Purchasing a Home Warranty

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Topic: Purchasing a Home Warranty

Real Estate September 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Purchasing a Home Warranty

I recently bought my first place – a condo in Columbia Heights – and was advised by my real estate agent to purchase a home warranty (on top of home insurance, obviously). I did extensive research on home warranties, and found that they are overwhelmingly scams, and it is extremely difficult to actually get these companies/organizations to pay up when appliances, HVAC units, and other items break down.
Has anyone had any good experiences with home warranty companies? If so, which would you recommend? Please feel free to post horror stories as well – they will only confirm my suspicion that purchasing one will be a waste of money!

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My realtor– who has been in the business forever and gave us excellent advice in general– advised against getting a home warranty for the reasons your research yielded. She believed they weren’t worth it and we didn’t get one. 


When we purchased our home, the seller included a home warranty as an incentive. A few months later when our water heater broke, we found out just how useless a home warranty is. During a repair, you generally have to use a contractor that has a relationship with the warranty company. In our case, that meant dealing with a plumbing company that did a pretty lousy job. The warranty did, technically, cover the cost of the replacement water heater, but the labor and additional parts used in the repair were not covered. As you may be able to guess, the charges for those items were hugely inflated (in one case $300 for a $40 part). In the end we spent just as much for the repair as we would have without the warranty had we been able to shop around for plumbing contractors. My advice: save the money you’d spend on a warranty in an “emergency fund” to use when you actually need it. The warranty was through American Home Shield.

Don’t do it.  Just put money away for self-insurance to cover costs like furnace repair. 

Ditto all the other responses that warranties are useless! We bought one for the first year of owning our house and wish that we had saved that $350 for something else.  When we tried to use it (to repair a leaky pipe) the plumber that the warranty paid for would have had to have opened a wall to access the pipe.  After significant confusion on our part, we realized that the warranty wouldn’t pay for the plumber to actually open or to close the wall, effectively rendering the whole thing useless and leaving us extremely frustrated.


Like one previous commenter,our home warranty was provided by the seller (it was AMerican Homeshield).  We didn’t need to use it nor did we renew it after it expired.

If you haven’t completed the purchase, I think adding it into the contract is a good idea.  We had one and the first summer after buying our house, the central air unit died.  We found out that the contractor bought a terrible quality unit and we ended up getting a name brand new one (worth a few thousand dollars) and a new warranty on that specific unit through the manufacturer.  We were without air for three weeks and it required MANY phone calls back and forth but in the end it got us a new, quality unit that would have been very expensive. 
We renewed it and when the Amana dishwasher mother board died earlier this year (a few months outside of the manufacture’s warranty) they fixed it for the one-time fee to come out ($60).  We now have a leak with the water line in the Whirlpool fridge (again about 9 months out of warranty) and they will be coming out again.
They are frustrating to deal with, and can require phone calls to get things done but in the first two years we have owned our home (a flip from a reputable contractor) we have gotten our money’s worth and will probably renew one more year.  We use American Home Shield. 

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