When you invest in home warranty, you may feel that you’ve got everything covered. It’s true that you’ll be a lot more secure than you would be without, and all the major systems in your home will be covered, but you might be surprised by some of the things commonly left out. It’s better to be surprised like that now than when you need help because something has gone wrong and that help isn’t there. If there are issues that you’re particularly concerned about, you can then arrange additional coverage to make sure you don’t end up in expensive trouble.
If you’re concerned about the integrity of your walls, roof, windows or doors, home warranty won’t be able to help you – that’s what homeowner insurance is for. This can lead to complications when, for instance, a wall is damaged by water leaking from a pipe, as you may need to work with two policies to try and get the help you need. Most warranties cover the flooring you come into contact with day to day, such as carpet, linoleum or tiling, but don’t cover the load-bearing structures underneath, so if there’s rot in the joists, you’ll have to check your home insurance policy to see if it can help you meet the cost of repair.
Although some appliances are covered by home warranty, typically your washer, dryer, fridge and freezer are not. Individual warranties are usually available at the point of purchase for goods of this type. Whether or not this is worth getting is something you’ll need to think carefully about because there is usually an excess and with washers and dryers in particular it’s usually cheaper to replace than repair when something major goes wrong.
It’s gradually becoming more common for home warranties to cover heating and air conditioning systems but many still don’t, and even when they do they usually only include interconnected ones, not additional stand-alone units which you may have purchased to make your home more comfortable. Bear in mind that individual warranties for these often come with a requirement for regular maintenance checks, which effectively add to the cost (although they do make it less likely that you’ll have to deal with the inconvenience of a unit failing). Purchasing an add-on for your home warranty usually entails fewer conditions and can be more affordable overall.
Wells and septic tank systems
If you get you water from a well on your property, you will probably find that both the well itself and any pipes leading from it into your home are not covered by insurance. The same goes for pipes carrying waste out into a septic tank, and the tank itself, because these are not technically inside your home. Furthermore, including them in the standard policy would make no sense for city dwellers who wouldn’t want to pay for policies with extra coverage they didn’t need. Because problems with these systems can really leave you in the lurch, most people who depend on them prefer to get fixed up with extra coverage just in case.
Outdoor fixtures and fittings
In a similar vein to the above, anything physically located outside the walls of your home is likely to be excluded from your warranty. That includes everything from sprinkler systems to statues and fountains, hot tubs and swimming pools, and the wall or fence bordering your property. Anything inside a separate building used as part of your home, such as a garage or tool shed, is usually covered (though you’ll need to check) but, strangely enough, garage doors and runners are not.
If you’ve installed an alarm system in your home, the hub, cameras and other sensors may be covered by your home warranty but the wiring almost certainly won’t be. This may make going wireless an attractive option, but it’s worth noting that wireless systems can be vulnerable to jamming. A better option is usually to look for a system that carries a low cost warranty of its own. Sometimes these are free for the first couple of years, after which you may want to upgrade anyway.
Although this article provides a guide to common warranty exemptions, every policy is different, so you will need to look through yours carefully to see what is and is not included. You can use this as a checklist when you do so. Getting the right warranty in place, with extras added on as required, will give you peace of mind and help you to avoid any nasty surprises.
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