A lot of homeowners and homebuyers aren’t aware there is coverage for your home aside from homeowners insurance. Home warranties may not be the mainstream insurance coverage required by the finance institutions loaning money to the homebuyers, but it can be just as important. After learning you can purchase a home warranty either from your realtor or from a homebuilder, you should definitely do some homework to make sure you get the right coverage for your needs.
Just like with any major purchase, you want to research it before you buy it. When buying a car, you wouldn’t walk onto a car lot and buy the first car you test drove. Likewise you shouldn’t buy the first warranty presented to you, without knowing a little more about the coverage and the company providing it.
Here is a list of some of the top home warranty companies in 2017:
- Choice Home Warranty
- Select Home Warranty
- Total Home Protection
- Landmark Home Warranty
- America’s 1st Choice
I am a firm believer that the customer is always right, except when they are wrong. As a business owner, I always try to do best by my customers. There are always those few customers you cannot satisfy after a mishap occurs. While researching home warranties, I read some claims on the Better Business Bureaus website about claims made by customers.
One I read the customer had a false claim about their attempt to reach the home warranty provider. They stated it was after 5:00p and their home warranty provider was not open. I thought that was a bit odd, so I checked it out. This home warranty provider, like all others I assume, has 24/7 claim service. So the customer was misinformed about how to contact their insurer to get approval for a service that was needed. After the serviceperson arrived, he required a approval code from the home warranty provider to proceed. The customer stated they could not get it because their insurer was closed at 5:00p. This is not accurate. The customer then paid for the service that needed to be done, and expected the home warranty company to pay for the unapproved service call. I feel the business was in the right on this issue and even went above and beyond for their customer. They offered to pay $150 of the $450 service needed on the a/c unit even though it was not a covered issue and the customer had not followed the appropriate channels to gain approval for this service. Had the customer called and talked to their insurer, they would have learned that they are in fact open after 5:00p and that the service they needed, was not covered by their plan. The customer would still have had the a/c fixed but had a better understanding of the home warranty they had purchased.
Knowing what you are buying makes the difference between feeling gypped by your insurer and knowing when it is your responsibility as a homeowner to cover the costs of needed maintenance on your home appliances and home systems.
Another home warranty BBB review showed another customer was upset that his warranty did not cover a water heater regulator. Apparently in the fine print of his warranty this is an exclusion. This kind of exclusion only upset customers that would readily keep their coverage if something like this was covered. I feel that if you have to create fine print to exclude items from a warranty it is not good for business. The customers are buying coverage to fix and maintain their appliances, while the coverage certainly cannot list everything that can go wrong with each individual appliance or home system, being clear about what isn’t covered should be clear for the buyer.
Another complaint on the BBB website was the timeliness of having a service call. One that is and is not completely in the control of the insurer, but the quality certainly is in their control. Most home warranty providers, especially large companies will contract out their service calls to local businesses. It is that contracted business that becomes the face of the home warranty provider. When a contractor isn’t on time, or isn’t giving the best customer service, it is a direct reflection of the home warranty provider’s service. When the insurer works with local businesses, they should make sure that their customer service is top notch and that the jobs they perform are on time. When a customer is waiting for a water heater to be replaced, hearing it will be a ten days to two weeks for the repair, this has a negative impact on the customers belief of how a service call should be handled. The customer is reminded daily that their home warranty is not living up to their standard of having hot water. They do not have hot water to wash dishes, clothes, or provide clean water for showers and cooking.
The insurer isn’t the bottleneck of every home warranty problem; they are in control of which company that use to service their customers. If the insurer has received a complaint from a customer they should investigate why there was a problem and make sure they either the next time they sent that contractor business, that the expectation is met. Or they should use a different local business to take care of their customers.
Before you buy your home warranty, check their profile out on the Better Business Bureau’s website. See if they are accredited. You can read up on some reviews of their business. Keep in mind, most satisfied customers do not take the time to provide a good review, but almost every upset customer will! So while there might be some negative reviews, read up with an open mind and see if you think the customer was treated fairly or if they had misconceptions about what their home warranty should cover. Look for a home warranty company that will not only provider the coverage you are looking for, but also the service you expect. Sometimes paying a higher price for a home warranty may be to your benefit. As the consumer and end user affected by your home appliances or home systems being out of commission, you may find that if you paid the extra $3 a month for the higher rated warranty company, your life will feel less of a sting when something goes awry.