When you own a home, it doesn’t take you long to realize that the financial commitment is significant. Not only will a house likely be the biggest purchase you ever make, but there is a seemingly constant need for maintenance and upkeep.
Many of these costs are minimal or moderate. However, when it is time to make repairs or replace certain items in the house, the price tag can be high. These costs can be overwhelming, especially for homeowners living on a tight budget. Instead of putting off fixing parts of your home because of financial concerns, you can rely on the benefits of a California home warranty.
A home warranty plan will pay for the repairs and replacements of certain appliances and systems in the home. There is a per-item cap of what the plan will cover, and the homeowner will typically pay between $300 and $600 a year for coverage. As you start to shop for a home warranty, there are some guidelines you should follow so you can get the right coverage.
- Decide whether you need a home warranty
Though there are many advantages to purchasing a home warranty, it may not be a wise choice for everyone. For example, if you are moving into a newly built house, you shouldn’t need to purchase additional warranty coverage. Your home will have a builder’s warranty that will cover the structural components and systems such as the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. This coverage is typically good for 10 years. Your new house may also already come with home warranty, so make sure to ask the seller or previous owner.
Also, if you plan on moving within the next few months, you may want to hold off on buying a warranty and waiting until you get into your new place. On the other hand, if you have an older home and you plan to stay there for the foreseeable future, a warranty makes sense.
In some cases, homeowners can get by without such a warranty plan. This is why it’s best to carefully find out whether it is necessary for you.
- Research different companies
There is a wide range of home warranty companies that you could go with for coverage. Instead of randomly picking one or choosing the first one that comes to mind, do your due diligence.
Identify a handful of reputable companies and then learn as much as you can about them. Find out how long they have been in business, what other customers are saying about them, and what type of coverage they offer. You need a reliable company to help protect your home and finances.
- Know what the warranty covers
Most home warranty plans cover roughly the same items and areas in the home. Your plan should apply to major appliances such as the refrigerator, oven, stove, dishwasher, air-conditioning, and garbage disposal.
Aside from these major appliances, home warranty plans also typically provide coverage for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. Some plans cover pool equipment and spa equipment, though these are typically optional. Be aware that the plan does not apply to small appliances such as blenders, handheld mixers, and toaster ovens.
- Be mindful of the plan’s limitations
Before you sign up for a warranty, carefully read the fine print. The coverage will have limitations and exceptions. It is vital to know what these are so you do not encounter any unwelcome surprises or costs.
For instance, a home warranty will be invalid if you intentionally break a covered item. Also, you cannot expect coverage if you misuse the appliance or system or if breakdowns occur due to your failure to properly maintain them.
Most warranty plans also have per-item coverage caps. This cap could be anywhere from $500 to $3,000, depending on the coverage and provider you choose. You will also have to pay a service call fee when you make a claim.
- Get quotes
You always want to know exactly what you are paying for your warranty. Remember, the coverage will last a year, but you can renew it annually. You will likely pay for it upfront, though some plans allow for monthly payments. Get a handful of quotes and compare the prices along with the coverage from each company.
The Bottom Line
As you follow these steps, you should be in good shape as you pick a home warranty company. With a home warranty plan, you can keep more cash in your pocket when appliance repairs come up.