Homeowners and prospectives alike might be wondering if that Home Warranty that’s “thrown in” with the purchase of a home is really going to be worth anything. The hot water heater looked and inspected good, right? Will I actually be able to make a claim with this company? Like any other matter in business and life, these warranties are handled by humans prone to error, complacency or downright rudeness. And regarding all that fine print you’ll never read; the devil is usually in the details, is it not? As someone who’s been pleasantly surprised by the service and value of my Home Warranty, I thought I’d chime in with my experience.
Despite our self-described ‘handiness’ and Do-It-Yourself attitudes, my wife and I were glad to hear that the 1920 house we were considering making our home came with a Home Warranty. While not necessarily a deal maker or breaker, that (seemingly) small measure of assurance was attractive while we considered making our largest investment and home in a near century old 2 1/2 story in Lawrence. Over the last few years the warranty has saved us a substantial amount of money on repair and replacement and has been surprisingly easy to use.
Our first problem came quick and hard: no hot water. We knew the water heater was on its last legs when we purchased so we weren’t too surprised when after a slow decline, we could only squeeze in a two-minute shower before the water ran cold. We called the company, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, and had the local contractor, Ace Plumbing, out the next day. The service technician quickly surmised that the unit was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced. After a couple phone calls on his part and ours, we got the ball rolling and had a new water heater in by the end of the day. After the $45 deductible, and disposal fee of $50 we had hot water again. We were neither happy nor surprised by this disposal fee but having just renewed the warranty, we were already on top so to speak.
Another issue was simply a broken faucet for the garden hose out in the backyard. My wife was working in the yard, watering plants when she could suddenly hear from outside, a gushing sound in the basement. Old homes are not for the faint of heart! She was able to shut off the main water valve for the house and the repair was made the same day, this time with no additional fees.
Our slow-draining shower in the master bath was a nagging headache that we’d tried to fix ourselves only to find ourselves ill-equipped to deal with a drum-trap and clean out. We could’ve bought a couple tools and done a little reading but sometimes your time is worth more. Ace Plumbing again responded quickly. No surprise fees.
If you ever have to make more than a few claims on a warranty, you’ll likely notice that you’re really dealing with two companies. In our case it has been 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty and Ace Plumbing. Luckily, they’ve both been easy to work with and provide the service they advertise. Were that not the case with either company, I’d be singing a different tune, but we’ve been lucky. Such was the case when our garage door quit working a few weeks back. A couple calls and $45 later, a worn wheel was replaced and the owner even reprogrammed the keypad with a new code for us as a courtesy. Raynor Garage Doors of Kansas City had us parking in the garage again in a matter of three days. A lengthy wait by these standards, but acceptable nonetheless.
We’ve made a handful of other claims in the past few years with similar results. Our 1920 home has had other problems here and there but we like to call that “character”. If you’re listing your home for sale, as your real estate agent I would certainly recommend offering a warranty to your prospective buyers. This small investment can provide a great value and peace of mind necessary to compete against other homes.
– Nate Paradis