With so many companies competing for your business, along with the sheer expense and stress of the home-buying and/or home ownership process overwhelming you, it’s easy to lose track of what’s important. But you can’t let down your guard. In deciphering the minute details that make all the difference in the world, you need to assert control – to be the one asking the questions, not being inundated with “too-good-to-be-true” offers.
These are the Top 10 Points worth discussing with any company from which you are considering buying your home warranty plan from.
After running down this list, you’ll have a much better idea of where you stand.
- Learn if there is a cost per claim and what the fee for service will be. In most cases, a deductible – a set amount you pay for each servicing – will be in place, and your annual premium will cover the rest. The deductible should be factored into the annual cost, as well as the breadth of services offered, to determine whether you’re getting the best home warranty plan or just a lot of fuzzy math and false promises.
- What is included and excluded in your home warranty plan, what are the payment options, and when does the plan take affect? On a very basic level, you need to understand what you’re covering and what you’re not, as well as whether you can expect coverage to kick in immediately. You’d be surprised how many people hit snags after failing to grasp these basic concepts.
- Determine what the home warranty plan’s cancellation policy is. Are you on the hook for a set amount of time, or subjected to major charges if you terminate the policy before a certain date.
- Is there a customer service support representative standing by to take your call when something is amiss? The best home warranty will offer you around-the-clock service, which is no small issue. You may never file a claim, but most likely, something will arise at some point. Who you talk to and how quickly things get resolved is highly important.
- There are more customer service issues that should be articulated before you seal the deal. Find out what the average time span is for a home warranty claim to be processed – and more importantly, completed.
- What type of credentials do the repair technicians have? A home warranty plan offers financial protection, but that doesn’t mean much if the repairs done in your home don’t actually fix the problems. Check to see if the firm you are considering ensures the highest standards on labor and parts availability.
- Similarly, find out the home warranty company’s policy on repairing, as opposed to replacing, appliances and household systems. Will the company replace defective components with similar or better units? Will it cover items of all ages? How is the distinction between repairs and replacement made?
- Are there additions you can make to basic plans and other value-added amenities? The best home warranty, as we discussed above, is what works best for you – not what the company says or the best value on paper. In your situation, the best offer might be a combo package that includes everything at a discounted rate. Or you might only need to cover your kitchen and laundry appliances.
- Can you transfer your home warranty plan to new buyers in the event that you sell the home? What legal entanglements, if any, would that entail? A company might tell you this is free and easy, or quite the contrary. This is one of many sticking points you don’t often consider, but could end up becoming a bigger deal down the line.
- Is there a limit put on the amount of square feet your home can be in order to qualify for the home warranty plan? If your home exceeds those parameters, will you be charged a fee, or dropped by your provider?
That’s a lot to handle, but no one ever said buying and maintaining a home was easy. As long as you maintain focus and keep your priorities in line, you will ensure that your property becomes not only the place you call home and build memories, but a sustainable, profitable investment in the years to come. Stick to the basics. Don’t be manipulated.