When HomeWarrantyReviews.com asked me to write an article about Colonial Home Warranty’s recent announcement that it was closing its doors my first thought was what will happen to all their customers? As a marketer and blogger who works in the home service contract space I’ve seen a few companies go out of business and it never worked out well for the customers.
As of March 17th, 2014 the New Jersey headquartered company, Colonial Warranty Group, Inc., closed its doors and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection from a New Jersey court. But the protection it is seeking from creditors probably doesn’t include all of its customers, those unfortunate souls left holding worthless home service contracts. So I set out to get some answers to the questions I was asking and those the consumers were asking on HomeWarrantyReviews.com.
Since HomeWarrantyReviews.com specializes in compiling consumer reviews about home warranty companies in the U.S., also referred to as home service contract or residential service contract companies, I started by asking what they had heard directly from their readers. One customer of Colonial Home Warranty who asked to be identified only as Mike M. from Ashburn told a member of the staff at HomeWarrantyReviews.com about his three year contract, signed in 2012, which should have been in effect until February 2016. Colonial had enticed him to pay for all three years upfront in exchange for three free months of service. Mike also shared that leading up to the news of Colonial’s closing the more expensive of his repair claims were already being denied for reasons he did not feel were in keeping with his contract.
Mike’s experience was certainly not unique and the customers of Colonial were not just voicing their complaints on HomeWarrantyReviews.com. A search on Google led to a number of consumer websites with complaints from Colonial Home Warranty’s customers. On one such website I read a testimonial from a consumer who purchased a contract from Colonial Home Warranty less than a month before the bankruptcy filing in New Jersey. With that sort of story the obvious question came to my mind. What was Colonial thinking when they sold new contracts so close to their bankruptcy filing? Unfortunately HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s request for comment from the bankruptcy attorney for Colonial went unanswered.
A few readers who wished to remain anonymous purchased three year contracts from Colonial and had received one year or less of the service promised by the company. The testimonials on HomeWarrantyReviews.com’s Colonial Home Warranty page and on other websites tell similar stories. But some customers claim in their online testimonials that they are taking their complaints further than Internet testimonials. Whether or not any customer of Colonial Home Warranty has filed suit against the company or made any type of plea to the bankruptcy court was not clear at the time of publishing this article though. I did request comment or information from the bankruptcy court in New Jersey but was informed that they do not comment on cases or offer legal advice. Their advice to me was to seek guidance from a consumer advocacy group.
A reader who emailed us with her story, Kristi from Texas, tried to reach a company she believed to be the parent company of Colonial Home Warranty called XPD Warranty Group in order to find out if that company was servicing claims from Colonial Home Warranty’s customers. She is not alone in asserting that XPD Warranty Group is a parent company or holding company for Colonial Home Warranty. Her attempts to reach XPD Warranty Group by phone were unsuccessful but she did learn that her state is starting an investigation into the dealings of Colonial Warranty Group, Inc. with residents of Texas. Texas’s entity which regulates what it calls residential service contract companies is called TREC or the Texas Real Estate Commission. Kristi wrote that those she has spoken with at TREC have been very helpful and she recommended other Texas residents with complaints against Colonial Home Warranty contact that office for more information. I contacted TREC to find out about the association between Colonial and XPD. I was able to confirm that XPD Warranty Group is licensed to operate as a provider of residential service contracts within the state of Texas. I was also told that in 2012 Colonial Warranty Group, Inc. entered into a written agreement with the state of Texas to stop selling, renewing and servicing residential service contracts for Texas residents. After that point Colonial was to relinquish control of its contracts with Texas home owners to XPD Warranty Group. Finally I confirmed that TREC is following up on at least a few complaints lodged against XPD Warranty Group by Texas residents relating to issues with contracts originally issued by Colonial Warranty Group.
I also gained some insight into the relationship between Colonial Warranty Group and XPD Warranty Group thanks to another reader of HomeWarrantyReviews.com, Lanny Teague from Sanger Texas. Lanny’s story gave credence to the assertion other readers have recently made that Colonial and XPD are, in fact, working together, if not the same company. Lanny told me about the 13 different contracts which were purchased from Colonial Home Warranty, each contract having a three year coverage term and each one being paid in full upfront. Lanny also informed me that Colonial didn’t handle the claims associated with the contracts. Whenever a claim was filed it had to be addressed to the company acting on behalf of Colonial in Texas, XPD Warranty Group. And when Lanny asked to cancel the contracts covering Texas properties the cancellation was handled through XPD, not Colonial. Sound strange? Well, it gets stranger.
When Lanny requested a refund for the unused years of the 3 year contracts that had been purchased XPD Warranty Group did agree to issue partial refunds amounting to more than half of what had originally been paid per contract. That sounds awfully strange for a company that has allegedly told others that it is not associated with Colonial Warranty Group. For readers interested in the timing of these refunds, these refunds were very recent. The refunds, according to Lanny, were issued on April 10th of this year.
I attempted to reach someone from XPD Warranty Group, Inc. but at the time of publication of this article I had not received any response from that company. If that should change then this article will be updated. Readers are encouraged to check back regularly here and also email [email protected] with any questions they would like posed to the company.
Another reader, Manishee Gupta, told HomeWarrantyReviews.com how he purchased not just one but three separate three year service contracts from Colonial Home Warranty about two years ago. Purchasing multiple home service contracts as in the case of Lanny and Manishee is not as unusual as it may sound. Many owners of investment properties choose to cover those homes with a home service contract in order to make the work of managing rental properties easier. Mr. Gupta told us how his tenants were even able to report problems with covered items in the homes to Colonial.
In theory this can make life simpler for a landlord but only if the company keeps its promise to customers. But now that Colonial is seeking Chapter 7 relief from its debts Mr. Gupta wonders “if there will be any recovery” for customers like himself. The overall sentiment of readers who have communicated with me and with HomeWarrantyReviews.com is pessimistic though. Most believe that nothing will be done to address the possibility that Colonial acted with criminal intent to defraud consumers, signing multi-year contracts even on the eve of filing bankruptcy.
The main concern of the readers who have contacted HomeWarrantyReviews.com is a common one. These are consumers who paid in advance for something they now will not receive. They’re upset and rightfully so. But let’s step back for a moment and ask why this happened. Why did Colonial Home Warranty make what seems like a sudden decision to file for bankruptcy protection? The answer to that question may start with the state of California.
I contacted the regulatory entity that oversees insurance companies selling to residents of California and requested information about any open or resolved legal matters regarding Colonial Warranty Group, Inc. In their reply I learned that on November 8th, 2013 Colonial was ordered by the California Department of Insurance to cease all operations selling and renewing home protection agreements. Colonial, according to the order issued by the California Department of Insurance, had been selling such contracts to California residents without required licensing since not later than January 23rd, 2012. For California residents who did business with Colonial Home Warranty this means that any contracts sold to them by the company were not legally issued. Whether or not this could lead to any recovery of customer fees paid to Colonial I don’t know. But one thing was very clear in the order to Colonial. For every day Colonial did business illegally in California it is liable for $5,000 in fines. If you do the math that total fine liability comes to millions of dollars. Was this the cause of Colonial asking a New Jersey court to protect it from its creditors? The answer to that question should become clearer when Colonial’s Chapter 7 request is handled by the court.
California’s insurance regulator was not the first to take action to stop Colonial Home Warranty from selling home service contracts to its residents. In August 2013 the state of Florida Office of Insurance Regulation ordered the company to cease doing business with Florida residents due to violation of a state law which requires a license in order to sell home warranties. And of course Texas had already told the company to stop selling contracts to its residents prior to issuing the order in 2012.
There are two options to consider:
1. Readers who wish to submit a petition or claim to the court handling the Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings for Colonial Warranty Group, Inc. should strongly consider retaining professional legal assistance in order to do so. I asked the appropriate Clerk of Courts for information regarding submitting such petitions or claims and was informed that their office is not in a position to provide comments on pending cases or legal advice. Colonial Warranty Group, Inc.’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing will be handled by Judge Donald H. Steckroth of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court and is identified as Case number 2:14-bk-15949. A representative of HomeWarrantyReviews.com also tried to reach the attorney for Colonial Warranty Group, Richard Honig of Hellring, Lindeman, Goldstein & Siegal, for comments or information about the bankruptcy case but at the time of this article’s publication had not received a reply.
2. Before issuing business license, many states require such companies to pledge bonds. If you are one of the customers that lost money, you may want to approach your State Insurance Department. If the State has collected pledge bonds, you may recover a portion of your money paid to the company.
While I cannot say that any actions taken by state regulators directly led to the closure of Colonial Home Warranty or the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing there may still be a lesson for home warranty customers to learn from all of this. Doing business with a company that has operated without proper registration or licensing in your state could be your problem as much as the home warranty company’s problem if they are caught. It is worth your time to be sure that any company you purchase a home service contract from is doing business legally in your state.
If you have been affected by the closure of Colonial Home Warranty or have other experiences with this company you’d like to share please email [email protected] The team at HomeWarrantyReviews.com will be happy to receive your stories as well as helping with any requests for information from readers.
Kevin Wallach writes a blog about the home service contract industry in the United States, HomeWarrantyWiz.com, and works in a marketing capacity within the home warranty industry. He has followed the industry for five years and has worked just as long to help bring customers and companies together through Internet marketing. He also is the administrator of an industry group on Linkedin called “Home Warranty and Home Service Contract Professionals”.
Hello everyone! Father’s day is just around the corner and most of you will be wondering what presents to give to the man you loved more than anyone else, your beloved dad!
Have you ever thought of giving your Dad something more useful than a t-shirt or a coffee mug with photos printed on it?? We are not saying that those gifts are not good, but we think that something more long-term would make your Dad (and your Mum as well) happy.
Team HomeWarrantyReviews.com are huge fans of their Dads. So we reflected upon the needs that ageing dads have and came to the conclusion that nothing can show your care more than a helping hand with the household repairs.
Now most of you may not be living in the same neighborhoods as your parents, so it will be difficult to rush to their help when they call you up complaining about a leaky faucet. What do you do then? Easy peasy, gift with a Home Warranty plan!
Let’s make a list of pros and cons of home warranty over other regular gifts!
Most of the appliance warranty companies offer a range of plans that serve homeowner’s varying needs. So the happy news is that you too can find a tailor made plan for your Dad’s needs. Depending on the type of residence, frequency of repairs needed, area and age of appliances etc you can pick one that suits his needs.
If you like the idea of gifting a home service contract, we urge you to go through our website and compare trustworthy home warranty companies and their plans. While you are at it, consider getting yourself one if you don’t have a plan already!
Father’s day comes only once in a year, so make sure that you make your old man feel special. They’ve done a lot for you, now it’s your time to do something special for them. Even if you can’t afford expensive gifts or make time to spend the day with him, do give him a call atleast. Let them not feel forgotten and lonely. Remember, our fathers are God given gifts whom we should cherish and love at every chance we get. And if you are a father yourself, find a way to spend some quality time to bond with your kids.
Do tell us how you plan to celebrate Father’s Day. Cheers!!
P.S We’ve shared a pic of a famous father-son duo!
So, you have decided to purchase a warranty that’s going to protect your budget against unexpected repairs and replacements of your household devices. It is a wise step, but you might also want to know about the options you have when you buy warranties. We bring you the list of the most common types of warranties that are purchased to cover household appliances.
Warranties can differ based on several criteria. The age of appliances, age of the home, current conditions of the device are all significant factors that you must consider before you zero in on a household appliance protection plan.
The working is pretty much the same for all these plans. When a device cracks, you inform the folks from whom you purchased the warranty and then they send over a technician to fix the damaged device. You will pay a service call charge each time you raise an issue. And, you can’t report multiple issues in a single call.
Before we go into all that, we have to tell you that the Homeowner’s insurance is something that is not included in this article. It is an entirely different plan and if you wish, you can read about the differences between Homeowner’s insurance and Home warranty.
Let’s begin with the list
We bet that you have definitely heard about this one! This is also the most widely used plan. The Home Warranty also called as the Appliance Warranty/ Appliance protection plans ( it is known by quite a number of names, would take sometime to list them all out) is a service contract that agrees to offer discounted repairs and replacements of your household appliances.
This plan is ideally suited for customers whose appliances are over 4 years. Appliance protection plan covers damages that result due to regular wear and tear, so if you have brand new devices, chances are that you won’t need frequent repairs.
Also, this is not a free of cost arrangement. As a matter of fact, none of the plans discussed here are free. They do cost money, but the amount is nominal as compared to how much you will be paying if you had to carry out the repairs and replacements by yourself.
Home warranties cover almost all the major appliances and systems in your home. They don’t cover the outdoor devices like sprinklers and all that. Read your policy document to get a better idea. You can also read a brief description about the appliances that are covered.
If you think that this is the ideal plan for you, we suggest that you read more about Home Warranty before you make a move.
This too is a familiar name. It is the kind of warranty that the appliance’s manufacturer provides for a limited period of time. Meaning that when you purchase a brand new appliance, the manufacturer’s warranty agrees to repair/ replace your device if something happens to it during the stated warranty period. The time frame changes from manufacturer to manufacturer. The average is often 1 year.
This warranty is a kind of legal binding. If they displease you by not honoring the conditions mentioned in the warranty contract, you can sue them.
Most new gadgets come with a manufacturer’s warranty, even if you buy them online, you can get the manufacturer’s warranty. Major appliances like HVAC units come with longer warranty periods. But keep in mind that the coverage doesn’t remain the same thoughout the warranty period. From second year on-wards, you will be paying for the repair service as the coverage becomes limited to certain parts alone.
You can’t use a Home Warranty to cover a device that is already covered by it’s manufacturer’s warranty. As stated before, Home warranty is for devices that are old, used and no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Also called as the dealer’s warranty, and is the warranty that is provided by the seller of the device. This is a very short duration warranty, usually around 6 months and if a defect occurs within the stated time, you have to take the gadget to that particular seller itself and no one else. It is not a very flexible and easy plan, but it is definitely better than no warranty at all.
This is the kind of warranty that gives you the choice to extend the manufacturer’s warranty as and when it expires. These are ideal for the devices that are not covered under the Home Warranty plans eg., TV, Laptops, etc.
You can’t avail extended warranty on used and old devices. They can only be taken for fairly new gadgets whose manufacturer’s warranty expired recently.
These are third party service contracts, often provided by the seller or repair vendors. The costs vary widely as these contracts are usually given by local yet licensed service vendors. The coverage also varies so it is difficult to give much details about this type of warranty.
Speak with a few vendors and compare with the other options you have.
Getting the best
Do your research to get the best out of Appliance warranties. Always ensure that you chose a reputable company. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the company you chose has a clean record. Friends and family can also recommend good companies for you.
Remember, any kind of warranty, if chosen wisely can benefit you immensely by protecting your budget and also by giving you peace of mind.
Extended warranty sometimes also called as a maintenance or service agreement, is a prolonged warranty given to customers who wish to insure their fairly new devices. They are not always provided by the manufacturer and are usually procured along with or as and when the manufacturer’s warranty expires.
Such extended service agreements are often purchased for gadgets and appliances that don’t come under Home warranty. Eg. laptops, TV, desktop computers. They can be purchased over an existing manufacturer’s warranty so that damages due to accidents are also covered. They cover repairs and replacements of the insured device for a fixed period of time, which is usually around 2-3 years.
If you are wondering whether you need an extended appliance protection plans or not, consider this –
You have a reasonably new device which cost you a lot. It is still covered by it’s manufacturer’s warranty but you are not certain if that will be enough. You fear that accidental damages may occur and you cannot afford to repair or replace the device if it happens. If this is what is going through your head, we recommend that you purchase an extended warranty.
There are quite a few advantages that make you want to consider buying an extended appliance protection plans. Here are a few of them:
Although, the advantages may seem great, some experts have the opinion that extended warranty is a waste of money. This is because a decent appliance/gadget manufactured by a reputable company stands very little chance to fail in the first 2 years. It has been noted that retailers make huge profits from extended protection plans as very few consumers claim them.
Also, when it comes to electronic gadgets, it sometimes makes more sense in replacing it with a new one rather than repairing the damaged one. These days you can get a DVD player for around $30, so why then would you spend $20 repairing your damaged DVD player?
Technology is advancing at a very fast pace, unless your device is precious and expensive, we suggest that you think twice and explore a few options before you purchase extended warranty.
You may want to look at the repair rates of the various gadgets in the first 3 years of their lives and then decide if you need to go for an extended protection plan. However, the same cannot be said of Home Warranty, which is always recommended for most homes.
If you feel you don’t need an extended warranty as your appliances are 4+ years old, the best option for you would be a Home Warranty. Find out more about Home Warranty and Home Warranty Companies!
Source: CBS News
While you consider purchasing an extended warranty, ensure that you contemplate on all the points that follow.
Make sure that you know how the plan works. Read through the terms and conditions mentioned in both the contract as well as the policy booklet. Understand what damages are covered and what damages are omitted.
All extended warranties do not have the same duration of coverage. The term can vary anywhere between 6 months to 3 years. Be clear on this.
Beware of this one. In certain cases you will have to ship your damaged gadget to some other location. If this happens you will have to pay the shipping charges. Not only this, there could be several cases where you will have to spend extra money in addition to the amount you pay for availing the warranty. You can speak to the retailer to clear any doubts you have regarding this.
A lot of warranty companies are out there that sell extended warranty. Sometimes it makes sense to consider a few options before you jump into a decision and purchase extended warranty from the retailer. Some companies offer plans that cover a group of devices instead of a single device. These may be much more profitable that purchasing one warranty for a single gadget.
Before you purchase an extended warranty, check with the bank issuing your credit card to know if you are automatically entitled to an extended warranty if you make a purchase with the card. In certain cases, platinum and gold cards offer this feature to customers.
Getting an extended warranty is not a bad idea. However we urge you to go through everything carefully before you purchase an extended warranty from the retailer. Extended warranties, like we said are only for a single appliance/gadget. While they are not pricey as such, sometimes, for homeowners with ageing appliances find Home Warranty plans more ideal. They are affordable and cover a host of appliances and not just a single one. If you think, an appliance warranty plan is what you need, take a look at the top 10 home warranty companies in the U.S.A. Good luck!
A bathroom is one of the most important places at any home. A place to relax, rejuvenate and unwind. A clean and well maintained bathroom is a sign of physical and mental well being of a family.
With time the structure and appliances grow old and no longer have the same appeal. Chipped walls, dull sanitary ware, old flooring, leaky taps, rusted pipes can put you off. An old and dirty bathroom can be a big embarrassment. Does this sound like your situation? Do you think twice before answering when your guests ask, can I use your washroom?
Then its time for you to consider renovating it. Thoughtful re-designing can make it spacious and provide more storage. Renovation also adds value to your home if you plan to sell.
Options are endless when it comes to remodeling bathrooms as there is a wide scope for improvement. The combination of plumbing, electrical wiring, and decorating schemes packed into the smallest residential spaces create unique demand for its renewal.
If it needs to be restructured then everything has to be discarded and built from scratch. But if the layout is fine and the waterproofing is sound, then it will not cost you a fortune. A dramatic difference can be made by simply changing the color scheme, re-tiling over the old floor, replacing cabinets and sanitary ware. There are even resurfacing products that can put a new surface over old colored tiles or chipped and outdated bathtubs.
Before you rush to speak to a renovation company and ask for quotes, it is very important to do your research. The variety of renovation options can be overwhelming including the infinite choices of baths, showers, toilets, taps, shower heads, tiles, paint colors, mirrors, splash backs, etc. The more determined and clear with ideas you are in what you require from your renovation, the more likely you will be of getting the one that you always wanted.
The secret to your dream bathroom is detailed specifications. While tabulating what you require, consider this questions.
Now you have a foolproof plan of what exactly you want. Wondering what next? It might come in handy to consult your friends and relatives who have got renovation done from potential and reputed contractors. Do your research and be sure that you opt for the army of people you would want to hire to transform it.
Typically it would cost between $9,000 and $25,000 depending on a number of factors such as:
The next step is to choose the sanitary wares and fixtures. If your existing ones are in decent condition then you can make them look new.
All you need to do is wash and scrub with an abrasive cleanser, Lime-A-Way. Then sand on them. The final stage is to paint. Mix the epoxy and paint with a brush and roller. Brush in one direction to make it spread evenly.
If they are way too old and ready to be discarded then yes it’s time for some shopping, but before heading to the store flip through the magazines and browse home improvement websites and get a firm idea about the fixtures, shower curtains, and sanitary wares you would need, it will save you time and costs.
Here are the essentials that you may have to buy:-
These come in a variety of styles with built-in shelves for condiments. You should be able to get a decent one for under $200. Check for the desired size.
Shower curtains and hangers set the mood of the whole washroom and its gets better when coordinated with towels. If the area is small you should go with a lighter color and you can choose to experiment with different kinds of fabric. You can choose vinyl, polyester, cotton, or other decorative textiles. Remember that vinyl and plastic shower curtains can be spot-cleaned while fabric curtains may need to be taken down and washed.
Compared with other fixtures, toilets are not that expensive, but low-flush toilets are not cheap. Choose the one which will complement other sanitary-ware. You can also try a toilet tank water saver. This is a mechanism that fits in the toilet tank and only lets enough water in the tank to do the job. And it’s adjustable.
Sinks/ faucets add elegance to the place, so pay more attention while choosing. It can be counter top, wall mounted or wall hung, above counter vessel types, pedestal, cast iron, integrated, freestanding, or self-rimming, and more. The sink that you choose will determine the type of faucet and handles that you can install in the sink, so keep that in mind to assure that your faucet purchase is compatible with your sink purchase.
To save money buy a water saver shower head. This can save you over 50% of the water and hot water costs for the same duration of shower.
Do not change the location of plumbing when working on low budget. Plumbing modifications requires bringing out the pipes from wall. After placement, you will have to do wall repair work. If new tiles were not in your mind, they will have to be then. Consider renovation in tight budget and forget plumbing modification. That means showers, tubs, toilets, and sinks should remain in the same position.
Linoleum: In a small or medium-sized washroom, changing the floor can be as easy as rolling out a section of beautifully-designed linoleum over the present floor and gluing it. If the present flooring is linoleum you can get a neutralizing agent to scrub the floor and then apply the mastic. The new linoleum will go down easily. Then install molding to hold down the edges.
Tile: This is also cheap and can go over other flooring. For small spaces it can be a do-it-yourself job but a handyman can do it quickly and cheaply. Big tiles can also be used on the walls from the floor to the ceiling for a royal look. You can also choose to have stick on tiles which can be stuck on any surface and look magnificent, moreover you can do it yourself.
Usually the lighting is overhead and/or framing the mirror. This might take a couple of hundred bucks for an electrician but installing sconces on each side of the mirror will really give it a makeover.
It is the cheapest remodeling technique and usually one gallon of finish will do the job. Blue, Sea green, orange based on your preference and the advice of the contractor, you can choose the colors.
One beautifully framed mirror over a sink is more attractive than many surfaces covered with mirrors. These will enhance the looks of your washroom.
Wooden or bamboo accessories seem to have replaced the old fashioned steel racks. You should first look at the type of wood the racks are made of. Pine or oak can be strong, but be careful; they may form fungus when left wet.
Take advantage of space between wall studs by recessing a tall storage cabinet into the wall to maximize vertical storage while saving floor space. The cabinet should have an interior depth of at least three inches and a door flush with the wall.
When your it is completely renovated you can bring in one or two indoor plants like Boston fern, peace lily etc, which helps in cleaning the air. When your renovation is completely done then yes it’s time for indulgence. Enjoy your new bathroom.
Who does not want to own a home? In fact, the sooner, the better! But with the ongoing inflation and increased property prices, buying your own home seems like a far-fetched dream. But owning a home has benefits of its own. From creating a space that defines you to re-doing the interiors without worrying about the landlord. Or be it having privacy, the perks of having your own home are endless.
The increased mortgage interests and the guarantee requirements have also made it difficult to find your own abode. But there are ways can help you earn more, save better and realize your dream sooner than before.
People love to own a big home that’s cozy and have ample space for all their belongings. It becomes difficult to carry things from one place to another while staying in a rented apartment. With your own home, you have the luxury to set your dream closet and fill in the place with the most drool-worthy ideas. Buying a home forms a big part of the great American dream and we tell you ways that can help you realize the same.
We all know that the home of our dreams may take us a little too long to save up for. In such a case, investing in smaller properties and then benefitting on the increased values will not only give you a huge profit but also help you pay a bigger sum as down-payment and hence avail lower mortgage interest rates.
For such a procedure, climbing up the ladder is the way as you cannot expect to buy your dream home right away. Also, there is an added risk of losing money in case the prices drop. So, it is suggested to do your research before investing in such a plan and hire a trusted realtor who genuinely wants to help you achieve your dream.
There are several schemes available in the market that offers added benefits to first-time buyers. These schemes can be backed by banks or the government. Thus, it is important to stay updated of all the available and upcoming schemes in the real-estate market.
Housing schemes by US department of Housing and Urban development could not only offer you lower interest rates but also have the benefit of being a first-time home buyer by offering perks on the down-payment.
There is no easier way to pave your way to your home than saving up each penny possible. It may require a lot of effort and sacrifice but once you are able to book your own home, it will be all worth it.
Giving up on expensive clothing, dinners and parties could be an effective way to kick-start the savings. Renting a home and investing in a car that actually meets your requirement to save a little more is sensible. Finally, investing in gadgets and other valuables that depreciate in value should be avoided to achieve your goals. Enrolling in a trusted home warranty plan will also help you save on regular expenses like repair & maintenance of home and appliances.
Buying a property in collaboration with a friend or a family member and paying off the debt is a good idea to avoid the hike in prices. Buying a home today will shield you from the future increase of pricing. This gives you a sense of deep relief as you know that you handled the loan mortgage terms efficiently.
However, the terms should be clearly discussed and mentioned in the contract to avoid any future disagreement.
This is another effective method to own a home early. In this scenario, you rent a place on lease basis from a homeowner until you find yourself capable enough of making the down payment and can finally transfer the ownership to your name. The same can be mentioned in an agreement detailing the terms & conditions of acquiring the home on a future date.
This way, you will be living in your future home right from the beginning and will have flexibility in terms of renovation and changes in the home. Also, home warranty plans can help you save on those extra expenses by covering it for you.
The family is always here to help us out no matter what. Therefore, seeking a helping hand from parents or siblings who have saved enough is likely to be the best resort to buying a new home for first-time owners. This will also prevent you from all the added stress and assure you of no hidden terms & conditions.
You can also pay them back as per your understanding and can lend a helping hand with their needs.
Everyone has a hobby or a favorite job that they excel at. From cooking to playing guitar, it could be anything. Taking up a secondary job can help you cover that extra mile with ease and buy your dream home sooner than expected. Another good thing about this is that you don’t have to learn a new skill and are making extra money with what you already have.
It is not easy to save enough to buy a home. Following these simple methods, you can not only save better but also realize your dream of a perfect home. You can also save money by cutting down on regular expenses like repairing appliances which failed unexpectedly by intelligently shopping for a home warranty plan. It may seem to be difficult but once you start researching, you will only discover new methods to save more every day. You will always win given the advent of the internet and it is the super highway of information.
As mentioned on this website, home warranty policies will not cover everything in your home. At some point you will really have to get your hands dirty. By learning more about your home appliances and maintenance needs, you can increase the life span of the appliances and avoid the pain of dealing with home warranty company for repairs and maintenance. Of course, you will save quite a bit of your money. But more than anything, it is a very satisfying experience to fix something on your own and become more knowledgeable!
Here is a collection of good resources about home maintenance.
Every home owner should maintain a checklist of home maintenance needs. Just like your car, all your home appliances need to maintained to avoid malfunctioning. Use the templates from here that would suite your situation. Set a reminder using your email or other scheduling systems so that you won’t miss your “inspection”
|Printable checklist and quick tips|
|Helps you develop your own inspection system.|
|From Art of manliness||Very handy home maintenance checklist|
|Maintenance schedule (by season).|
|Home caring guide (by month)|
Here is a collection of good maintenance guides for your reference
|Maintenance instructions for home appliances|
|Instructions with video and images. Minnesota Building Industry Foundation
has created this web site to help homeowners
|From James Dulley||Appliance maintenance tips. This site is a good resource for a homeowner|
Here is the list of best guides that I have found so far. Most of them have demonstrations with images and videos. Youtube.com is another resource of course.
|ACME How To||Very thorough guide that covers almost anything you ever want to fix at
home. Simple and quick fixes.
|From Repair Clinic||Repair guides with drawings and demonstration of appliances|
|From ORHP||Useful quick fix tips covers major appliances|
It is always fun to take on some home improvement projects at your spare time. It takes some time and effort, but the satisfying experience and the joy you will get after you finish a project successfully is worth it.
|From Hometime||Many projects available with detailed photo assisted instructions|
|From DIY||DYI Network has easy to follow guides. Each steps explained with actual
Here is a list of useful resources for homeowners. This list will be updated as and when we find useful websites. Please feel free to suggest your favorites!
|Homeowner Insurance Lowdown||This website contains many resources such as homeowner insurance reviews, warranty, and financial info essential for a homeowner|
Want to suggest a new resource? Please provide your feedback about home maintenance and remodeling links here
Your home is the center of your everyday life and possibly your most valued asset. When your home is destroyed or damaged, you want your claim sorted out by an insurance company that realizes this simple fact. A right homeowners’ insurance company best meets your needs and provides you with the most valuable blend of quality service, custom-made coverage, and fair pricing in policies.
Depending on where you live – an apartment, house, or condominium – the right home insurance plan can give you peace of mind along with the money you need to replace or repair your home and/or stuff. Home insurance policies vary by the type of coverage you choose, the losses covered and the type of residence you own. You pick a policy that is best for you, whether it’s an all-inclusive policy that covers losses such as smoke, fire, falling objects, and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers specified losses.
Your home insurance plan is made up of the precise options you select. The amount you pay for your policy depends on what coverage you buy, how much you want to cover, and where you set your limits. There are many types of homeowners policies available when once you decide to be a homeowner or not. The most significant part of homeowners insurance is the level of coverage. Avoid paying for more than you require. Below are the most common levels of coverage.
As insurance policies come in many shapes and sizes, the same is true for insurance companies and agents, who can charge different rates for the same coverage. Bigger insurers are not always better and small don’t essentially have the best customer service. So, it’s always good to shop around for the top deals and ask the precise questions in an attempt to know what you are really receiving.
Prior to signing on the dotted line, you should understand that not all homeowners policies are the same. This is always one of the most common misinterpretations about insurance. According to a survey, more than a third of the homeowners said they did not have or didn’t identify if they had adequate homeowners insurance coverage. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina affected the city of New Orleans, and again in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy damaged numerous communities in New York and New Jersey, thousands of worried survivors got a rude shock when they found their standard homeowners’ policies did not cover flood damage.
Many catastrophic events are not covered in the basic homeowner’s policy, but they are still insurable and require additional levels of insurance. In some cases, homeowners need entirely different policies, which are usually several times costlier than the typical homeowners’ premium. Some homes are situated in high-risk areas such as flood, hurricanes and earthquake zones, which make buying additional insurance a top priority for these homeowners. Instead of the usual $250 to $1,000 deductible under basic coverage, you have to shell out 1 to 5% of your home’s insured value (up to 10% in Florida).
Hurricane season is an old threat for many residents living along the southeastern coast of the U.S. Hurricane Matthew, which made arrival on Oct 8, 2016, left an expected $6 billion worth of property loss in its devastation across states such as Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. If you live in a region that is prone to hurricanes, you must have certain emergency plans in place. Homeowners in hurricane-prone areas need to act fast to file damage claims with their insurance firms. For instance, if your home is insured for $200,000 and your plan has a 3% deductible for hurricanes, you will have to expend $6,000 out-of-pocket on a storm-related claim.
When you buy a homeowners insurance policy, one of the must have insurance policies, you must prepare the latest home inventory to speed up a claim settlement if you ever need to make one. A complete home inventory, help your insurance company verify the property easier, which in turn makes settling your claim easy. Additionally, you can validate losses for your income tax return with the latest home inventory without any hassles.
For many homeowners, insurance is something to be thought of again, i.e., until the worst occurs. Homeowners who wait until they experience a loss before assessing their own policies do not get the full value – may be little value – out of their incalculable premium payments.
Homeowners insurance is a monetary agreement, but it should also be treated as a living entity to be cherished over time. By reading your policy wisely, shopping around for the suitable agent, comprehending your coverage limits, and create an updated property inventory.
Claim denial is an incident in which a home warranty company rejects a customer’s request for repair service. Sometimes customer claims are legit and fully entitled to receive services stated as per the contract. Claim denials are considered to be a major reason behind spats between service contract companies and the customer.
While some claims are denied for genuine reasons, some customers argue that companies deny claims on vague grounds often stating fine print from the contract. Yet, there are also cases where the companies were falsely accused of unfair claim denial solely because the customer failed to understand the terms mentioned in the home service contract.
What we need to understand is that not all companies deny claims unfairly because doing so will severely damage their reputation. So unless there is a valid reason, reputable companies will not deny a customer’s claims randomly.
Let’s take a look at some common reasons for claim denials
This is often the most common reason for denying a claim. Most service contracts only cover a fixed set of appliances and not everything in your house. If your home service contract provider gives you this reason, go check your contract and make sure that the appliance is indeed not covered. In case you find that it is a covered item, place further calls to the company and let them know that the as per the contract, the item is covered.
No home service contract covers an appliance that has become damaged due to lack of maintenance. Regular wear and tear is not caused due to insufficient maintenance. It is the result of prolonged, proper usage. It is the homeowner’s duty to carry out regular maintenance routines, especially for HVAC appliances. However, if you believe that the damage is not caused due to insufficient maintenance, tell the company that you need to get a second opinion from a different contractor.
Home service contract providers often tell the customer that the damage was one that existed even before the contract was signed and hence it will not be covered. There’s hardly anything you can do about such a denial. However, you can avoid chances for such disputes by making sure that you get a home inspection done prior to signing the contract. That way the home inspector’s report will clearly state about what appliance has what damage. If it is not in the report and if the item is covered, you may be entitled to a repair service.
Wear and tear due to regular usage and wear and tear due to rough handling and careless usage can be distinguished quite easily. If the damage was caused due to the latter kind of wear and tear, your claim stands a chance to be denied. In this scenario too, you can ask for a another contractor to get a second opinion if you disagree on the diagnosis.
If the appliance was not properly installed and if it violates the codes laid down for safe use and installation, chances are high that your claim may be denied.
It goes without saying that the policy booklet, the contract and the inspection report, if any, must be preserved carefully. The moment you realise that your claim has been denied, go through your contract and policy document to make sure that the claim is denied purely based on the terms in the contract. If you have a home inspection report go through that too. If you feel that your claim has been unjustly denied, you can call the home service contract company again and press the issue.
You can also visit review websites and post a review about your experience. HomeWarrantyReviews.com has a feature called the Complaint Resolution Program (CRP) which is a platform for companies and their customers to resolve their issues. The customer merely needs to report his negative experience with HomeWarrantyReviews.com, following this, he will be asked if wants to take part is CRP. If he/she chooses to participate in it, the company will be notified about his/her grievance and will be given 30 days to respond/ sort it out. If the company fails to respond or resolve the issue, the customer’s negative review becomes public. Some review websites allows their users to resolve the issues with the contract provider by communicating with them through a specific platform. The advantage of this system is that if the home service provider fails to resolve the issue for the customer or fail to respond within a time frame, the review becomes public, thereby affecting the rating and reputation of the company. Most companies do not want that.
Whatever the reason could be, we request customers to make things clear before they react to a claim denial. It could be that the company is not at fault here and because of a misunderstanding, their name gets tarnished. Most of the unpleasant scenarios can be avoided if the company you pick is reputable. Hence we cannot stress enough on the importance of picking the right company, a good home service contract provider will always put the interests of the customer first. Remember, good communication is often the solution to the biggest of problems.
A home warranty sounds like it is a great form of monetary security against unexpected, expensive home repairs. But you should understand what is covered in a “standard” home service contract. When you are buying a home, there is possibility that you were provided with a home warranty by the seller and you assumed that it will take care of all repairs inside your home. But there are some items NOT covered in a home warranty.
Basics of home warranty –
The best answer to this can be found by evaluating your specific contract or by reviewing an on-line contract sample.
Basic coverage includes:
Because coverage differs from policy to policy and from state to state, request to see a sample copy of a policy before you commit.
As discussed above, the contract covers only those parts, systems and appliances that are mentioned as covered and excludes all others. Remember you can always pay extra premium to cover these items before you sign the contract.
However, for items such as washer/dryer, kitchen refrigerator, air conditioning, spa equipment, pool and roof leak repair, additional or optional coverage are available for an extra fee at the time of contract. Verify your contract to check which optional coverage, if any, were paid for.
A home warranty is neither similar nor it is a replacement for homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance policy covers major unforeseeable events such as fires, theft, property crimes, hail and certain types of water damage that could have an effect on the homeowner’s personal possessions and the entire structure. A home warranty does not cover these hazards but it covers particular components of the home. It covers regular wear and tear defects which may include an older air conditioner break down or requiring certain parts changed in spite of you have kept up with needed maintenance. In simplest terms, a home warranty is an additional coverage for the items in your home which might initially have been covered by a manufacturer’s or builder’s warranty.
When you purchase a home warranty, you are principally signing a service contract. The contract provides for low-priced repair and replacement service on a number of home’s major appliances. Most plans have a basic component that offers all the homeowners who pay for a policy with certain coverages. The contract will spell out which appliances it’ll cover, how much is required to pay per occurrence and what is not covered. For instance, structural aspects of your home are not covered. So if your roof falls down, that would be covered by homeowner’s insurance. In case your water heater leaks, the water heater would be covered but the consequent water damage would be homeowner’s insurance issue. Homeowners are also allowed to procure one or more optional components that give additional coverage at additional cost.
They are quite inexpensive, usually ranging from $259 to $400, based on coverage. Home warranty companies every now and then run special discount policy prices or special sales or provide additional coverage for the same price. The policies are prepaid for a year in advance, at which time they run out or can be renewed.
Though specific plans offer for definite types of coverage, most operate in the same way.
Watch this video to know how home warranty works –
As all plans differ, you are required to ask specifically what is covered. Inquire with your real estate agent if upgrades are available. Make sure that whether the home warranty company will pay for your repairs to make certain types of appliances or systems compliant with new regulations. Pay close attention and read the home warranty contract cautiously to know the coverage, limitations and exclusions.
Home warranties may be procured by individuals buying a new or used home, landowner, and persons selling their homes or investors. Each company’s coverage is decided by the terms of its contact, but basic home warranties usually cover the parts and labor on or replacement of chief home systems and equipment.
What’s covered? Most home warranty firms provide a variety of plans, all offering different levels of coverage, so be sure to study the details of any contract before procuring. Even if you decide to renew the contract from your year-to-year, double check the details of your plan as the coverage can change yearly.
Here is a common idea of what a homeowner can wait for to find in each tier of service.
A home warranty is not an ideal solution to the risks homeowners face. Before buying one, it’s important that the homeowners read the home warranty contract and consider whether the warranty is probable to pay off. Home sellers who want to provide a warranty to buyers and homeowners or buyers who feel more relaxed having a home warranty should also do extensive research to get a reputable home warranty company that will in fact pay for legal genuine repairs when they are required.
Other home warranty tips –
Purchasing warranty plans for household items has become a common thing these days. Over time, it has become one of the best ways to protect your budget against unexpected repairs and replacements of damaged household devices.
A Home Warranty, sometimes called an Appliance Warranty is a contract that agrees to offer discounted repairs and replacements of the covered devices. They cover damages resulting from wear and tear and hence are ideally suited for houses whose appliances are over 4 years old.
Home warranties differ from homeowner’s insurances in the fact that the latter covers damages and losses resulting from natural hazards or crimes while appliance warranty covers damages due to regular wear and tear. You can never replace a homeowner’s insurance with a home warranty. It is generally considered that home warranties are best suited for the following people who –
So naturally, they are not suited for people who
There are a lot of home warranty companies offering a range of packages to suit your requirements. So never feel that you have only one option. In fact there are so many options out there that you may want to read a Home warranty buyer’s guide before you make a decision. In general, home warranties are affordable, with the annual premium ranging anywhere between $250 to $1000. The premium usually depends on the amount of coverage you are purchasing.
The advantages of owning a home warranty are many. And also, it is the closest thing you can get to peace of mind when it comes to protecting your budget. Let’s take a look at the pros.
If you have doubts about the devices that are covered and omitted, you can go through What is covered under Home Warranty plans to get a clearer picture. If you are still not sure if you need home warranty or not, we suggest that you read an article on “Do I need home warranty?”, this will certainly give you some guidance.
Home warranty works in a very simple way. An appliance crashes and you call up the warranty company and inform them about the damage. They will ask you to give them all the necessary information like device name, manufacturer’s details, model no, batch no, and other relevant matters.
Once they collect this info, they will call up a service vendor with whom they maintain business ties. The vendor then collects your contact details to talk to you about fixing an appointment. A qualified and experienced technician then comes over to look at your device. If the repairs needed are minor, he will do them right away. However, if major repairs are needed or if parts need to be replaced, the technician waits for the approval of the home warranty company. Parts needed will be procured by the company. You will pay the service call fee to the technician when he comes to your home.
This is not a free of cost arrangement. In addition to the annual premium, you will be paying a service call fee (around $50) each time you place a claim. Like a coin with two sides, home warranties too have a few drawbacks. Let’s discuss them.
Home warranties are indeed a great way to insure your household devices. It protects your budget too. It is necessary that you make a wise decision regarding the choice of company and warranty plan so that you make the best out of the deal. The policy booklet and the contract are vital documents and they must, without fail, be studied and preserved carefully.
You can go through reviews about various companies and their plans on our website to compare and choose the best.
This is an Article published for the Benefit of Homeowners reading our Articles regularly so that one can walk the path of sustainable energy!
There’s no denying that the onset of new, improved and environment-friendly trends is putting a damper on companies that have been functioning for centuries without much regard for the environment. Having to reestablish their production methods, use of materials and waste disposal strategies, manufacturing units being shut down as alterations are not viable to their manufacturing and market costs. The drive towards a green economy is constantly being resisted by a large section of multinational companies around the world.
Besides alterations in production strategies, the other game changer has been utility companies and their slow but hopefully steady replacement with solar and green energy demands from consumers. As the demand for solar energy in residences begins to increase, the traditional utility industry will take a hit not only in its retails sales and day to day transactions but also in terms of an overall loss of customer base. Eventually, the industry could even become obsolete, but that’s a discussion for later.
The main trade association and executives of the utility industry have seen the onset of this impending threat, and have been calling for meetings and conferences. Using these to reach out to the electricity providers for support, utility companies have been playing a part in keeping door-to-door solar power insurgency at bay.
Electric and fossil fuel monopolies are right to feel the threat though, as even the individual state governments and metering laws are creating rules and instructional loopholes to encourage home solar paneling. States such as Wisconsin and Arizona, amongst others, have imposed net metering as a system of electricity billing. Through net metering, a customer who is using solar energy at home gains monthly credit for the surplus power that they produce and provide to the electricity grid of that region. Even though a small amount is to be paid additionally if net metering is voted in your state, know that your electricity bill as a solar energy consumer will be considerably lowered; enough to offset the cost of installing solar panels at the first place– hiking prices. Though it may seem that the shift is absolute, even solar energy consumers are relying on the run of the mill electricity grid during overcast winters and nighttime. A marginal reduction in daily usage is not causing any cuts in maintenance, investment capital for transmission lines, and upkeep of the grid.
The debate of Solar Vs Utility still remains as two sides of a coin, with solar having on its side the bigger picture of a future green economy. Studies being conducted in individual states are most often steering towards the advent of solar as a domestic energy source causing harm to the economic balance, with an immediate counter response from environmental lobbyists. The claim is straightforward – the clean energy lobby argues that the traditional and fossil fuel powers are rigging the results and focusing on only negatives. Louisiana is one such state, where studies showed a transferal of over two million dollars to be shouldered by non-solar consumers due to the utility sales drop.
On a positive note that looks at aspects besides those that are environmental, research in states such a Mississippi and Nevada see solar as the way to go. From being able to bear the brunt of excess demand during summer months, produce almost twice as many jobs and be in tandem with the greenhouse emission laws, solar comes out the winner. The whopping two million that are being employed are also seen to have working conditions far better than the coal miners.
The problem when it comes to the utility industry’s sustenance is twofold. The first is to address the price hike which is inevitable when the demand drops, not to mention the possible compensation for individuals who are using solar to reduce the stress on the electrical grids.
The second is how utility power hubs will re-align their structure to accommodate for this shift, and think of ways to meet the clean energy drive halfway. Unfortunately, there is no way to tackle the second without fixing the war that is being fought over the first.
The majority of traditional electricity power plants that cater to individual households and residential areas in the US are investor owned. These have a much greater role to play when it comes to vetoing the solar power takeover. Investor-owned power plants function in four simple steps. First, they get an estimate of the power demand of a given area and consequently calculate the monetary estimate required to fulfill the quota. This money is then looked at from the separate perspectives of the consumer and the investor. The rate per unit of electricity is calculated, looking at not only the demand of the consumer but at the incentive for investors to look their way by offering them a favorable return rate.
This system is foolproof, until the point that they are faced with a competitor – solar power. Solar energy users continue to use the grid that has been set up, as well as the utilities other services. This is where the true problem lies – even the basal costs of the utility sector are now being borne by those that are opting for traditional sources. Net metering is allowing solar power users to practically zero out their bills if they meet their own monthly requirement for electricity, a law that utility companies are fighting in states such as Texas and California, focusing on its lack of sustainability.
While the arguments utility companies pose do have their credibility theoretically, in the real world it is rather clear that the incentive is still driven by their fear of revenue drops. When the investment for electrical systems shifts from the hands of shareholders to individual households, the concept of rates in terms of return to the investor is moot.
Customers who once had no option but to rely on Investor-Owned Utility companies now have the option of taking their domestic electrical needs into their own hands. Naturally, this lack of dependency translates into a very direct drop in utility companies yearly profits.
When a utility company complaints about the potential rate increase for the traditional energy source users, and fixates their argument on the fact that solar users do not pay for servicing and maintenance, a new argument is thrown into the mix. Is the demand that the utility companies are projecting really accurate anymore?
Solar lobbies state that the rate of maintenance, expansion and employee increase that utility companies are projecting is unrealistic. The fact is, widespread use of green energy resources will only reduce the load on the electrical grid, hence reducing the need for regular fixing. Utility grids are not taking this into account, instead of using an inflated demand rate to rope in a greater number of investors, and possibly hiking rates of monthly unit usage in order to meet their return rate.
The other statement of fact that solar advocates are backing is the fact that a utility-based electrical grid system never produces solely based on demand, hence pointing to the fact that the rate of electrical units is not actual anyhow. Experts say that if rooftop solar panels were distributed and installed, then just the reduce in demand would handle issues related to loading increase and be a much better management of resources for all involved.
All said and done, though the Solar versus Utility debate has its subjective points of view, not to mention numerous pros and cons on either side, the reality remains the same. The need for green energy is a necessity for sustenance on a global scale, and yet the twenty-first century is straddled between the traditional resources and those that are now deemed clean.
A time of transition in all ways possible, certain existential questions cannot be ignored. How are the economically backward supposed to sustain if traditional power grids cease to function stably? Alternatively, if solar resources are negated and shut down then will the global economy, fossil fuel depletion and environment be really able to survive?
Though the deliberation is on, individual states are beginning to look for solutions that will tackle both sides, sustainably. Vermont, California and even New York are beginning to approach the utility sector as a large power bank of service, instead of just a source of electricity. This may alter the relationship between solar grids and utility grids, allowing them to cross paths without having to lose either form of resource.
States like Arizona are proof that the present model of a utility power structure is not functional anymore, and they are bound to see a decline in revenue and balanced functionality if they continue to look at solar distribution as the villain. There is a theory that the only way to force the utility companies and government’s hand to address the reality of the issue is to block out subsidies, asking the question of how sustainable and affordable power can be distributed in such a situation.
There are few home warranty companies that do not charge service trade fee or “deductible”. If you are looking for such companies, please read on. Please note that we do not endorse any of these companies.
IMPORTANT: To read most recent list of companies that offer Zero dollar deductible, please visit our Home Warranty Plan Comparison section and sort the companies by Deductible (low to high)
Following are the home service contract companies that offer zero deductible as of this writing:
As a website dedicated to offering honest information about the various matters related to Home Warranty, we have collected the feedback of several appliance warranty customers in the form of reviews. Please check out our tool to find top rated home warranty companies in your area. There, you can sort through the various companies based on their premium amount, deductible amount, ratings and total reviews.
In an insurance policy, a deductible is the sum of money paid by the insured party before an insurer will pay any expenses. It is usually a fixed amount and is a part of most policies covering losses to the policy holder and must be paid by the insured before the insurance company’s own coverage plan begins.
For example, an auto insurance policy may bear a $500 deductible. If the owner of a car hits another car by mistake while parking and both drivers decide that the loss is minimal, he or she would pay the repair bill $500 out of his own pocket. Insurance companies would not support a claim for such small damages. Based on the incident, the deductible may apply per covered incident, or per year. For policies where we can’t restrict the incidences, the deductible is usually applied per year.
An insurance premium is the definite amount of money charged by insurance firms for active coverage. Cost of a premium can differ widely for the same service, which is why experts strongly suggest getting several quotes before committing to an insurance policy. Insurance brokers or agents takes basic information from people and evaluate an insurance premium estimate depending on the answers and other factors.
The lowest quoted cost on a premium may be the better deal, but the level of coverage may also be lesser. Insurance premium is mainly based on statistics, while people’s habits and history can cause the premium to be lower or higher. For example, a 22 year old male looking for car insurance for a sports car can often predict a higher insurance premium than a 45-year old woman driving a mid-size sedan. Both may perhaps have excellent working records, but the insurance company considers the younger driver in faster car to be at more risk for accidents. Thus, the premium quotes will be clearly different.
In general, a faster car will cost more to insure, just because the owners of those vehicles tend to drive faster. The amount of a deductible is typically related to the amount of premium charged by the insurers. That is, higher deductible amount are usually related with lower premium rate and vice versa. Try to find stability between reasonably priced premiums and a fair deductible when buying insurance.
There was a news report covered by HomeWarrantyWiz.com regarding recent developments with regard to fake Internet testimonials, company reviews, and ratings being detected and penalized by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). HomeWarrantyReviews.com was involved with the research behind this article, particularly by sharing our experiences with home warranty companies that have attempted to use our ratings system to post fictitious consumer reviews.
Home warranty is a highly complex product and many consumers rely greatly on the information they find on the Internet in order to choose a home warranty company. Fake Internet reviews make finding accurate information about companies more challenging and can sometimes lead consumers to making misinformed decisions.
The recent FTC fine levied on an advertiser outside the home warranty industry for advertising that involved fake reviews posted online is a good sign for home warranty customers and for all consumers who use the Internet to shop and research products or services. Websites like ours which are actively monitoring the reviews posted on them are an additional resource aside from the FTC and state attorneys, working in the consumer’s corner.
There have been instances where we have blacklisted companies for repeatedly posting fake positive reviews. Some companies employed some sort of advanced techniques to make the review look legitimate. But we have built a sophisticated rating system over the years and will catch any attempt to manipulate the reviews. On top of that we have a team of experienced staff members who make sure the review passes through their litmus test. So, if you are company that relies on such tactics, take a note!
Ensuring that fake reviews and ratings are caught and removed and that the offending parties are warned is just one way in which reviews sites can police reviews and ratings and keep them as accurate as possible. Consumers also have a responsibility as well. Consumers must be diligent to make their reviews as factual as possible in order to make the fake reviews easier to spot. Detailed reviews stand apart from general ones and often fake reviews give only the most basic details, focusing more on glowing compliments about the service or product. Leaving emotion out of reviews is also important because the same companies that post fake reviews or attempt to deflect blame whenever customers post highly emotional testimonials. Ultimately the task of spotting fake reviews falls greatly upon the consumer’s shoulders but now that the FTC has thrown its hat into the ring things will be much more complicated and risky for companies that prefer false advertising over legitimate customer testimonials.
There are five types of warranties plans available such as manufacturer warranty, home warranty, seller’s warranty, extended warranty, appliance service contract etc. All the above mentioned terms are basically protection policies of your household appliances. All these warranty contracts are slightly different and we will get into them in just a moment. Please note that we do not cover homeowners insurance here but you can refer to the article that talks about home insurance and home warranty differences
Home warranty is a service contract on your home appliances and it covers repairs and maintenance of household machinery. Home warranty plan takes care of repair and replacement of all your insured appliances by the qualified service provider. This plan is also referred as
One of the basic thing people look for while purchasing any appliance or gadget is the warranty. A warranty is a kind of assurance provided by the manufacturer for the product and if the item does not meet the expectations then the insurance provider is bound to repair or replace the product within the stated warranty period. The standard coverage is generally for the period of one year. A warranty is a legal binding which means if the seller does not stick to their words, then you can legally file lawsuits against them.
These days all the online stores and offline stores are providing manufacturer’s warranty and the original bill along with the purchased product. The products shipped are also completely sealed and as good as what you can get from retail stores. You can extend the warranty for additional years if you desire, although it is not necessary in most cases. Generally, big ticket items such as HVAC units come with 5 years warranty, but the coverage will be limited to parts only from second year onwards. That means you will have to pay for the repair service.
Home appliance warranty companies generally do not cover an equipment when it is under manufacturers warranty.
Seller Warranty is also known as dealer warranty. The warranty is basically provided by the respective seller or the dealer of the products. Most of seller warranties last for the period of 6 months. In case of any sort of defect of malfunction of the product, you have to take the product particularly to the seller from whom you bought it.
You have an option to extend manufacturer’s warranty when it expires. It is recommended only for those appliances that are not covered by home warranty, such as laptop, PC, TV and other electronics.
You can also extend home warranty when your original plan expires. Usually the breakdown period of appliances starts just before or after your warranty expires because of its usability. If you want to avoid such hassles of contacting repair services, extended warranty service just makes things easier
Service contracts are also considered as agreement or protection agreements. Most of these are offered by vendors selling the appliance, a service company, or a third party service provider. Home service contractors are basically local, licensed, and insured team to provide service. The price, terms and coverage choices widely vary as these companies tend to be local service providers. The repair and customer service may also vary depending on the vendor. Make sure you thoroughly understand the contract before you sign it.
Do your homework before buying home warranties, extended warranties, or service contracts for your major appliance. Understand the “Terms and Conditions” of the contract, especially its limitations.
Make sure you know and understand:
Asking the right questions BEFORE PURCHASING will prevent unwelcome surprises.
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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!
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.
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.
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
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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Real estate transactions are always approached with caution. They often involve large amounts of money so being careful is a wise step. Having a skilled real estate agent may help you a lot in achieving a deal that’s perfect for you, especially if you are new to real estate dealings. But the questions is, how do you choose a real estate agent that suits your needs?
Irrespective of whether you are a buyer or a seller, there are certain things that you can do to ensure that your real estate agent is quite good. You can ask your friends and relatives in case if they have used the services of a real estate agent before for referrals.
But before you decide about an agent, understand why exactly do you need an agent. There are many benefits of hiring a real estate agent.
So our checklist for picking the right real estate agent involves doing the following things-
Some say that like doctors, real estate agents too have specializations. A certified real estate agent often belongs to any of the three categories-
Also, if an agent calls himself a Realtor, it could mean that he/she is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Based on what your requirement is – buying, selling or renting, pick an agent with the right credential.
Check with your state’s regulatory body to find out whether the agent you have in mind has a license to be a real estate agent or not. Most states have a board from whom practicing real estate agents are expected to obtain a license. This board also oversees the discipline of such agents. Such a regulatory body would be the best place to find out if there are any existing complaints, disciplinary actions or lawsuits against a certain real estate agent or not. This information could be available online.
This information can be obtained from the regulatory board in your state. The state licensing authority often gives more precise answers than the agents themselves. As you want someone who’s on top of their game, an agent who has not been active in the last few years may not be a good choice.
Keep in mind that you want someone who is familiar with your target location and price range. Someone with a bad market presence may not be a good choice.
These days most agents have a website through which they invite in potential clients and also display their current listings. If you are a seller, you should be ware that most buyers begin with the Internet. So you want someone who makes use of the Internet effectively, as being web savvy definitely has its advantages.
If the real estate agent’s website has a database of current listings and its details, it is definitely a good sign.
If a real estate agent is good, he/she would’ve closed many deals and would have many clients who recommend them strongly. The greater the number of closings, greater is the agent’s experience. Make sure that you call up most of the references provided by the real estate agent. Clients are often the best people to give you feedback.
While we have given you really cool tips, we strongly suggest that you do ample research before you pick an agent. Ideally, meet several real estate agents and shortlist the ones that meet all the above mentioned pointers. You can then pick one from that list. If you are a seller, we would also like to remind you that offering a home warranty with your home may increase the sales price of your property. And if you are a buyer, if a property comes with home warranty, it could mean that your budget could stay protected if major appliances and systems require repairs.
We hope you found this article useful. Do let us know what you think. Cheers!
An offshoot of Home Warranty, Structural Warranty is a legal agreement between the builder of the home and you – the owner. Structural Warranty functions basically in the case of new homes, wherein the builder assures that the home he has built will have no structural defects for a period of ten years after its construction. His claim is covered by the company which offers him warranty coverage for the building, at times additionally including workmanship and internal systems.
The system functions just like Insurance, but covers defects which may occur due to age and wear and tear, not natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances. Like the Home Warranty covers the items in a home – its appliances, wiring and plumbing systems, interiors etc. – Structural Warranty covers elements like the foundation, girders and beams, roofing, and flooring.
Before the purchase of a home, it is advised for either the new owner, seller or realtor to purchase Home Warranty, in order to establish a relationship of trust and confidence in both parties involved. Just as a Home Warranty leaves the new owner knowing that his home and all that is in it is secure for at least a year after its purchase, Structural Warranty establishes the same sense of security in the buyer of a new home straight from a builder.
It is rather simple – all structural defects are now to be fixed by the company that the Warranty has been purchased from or by the builder offering the warranty himself, and as long as the terms and conditions are met, neither the builder nor the new owner is liable.
We see before our eyes appliances, electrical systems and plumbing leaks occur every once in awhile – but most of the time structural damage is noticeable only after it is too late. Given that large parts of the US are known to have soil that expands with seasonal changes, statistics show that more than 25% of all buildings in the country experience some kind of structural damage during the first decade of their life, almost 10% of this being major and often irreversible.
It isn’t always about how reputable the builder is, in fact, the more reliable the builder the higher the chances are of them investing in warranty for the homes they have built. Years after a deal is signed, sealed and delivered, a matter like soil expansion that is out of the hands of both the parties can spring up, making Structural Warranty the only way to guard against massive expenditure out of your own pocket in the future. Studies show that the warranty is most often claimed 4 to 7 years after a home is built to completion.
The chances of an individual investing a sum as large as the cost of a home in anything else in his or her lifetime is very slim, making this purchase one that could develop complications if not done right. Builder’s offering Structural Warranty for the home they have built can not only assure the buyer of their expertise but also give them a legal document to go back to in case frivolous lawsuits or complaints are lodged. Like in the case of any two-way agreement, responsibilities, terms, and conditions are clearly outlined.
If a third party company is used to establish a warranty, then any complaints, disputes or discussions will be handled by them – until the point of reconciliation. This saves time and discomfort for both parties involved, especially the builder.
If you happen to be a builder with larger holdings or varied properties and houses, then the value of each building is sure to increase if Structural Warranty is added to the mix. Use it as a marketing strategy, one that is true to every word and will help you build lasting relationships with your clients.
Structural Warranty functions according to the guidelines of the Housing and Urban Development department of the US, which stipulates particular criteria within which a company must cover damages. Larger builders may choose to provide their own Structural Warranty schemes to the buyer, while builders without a department to handle such claims or smaller building agencies may choose to use third-party warranty companies. Even more so than Home Warranty claims and structures, Structural Warranty coverage and insurance backing vary drastically from builder to builder and company to company. If you happen to be a part of the decision making of who to choose, make sure you do your research and pick a coverage that is extensive and appropriate to your home.
If you go through a Structural Warranty contract or guide, you will notice one important point – the extremely specific and near legal language used to describe what that particular company or builder covers. Structural Warranty owes this specificity to regulations set by the Housing and Urban Development Department of the US, as well as to the builders’ need to protect themselves from futile claims and lawsuits.
Due to each Structural Warranty being unique (much like Home Warranties state-wise laws), we will get into what the warranty covers in general. Know that this isn’t ironclad, and you have to cross check the terms and conditions with your builder.
As a whole, third-party companies offer two kinds of warranty, one which accounts for any damage to the structure of the building from the moment the deal is closed between the builder and buyer. The second stipulates that the company will only begin to cover damage to the home 3 to 4 years post the sale, implying that any structural damage before then is up to the builder to fix.
Each company usually has a base plan and other additional perks that you can choose to opt for.
The basic coverage usually covers the following:
The last of these, load bearing partitions, are often accompanied by the additional coverage of non-load bearing partitions. These claims are almost purely cosmetic, and certain Structural Warranty companies do assure the fixing of these, keeping in mind the original material integrity of the home.
Integral to any warranty and insurance difference, Structural Warranty doesn’t cover any damage due to natural disaster, accidents or unforeseen circumstances; anything that is covered under insurance, basically.
Lastly, any structures added to the original home – an extension, outhouse and detached garage space for examples – would not be covered. If the need is felt, the builder could then purchase a separate Structural Home Improvement Warranty.
Individual state laws in the US tackle Structural Warranty in different ways, making the cost different in each state as well. On an average, if the basic warranty is purchased, then it shouldn’t cost more than 1% of the purchase cost of the home. In most states which are positioned in low-risk areas (minimal soil expansion, etc.), the price is only about half a percent of the home’s price, whereas in high-risk zones the price can go up to 1.5% to 2%.
When looked at it in terms of a median example, while Structural Warranty would cost anywhere between $500 and $1500 for ten years, the repair in case of structural damage could be between $50,000 and $100,000; Structural Warranty being about one percent of the estimated repair budget.
Here’s a write up about top home warranty companies in New Jersey. Now all you need to do is scroll through the list of companies, visit our site for a free quote and user reviews to pick your home warranty! We guarantee you that you’ll find that it is very useful!
Located in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of U.S.A, New Jersey is indeed a popular state. Fondly called as the Garden State of America, NJ has much to offer for its residents. No matter where in New Jersey you are, if you are a homeowner, your primary concern would be caring for your family and your home. Like most homeowners, it’s natural that you’ll worry about the expenses of repairing unexpected damages and replacements of your household appliances.
So here’s our list of top home warranty companies in NJ based on user reviews and ratings-
These companies have been around for several years and are on this list because of the feedback they have received on our site from their customers. Take a detailed look at each one of ‘em!
American Home Shield or AHS as it’s commonly called, is a company that founded the home warranty industry. Naturally, this is a company with unparalleled experience and a nationwide footprint. AHS also has a massive contractor network where every single technician is selected after a stringent screening process.
AHs offers plans that are designed to suit the needs of homeowners, Realtors, buyers and sellers alike. Their plans are reasonably priced and standard plans start from as low as $250 every year. The company also has an online claims facility and a customer service facility that runs around the clock.
Yet another popular home warranty company in NJ is the Home Service Club (HSC). This too is yet another company with nationwide footprint and with coverage in over 48 states. HSC too screens each technician in their contractor network and follow up with the customers to ensure that they are satisfied with the services.
HSC’s plans start from $400 annually and the deductibles are charged between $65 to $125. Warranty purchases can be made through their website which also has the facilities to allow homeowners track their account. Online claims can be made just as easily as claims can be made with their round the clock customer care service.
Headquartered in NJ, Select Home Warranty is one company which has plans to cover anything from rental properties to mobile homes and condo units. They have three main warranty plans which vary in the extend of coverage and comes at affordable prices. This is one company that does not place an age restriction on the house or mandate a home inspection prior to purchasing a plan.
Select Home Warranty’s plans start at $299 annually and the average deductible is charged at $45 per service visit. Customers can purchase plans through their website and even place claims online to schedule to a repair.
This is a company with close to 30 years experience in selling warranty products. Like the others on this list, HSA too offers competitive plans at compelling prices to its customers. More than just home warranty plans, the company also has a host of other services and even a newsletter for homeowners, sellers, buyers and real estate agents.
Annual premium for plans sold by HSA range between $589 – $619. The deductible varies depending on the kind of plan you chose but is usually between $50 – $100. HSA too has a 24/7 claims facility and also the facility to place claims through their website.
Choice Home Warranty is a popular choice among NJ homeowners owing to their comprehensive warranty plans and affordable pricing policies. With policies that will add to the value of your home, CHW has managed to garner a lot of positive feedback from their customers.
Standard plans are available at premiums ranging from $370 – $450. Deductibles are charged starting at $60. CHW too has an online claims facility and has a massive network of skilled, licensed and experienced technicians ready to be dispatched when claims come in.
This list has been prepared based on actual user reviews submitted on our site. Therefore, there is a good chance that we may have missed out on an awesome company due to insufficient reviews. We welcome inputs from readers based in NJ to know more about companies there. Do let us know what you think. Also, you can take a look at top home warranty companies in various states across U.S.A. Cheers!