Dear PoPville – Suggestions for Home Warranty Plans for Condo

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Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

“Dear PoPville,

I recently moved into my first home, a condo in the Shaw/Logan neighborhood. I’ve been doing some research on getting a home warranty plan for the appliances and HVAC system in my unit, but am not sure which company to go with and am concerned I may get overcharged. Do your readers have any suggestions for home warranty plans for a condo?”

13 Comment

  • I have American Home Shield and they have been great, I inherited it from the previous owner, as it was a perk for the original owner. I only had one hiccup but it was rectified immediately and they covered the co-pay for the visit. Well they reimbursed me after I paid, but that is virtually the same thing.

    • I used to have AHS for my rental property and only had a mediocre experience with them. My biggest problem was that it could take up to a week to have someone come out to fix issues deemed to be non-emergencies. For me, this included a broken garbage disposal / clogged sink / backed up dishwasher.

      Other than that, the fees seemed reasonable. Their website never really worked all that well for me either, but that could have been on my end.

  • diploj

    Most people (include our realtor) will tell you a home warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. However, we have Old Republic and have found them to be responsive and helpful — and we’ve actually come out ahead as we’ve had a dryer and a water heater replaced. I think their prices tend to be a little lower than most of the competition, too.

  • I’ve always used American Home Shield and have never had an issue. I think the cost is comparable to other plans if not slightly less. Having said that I know several people who have had a different experience than I have.

  • Not worth the money or effort, in my opinion. If you’re worried about having the funds for future repairs, squirrel away $50-100 / month instead…

    • Incorrect. It’s worth it for the first year, while you’re figuring out what the previous owners neglected, or what corners the contractors cut.
      After the first year, you should have worked out the kinks and probably won’t need it any more. But in every home we’ve owned, that first year was repair after repair, and we always got our money’s worth out of a home warranty.

      • Agree, we dumped the home warranty after the first year. We had American Home Shield and found them to be a pain to deal with and hated the repair people they sent out, but we’re glad we had it. We’ve slowly replaced or upgraded most of the home since with items we like better and found repair technicians we like.

      • We had it included in our contract, and it caught most of the failing systems that were omitted from the disclosure. After the first year, you have a pretty good idea on what the state of your house is and can plan on replacing stuff accordingly. Some of the horror w/ AHS is having them deny claims due to improper installation, etc.

  • We have Old Republic and they are very responsive and helpful. We cover our entire house, which gets a little tricky because certain technicalities make things fall out of coverage range. But it was a lifesaver when our boiler crapped out 1.5 months after moving in. Mind you, there was a maximum payout. But the coverage paid for itself x10 over.

  • I followed the advice to carry a warranty for the first year. Would have paid off if I had used it but it was such a pain to file a claim that I found it easier just to use my handyman to fix things himself. So if you expect lots of bad things within the first year and you don’t have a regular fix-it guy you employ then it might be worth it for one year but I have found that self-insuring is a lot less hassle.

  • Check out Home Warranty of America. Here’s their online brochure: http://secure.hwahomewarranty.com/pdfs/HWA_NA_Brochure.pdf. Their plans last for 13 months and range from $450-$495 total. Totally worth it as a new homeowner, and their claims process is much quicker/less painful than what the other commentators are posting.

    Toni Harper is the sale rep for the DC area. She’s super friendly. You can reach her at tharper at hwahomewarranty.com or the number is in the brochure.

  • I’ve had great experiences with First American.

  • I have Home Warranty of America. All around good experience with the company and the technician they have sent out.

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