Home Warranties: They sound like a good idea, but are they worth It?
You sign up for a home warranty, you pay a little each month and, if anything goes wrong with your air conditioning, plumbing or any other appliance, the repair or replacement is totally covered.
How can you go wrong?
The problem is, you pay your monthly fee then, when something breaks down, you quickly realize the contract you signed is filled with fine-print exclusions that leave you responsible for much of the cost of the repair or replacement. In fact, the vast majority of homeowners who sign up for these warranties will pay far more in premiums, service fees, and uncovered repairs than if they didn’t have a warranty – that’s the business model.
With a home warranty, you don’t get to choose who does the repair, so you never know who’s going to show up and the technician that does show up works for the home warranty company so they’re incentivized to take the least expensive route like using the cheapest parts available or doing temporary fixes that keep the appliance running when it should be replaced.
These contracts also state that the home warranty company is not responsible for the negligence or conduct of the workers they dispatch.
Common homeowner complaints include denied claims, repairs performed incorrectly, and repairs taking days or weeks to schedule or complete. Additionally, hold times for reaching a customer service can be an hour or more. In some cases, when covered items can’t be fixed, the company refused to pay the entire cost of replacing the item offering only the wholesale price.
American Home Shield, the largest U.S. home warranty company, has been the subject of nearly 10,500 Better Business Bureau complaints over the past three years.
Avoiding these home warranty companies will not only save you money, it will give you the freedom to choose the best way to address a breakdown, and allow you to choose the best repair company available, not someone who is willing to work for one of these home warranty companies.
Consumers’ Checkbook had a great article on Home Warranties which you can read here: https://www.checkbook.org/twin-cities-area/home-warranties/.
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