One question many homeowners ask about home warranties is, “What does a home warranty cover?” The simple answer to this question is, “It depends.” The brand, type of plan, and other factors may affect how much coverage you get.
Here, we’ll go over the various plans available (as offered by AHS) and list what items are generally covered under those plans.
What Do Home Warranties Cover in General?
First, it’s important to look at what types of repairs a home warranty will cover. Most appliance or system malfunctions are typically covered, including those resulting from the following:
- Malfunctions from normal wear and tear
- Malfunctions due to mismatched systems (such as if different systems aren’t well matched for efficient operation)
- Improper installation, repairs, etc.
- Undetectable pre-existing conditions
Home warranties cover the costs of repairs as well as dismantling/removing faulty equipment, disposing of refrigerant, and so on.
Items should be within home or attached garage except in certain cases, such as an air conditioner’s condenser unit, which is typically outside the limits of the building’s foundation. In addition, repairs covered by an extended or manufacturer warranty won’t be covered by your home warranty, which may necessitate some customization.
The specific systems covered are listed in the sections below.
One type of plan covers home systems exclusively. These systems include the following:
- Heating and air conditioning systems (including ductwork)
- Water heaters
- Electrical systems
- Smoke detectors
- Ceiling fans
- Garbage disposals
- Central vacuums
- Instant hot/cold water dispensers
- Re-key services (in certain states)
A home systems warranty covers most repairs and replacements associated with these systems. There are a number of exceptions, however, particularly for plumbing, water heaters, heating and cooling, and electrical systems.
There may also be some restrictions on dollar amounts, such as the $1500 limit on certain air conditioning systems. Consulting an individual contract will help you know exactly what a home warranty will cover in these specific cases.
While a systems home warranty covers a variety of home systems, an appliances plan will cover your appliances. These include the following:
- Clothes washers and dryers
- Ovens and cooking tops
- Trash compactors
- Garage door openers
- Freestanding ice makers
- Built-in microwaves
- Built-in food centers (such as built-in refrigerators, pantries, etc.)
In most cases, these appliances are covered if they are considered to be part of your house. As such, while built-in microwaves are covered by home warranties, a microwave set on the countertop may not get the same coverage. Refrigerators have a number of specific exclusions, including freestanding freezers or refrigerators that are part of multimedia centers.
As with systems plans, appliance coverage may be limited to certain dollar amounts as well. For instance, refrigerators have a limit of up to $3,000 per malfunction for repair and replacement. Repair expenses beyond that point won’t be covered, though the odds of any refrigerator repair exceeding that price point are fairly slim.
A Little of Both
Custom plans are ideal for those who only need to cover certain systems and appliances. What a home warranty covers in these cases will depend on the systems and appliances you select. This can allow for a highly economical solution as you select only the coverage you need in your home.
For instance, you may not have all the appliances listed under the appliances warranty, in which case you could save money by opting for a “build-your-own” option. That way, you won’t be paying for coverage that you would never be able to use. In addition, if some of your appliances are still under a manufacturer warranty, you might be able to save some money on your home warranty plan if you customize it to exclude those items.
If you want coverage on absolutely everything, a combination plan will likely fit the bill. These plans cover all the systems and appliances listed above, and they arguably provide the best value to homeowners who need total coverage.
All these plans include the option to add coverage for additional systems. These include:
- Extended warranty on electronics
- Pools and spas
- Septic pumps
- Well pumps
- Guest/rental units up to 750 square feet
This additional coverage can be highly useful for those with these systems. Some items may also be useful for homeowners in certain areas. For instance, someone living in Jacksonville, Florida could get a lot of mileage out of pools and spas add-on coverage if they have an in-ground pool.
Choosing the Right Plan for Your Situation
So what does a home warranty cover? Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs and the plan you choose. Different homeowners have different needs, so be sure to select a home warranty plan that fits your situation.