Most homeowners should consider purchasing a home warranty when they buy a house; its a very useful financial tool to have in their real estate toolbox. In case there is a major (or even minor) breakdown in the house after the sale is completed (an electrical system burns out, a water heater breaks down), a home warranty policy assists the homebuyer in paying the bill or replacing the system. How much of the bill is paid is determined by the coverage on the home warranty policy one selects; this is one of several points to consider in choosing a home warranty company.
First, one should choose a company that is properly licensed; most warranty companies must have their records available on file or on the internet, and this is a good chance, when checking the state licensure, to see if the company has any registered complaints or ongoing problems with consumers. Most states, including California, maintain a Department of Insurance that licenses the company one is considering, and state websites provide the needed information.
Next, in choosing a company, one should consider its fees (with many consumers, how much it costs is the first if not the only consideration). Most home warranty company businesses will charge a single flat fee for their services, such as repair visits; this is usually in direct proportion to the expense of the policy. The larger and more expensive the policy, the less is charged as a service fee, as a general rule.
With that in mind, some consumers may want to go out of pocket initially for a larger fee, and obtain the services needed to repair the home at minimal cost; some insurers, particularly those of newer homes, prefer to pay a smaller amount on the initial home warranty and risk the possibility of higher service fees later on.
While one is researching companies and policies, it only makes sense to fully analyze the policies being offered online, in order to be sure that they give the specific coverage the homeowner wants. For example, one company may guarantee replacement or repair fees for appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers as part of their standard coverage; another may require a supplemental policy before issuing protection for these items.
While one is researching, one should be sure to check the fine printthere may be caps to the coverage that stop at a certain point that the homeowner finds unacceptable. A policy covering a water heater for up to $200 only (yes, they exist out there, and they have a lot of fine print) would be completely unsuitable for the repair and replacement of most hot water heaters.
Finally, one should consider the internet a great browsing tool for finding the best warranty for ones particular situation. For example, Angie's List (a consumers best friend for most purchasable items, since it contains user reviews for numerous products) is an excellent resource.
Just a quick visit to that site gives a plethora of good tips. One question asked by a consumer regarding home warranty of his roof disclosed some excellent information (one cannot warranty pre-existing conditions is one point made; an already-leaky roof, once documented, cannot be given a warranty for repairs), while another response detailed the best points that every home warranty should have (protection from the expenses of large repairs, most appliances covered, one call service charge, full replacement and ongoing, renewable protection).
A homeowner is going to be in his home for a good long time; it only makes sense for that homeowner to research his/her options in a home warranty company, and select the best and most complete (and economically feasible) coverage for the home and its repairs.