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What is a Home Warranty?

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

A home warranty is a service contract or agreement that provides coverage for the repair or replacement of major home systems and appliances. It is designed to give homeowners peace of mind by offering financial protection against unexpected breakdowns or failures of covered items.

Here's how a home warranty typically works:

1. Coverage: A homeowner purchases a home warranty plan from a warranty company, selecting from different levels of coverage based on their needs and budget. The coverage can vary, but it typically includes major systems like HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), plumbing, electrical, and appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, and water heaters.

2. Contract Term: Home warranties usually have a contract term, typically one year. The homeowner pays an annual premium for the warranty coverage.

3. Service Requests: If a covered system or appliance fails or malfunctions during the contract term, the homeowner can file a service request with the warranty company. The warranty company then arranges for a service technician from their network of approved vendors to diagnose and repair the issue.

4. Service Fee: When a service technician visits the home to assess the problem, the homeowner may be responsible for paying a service fee or trade call fee. This fee is a flat rate, typically ranging from $50 to $100, and is paid directly to the technician at the time of service.

5. Repairs or Replacement: If the technician determines that the covered item can be repaired, the warranty company will cover the cost of the repair, minus the service fee. If the covered item is deemed irreparable, the warranty company may provide a replacement based on the terms of the contract.

It's important to note that a home warranty is different from homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance typically covers damages to the structure of the home and personal belongings due to perils like fire, theft, or natural disasters, while a home warranty covers the repair or replacement of specific home systems and appliances due to normal wear and tear.

Home warranties can be beneficial for homeowners, especially for older homes with aging systems and appliances. However, it's essential to review the terms and conditions of the warranty contract carefully, understand what is covered and what is excluded, and choose a reputable warranty company with a history of reliable service.

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