Are Home Warranties Worth the Money?

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We’ve worked for just about every home warranty company out there. And, we’re homeowners as well so it’s high time to share some insider information about which ones we like, the different ways they operate, what’s covered, and if home warranties are even worth the money.

Essentially, you’re just buying insurance for the plumbing piping system and equipment in your home. Of course, home warranties cover other things besides plumbing but we’re just going to speak of what we know.  When you have major equipment or piping failure (picture leaking water heater, or water coming through the ceiling) having it covered by a warranty makes good sense but what most homeowners find out the hard way is that there’s a huge variance in what “covered” actually means.

Covered or Not? Read the Fine Print. It’s critical to read the fine print and really think through the different scenarios to determine if they would be covered. We suggest asking some probing questions before you sign anything. Some examples could include, “what if the water heater leaks and it’s under warranty? Is the heater and labor to replace it covered?” Another question might be, “What if drywall needs to be cut to access a leaking pipe? Is the cost of repairing the drywall covered?” Another favorite of ours, “If something breaks due to improper installation is that covered?” Hint: usually not. Finally, “what if the new replacement equipment, say the water heater, is significantly more expensive or what if I want to upgrade? How is that handled?”

Poor Pay = Poor Service. We’ll cut to the chase here. Home warranty companies start by trying to get out of covering repairs. When they do have to cover something they’re looking for the cheapest possible plumber who will do the job with the cheapest possible parts. Now, to be fair, not all home warranty companies are like this. As you might imagine, we have a problem with this. We get approached all the time from home warranty companies promising us tons of work. When it comes to how much they pay for the work that’s when the conversation usually ends. You see our main goal is to provide excellent service to our customers. To us, that means, quickly responding to their problem, accurately diagnosing, explaining what we’ve found, and providing craftsman-level options that meet their needs and budget. For instance, we’ve had home warranty companies pay half of what the average rate for a garbage disposal replacement is in the Akron market. We’ll generally spend 15-30 minutes on hold (in your home, wasting your time) waiting for their approval. We see a lot of shoddy work out there done by plumbers working for home warranty companies and you can hardly blame them. They probably wasted 45 minutes just getting approval and they end up making only a few bucks if not losing money.  That’s not a recipe for quality work and great service.

Our Favorite Model. The warranty model that seems to work out the best for homeowners is the one where the homeowner is in charge. You, the homeowner, the one paying the monthly fee for the warranty, should be able to pick which plumber you want to do the work. If you care about quality and service, you need to be able to choose who comes into your home to do the work. Thus far, we’ve found only one company that operates this way. You, the homeowner, get the plumber they want, not some disgruntled, do-it-as-cheap-as-possible, plumber. We are able to charge what our service is worth, and we get paid on the spot by the warranty company. Sure, we like that for obvious reasons but here’s the key: we’re working for you, not the warranty. We have to give you are best or else we lose you as a customer and probably get a bad review online. That’s a lot different than being that “some plumber” who the home warranty company “sent”. The name of the warranty company is America’s Preferred Home Warranty. They’re based not too far away in Jackson, Michigan.

Home Warranties. Worth It If You’re Careful.  So now you know the inside scoop on home warranty companies from a team of plumbers who have dealt with them all.  When the sump pump fails in your new home and it’s covered they sure do make sense. But, do your homework and choose the right one.

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