According to Consumers’ Checkbook, an independent nonprofit that publishes local magazines in seven locations, including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. similar to Consumers’ Reports, homes that come with warranties sell 11 days quicker and for an average of $2,300 more than those without.
“When you buy insurance against risks you can afford to cover on your own,” the magazine says, “you end up paying for sales commissions and expenses and company profits rather than for claims paid” by the warranty company.
“Buying a home warranty is like buying a (very) limited extended service contract on a bunch of appliances,” says the group.
Nevertheless, warranties have become almost universal in today’s market. Not only do they appeal to would-be buyers, who believe they’re covered should the air conditioner break down or the refrigerator quit working during their first year of ownership, they also appeal to sellers, because they, too, are covered during the listing period.
“Like anything else, make sure you shop around,” says Tim Meenan, executive director of the Service Contract Industry Council, a national trade association that supports home warranties and advocates the regulation of the industry. “Read what’s covered and the exclusions. If you read those two sections, you’ll have a good idea if it’s a policy you want to buy.”
A home warranty service contract isn’t an insurance policy that protects you from loss, but is meant instead to provide service, repair or replacement on a home’s appliances and major systems, such as heating and electric. Typically, contracts are good for one year. “It gives people peace of mind,” he says. “Lots of folks can finance a service contract but cannot finance a new $4,000 HVAC unit.”
The average cost of a basic coverage plan ranges from $350 to $500 a year, with the cost of an enhanced plan adding $100 to $300. Some home warranty companies offer additional coverage for certain items, such as a well pump or pool, for an extra fee. Regardless of the type of plan, homeowners typically pay an additional service fee ranging from $50 to $75 for each repair job.
Here is a general idea of what a homeowner can expect to find in each tier of service:
Home warranty basic coverage:
- Plumbing systems
- Garbage disposal
- Exhaust fans
- Sump pump
- Water heater
- Ceiling fans
- Heating and electrical system components
- Built-in microwave
- Whirlpool tub
If you do decide to purchase a home warranty, be sure to read the fine print, double check what is and what is not covered, realize it won’t replace an appliance – only fix it to working condition.
Sonja Bush is a local Realtor® ready to help you decipher those hidden contracts and ins and outs of buying a home in the Mammoth Lakes Area. Call her today at 661-979-9000 or email her at [email protected]