What to Look for When You’re Looking to Protect Your Home
Don’t get burned when you buy a home warranty.
A home warranty is a valuable addition to your home protection arsenal. Sadly, there are many unscrupulous companies out there that might take advantage of your trusting nature to sell you an essentially worthless piece of paper. Today, 1st. & Main Investment Advisors takes a quick look at what you can do to ensure that your home warranty does the job of protecting your biggest investment.
What Is A Home Warranty?
Many first-time homebuyers think that their home insurance will cover everything that could go wrong with their new property. Unfortunately, while home insurance is important (and required), it won’t cover the breakage of your appliances or your home’s major systems. A home warranty will, but with some caveats. For your home warranty to kick in, you may need to prove that you’ve maintained your covered components appropriately, which means annual maintenance and usage that falls within the parameters of normal. Your choice of home warranty company should be largely based on which company has the best warranty for you. But how do you know which is right?
A few key factors to consider include:
- Price. Home warranties can range anywhere from around $300-$700 per year or more, and they are renewable each year. As a policyholder, you’ll also be responsible for service calls at a cost of between $60 and $125 each time you file a claim. Although this might sound pricey, your home warranty may pay for itself with a single repair. Take an electrical panel as an example. The national average to replace these is $1174.
- Optional coverages. A basic home warranty covers your heating and cooling systems along with your electrical and plumbing systems. Look for a company that has the option to upgrade to cover your laundry appliances, kitchen appliances, and more.
- Customer service. Customer service is crucial when you’re dealing with major issues with your home. Look for a company that’s known for great customer service. These are usually known names with a great reputation.
How Do You Know What Coverage You Need?
If you just recently bought a new construction home, you may not need a third-party home warranty at all. But, if your property is more than just a few years old, it might make sense to have a home inspection so that you know the state of your equipment. Although Boston.com asserts that your home inspector may see things that you don’t, they can’t guarantee that your systems will last. A home warranty can help offset the cost of repairs after an unexpected breakage.
Staying Compliant With Your Home Warranty
Another factor that you’ll need to keep in mind are the steps you have to take to stay compliant with your home warranty. For the most part, this will include maintaining and keeping up with repairs. This is usually routine maintenance. Using your dishwasher as an example, your home warranty company may want to ensure that you’ve cleaned the filter and spray arms monthly before processing a claim for replacement.
Organizing Your Home Warranty Documents
Part of staying compliant also means being organized. In addition to maintaining your home warranty policy, you’ll also want to scan and digitize maintenance and repair records into a PDF. This way, when you need to file a claim, you can use a PDF extraction tool to send this paperwork to your warranty company and then put all of the pages back together, so they are in a central location, such as on your phone.
When shopping for a home warranty, start with cost and customer service. Next, make sure that your company offers the types of coverage that you need based on your budget and the condition of your current systems and, if applicable, appliances. While not everyone will need a home warranty, the investment makes sense for many, and this is just one additional safeguard you can use to keep your money where it belongs.
1st. & Main Investment Advisors is your partner in investment, estate, and financial planning.