Home Warranties | How to Choose the Best Home Warranty
Buying a home is a huge investment and wise homeowners want to do everything possible to protect that investment. This is why South Carolina home warranties have become a popular means to provide added protection for a home’s major components and systems. Home warranties can even be an added bonus factor when selling a home. Follow these steps and do your due diligence when choosing the best home warranty for your needs.
The Difference Between Home Warranties and Homeowners Insurance
Many first-time home buyers and others unfamiliar with real estate can be confused about home warranties and homeowners insurance. Most lenders require homeowners insurance when buying a home to cover the unexpected that could potentially damage their investment. Homeowners insurance covers damages caused by fire, winds, thefts, unexpected catastrophes or natural disasters.
Home warranties cover repairs and replacement costs of home systems and appliances that break down due to usual wear and tear. They typically include electrical systems, plumbing systems, HVAC, ductwork, appliances, hot water heaters and other standard components of your home. Since all these items to wear out eventually, and some can easily cost thousands of dollars to replace, South Carolina home warranties are an excellent investment.
What are My Home’s Specific Needs?
Before shopping for home warranties, you need to do some research and discover your specific needs. Whether buying a home or considering the home in which you live currently, what are the systems and components that are prone to wear and tear and will eventually need replacement? What is the current state of your major appliances and systems? How soon could you begin having problems from routine use and wear?
Take note of special items in your home that may be outside the standard coverage for home warranties. For example, while your plumbing system and normal tubs/showers are likely covered in standard policies, hot tubs, spas and sauna tubs may require an add-on, increasing the price of your coverage. Other add-on items may include extra appliances like a stand-alone freezer or outdoor kitchen components, extra air conditioners, swimming pools and options like roof leaks.
What to Look for in Home Warranties
After compiling a comprehensive list of what your home needs to have covered by home warranties, its time to begin shopping around. Discover the companies offering South Carolina home warranties and note their plans, pricing and available services. Take plenty of time to read reviews and testimonials and compare ratings on home warranty comparison websites.
Ask around your circle of influence and see who you know that have already been through the process, the company they chose and why. Ask particularly about their experience when making a claim. Use this information to help you generate a shortlist of possible companies. Then ask for free quotes from your top choices. Quotes are just a beginning point; price isn’t everything. Be sure to research the following elements of their coverage. Don’t just believe what you’re told by a sales representative – get the facts in writing before committing to any home warranties.
Local Service Area
Be sure you know their local service area and that you are located easily within it. Some companies offering home warranties may appear at the top of Google but are not available in your state or local area. Look specifically for South Carolina home warranties by zip code to eliminate any misunderstandings.
As mentioned above, be sure you read a listing of detailed coverages, including what parts are covered and if service is included. This information should also include any service or warranty guarantees. Some companies offer 30-day or up to 90-day guarantees on service and a year on parts. Get the details and see what is excluded. If you have add-ons, get a quote that includes coverage for them as well, including service details and pricing.
Cost / Available Discounts
Of course, the cost of available home warranties is a major factor for consideration, and only you know your budget and what you can afford. Sometimes companies will offer discounts if this is your first time buying a home, if you pay a yearly premium and for other reasons. Investigate all the available specials and discounts and see which company offers the best coverage for the most value.
Most home warranties have a waiting period before you can make a claim, usually at least 30 days. Inquire about how fast they react when you file a claim. Some companies respond within 2-5 business days and charge extra for a 24-hour emergency response. These details should be spelled out in the service contract. Be sure to note in reviews you read if any company has a bad record on claims fulfillment.
Do the home warranty companies on your shortlist offer 24-hour online claims or customer support? How fast do they respond to inquiries aside from service claims? Customer support is a key consideration when your home systems and major appliances are involved.
Service Contractor Network
Most companies selling home warranties work with an established service contractor network within their service area. These are typically licensed, insured and trained technicians that know their industry and have been in business locally for some time. Ask about who will be coming to your home to perform service calls and their level of expertise. Ask if you may choose an independent contractor of your choice, or if you are locked into their network.
Get Professional Help with Home Warranties and Buying a Home
Home warranties and other concerns when buying a home or selling a home can be confusing. Jeff Cook Real Estate can provide answers, information, resources and more to make the process much simpler and more enjoyable. Contact us today with your questions about Carolina real estate, home warranties and more.