Home warranty – Process, costs, and top providers

Home warranty – Process, costs, and top providers

Home warranty plans are special service contracts that cover the cost of repairing or replacing major home appliances. These plans can be purchased directly from a home warranty company to provide an extra layer of financial protection and the convenience of connecting with affiliated contractors to fix problems promptly. Unlike a homeowner’s insurance and the manufacturer’s warranties, home warranty plans cover system and appliance malfunctions that do not fall under any of the other categories.

What does a home warranty plan cover?
Coverage for home warranty plans differs greatly from one plan to the next. Generally, they include wear and tear of HVAC systems, plumbing systems, electrical systems, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers, ovens, stoves, garbage disposal, water heaters, etc. However, home warranty plans may not cover things that are already covered by manufacturer’s warranties.

What is the process of filing a home warranty claim?
Here’s the process of filing a home warranty claim in case of an appliance malfunction or breakdown:

1. Check the coverage
Since every home warranty plan is different, one needs to be aware of exactly what is covered. In every service contract, this information is listed under the coverage overview, which describes what the warranty will address, how, and what is excluded from coverage. The company’s payment policy and procedure can also be found here.

In some cases, the plan may also have service limits in place. For instance, some may have a warranty coverage limit of $1000 or $1500 on specific appliances such as refrigerators. If the cost of repair or replacement goes beyond that, the price will have to be borne out-of-pocket by the customer.

Some plans may also have a “pre-existing conditions” clause that may not cover appliances with a history of malfunctioning. It is important to be aware of all these aspects of one’s home warranty plan before calling the company.

2. Contact the home warranty provider
As soon as the appliance starts to malfunction, one must get in touch with one’s home warranty company. One can either call them to register a claim or submit a claim ticket online. Once the request is submitted, the claims process begins. The company then responds to this claim, generally within 48 hours.

Initially, the warranty company may try to troubleshoot the problem over the phone to avoid added home visit costs. To provide the best assistance, they may ask questions about the appliance, such as what is broken or not working, how old the appliance is, its brand, and current working condition. If the problem seems fixable, they may suggest repairs, as they are a lot cheaper for everyone involved.

3. Schedule a service visit
If repair work is needed, then a visit needs to be scheduled. This will be arranged for during the claims process on call or confirmed via a service link later. Based on one’s preferences, the technician visits the customer’s home to identify or diagnose the problem. For this visit, a service fee (starts around $75 but may differ according to one’s plan) needs to be paid.

In case of small repairs, the problem will be fixed on the same day. For more time-consuming repairs, however, another appointment may be required. If any part of the service is not included in the home warranty plan, then additional payments may also be required. It is advisable to thoroughly review the warranty plan and talk to the plan provider in advance to avoid any surprises.

4. Follow-up appointment
In some cases, the repairs may be too complicated, or a replacement may be required. If such a situation arises, a follow-up appointment may be scheduled.

How are home warranty plans priced?
On average, home warranty plans cost around $1,050 annually. Plans start as low as $85 and go up to $8,000, with monthly premiums ranging between $20 and $75. This does not include the service fee, which must be paid out-of-pocket. These costs are contingent on the type of plan one chooses.

Top home warranty companies
One must consider several factors when signing up for a home warranty plan, such as coverage and payment amounts, accreditations, service response time, etc. Based on these factors, here are some of the top companies offering home warranty plans in the country:

1. AFC Home Warranty
AFC provides an extensive range of home warranty plans with comprehensive coverage, making it one of the most sought-after companies. With each plan, customers can also choose between three different service-fee levels, as well as the technicians for their services. Their service request line is functional 24/7, offering customers true peace of mind.

2. Liberty Home Guard
This is another stellar company when it comes to customer service. Liberty Home Guard provides an outstanding range of additional service plans. This gives one the flexibility to curate plans according to their needs without having to break the bank.

3. American Home Shield
When it comes to competitive pricing, nothing beats American Home Shield. Their monthly plans start as low as $30, with coverage limits going up to $6000, offering customers true value for their money. Their comprehensive plans also include coverage for pre-existing conditions, code violations, rust, and corrosion, which are rarely seen in other plans. To offer more flexibility, the company also allows one to choose their own service call fee (between $100 and $125).