For many families, home ownership is a ticket to building wealth, but in order to get the most out of your investment in your home, you need to keep it in good shape. Allowing your home to deteriorate negatively impacts its value.
But the cost of maintaining your home can easily become difficult to manage, especially if your financial situation has changed since you bought, you stretched yourself to buy slightly more than you can afford, or you’re just not great with budgeting. Personal finance experts recommend planning to spend at least one percent of your home’s value on maintenance and repairs each year, and some years, that will be more than enough. But other years, it just won’t. And it’s impossible to predict when those huge home maintenance expenses are going to come down the pike. That’s why you need a home warranty.
Home Warranties Defray the Cost of Home Repairs
As a homeowner, you probably have homeowners insurance to protect your home’s structure and contents from catastrophic damage, theft, or loss. But homeowners insurance won’t step in when your furnace breaks down or your refrigerator compressor goes kaput. For that, you need a home warranty.
A home warranty is a service contract that helps defray the cost of covered repairs and services. Home warranties usually cover wear-and-tear breakdowns of major home appliances and home systems, like electrical, HVAC, and, to some extent, plumbing. Some companies also offer coverage add-ons for things like your pool and spa, guest house, home electronics, well pump, or septic system.
Your plan details will determine your exact home warranty prices, but in general, home warranty plans cost about $350 to $500 a year. Additional coverage for plan add-ons will run you a further $100 to $300 a year. You’ll also be responsible for paying trade service call fees, which usually cost $50 to $75 per service visit. And home warranties won’t cover all of the costs of all of your home maintenance and repairs — they’ll cover the full cost of many repairs, but they’ll only partially cover some larger repairs. For example, you might expect to get a major appliance repair fully covered, but you shouldn’t expect the same for an HVAC replacement, even though your home warranty provider may shoulder a large portion of the cost of the latter repair. And even if your repair is fully covered, you’ll still have to pay the trade service call fee. That’s true even if you received your home warranty as a gift from your realtor or seller when you bought your home.
Even though it won’t cover everything, a home warranty can still substantially offset your out-of-pocket costs for a home repair. Having one can definitely make that $6,000 HVAC replacement more affordable. And it’s especially helpful when a breakdown comes out of the blue, as they almost always do. Unexpected repairs don’t have to blow your budget and drain your savings when you have a home warranty. It’s worth it for the peace of mind of knowing that you’re covered if something happens, because eventually, it will.
Get Discounts in Home Services and Appliances
Like a doctor who encourages his or her patients to get yearly checkups, many home warranty providers want their members to do regular maintenance to their homes to prevent expensive, but avoidable, breakdowns. To that end, they offer their members access to discounted home services, like spring and fall HVAC tune-ups, so you can optimize the lifespan of your appliances and save money in the long run.
Many providers also offer discounts on new home appliances, for those times when the network service professional takes a look at your fridge or washing machine and announces that it can’t be nursed back to health. You can get a discount on the purchase price, as well as free or deeply discounted delivery, installation, and removal of the old appliance. So, even if you have to replace your appliance, your home warranty can still save you money.
You can also get discounts on things like furnace filters through your home warranty provider, too. And if you’re the hands-on, DIY type, you’re in luck — most home warranty providers offer their members access to DIY information and tips to help them perform regular home maintenance chores, like cleaning the gutters, or small repairs, like changing an electrical outlet.
Sticking to a budget can help you plan for unexpected home repair expenses, and owning a home warranty can help, too. You can get service coverage tailored to your needs, easy access to great local service professionals, and all the support you need to keep your home just the way you like it.