Zip Codes: Does Your Home Warranty Cover Where You Live?
If you’re shopping for a home warranty, you’ll often see an option to enter your address or include your zip code in the search bar. You might be wondering, “What does my zip code have to do with anything?”
The reason zip codes matter is that home warranty coverage varies state to state. While there’s still more research to do in finding the right home warranty, including your zip code will get you pointed in the right direction.
‘Who Regulates Home Warranties in My State?’
As you continue your research of which home warranty plan and company to go with, you might also begin to wonder who governs the home warranty industry?
The regulation of home warranty companies varies from state to state. There is no national agency monitoring how business is conducted from one state to the next. Which is why it’s important to know how your home warranty company can operate within your state. Does the Department of Insurance regulate home warranties in your state? (In a lot of states, this is the case.) If an issue arises, do you know who to call? If you don’t, check out this 2019 state licensing guide, which includes contact information by state for the agency or department overseeing home warranties.
For example, Iowa is a state with clear home service contract requirements. It’s easy to visit the Iowa Insurance Division’s website, pull up a list of registered companies in compliance, and double-check that your home warranty company is on that list. Things are different in Massachusetts, however. There, all home warranty companies must hold a certificate of authority issued by the Division of Insurance. And it’s different yet again in Missouri. And New Mexico. And New York. And Indiana. It’s easy for this to feel confusing – but different states have different statutory frameworks, which is why it’s important to do your homework.
The State Licensing Guide to Home Warranty
If you’re comparing home warranty quotes, you’re looking for coverage. You’re not looking to dive into the legal aspects of home warranty specifications state by state. (Another reason why your zip code matters!) The 2019 Compare Home Warranty Quotes State Licensing Guide is a complete resource. Here, you can review your state’s specifications and also discover which professionals – whether it’s the Attorney General, the Department of Insurance, or the Division of Consumer Affairs – you can contact if you run into any issues.
A previous edition of this guide was produced in 2017, which you can view here.
The Importance of Asking Good Questions
A home warranty is about finding the option that meets your family’s needs and budget. If coverage plans come with an instinctively low rate, ask questions.
For instance, one customer discovered why his home warranty coverage was so much cheaper: after his washing machine stopped working, he submitted a claim to his home warranty company. Weeks went by and no one came out to fix the problem. When he called to follow-up, the home warranty company said they didn’t have any contractors in his area. They said if he found his own repair service, they would reimburse him.
The right home warranty coverage shouldn’t include more legwork on your end. If the customer in the example above had used his zip code and did additional research into the company before signing a contract, he would have realized he didn’t actually have the coverage he thought he was signing up – and paying – for.
Make Sure Your Zip Code is Included
What about a home service company with all of the bells and whistles? The one that offers 24/7 service calls, great annual promotions, affordable plans, professional contractors, and quick replacement payments. (Here’s a list of some of those great home warranty companies if you’re looking for them.) If you see the deductible is low and the company has great reviews online, you may be tempted to sign up for a service contract right then and there. And then, you see it. “Available states: All except California, Nevada, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin.” This is crucial information (and yet so easy to overlook). What if you live in one of these exempted states? Not only would you be out of the coverage you were looking for, but cancelling a home warranty usually comes with a cancellation fee – ranging anywhere from $50 to $95.
The bottom line: do your homework, ensure your zip code is covered, and you won’t have to pay a fee or go without the coverage you need.
Pick Up the Phone
When you’re gathering home warranty quotes (read this on why you’ll want more than one quote), it’s important you also pick up the phone. Speaking with a home warranty service representative gives you the opportunity to ask the most important questions, like “Is there adequate coverage where I live?”
Your zip code and address help verify where there’s home warranty coverage and if your area is included in that coverage. This location-specific information also allows you to make sure a home warranty company is legally permitted to do business in your state.