A home warranty can help you save money—that much you know. But what questions should you ask to get the best one for your needs? We’ve got you covered with the questions below.
Pro tip: Remember that a home warranty is different from your homeowners insurance and works differently to protect your budget.
1. What is included in my home warranty?
Every home warranty is different, so it’s important to understand exactly what the standard package covers. For example, some home warranties include washer and dryer coverage in a standard package, while others may offer it as an optional add-on or upgrade.
What upgrades do I need?
Understanding the standard package can help you determine what else you may need and see if those options are available from your home warranty. Ask about different packages, upgrades, and optional add-ons you might choose from, and ensure you understand the details of coverage for each.
2. How do I get a contractor for claims?
Depending on the home warranty company you select, there are three possible scenarios:
- The home warranty company sends someone in their network to you.
- The home warranty company provides you a list of people in their network to choose from.
- The home warranty company gives you the freedom to choose any contractor you prefer that is licensed and bonded.
The first two possibilities provide you a contractor that is already working directly with the home warranty company. This means they are already aware of any requirements the home warranty may have, but because the contractor works for your home warranty, they may have limitations to how much they can work toward the benefit of the homeowner.
The third possibility gives you freedom to choose your own contractor, which allows you to:
- Work with a true third-party representative (someone who works for you, not the home warranty company)
- Work with someone you already know and trust
- Schedule them at your convenience, which often results in faster visits
You may need to help your contractor understand the benefit of your home warranty—though your home warranty customer service may be able to assist.
3. How do approved claim payments work?
A home warranty can help pay for repairs or replacements for you: The key word here is ‘help’.
- It may not cover the entire cost of repair or replacement. Sometimes it can, and it often saves homeowners hundreds to thousands of dollars on claims. But it’s a good idea to read through your contract and understand what limitations may be present.
- You may have to pay up front and be reimbursed. Your home warranty may indeed have the option to pay your contractor directly for completed services, but it’s a good idea to prepare for the possibility of paying up front and being reimbursed. You might ask, isn’t the whole point of a home warranty to save you money? It still does! Just afterward, instead of before.
Ensure you ask what the payment process looks like, how long it typically takes, and what payment options are available to you.
4. What does the claims process look like?
Hopefully you never have to use it. But if (or more likely when) you do, knowing the claims process ahead of time can help you avoid unnecessary stress. We recommend keeping a printed copy of the claims process attached to your fridge or other visible spot so it’s easy to find.