or recommend replacing it. The service repairman will bill your warranty company directly, but you have to pay a service charge when the repair person visits your home.

How To Choose Home Insurance?

With any kind of insurance, it is always a good idea to shop around and evaluate benefits and prices as most insurance companies will provide you a policy discount. Ensure you read the policy before writing a check and ask any queries that you have in mind.

So, the conclusion is that home warranty and insurance are complementary to each other. You can choose to protect everything you own, provided you can afford to. Keep in mind that these insurance products do cost a bit more, but compared to the benefits they provide and the peace of mind you get, it seems like a very small amount. Insure your home as well as buy a home warranty all within your budget.

 




HVAC Maintenance Checklist

 

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HVAC appliances are one of the most vital components in a home. Naturally, unexpected crashes and breakdowns of HVAC units disrupt a peaceful living. And once they crash, boy! They are really expensive to repair (or replace).

Any homeowner, in his right sense would therefore make sure that the heating, cooling and ventilation units are well taken care of and maintained. For all of you who are wondering how to extend the life of your HVAC appliances, this checklist is just the right thing for you!

Monthly maintenance routine

Yes, all HVAC appliances will do well if you give them some basic cleaning every month. Ensure that you do the following two steps at least once a month.

  • Check thermostat settings
  • Clean out the vents, replace filters, and keep it dust free as much as possible

Annual maintenance routine

The U.S. Dept. of energy advises homeowners to carry out a maintenance routine at least twice a year. This ensures that the power consumption is optimized and hazards are avoided. Here are the steps that you should carry out yearly to ensure healthy running of your HVAC appliances/ systems.

  • Hire a professional inspector to perform checks on your HVAC units
  • Hire a professional to clear the air ducts
  • Re check and tighten all electrical connections
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Use suitable lubricants to lubricate moving parts
  • Clean the area around HVAC units and ensure that it always remains dry

If you think that these tasks are difficult and that your warranty plan will save you, here’s some incentive for you to get going in the right direction.

Home Warranty Companies usually DO NOT cover damages caused due to lack of  maintenance. Which means that if your system stops working and the technician diagnosis says that the damage was caused due to lack of maintenance, your claim may be denied.

If that is not compelling enough, here are some more things that will happen if you are careless about HVAC maintenance

  • Excess power consumption. Man! those electric bills are going to shock you (literally)
  • Unclean machinery heats up abnormally, this leads to fire hazards.
  • If vents are clogged with debris or other particulate matter, efficiency of the system drops
  • If you don’t monitor your gas/ fuel connections, health issues and fire hazards may happen

Appliances and systems in our home and around us help us lead a happy and easy life. So it is only fair that we do for them at least a fraction of what they do for us. Take good care of your appliances, don’t use them roughly and above all, purchase a home warranty plan to protect your budget against unexpected appliance crashes.

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Purchasing your home was likely the single largest investment that you ever made… and not just monetarily. Homeownership is an emotional investment as well. You care for your home, pouring your heart into maintaining and improving it. Your home is where you watch children grow, create lasting memories, cry a few tears—some happy and some sad—and watch as the seasons of life change.

So, with all that you’ve poured into your home, you deserve to maximize the return on your investment when it comes time to sell. Including a home warranty in the transaction helps protect your investment— monetarily and emotionally—and may even help attract better offers.

Offering a Home Warranty

What Is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty helps defray the unexpected costs associated with repairing or replacing a home’s major systems and appliances should they malfunction due to normal wear and use. For the home seller, coverage remains in effect while the home is on the market (up to 180 days in most cases). For the buyer, coverage usually goes into effect at close of sale and lasts for up to one year.

What Is Covered?

Home warranties cover your home’s major systems and appliances when they fail due to normal wear and use. This includes:

  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Garage door openers

What Are the Advantages during the Listing Period?

Since we all know things happen at the least opportune time, home sellers may avoid Murphy’s Law by purchasing a home warranty. If your water heater springs a leak while your home is on the market, paying the full cost of a repair can erode potential profits from the sale of your home and possibly delay closing until repairs are complete.

With a home warranty plan, home sellers get immediate protection, as coverage takes effect the day your agent submits the application. This is important, as it means there are no delays or waiting periods before you can make a service request, further saving your precious time and resources.

On top of the budget protection home warranties provide, home sellers benefit from access to a network of qualified contractors and the peace of mind that comes with knowing help is just a phone call away (you can even request service online!). Perhaps most important is a greater return on your investment, as your home may sell faster and at a higher price.

No matter how well you maintain your home, potential buyers are taking a perceived risk. The older your home (and its systems and appliances), the greater the risk in their eyes. You can offset the perceived risk by offering a home warranty with the home sale. In many cases, a home warranty could prove to be the differentiating factor for some buyers, giving them enough confidence to increase their offer and more aggressively pursue your home.

In addition, the home warranty continues protecting you beyond the close of sale. One of the last things you want is an after-sale issue because a covered system or appliance malfunctioned in your old home. If you include a home warranty with the home, the buyer contacts the home warranty provider—not you—to have the malfunction resolved.

Home Warranty Coverage Is Affordable

There are two distinct coverage periods in a real estate transaction, the seller’s coverage period (when the home is on the market, up to 180 days) and the buyer’s coverage period (after the close of sale, up to 12 months). When you choose to have seller’s coverage, you agree to purchase a home warranty contract for the buyer as well. In most cases, the fees for the home warranty contract are paid through the closing process, meaning there is no out-of-pocket cost to you until the home sells.

Depending on your state, the warranty company either includes coverage for the home seller with the home buyer’s contract or provides the coverage for a small fee (typically $60 to $75) in addition to the cost of the home buyer’s contract. That’s a small price to pay for tremendous budget protection!

What You Should Know about Home Warranty Coverage

It’s important to note that home warranties do not cover everything. Read your contract carefully to understand how the Plan works. Every home warranty has terms and conditions of coverage that explain what is and is not covered, the conditions under which coverage applies, and any dollar limits that may apply.

Home warranties provide coverage for the items specified in your contract, which are typically limited to the home’s major systems and appliances.

For home buyers, additional optional coverage is available. In some states, items such as air conditioning, kitchen refrigerator, and clothes washer and dryer may be included in the standard plan or available as options for an additional fee. Optional coverage may be available for other non-standard items, including swimming pool and spa equipment, well pump, septic system, ornamental fountain, and more.

Plan upgrades provide additional protection and enhancements to custom fit the individual needs of your home. For example, some companies offer plan upgrades that cover additional costs for permits, cranes required for repairs, modifications, correction of code violations, and a host of other coverage enhancements. Consider the systems and appliances in your home when choosing coverage to ensure you choose adequate protection to meet your needs.

Bottom Line

It’s inevitable that a home’s systems and appliances will eventually break down and usually at the least opportune time. A system malfunction could cause unnecessary financial hardship and personal stress when your home is on the market. A home warranty, however, offers affordable budget protection and peace of mind. It may also help sell your home faster while attracting higher offers from confident buyers.

Speak to your agent to learn more and ensure you realize the full value home warranty coverage can provide.

About the Author

This article was prepared by Old Republic Home Warranty, a leading provider of home warranty plans.




An offshoot of Home Warranty, Structural Warranty is a legal agreement between the builder of the home and you – the owner. Structural Warranty functions basically in the case of new homes, wherein the builder assures that the home he has built will have no structural defects for a period of ten years after its construction. His claim is covered by the company which offers him warranty coverage for the building, at times additionally including workmanship and internal systems.

Top tips for Structural Warranty for Newly constructed homes

The system functions just like Insurance, but covers defects which may occur due to age and wear and tear, not natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances. Like the Home Warranty covers the items in a home – its appliances, wiring and plumbing systems, interiors etc. – Structural Warranty covers elements like the foundation, girders and beams, roofing, and flooring.

What is Structural Warranty?

Before the purchase of a home, it is advised for either the new owner, seller or realtor to purchase Home Warranty, in order to establish a relationship of trust and confidence in both parties involved. Just as a Home Warranty leaves the new owner knowing that his home and all that is in it is secure for at least a year after its purchase, Structural Warranty establishes the same sense of security in the buyer of a new home straight from a builder.

It is rather simple – all structural defects are now to be fixed by the company that the Warranty has been purchased from or by the builder offering the warranty himself, and as long as the terms and conditions are met, neither the builder nor the new owner is liable.

Is Structural Warranty Necessary for me as a Buyer?

We see before our eyes appliances, electrical systems and plumbing leaks occur every once in awhile – but most of the time structural damage is noticeable only after it is too late. Given that large parts of the US are known to have soil that expands with seasonal changes, statistics show that more than 25% of all buildings in the country experience some kind of structural damage during the first decade of their life, almost 10% of this being major and often irreversible.

It isn’t always about how reputable the builder is, in fact, the more reliable the builder the higher the chances are of them investing in warranty for the homes they have built. Years after a deal is signed, sealed and delivered, a matter like soil expansion that is out of the hands of both the parties can spring up, making Structural Warranty the only way to guard against massive expenditure out of your own pocket in the future. Studies show that the warranty is most often claimed 4 to 7 years after a home is built to completion.

The Builder’s Perspective

Settling Terms of the Deal

The chances of an individual investing a sum as large as the cost of a home in anything else in his or her lifetime is very slim, making this purchase one that could develop complications if not done right. Builder’s offering Structural Warranty for the home they have built can not only assure the buyer of their expertise but also give them a legal document to go back to in case frivolous lawsuits or complaints are lodged. Like in the case of any two-way agreement, responsibilities, terms, and conditions are clearly outlined.

A Middleman

If a third party company is used to establish a warranty, then any complaints, disputes or discussions will be handled by them – until the point of reconciliation. This saves time and discomfort for both parties involved, especially the builder.

Value of the Home

If you happen to be a builder with larger holdings or varied properties and houses, then the value of each building is sure to increase if Structural Warranty is added to the mix. Use it as a marketing strategy, one that is true to every word and will help you build lasting relationships with your clients.

How Structural Warranty Works

Structural Warranty functions according to the guidelines of the Housing and Urban Development department of the US, which stipulates particular criteria within which a company must cover damages. Larger builders may choose to provide their own Structural Warranty schemes to the buyer, while builders without a department to handle such claims or smaller building agencies may choose to use third-party warranty companies. Even more so than Home Warranty claims and structures, Structural Warranty coverage and insurance backing vary drastically from builder to builder and company to company. If you happen to be a part of the decision making of who to choose, make sure you do your research and pick a coverage that is extensive and appropriate to your home.

What Structural Warranty Covers

If you go through a Structural Warranty contract or guide, you will notice one important point – the extremely specific and near legal language used to describe what that particular company or builder covers. Structural Warranty owes this specificity to regulations set by the Housing and Urban Development Department of the US, as well as to the builders’ need to protect themselves from futile claims and lawsuits.

Due to each Structural Warranty being unique (much like Home Warranties state-wise laws), we will get into what the warranty covers in general. Know that this isn’t ironclad, and you have to cross check the terms and conditions with your builder.

As a whole, third-party companies offer two kinds of warranty, one which accounts for any damage to the structure of the building from the moment the deal is closed between the builder and buyer. The second stipulates that the company will only begin to cover damage to the home 3 to 4 years post the sale, implying that any structural damage before then is up to the builder to fix.
Each company usually has a base plan and other additional perks that you can choose to opt for.

The basic coverage usually covers the following:

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

The last of these, load bearing partitions, are often accompanied by the additional coverage of non-load bearing partitions. These claims are almost purely cosmetic, and certain Structural Warranty companies do assure the fixing of these, keeping in mind the original material integrity of the home.

Integral to any warranty and insurance difference, Structural Warranty doesn’t cover any damage due to natural disaster, accidents or unforeseen circumstances; anything that is covered under insurance, basically.

Lastly, any structures added to the original home – an extension, outhouse and detached garage space for examples – would not be covered. If the need is felt, the builder could then purchase a separate Structural Home Improvement Warranty.

The Cost

Individual state laws in the US tackle Structural Warranty in different ways, making the cost different in each state as well. On an average, if the basic warranty is purchased, then it shouldn’t cost more than 1% of the purchase cost of the home. In most states which are positioned in low-risk areas (minimal soil expansion, etc.), the price is only about half a percent of the home’s price, whereas in high-risk zones the price can go up to 1.5% to 2%.

When looked at it in terms of a median example, while Structural Warranty would cost anywhere between $500 and $1500 for ten years, the repair in case of structural damage could be between $50,000 and $100,000; Structural Warranty being about one percent of the estimated repair budget.

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There is no question that a large number of people would give anything to live in California. This is one of the greatest states in the US because no other location in the entire country has ever been able to become the capital of entertainment and dreams. The state that has given life to the largest phenomenon in the entertainment industry and that is of course Hollywood. This is one of the main reasons why so many people choose to move to this state. In this article we are going to talk about the top five warranty companies and how important it is to be able to hire their services if you want to get the best service. These are the top rated home warranty companies in California as of June 2015

1. The Home Service Club

This is a great company that has an excellent service with two main warranty plans available. They have the standard and comprehensive plans. Once covers the primary systems and appliances and the other covers basically everything in your household. The reviews are generally very good and their services are known to be very efficient. They have fewer plans than others, but their current plans are quite good.

2. American Home Shield

This is the company that basically founded the home warranty industry. They offer a wide variety of home warranty plans that have a wide range of costs that can fit most budgets. The general opinion in the reviews about this company are quite good, so you can definitely trust their services to be good. They have been in the business longer than anyone else and they have learned how to get things done properly.

Home Warranty Companies in California

3. Home Warranty of America

This is another company that has been providing excellent services to millions of Americans in every state of the country. They have been providing some of the most cost effective plans that are available in the industry. The reviews for the business are very positive and their customer service is their greatest strength. This is one of the companies with the largest reach in the country.

4. Select Home Warranty

This company has plans that truly fit all kinds of budgets and they give coverage to all sorts of properties and the repairs and replacement that might be needed for their homes. This is the main reason why so many reviewers are saying that this is the home warranty service.

5. Total Protect

There is no question that customer services is the most important thing that the staff at Total Project wants to be able to provide to all of their clients. They have a very special method of helping with home warranties by giving homeowners better tools in order to maintain their own homes much better. The reviews say that this is the one company that seems to get involved the most and this is the reason why they have gained so much respect in the business. The reviews are generally quite positive too.

Conclusion

There is nothing more important than being able to get the right kind of service when it comes to your home warranty. This is going to allow you to maintain your home in top condition at all times for a very reasonable cost. The use of this kind of service has become extremely popular in California and now you have plenty of choices that will allow you to decide which one is going to be the best decision. You can research all of the companies that we have just mentioned and decide which one will be best for your needs.

To view a complete list of top rated home warranty companies use the link below: