6 Holiday Headaches You Can Control with Home Warranty

The holidays can be both joyous and stressful. With a home warranty, unexpected repairs can be fixed by reliable technicians. Save yourself a headache!

While many of us look forward to the holiday season all year, it can also be a time of great stress. In between all that cookie-baking and gift-buying, it can be challenging to get someone to fix your broken dishwasher or HVAC system. Fortunately, there’s a solution for any unexpected breakdowns that might put a damper on your holiday spirit: a home warranty plan.

home warranty is an excellent way to protect your home from unforeseen and unexpected expenses. The Home Warranty Plan is a one-year service contract for the repair or replacement of covered home system components and appliances that typically break down over time.

Take a look at these five common holiday season headaches that can be easily managed with an Home Warranty Plan.

1. Finding reliable help around the holidays

It can be just as challenging to find reliable home-repair help during the busy holiday season as it is to get that Thanksgiving turkey just right. With a home warranty plan, you’ll have access to industry-leading expertise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. E-exchanger will find the right licensed personnel and eliminate the need for you to locate qualified help during the busy days leading up to and during the holidays.

2.Unforeseen expenses 

Repairing something as major as your home heating system could cost you thousands of dollars. Such a huge expense can be stressful at a time when you’re already spending money on gifts, food, decorations and other miscellaneous holiday expenses. But with a home warranty, you’ll only need to pay the monthly fee along with a trade service call fee, which is a fixed amount that's easy to plan for.

3. Dealing with insurance companies

With a warranty plan, you can skip the whole process of filing claims and deal with insurance, and spend that precious time shopping, wrapping gifts, cooking delicious meals, or decorating your home with family and friends.

4. Playing host with a broken appliance

A broken dishwasher or refrigerator can really put a damper on your holiday festivities. A home warranty plan offers an expedited repair process on covered items. You no longer have to worry about a crisis caused by appliance or system breakdowns at a time when your house is swarming with guests.

5. Paying the full cost of repair or replacement

In the event of a breakdown, insurance usually reimburses the value of the item minus depreciation. This means you will not be reimbursed the full amount paid at the time of purchase. With a warranty plan, you won’t have to pay for the actual repair or replacement of covered items, and your contract will cover repair or replacement of covered items regardless of age, make or model.

6. Not enough time to coordinate home repairs

Finding reliable help that suits your budget, following up and replacing parts all involve a considerable time investment. Since the costs associated with repair and replacement are so high, it is not possible to skimp on the research and effort needed to get a satisfactory solution. A warranty plan will save you time when you need it the most this busy holiday season.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

The Real Benefits of Home Service Contracts

It's Saturday morning. With a cup of coffee in hand, you flip open the blinds and gaze out at your backyard. Despite the sunny morning, you notice standing water in the corner of your lawn.

Your heart sinks as you realize the water is your flooded leach field.

The home warranty contract you had when you first bought the house a year ago would have covered this, but you opted not to renew it last month.

What is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty is a service contract and covers wear and tear related repairs or the replacement of important home system components and appliances that break down over time.

A home warranty protects you and your family from bearing extreme expense and hardship from breakdowns not covered by your home insurance policy. Plans vary and can cover major home systems such as air conditioning, heating, electrical and plumbing as well as major home appliances such as kitchen ovens, stoves, refrigerators, and washers.

"I'm never going to have to pay for anything again!"

This isn't true.

Home warranty service contracts can cover a lot of major repairs or replace important systems and appliances, but only if you're signed up for the right one.

And there are a lot of companies out there advocating on behalf of these service contracts and the warranties they offer, and just like anything, they're not always truthful and the expectations they set with consumers can be misleading. They advertise that, under their umbrella policies, homeowners will never have to pay out of pocket again for repairs and services for their homes.

This isn't true.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of gross misrepresentations within home service contracts and the advertisements promoting them. Where, homeowners are led to believe if they spend more for what looks like an all-inclusive contract, they'll never have to pay for repairs or services to their home again, no matter what they are.

This isn't true.

The Honest Benefits of Owning a Home Service Contract

  • 1.The ability to call on a network of available pre-screened contractors for whatever their specialty is.
    • Instead of choosing a contractor blindly, a home service contract includes the right people to call on for the right jobs, mitigating the frustration of doing your own, unadvised research and dealing with the costly repercussions of illegitimate contractors who overcharge or are unfit to do the job. Not to mention, you'll never be covered for an all-out replacement.
    • In the earlier example of the flooded leach field, the service company the homeowners call on independently – because they no longer have the benefits of in-network contractors included in a home warranty – could falsely charge them. Instead of only replacing the sewage ejector pump causing the problems, the contractor might also cite septic tank malfunctions and replace the line from the house. How would the homeowner know?
    • Most homeowners don't have the time to manage what a contractor is doing or the knowledge to determine what repairs are needed and which are unnecessary. They just know they need it fixed. Home service contracts and their representatives are motivated to do the right thing on behalf of the homeowner because they are the ones who are paying for it.
  • If you pick wisely, you really will save money. Home service contracts really do pay claims.
    • The best part about the home warranty is when the consumer walks away without a penalty for wears and tears that naturally will happen to their home over time. Protect yourself, your family and your home by preparing for – not if, but – when your home systems and appliances malfunction or need repair or replacement.

 

 

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Do You know What a Home Warranty is?

A home warranty is often a feature in the sale of a home.  In that scenario, the seller typically pays a few hundred dollars for a one-year warranty covering the home’s major fixtures such as the furnace, water heater and kitchen appliances.  This gives the buyer some protection during that first year of ownership knowing that if something major breaks down it will be covered.  Many homeowners choose to continue paying an annual premium rather than risk-bearing the full replacement cost of a major item.

Although technically not insurance, warranties are very similar in that the homeowner is paying an up-front fee to protect against a potentially huge replacement cost.  If nothing breaks during the coverage period, the customer may in hindsight feel the fee was a waste of money, but that’s what managing risk is all about.  Are you financially prepared to replace major components as they are needed, or would you rather pay a set amount per year whether something breaks or not?

One important difference between insurance and a warranty is that the homeowner must go through the warranty company to arrange for service, and this can be another point where a customer might be dissatisfied.  Home warranty companies establish relationships with service providers in the areas for which they provide coverage.  So whether customers are satisfied with the warranty company depends in large part on whether they are satisfied with the repairmen whom the warranty company has hired.

Even though home warranties aren’t considered insurance, the companies that sell them are typically regulated by each state’s department of insurance. According to the Service Contract Industry Council, 32 states require home warranty companies to register or obtain a license with that state’s department of insurance. This state agency is responsible for licensing the entity, examines the company for compliance of applicable laws regarding home warranty services and monitors the financial condition of the company for the protection of their clients.

What’s covered?

Most home warranty companies offer a variety of plans, each providing different levels of coverage, so be sure to read the details of any contract before buying. Even if you choose to renew the contract from year-to-year, double-check the details of your plan because coverage can change annually. Here is a general idea of what a homeowner can expect to find in each tier of service:

BASIC COVERAGE

  • Plumbing systems
  • Range/oven
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Exhaust fans
  • Sump pump
  • Water heater
  • Ceiling fans
  • Heating and electrical system components
  • Built-in microwave
  • Whirlpool tub

ENHANCED COVERAGE

  • A/C
  • Washer/dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Garage door opener

OPTIONAL ITEMS

  • Pool
  • Spa
  • Well pump
  • Septic system
  • Standalone freezer
  • Central vacuum

For newly constructed homes

Many states require that all home builders and contractors warranty their work on a newly constructed home.

This provides the homeowner with the assurance that should any major defects or repairs become necessary within its new home for various time periods up to ten years following construction that is not the fault of damage or negligence by the homeowner then the repairs or replacements necessary will be covered.

The workmanship of the home construction, materials used and performance of major systems such as the plumbing, electrical and HVAC are all covered under these types of home warranty services. This includes the overall integrity of the structure. Each state monitors the specific requirements in these situations.

For pre-existing home purchases

When buying a pre-existing home, buyers can choose to purchase home warranty coverage. This will provide them with coverage against for repair or replacement costs that they may incur with existing mechanical systems or appliances in their new home within a specific time frame following the purchase date. Major mechanical systems that are covered include plumbing, electrical, heating, and air.

For seller solutions

Homeowners that are trying to sell their homes may want to consider the benefits of offering a home warranty on their home. The seller can choose to pay for the home warranty coverage on his or her own or ask that the buyer pay for a specified portion of the cost. By including a home warranty option on their home, homeowners can get the maximum selling price for their home, be relieved of further obligations should repairs or replacements become necessary after the final purchase is completed and interest buyers in a tough market. Home warranties can be purchased through independent home warranty companies of the seller or buyer’s choice or through the real estate agent that will handle the paperwork with the home warranty company for the parties.

What do home warranties cost?

The average cost of a basic coverage plan ranges from $350 to $500 a year, with the cost of an enhanced plan adding $100 to $300. Prices reflect not only coverage but also a company’s loss history, which is determined by how often an item breaks down and the cost to repair it. Some home warranty companies offer additional coverage for certain items, such as a good pump or pool, for an extra fee. Regardless of the type of plan, homeowners typically pay an additional service fee ranging from $50 to $75 for each repair job.

The majority of home mortgage companies have a set price for their basic home warranty plans that they offer. The type of housing such as townhouse, condominium, single-family residential, duplex or apartment often determines the set cost of the home warranty coverage.

While detached garages are generally covered under the basic home warranty plans that are offered, most separate buildings on the premises are not. Extended home warranty plans are available at additional costs for these building structures.

Costs for home warranty plans are paid upfront before the coverage goes into effect. Some companies offer their clients the ability to make payments on their home warranty plans if it helps to secure the sale or they have a long standing with the client.

Complaints about home warranties

Among the many negative reviews submitted by Angie’s List members about warranty companies, the key complaints are: (1) Something wasn’t covered that the customer assumed was covered, and (2) although the item was “covered” there was still a service call fee that the customer didn’t expect.   Although this expectations gap can also occur with insurance policies and other purchases, home warranties may be particularly prone to it because so often they are purchased by one owner (the one preparing to sell), but used by another owner (the buyer). Most plans do require an additional service fee to be paid by the homeowner. Typically, the least expensive plans cover the least amount of items and require the highest service fees.

In order to minimize misunderstandings, experts stress the importance of reviewing and understanding a service contract before purchasing a home warranty. For example, if a certain appliance needs repaired or replaced, a homeowner should know how much money will need to be spent out of pocket.  Also, how comprehensive is the potential repair or replacement?  If one component of an appliance break but the unit needs replacing, is the warranty company responsible for replacing the unit or the component? That’s an essential question that needs to be answered. It’s also important to review at least three warranty companies, understand what it is covered and what is excluded.

 To keep from getting fooled by your contract, consider the following tips:

  • Check with your state’s department of insurance to verify if the home warranty company you’re considering is properly licensed to do business. If licensing isn’t required in your state, inquire about the company’s status with your local consumer protection agency.  If you join us you can search for home warranty companies that serve your geographic area and find out which have received positive reviews from past customers.
  • Be sure to read the fine print and ask the company any lingering questions before deciding if a home warranty service contract is right for you.
  • Tell your real estate agent about any denied claims. Oftentimes, he or she will have a relationship with the home warranty company and can make a call on your behalf.
  • Be sure to tell the home warranty company if their network contractor did a good job or not. Most keep a rating system on their contractors and disperse the work accordingly.
Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

What to Ask When Choosing a Home Warranty

There are a number of things to know about before getting your first Home Warranty Plan. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself and the provider when comparing your options.

Purchasing a home warranty to cover your major appliances and system components (refrigerator, dishwasher, garage door entry system, HVAC unit, etc.) can be tricky. You have to balance consideration of each warranty's options, premiums, deductibles, terms, and conditions. At the end of the day, what you really want is some assurance that, in times of need, you and your family will remain safe, comfortable and suffer the least amount of inconvenience.

What should you look for in a home warranty? There is no simple answer, and there is no one-size-fits-all home warranty solution. As with all your other investments, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to enter negotiations as well-prepared as possible. So we’ve assembled this checklist of questions to ask before you commit to a home warranty agreement to help you better understand your needs, your expectations, your reservations, and your own attitudes towards what makes a house a home.

1. How much wear and tear do your appliances already have?

Appliances exist for one reason: to make our lives easier and that means taking on the dirty work (literally, in the case of a dishwasher or washing machine). Some of us use them harder than others and age can add up over the years, but as long as you use your appliances according to manufacturer's instructions, a home warranty can help you keep your machines running without worrying about unexpected repair or replacement costs. Should your appliance's or system's major components break down due to your normal use, a home warranty can be there to help cover the costs to get back in working condition.

2. Do you plan on upgrading or replacing your appliances any time soon, even though they are still functioning?

New appliances and systems come with manufacturer's warranties which are great protection, however, they run out and are unit specific. A home warranty can provide more of an umbrella of protection for your home to cover multiple appliances and systems. Plus, some companies, E-exchanger, for example, provide programs such as the Appliance Discount Program that can save you money on the purchase of brand new, brand-name appliances.

3. Are you aware of any pre-existing conditions or problems with your appliances that have gone unaddressed?

Home warranty companies want to help you keep your home in working order but there may be some limitations when it comes to addressing certain pre-existing conditions. Check with your potential provider.

4. Are there any essential components on your appliances (e.g., your refrigerator’s ice-maker; your HVAC system’s ductwork) that may not be covered by a particular warranty?

Today's appliances are amazingly complex machines with evolving pieces and parts. However, they still basically rely upon essential core parts to perform their necessary duties. Those components are what require protection and often can be most expensive to repair. Your home warranty should cover these core components.

5. How does a particular warranty complement or supplement your existing homeowner's insurance policy?

Home insurance is great protection for your home for what MIGHT happen (fire, flood, natural disaster, etc.). However, what about protection for things that WILL happen? For example, your air conditioner condenser finally giving out or your clothes dryer refusing to dry your clothes. Having a home warranty plan to work side-by-side with your home insurance can greatly help your home remain a comfortable and happy place.

6. Will a specific home warranty policy help you pay for routine preventative maintenance of your major appliances?

A home warranty may not cover your routine preventative maintenance, however, they may penalize you for NOT taking that action. American Home Shield will not do that. We understand you're busy and that time gets away from you. That's why we can help cover you when your major system and appliance components break down from normal use.

7. Will a specific home warranty policy help you to pay for significant cosmetic damage to your major appliances?

Home warranties are designed to cover parts and components that are designed to wear down from normal wear and tear. If that normal use causes cosmetic damage, you should be covered. However, if an overly excited family member causes damage to your dishwasher door, for example, you will not be covered.

8. Are any repairs, services or appliances too minor (e.g. your microwave oven) to be covered by a specific warranty?

It all depends on your provider and your contract. An E-exchanger Home Warranty Plan, for example, covers every part of your refrigerator. Other companies may exclude coverage for a dozen or more parts. 

9. What is the upper limit for repairs and replacement that the warranty will cover?

This depends on your prospective provider, but AHS offers some of the most competitive levels of coverage. In some cases, E-exchanger provides twice or even five times as much in terms of replacement coverage.

10. When can you make a claim with your prospective warranty provider?

You may currently have appliances in need of repair. Most companies may make you wait 30-60 days before you are able to submit a service request. 

So, which home warranty combines the best reputation, the greatest expertise, and the most satisfactory customer service?

That warranty is the one that can be of the most benefit to you when the time comes for you to maximize your home’s equity. And American Home Shield is confident that the home warranties we offer are world-class in that regard. As the home warranty industry creator and leader, we are proud to offer the best, most comprehensive and award-winning home warranty plans. Learn more about E-exchanger Home Warranty Plans and get a quote today.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Do Home Warranties Cover Plumbing?

Let’s face it; plumbing issues stink! Plumbing is one of those home systems we tend not to appreciate until there’s a problem with it. They can occur without any warning making for an unpleasant surprise that you have no choice but to address immediately.

Plumbing problems aren’t just unpleasant; they can also be expensive. Not only does the issue itself needs to be remedied, but also leaked water can cause several residual issues such as floorboard rot, drywall damage and mold, among others.

Related: A Guide To Leaks, Clogs, And Other Plumbing Issues You Can Fix

The average cost to hire a plumber for a typical job ranges from $160 to $430. Plus, plumbers often charge an additional premium to come out on evenings or weekends. The cost of parts for the repair can vary widely, especially in older homes where replacement pieces are harder to find.

What Do Home Warranties Cover?

If you’ve been asking yourself whether you should invest in a home warranty, the first step is to look at what’s covered under the warranty. Each plan is different and coverage can vary.

E-exchanger Home Warranty plan covers the costs of repairing or replacing more than 20 major appliances and home systems, including plumbing. There are flexible plans that allow you to choose the best fit for your family’s needs and you can even build your own custom plan so you have the exact coverage you want.

Do Home Warranties Cover Plumbing?

Generally speaking, home warranties do cover plumbing when issues result from normal wear and tear. Not every plan is created equally, though, so it’s important to look at what exactly is covered, especially if you already have a contract. Some of the common plumbing troubles covered by AHS include:

  • Leaks and breaks in the water, gas, drain or vent lines
  • Faucets, shower heads, and shower valves
  • Built-in bathtub whirlpool motors, pumps, and air switches
  • Clearing sink, tub, shower and toilet stoppages

Be sure to check the yor contract for more details.

Give Yourself Peace of Mind

Unfortunately, plumbing issues are inevitable in any home. Since the best plan is to be prepared, you can ease your stress by giving yourself the gift of an American Home Shield plan.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Making Home Warranty Comparisons


 Home warranties take the hassle out of home ownership and give you peace of mind by protecting your family from unexpected and costly bills when major systems or appliances fail. However, coverage options vary widely from provider to provider and choosing the right plan can be tricky. Here is a checklist that details what to look for in a home warranty and how you can choose the provider that's right for you.

Initial Considerations

  • Make a list of all your appliances and systems. Determine which ones are critical to your family's needs, are costly to repair or replace or are at risk of breaking down.
  • Home warranties are designed to fill in the gaps left by homeowners' insurance, but there is potential, however small, for some overlap. Also, some of your appliances may be covered under other warranties. Check and compare these policies so that you're not paying twice for the same coverage.

Coverage

  • Verify which home warranty providers offer coverage in your area. Then narrow your search based on your priorities. Some providers offer fixed plans that cover a list of appliances or systems, some specialize in only a few specific ones, while others offer the option to customize your home warranty benefits.
  • Understand the various levels of coverage. You may find that the advanced coverage offered by one provider is equivalent to the standard coverage offered by another.
  • Take note of the pre-conditions and limitations to any coverage under consideration. Many plans won't cover appliances or systems with pre-existing conditions or costs that arise from improper installation or maintenance.
  • Are you planning to sell your home? Ask if the home warranty is transferable.

Cost

  • Determine the annual cost and what's included. The cost of home warranties varies significantly depending on where you live, the kind of home you live in and what you choose to cover. Some plans include additional services, while others have a more scaled-down offering.
  • Ask about service fees or deductibles. Home warranties take care of much of the heavy lifting when it comes to repairing costs, but there still may be additional fees, such as one for each home visit if something breaks down. Compare any added costs.
  • Establish whether there are limits on the maximum amount a provider will pay for repairs.

Service

  • Easy access to a service network is one of the biggest home warranty benefits. With just one phone call, you can schedule a home visit for a wide range of maintenance issues. Investigate how many in-network contractors service your area and make sure there are a variety of specialties represented.
  • Inquire about the provider's screening process and selection criteria for their contractors.
  • With some companies, the service provider may be different from the company selling you the home warranty. Make sure you can find contact information for the company that will ultimately be servicing your warranty.
  • Ask about the provider's service level agreements, average response time and claims process. Many providers offer the convenient option of requesting service and filing a claim online, but it's also good to know that you can reach a representative when you need one. Compare the level of follow-up documentation each company may require.

Reputation

  • Check out consumer ratings and reviews to learn about other customers' experiences. You want to make sure you choose a reputable provider.
  • Peruse a company's social media and online presence to help confirm its legitimacy and level of consumer focus. Is this a company that places the customer first?
  • Verify that the home warranty providers you're considering are properly licensed if you reside in a state that requires it. These requirements vary by state.
Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Plumbing Issues

 

Plumbing issues will soon be a thing of the past with these quick fixes you can do at home! Intimidated or don’t have the time? No problem, simply request service with America’s Choice Home Warranty and a couple clicks will get you fixed.

Plumbing Problem 1: Water Trickling Into the Bowl, or “Phantom Flushes”

Periodically, you may hear your toilet begin to voluntarily refill, as though someone had flushed it. Indeed, no one has, but don’t worry, your toilet isn’t haunted. A toilet that cuts on and off by itself, or runs intermittently, has a problem that plumbers call a “phantom flush.” The issue is a slow leak from the toilet tank into the bowl. This problem is almost certainly caused by a bad flapper or flapper seal. The solution is simple: drain the tank and bowl, check and clean the flapper seat and replace the flapper if it’s worn or damaged. 

Plumbing Problem 2: Water Trickling Into the Tank

Do you hear a steady hissing sound coming from your toilet? This is a result of water trickling into the tank via the supply line. First thing’s first, check the float, the ballcock or inlet-valve assembly and the refill tube. The hissing sound is typically caused by water coming through the inlet valve. First, check to see whether the float needs adjustment, or if it’s sticking. Next, check to make sure the refill tube isn’t inserted too far into the overflow tube. (It should extend only about 1/4″ below the rim of the overflow tube.) If neither of these adjustments solves the problem, you’ll probably need to replace the ballcock assembly. 

Plumbing Problem 3: The Bowl Empties Slowly

A weak flush, or a bowl that empties really, really slowly, is usually the result of clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. This is the easiest fix of all: use a curved piece of wire to poke gently into each flush hole to clear out any junk and bacteria. Coat-hanger wire works fine, and a small mirror will help you see under the rim. You can also use wire to loosen debris that may be blocking the siphon jet in the bottom of the drain. Be careful not to scratch the bowl, and make sure to use gloves and thoroughly wash your hands afterward.

Plumbing Problem 4: The Dreaded Clog

Clogs are definitely the most common of toilet problems. The good news is several tools can help you clear a clogged drain. A force-cup plunger is more effective for clearing minor clogs. Insert the bulb into the drain, and pump forcefully, careful not to spill waste water all over yourself or the floor. Slowly release the handle, letting a little water in so you can see whether the drain is clear. Repeat if necessary.

For serious clogs, use a closet auger. Insert the end of the auger into the drain hole, and twist the handle as you push the rotor downward. Use caution not to scratch the bowl.

Plumbing Problem 5: Leaky Seals

A standard toilet has at least five seals; each seal has the potential for leaking. The straightforward solution is to identify the faulty seal and tighten or replace it. The seal between the tank and bowl is the largest and most problematic. A break here will cause a major leak, with water shooting out from underneath the tank at every flush. Although it sounds intimidating, replacing this seal involves draining and removing the tank. First, turn the tank upside down for better access. Then, remove the old seal and pop on a new one.

The smaller seals at the mounting bolts and the base of the ballcock may also fail and cause smaller leaks. Replace these in the same way. Occasionally tightening the bolts or mounting nut is usually enough to stop the leak.

The final seal is the wax seal mounted on a plastic flange underneath the toilet base. This is a big deal because if this seal fails, water leaking underneath the toilet base will eventually rot the floor. Caulking around the base of the toilet without repairing the leak will only trap the water, making matters worse. To repair a leak around the base of the toilet, you’ll need to remove the toilet and replace the wax seal. If the leak is caused by a broken flange, request service with E-Exchanreg Home Warranty and we’ll hook you up with a professional plumber if you don’t have your own in mind.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis