One of the benefits of being a homeowner is the discretion you have over your own property. If something goes wrong, you have the option to completely replace what went out, hire a specialist to look at it or do some research, roll up your sleeves and tackle the project on your own.
However, there are some things that simply can’t be done by most homeowners. If there’s an electrical mishap with the refrigerator, many don’t have the know-how or time to diagnose and repair the entire unit on our own. In these types of situations, some owners find themselves looking to external service providers for assistance.
One of the common cases is going through a home warranty provider, a service contract sometimes included in a home sale or purchased separately. Here’s what you need to know to save the most on home repairs when going through a home warranty.
Whether purchased independently or included in the sale of a property, home warranties pose an interesting mix of advantages and drawbacks. These service contract agreements can cover anything from basic appliances to entire systems in a house depending on the agreement. You can look at some of the best options to learn more about what different plans offer and what they cover, but the concept is similar regardless of the provider.
Depending on the situation, home warranties can potentially save you from suffering a huge loss. If you’ve purchased a warranty covering an expensive appliance or system in your home that subsequently fails within a year, then you’re in luck!
Rather than paying thousands for a new washer or dryer, your warranty could cover the cost of a new set — a situation where the warranty clearly paid off. However, that’s often not the case and there are some important things to remember to make sure you’re saving the most on those repairs if you’re thinking about using an external service provider.
Know Before You Call
Check the details of your home warranty plan to ensure the item in question is covered. This includes ensuring that you’ve been properly maintaining the item too. In some cases, negligence of appliances can void the warranty on them and leave you out of luck.
Additionally, check to see what the service fee is before requesting service from your provider. Though warranties cover the cost of work on an item, there is an added service fee for every time you request service, generally ranging from $75 to $100.
In some situations, you may save money by talking to a local professional about your problem and getting a diagnosis first depending on what fees they assess and how they compare to the warranty provider, which brings us to the home warranty contractors themselves.
If you decide to go through a home warranty provider for service, be prepared to not have a choice in who does the repairs. Home warranty providers generally have a specific roster of contractors approved that they’ll choose from and send out.
However, what you can do is call the company and ask for 3 or more potential contracts they have on their approved list and start doing some research. With resources like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google Reviews, you can easily do some research on who has the best track record.
When researching contractors, you’ll want to look for those with a history of good customer interactions and meeting homeowner satisfaction. Be wary of contractors speeding through the process and only serving the interests of a home warranty company. The best way to do that is to see what others have to say and to speak with the service providers directly.
Finally, don’t be afraid to say no. Home warranty companies will want to avoid replacing major appliances and expensive items at all costs. Sometimes that’s okay when a repair will suffice, but if you’re ever unsure about it, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion and potentially have another contractor replace the item.
Even if it isn’t covered under the home warranty, it could end up saving you money — and a lot of time — in the long run.
The Bottom Line
Though home warranties aren’t the perfect solution for all home repairs and maintenance, they can be a lifesaver if used correctly. Just like with any other project around the house, the most important aspect is research and planning before you start on anything.
Make sure you’re taking full advantage of your warranty and can keep costs down when using it.