Before becoming an agent, I bought my first home. The sellers paid for a home warranty through Old Republic Home Warranty. At the time I didn't think much about it because I had just become a home owner and was too excited. About a month later, my water heater was having obvious problems. Somehow, I remembered that I had the home warranty and called the company to fix it. The first plumber through the warranty came out and said nothing was wrong. A second plumber came out and said he couldn't figure out the problem. I ended up hiring a local plumber who did a lot of work in the subdivision and recognized the problem immediately. After paying that company for diagnosis I called the warranty company again. This time they had someone else come out who realized that the problem was the same one my plumber found. They replaced the water heater, and I paid a little extra to get it upgraded.
After that I always renewed my home warranty because I saw its benefits. I bought some rental homes in other states and had American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty on those homes. I still continue to have warranties on all my property, even if the home is fairly new.
Recently, I have had a problem with my Air Conditioner. Same routine as before: A/C guy comes out and "fixes" the problem. I think he made the problem worse, and the warranty company has another tech coming out. Hopefully it will be fixed this time, but I've already had to involve a supervisor.
I started thinking about the headaches associated with home warranties and came to some realizations:
- I think home warranties are great, and support renewing them at expiration. I have definitely gotten my money's worth through the years.
- I don't think there is much difference between the home warranty companies. They all seem to operate the same, almost like getting procedures authorized by an HMO.
- If there's an issue with the repair, you have to take initiative and keep on top of it otherwise you get put on the back-burner.
- There are some really bad technicians accepting work from the company, but there are some wonderful technicians too. Unfortunately, you can't just request a certain company to do the repair.
- If the problem persists, make sure you talk with a supervisor at the warranty company to have them take a personal interest in getting the repair done.
- If the warranty company can't seem to get the repair done, ask for a "cash out" for the problem so you can get the work done on your own.
As an agent, because I found that the companies are the same, I try to get warranties for my clients where I have a direct and professional line of communication with the representative from a particular warranty company. I will always remind my client that they have a warranty after escrow closes. If a client calls me with some frustration about having a repair made, I will call the representative for help. Usually the rep can get things done easier than I (or my client) can.
Although dealing with home warranty companies can sometimes be frustrating, I think overall they provide so many worthwhile benefits and will continue to renew mine.