Home Warranty Plans 101

Should you purchase home warranty protection for your home?

Warranties on various items you purchase — cars, appliances and even houses — are sometimes confused with insurance coverage. While the two share some common features, they also have some important differences.

In the case of home warranty plans, think of them as being like extensions of your homeowners’ insurance policy. These plans generally cover the repair, maintenance and replacement of major appliances as well as major systems in your house (principally heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing), none of which are covered in the typical home insurance policy.

What do basic home warranty programs include?

Typically, most home warranty plans cover the following items:

  • Water heater
  • Oven and range
  • Indoor plumbing
  • Telephone wiring
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Electrical system
  • Ceiling fans

Who should purchase a home warranty?

Experts say the ideal buyer falls into one or more of three general categories:

  1. Those purchasing their first home and may not have much experience with home maintenance.
  2. Those selling a home and want to have an additional incentive for buyers.
  3. Those purchasing a home over 10 years old, the point at which things tend to begin to need attention and repairs.

Practically speaking, however, that includes most homebuyers.

The benefits of these home warranty plans are fairly obvious: they offer homeowners peace of mind about the possibility of major failures of their home’s major systems while also reducing the possibility of unbudgeted major surprises from cropping up.

What to watch for in home warranty plans

But there are also plenty of things to be mindful of, some of which may tip the balance for any particular homeowner away from purchasing such home warranty policies.

  • Don’t assume you’ll get replacements: Home warranty providers tend to favor repairing faulty parts and systems rather than replacing them with new units.
  • They decide: You won’t get to select who does any repair work. The warranty provider chooses that.
  • Be mindful of what’s not covered: That typically includes such outdoor items as pools and sprinklers as well as pre-existing problems and improperly installed items. Read the home warranty plan policy carefully before you buy.
  • Regulations vary by state: Some states keep a close regulatory eye on home warranty providers, while others barely pay attention. You’ll need to know ahead of time where your state falls on that continuum.

As with every major purchase you make, buyer beware. Read the fine print before you buy a home warranty, and check online for how your state regulates such companies. That knowledge may well come in handy one day.

Learn more about the home buying process

The home buying and mortgage process can feel overwhelming, so make sure you have the information you need to make the best decision for your situation. Review your mortgage options from Citizens Bank or call one of our Citizens Bank home loan advisors at 1-888-514-2300.

 

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