No appliance is totally foolproof. I know this personally. In the heat of last summer, my air conditioning system broke. Countless calls to repair people went unanswered and I had to resort to cold showers to stay cool. Once I finally got it fixed, I thought "Never again."
Doing a little research led me to my answer: a home warranty plan was what I needed. A home warranty should cover the repair or replacement costs for appliances - but is every plan created equal? What products are most likely to be covered? Where do some warranties have great appliance protection and others fall short? Let's take a look:
Common appliance coverage in a warranty plan
As pointed out by The Balance, the appliances and interior features that are typically covered in a home warranty plan are as follows:
- Range (or cooktop) and oven.
- Doorbells (and any related wiring, etc)
- Garbage disposals.
- Ceiling fans.
- Air conditioner (and cooling system elements in general, such as the heat pump).
- Water heater.
- Toilet (and other parts of the house's interior plumbing infrastructure, like stoppages that affect your bathroom sink fixtures).
- Air ducts.
- Interior electrical wiring.
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Some typical coverage gaps
There are also a number of appliances and systems that the average warranty will not necessarily have provisions for. (Although you may be able to extend the coverage for some of these with a la carte addendums):
- Sprinklers and other outdoor items.
- Pools and spas.
- Permit fees for additions or modifications to your home that affect municipal property (or any other areas that aren't specifically "yours").
- Haul-aways (to get rid of failed appliances and such).
- Any appliances that were broken or non-functioning before you took out the home warranty.
All of that makes sense, right? Sure - except for one important thing: There are other common appliances around the house that sometimes go awry in unexpected ways. What about those?
Fortunately, if you opt to be prepared before things break and get a warranty like the TotalHome Warranty Combo Plan from HomeServe, you'll be covered for things listed under the "common coverage" category described above, as well as these common aspects of many homes:
- Kitchen refrigerator.
- Built-in microwave.
- Washer and dryer.
- Trash compactor.
- Garage-door opener.
The usual costs of a home warranty
While a home seller will sometimes cover the cost of a warranty plan, you shouldn't think of that as a given. Besides, you'll want total visibility regarding a home warranty's terms, which you might not have if someone else buys it for you. Luckily they aren't too expensive - usually somewhere between $200 and $600 - and can sometimes cost less if you want a plan just to cover your appliances.
There may also be service-call fees required when an appliance breaks down and a contractor has to come out and make repairs, but that cost is generally on the cost spectrum between $60 and $120. In my opinion, this is a reasonable cost, especially compared to a technician's repair bill for an un-covered appliance.
Additional appliance-related warranty considerations
If you've just bought a new home, there's a chance it came with new appliances - that's part of the appeal for homebuyers. As explained by Consumer Reports, brand new refrigerators, ranges, hot water heaters and other appliances may have manufacturer's or builder's warranties covering them. Find out for certain from the home seller whether this is the case before you close the deal on the house of your dreams.
But remember: Just because appliances are covered by individual warranties doesn't mean you can afford to go without a comprehensive appliance-centric warranty plan. Manufacturer-offered coverage rarely extends past a year. Sometimes it only goes for six months, or less. A home warranty plan should have an initial term of about 12 months - sometimes at a discounted price - and then offer the option to renew. This way, you can keep the safety net for your appliances in place going forward.
Last but not least, to boost your chances of renewal, stick to the guidelines laid out in the plan. For example, you don't want to exceed the maximum coverage amount per appliance within the 12-month term.
See how plans from TotalHome Warranty by HomeServe can help with the costs of covered appliance and home system repairs.