A home guarantee can be a great way to help cover unexpected costs and protect your new investment as a homeowner. But it is important to understand the function of a home warranty and what it typically covers. Make sure you have the best protection for your new home, especially if this is your first home purchase. Use this guide to help you understand the scope of a home warranty and ten surprising things that may not be covered.
A home guarantee is different from homeowners insurance and it can help pay for the unexpected things that may come up after buying a home. Homes, like most things, are subject to regular wear and tear over time. Unfortunately, household problems can quickly make up for large expenses that cannot be depreciated.
This is where a home warranty can make a big difference. Contrary to what home insurance covers, home guarantees cover the systems and appliances in your home – e.g. Plumbing or air conditioning – rather than the structure or your personal belongings. You can think of a home warranty as system and appliance insurance that helps give new homeowners extra peace of mind, especially if you are buying a home that is several years old.
Home warranties usually do not cover problems that are discovered during a home inspection or that are due to improper maintenance. In addition to these factors, there are several uncovered items that may surprise you. Before taking out a home warranty, be aware of these ten things that may not be included.
1. Washer, dryer and refrigerator
Although home warranties provide some coverage for household appliances, washers, dryers, and refrigerators are often excluded from standard home warranty contracts. Read it in small print and make sure these appliances are part of your warranty if you are concerned that they are leaking. In most cases, you can add enhanced coverage to include these appliances if they are not part of your standard home warranty.
2. Garage doors and tracks
Garage door openers may be covered by a typical home warranty, but the garage door and rail are usually not included. As you would with washers and dryers, you should double check your home warranty to make sure the garage door opener is included. However, if you are concerned about the garage door or just want to replace it for aesthetic reasons, contact your homeowners insurance or plan to pay for it yourself.
Although home guarantees are a form of system insurance, central air conditioners and heating units are not always part of standard guarantees. It is becoming more common to include these systems, but make sure you are on the safe side. Also pay attention to secondary AC or heating units. Although your home warranty covers the most important HVAC system, secondary devices are almost always excluded.
4. Windows, walls and doors
Because home warranties apply to systems and appliances, structural problems are not usually covered. Some contracts may repair windows that threaten the integrity of the rest of your home, but window and door problems usually fall under homeowners insurance.
When unwanted water enters your home, it seems like something that should be covered by the plumbing part of your home warranty. However, leaks from roof problems are usually not related to plumbing and are therefore considered structural – not systemic – issues. The good news is that while this may not be covered by your home warranty, it should be included in your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Outdoor plumbing – including sprinklers, faucets and valves – is most likely excluded from a home warranty. Although these systems help to contain your home, they are not part of its internal systems. A problem with sprinklers rarely threatens the integrity of your home, which may be why home warranties almost always omit outdoor plumbing.
Like outdoor sprinkler systems, hot tubs, spas and pools are usually not included in home warranties. However, you may be able to find a provider that allows you to add extra coverage to solve typical wear and tear problems that occur at these fun home facilities.
This can be a big shock, especially because toilets and plumbing are usually standard for a home warranty. Again, we are dealing with systems that are technically outside the home, making septic tanks and systems common exceptions to home warranties. If your home uses a septic system, make sure it is included as part of any home warranty you accept or purchase.
9. Existing conditions
This was alluded to above, but deserves another mention. Any problem identified during a home inspection is considered existing and is not covered by a home warranty. If a problem is found to be caused by improper maintenance, your home warranty will not cover it either. Most businesses will request a copy of your home inspection before paying out a home warranty claim, so be sure to negotiate repairs or replacements of pre-existing problems as part of your offer before closing your home.
10. Your preferred service provider
A home warranty can help you cover the cost of plumbing repairs or stove replacement, but not all policies allow you to choose your preferred contractor or plumber. If you want control over who works in your home, make sure you can choose your own service provider under the terms of your home warranty.
Buying a new home is exciting and you will not have to worry about potential problems while dealing with a move. A home warranty can be a great way to provide security and assistance for unexpected system and device problems. Just make sure you know what you are getting into before you buy a home warranty – and do not be stingy with your new knowledge. Share this guide with friends and family who are also considering a home warranty for the next place they call home.