Home Warranty help please

dazzlemewithcolorNovember 28, 2010

We just purchased a home that included a home warranty. I was wondering if anyone has had to file claims and what their experience has been. The company is HMS National. We are running into a few things here and there that have had to be replaced. Just wanted a heads up with what to expect.

Thanks

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mariend

Read carefully especially the fine print. My son got a warranty when he bought one of his houses years ago and they ended up replacing the gas furnance because the inspector said it was all right, which it wasn't It leaked gas. They tried tofix it but could not. Way too old.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 3:19PM
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blueheron

I have heard that they will repair appliances, etc., but never replace them.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 6:43PM
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terriks

My mother has had home warranties (American Home Shield I think) and did get appliances replaced with it. I was taught to not use the words never and always if you are not sure of what you are talking about.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 10:21PM
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artemis78

We had an AHS policy when we bought our house (realtor gave them as gifts to clients) and we did use it for a plumbing leak where they had to dig up the concrete slab in our garage. It was fine in that they came and fixed the problem and we didn't pay anything for it. The company that came was not so hot in that they dumped all the concrete bits they dug out in our backyard and in various spots in our basement (we are still finding little piles two years later!) which was really annoying. Had I paid them, I would have been on the phone complaining, but because it was the warranty I just let it go. The downside is you have no control over who comes out---you just call and tell them the problem and they send someone out. They did come promptly and fixed it quickly, though.

Read the warranty carefully, like others have said---it will exclude a sea of things (e.g., ours didn't cover a problem with our garage door opener because that's an excluded appliance---apparently because they are so problematic). That said, this was all spelled out very clearly with our particular company, and had I been the one to purchase the warranty I probably would have read it, but since it was a gift---whatever. We saved ~$1K on the problem it did cover.

Note that if you have already fixed/replaced the things, though, you're probably out of luck---with ours, you had to call them first so they could send out repair people to try to fix it before resorting to replacing it. They don't seem to operate with the long-term in mind, probably because lots of people (like us!) don't renew their policies and thus there's no real incentive to do anything for more money than you have to.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 10:35PM
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logic

Many of these warranty's preclude repair on any items for which there are no maintenance records...such as a furnace, etc.

Therefore, it pays to get a copy of the fine print prior to closing...and if it requires such records, you can ask the seller to supply them for you...if they don't have them, then the warranty won't be beneficial. Bear in mind as well that you are usually relegated to using the warranty company's designated repair people..who may or may not be of the caliber that you desire.

That said, FYI to mariend, if it was a home inspector who did not determine the gas leak, bear in mind that testing for gas leaks is beyond the scope of a home inspection. If the furnace works on the day of inspection, then it is considered "satisfactory". However, if a furnace is very old, it is on borrowed time regardless...and that should have been advised in the report.

Last but not least, old usually does mean that parts are hard to find..and sometimes not available at all.
Good to bear in mind with a warranty as well.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Billl

I assume your realtor got them to toss this in as part of the contract. If so, nothing lost but probably nor much gained.

Really though, these things aren't good products. Like any insurance, the company has to collect more in premiums than it pays out in claims or it goes out of business. That means that on average, people who buy these warranties end up spending more than they would have by just repairing things themselves.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 1:03PM
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terriks

When we sold our home several years ago we used the Home Warranty to good advantage. We offered the basic warranty to the buyers, and when an issue came up with our pool pump, (it was really a non-issue, but they had no experience with pools) we offered to add pool and spa coverage to the HW and the buyers were satisfied with that. It helped to get the house closed on time since we didn't have to wait while they got a pool inspector out.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 2:54PM
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brickeyee

Even referring to them as a "Home Warranty" is at best misleading.

They are service contracts, not warranties.

The company will do everything it can to avoid the large expense of replacing systems, preferring to repair them repeatedly until the agreement expires.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 3:24PM
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blueheron

Yup!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 7:28PM
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