Published: December 17, 2018
12 Days of Christmas: Comparisons & Considerations to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Home Warranty
With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday all celebrated before December rolls around, homeowners may be asking themselves, “Does the holly jolly of the holiday season apply to a home warranty too?”
The answer: You bet it does.
If you are a homeowner considering a home warranty, keep these 12 home warranty considerations in mind this holiday season as you shop around.
1. “How much is this going to cost me?”
For a home warranty, “price” and “cost” mean two different things. The price for a yearly home warranty contract won’t include the cost of vendor fees or dollars spent on new appliances. Cost is an unpredictable factor with a home warranty since cost, consequently, depends on the number of claims filed per year. It could be five or it could be zero.
2. “Are there any extras if I buy a home warranty from company XYZ?”
Consider the extras! When shopping around ask what amenities, if any, come with a particular home warranty. American Home Shield, for example, offers American Home Shield customers referral gifts, usually in the form of $25.00 Amazon gifts cards, plus exclusive discounts on name brand appliances and air filters for your AC and furnace. These savings alone may cover the cost of a yearly home warranty contract.
3. “What’s the customer service like?”
Almost every home warranty company pledges outstanding customer service. But what do the online reviews say? What do your friends and family recommend? What’s the sense you get when you call in and ask a few questions yourself? This is the best way to get an accurate read on what a company’s customer service is really like.
4. “What kind of coverage am I looking for?”
This consideration is up to you. Are you looking for cherry-picked coverage for specific appliances or are you expecting whole system coverage? Your best home warranty company will offer coverage matching your needs.
5. “How do I file a claim?”
Understand how a home warranty company conducts claim filing. In this era of high-speed technology and on-the-go business, some home warranty companies still require you to pick up the phone and call in a claim. With others, you can easily log on to a website or use a mobile device. Does turnaround time matter? Select Home Warranty pledges their turnaround time is on average 7.5 hours – that’s pretty impressive!
6. “What about discounts, deals, and incentives?”
Whether it’s Cyber Monday or getting close to Christmas Day, a home warranty company is always eager to throw in a deal to convince you to sign on the dotted line. We put this phenomenon to the test and called into several home warranty companies ourselves – check out the results, and the best home warranty companies of 2018! Even if it’s a few days after a holiday, representatives are eager to throw you a bone. Play hard to get and you may even get a few months of home warranty coverage for free.
7. “Let’s talk about contractor networks.”
This is a crucial detail that’s easy for homeowners to overlook. Home warranty coverage is like cell service. Their reach and contractor networks aren’t ubiquitous, meaning, like cell service, some areas have spotty coverage. Find out how large the network of contractors is and if there is appropriate coverage in your state and in the local area close to your home.
8. “What if I have trusted service technicians, can I use them”
Again, this one is up to you. If you already know a handful of licensed contractors, with a company like Total Home Protection, you can contract with whomever you like. If you’d like to grow a relationship with a single home warranty representative within the company, Total Home Protection and Select Home Warranty offer this benefit.
9. “How old is my home?”
If your home is over 50 years old complete with outdated appliances and systems, a home warranty might be the right investment as appliances and systems peter out.
10. “Will I be selling my home soon?”
There is leverage in offering a home warranty if you’re selling your home. This assures the buyer their new purchase is covered, should they need protections.
11. “Should I actually read the contract? ...even the tiny print?”
Yes. Don’t assume you’re covered until you do your due diligence and understand what you’re signing up for. Grab your bifocals, read the fine print, and make sure you understand the lingo. Homeowner frustrations with home warranty companies often stem from a naive homeowner expecting coverage that wasn’t in the contract in the first place.
12. “Is it worth it to call around?”
Not all home warranties are created equal, and one of the best ways to see if you’ve found the right match for you and your home is to pick up the phone. Get in touch. Ask questions. This single interaction will give you a good glimpse into the home warranty experience and into the company overall.