How to Get the Most Out of Home Warranties
The best way to make the most of a home warranty policy is to know the contract very thoroughly. Understanding your policy will help you get service when you need it and avoid calling for service for things that are not covered. Every policy is different, and you need to know what yours requires you to do to get repair work done. If you submit a claim and it gets denied, you have certain rights and should take some steps to enforce them. If you are starting from scratch and want to buy a home warranty policy, you should do some careful research into companies and coverage plans.
Complying With Your Policy's Basic Requirements
Read your warranty policy carefully.Learn what the policy covers and what it does not. Do not rely on oral statements that may have come from a sales representative or advertising from the website. In the end, the written contract will determine your coverage.
Make sure all appliances are installed properly.Your policy will not generally cover you for appliances that are improperly installed. If you choose to install something yourself, follow all instructions carefully and comply with any building codes. If you hire a professional, check for licensing and bonding. You may also wish to check with the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau before hiring someone.
Repair broken appliances before getting a warranty plan.You cannot count on using your home warranty plan to make repairs on preexisting problems. If a service provider determines that the problem existed before the start date of your policy, the company is likely to deny your claim.
Take care of routine maintenance promptly.You are expected to keep your appliances and home systems well maintained to prevent any serious breakdowns. You should keep a record of routine maintenance and repair work. This can help you if you need to file a claim at some time.
Know the exclusions.Your policy should contain a section that itemizes exclusions. These are all the items that the policy does not cover. You need to make yourself aware of these to avoid filing claims that will not be allowed.Common exclusions are going to include:
- Spas, pools or hot tubs.
- Outdoor water (sprinkler) systems.
- Some second appliances, such as air conditioners or freezers.
- Septic tank pumping.
- Central air conditioning.
Getting Repairs Done
Keep the warranty company's phone number ready.Read your plan or contact a representative of the company to find out how to submit a claim when necessary. You should find out if the company has an emergency contact number for you to call, particularly during off-hours. Keep that information readily available.
- For example, one warranty company, American Home Shield, posts a toll-free telephone number on its website and has an online link to schedule a service call. They report that 98% of all calls are dispatched within 24 hours.
- Most warranty companies will require you to contact them before calling an individual repair company. If you skip this step, your claim may be denied.
Use approved service providers.Most policies require you to use service providers on an approved list that is provided by the company. Be sure you know who the approved providers are and keep the list available in case of an emergency need.
Be prepared to pay a deductible.Just as you do with most medical insurance plans, you probably have to pay a deductible or copayment for each service call. Understand the requirements of your plan and be prepared for this charge.
Get a coverage decision.When first visiting your home, a technician will investigate the problem. The technician may be able to give you a decision about warranty coverage right away or may have to contact the company. You should get a decision about warranty coverage very quickly.
Dealing With Claim Denials
Read your plan's denial policy.Review your plan carefully and understand its requirements. You need to know that your claims will be honored. You shouldn’t be surprised by filing a claim and finding out that it violates the policy for some reason and will not be paid. Some common reasons for claim denial include pre-existing conditions, improper installation, or failure to follow contractual service procedures.
Ensure proper installation and maintenance.Your home warranty policy is intended to protect you for accidents or failures with properly installed and maintained items. If it turns out that your water heater was improperly installed, for example, your home warranty company may deny the claim.
Watch for unusual wear and tear.Home warranty policies cover usual use, but if you have something in your home that you use much more than most people, the company could challenge a claim. If you have concerns, you should contact the company to ask about the details.
Inspect your home for code violations.If you buy a house in which the previous owner performed some private unlicensed work -- installing wiring, for example -- you might find that a later claim could be denied. Before buying a policy, you should check over all systems and make sure they comply with building codes.
- If you have concerns, most companies will be willing to have a technician inspect your home before you buy a policy. While this inspection might point out bad news, it will help you avoid a later emergency that might not be covered.
Contact customer service in case of claim denial.If a claim is denied, you should not just accept the initial answer as final. Contact the company and ask to speak with a customer service manager. Have your policy available and demand a clear statement regarding the reason for denial. The warranty company should be able to give you a specific reference to your contract plan to explain the denial.
Contact your state's insurance board.In most states, home warranty companies are supervised by the state insurance board. If you are not satisfied with the warranty company’s explanation of the denial, contact your state’s insurance board to file a complaint or investigate further actions you can take.
File a complaint with the National Home Service Contract Association.Visit its website at www.homeservicecontract.org to submit a complaint. The NHSCA has an interest in maintaining satisfaction with its member companies. They do not intervene in your particular complaint. However, they will ensure that your complaint is referred to the appropriate people at the warranty company. This can help you get attention to your claim.
- To submit a complaint, visit www.homeservicecontract.org, and then follow the "Menu" link to the page "For Homeowners." From there, you will be prompted to enter the details of your complaint.
- Provide as much specific information as possible about the date of your service call, the problem you experienced, and the company's unsatisfactory response.
Researching Home Warranty Companies and Policies
Check independent ratings.If you search on the Internet, you can find several independent rating programs that provide consumer information about home warranty companies. Review these rating programs carefully. Look for warranty companies that service your area. Compare the items covered by the various warranty programs. You need to know that you are reviewing comparable programs.
- For example, the website www.consumeraffairs.com contains information on the top twenty most reviewed home warranty companies. You can find names, addresses, phone numbers and websites, along with customer reviews.
- The site www.homewarrantyreviews.com provides general information about home warranty programs as well as customer reviews, prices, Better Business Bureau ratings, and other information.
Use the NHSCA.The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a nonprofit organization of home contract providers. At its website, www.homeservicecontract.org, you can find links to its member organizations and search for warranty providers in your area. The NHSCA also provides informative articles about home warranties and warranty providers.
Study warranty program coverage.Home warranty programs provide different levels of coverage. Before you can compare prices, review the policies to make sure you are comparing equal programs. For example, a warranty program that covers your heating system as well as your major appliances would naturally cost more than a program that covers your heating system alone.
- For example, at AngiesList.com, home warranty programs are divided into three categories: basic, enhanced, and optional. As you include more in the program, your price will increase. Be sure you are comparing equal programs as you compare prices.
Compare each company’s service provider network.When you choose a company for a home warranty program, you are indirectly choosing the plumbers, contractors and other service providers that the warranty program works with. You should choose a warranty company that has a large enough range of service providers to give you flexibility when you need to get work done. More providers means that you are likely to receive faster service when you need it.
- Investigate whether the service providers a company uses are always licensed.
Examine coverage limits and buy what you need.Home warranty plans do not automatically just cover full repair or replacement costs. Read your plan carefully and know how much coverage you can expect. You can select different levels of coverage for different purchase prices.
- For example, you could buy a warranty plan that provides a 0 cap on coverage for your water heater. If you water heater needs some simple service, this might be fine. But if the entire system breaks down and needs to be replaced, you may not be covered.
- Most companies offer standard coverage packages and then option add-ons. Investigate the options that might serve your needs. For example, specific items like an automatic garage door opener or a central vacuum system may not initially be included in a home warranty package but could be optional add-ons.
- Understand that warranty programs have a limited duration. If nothing goes wrong in your house during the life of your policy, you will have paid money for no service. Consumer Reports recommends avoiding home warranty policies entirely and suggests instead that you focus on providing regular maintenance and care for your home systems.
Video: Get the most out of this channel (YouTube tips)
How to Remove Nose Hair
You shouldnt be lazy with your microwave
Small Things Loom Largely in a Life of Chronic Pain
How to Insert a Label Into a Binder Spine
The History Behind Friday the 13th
CedarCreekWoodshop Cedar Planter Box planter Size: 12 H x 48 W x 12 D
How Being Broken Led Me to My Lifes Purpose
How to Install Solar Panels to Heat a Pool
Hard questions to follow