Why Home Warranties Are No Guarantee

Leave a Comment - 128

Comments

Joel

Subject: DON'T GET RIPPED OFF!!!

HSA Home Warranty required that the plumber call and get approval prior to starting the work. I called to get approval and they refused to even speak to the plumber. Refused to let me speak to a supervisor and then denied my claim because I didn't "get approval." I have begged them to listen to their recorded conversations with me and still I didn't "get approval."

Brandon M Arrigo

Subject: Really?!?

I have read your comment multiple times and it just doesn't add up? HSA required approval before the plumber could start. You called to get approval but they said you didn't get approval? That just sounds fishy. I betting that the work started prior to the approval and HSA denied it due to that. We have used the service close to 10 times and it has been excellent. You comment is just so vague on what happened that it doesn't sound like a reasonable situation.

Penney Nile

Subject: Home Warranty Services

I was looking at these services because we had to call out an electrician for an issue in our home, and the tech told us was $60.00 just for being called out, and $245.00 for him just to troubleshoot our problem before recommending a solution. Since this seemed really excessive, I decided to check out this insurance to see if it would benefit us and our budget limitations, but what I found was discouraging. I have always felt since you're purchasing insurance to cover a certain kind of issue and paying a premium to do so, then why is it necessary to pay additional amounts for the service you have the insurance for? It's just like having dental insurance that you pay a $500.00 (or more) deductible, then sometimes hundreds of dollars in monthly premiums, only to have to further pay $600 to $1000 or more to get dentures. Ridiculous! If you had that kind of money, you wouldn't need insurance in the first place! What is the point? So, I guess we'll just have to keep taking care of our household issues on an individual basis and keep trying to find the best price for our budget, because this insurance, just like every other kind I know of, seems to be one gigantic scam.

HVAC contractor

Subject: Home Warranties are bad business

As a former HVAC contractor for several home warranty companies, I concur with the other service companies' negative remarks regarding these policies. Everyone involved is pitted against each other from the start, and everyone will get skinned (contractor and customer alike) except the home warranty company. These policies appeal to hungry contractors in saturated markets, and bad customers who want something for nothing. The customers we dealt with would become so angry and desperate they would literally harass and threaten us. It's illogical to believe you can get anything substantial for the mere $75 service fee the customer pays, which, in most cases, is all we could charge for the entire service call. Hence, the denials, long wait times and band-aid repairs. Paying customers always come first, regardless of how many newborns are involved. Every household in America contains someone who doesn't need to be hot or cold. If we charged the home warranty company more than $25-$50 in addition to what the customer paid, if we were lucky enough to collect the service fee, we would be threatened by the home warranty company, as all these calls were averaged and the total cost per call average had to stay below $200, or we were gone. The lower the cost average, the higher the call volume. High volume and low dollars does not make for a satisfactory business. The real customer is the home warranty company. Also, the reason the turnaround time on parts is so long, is that if we supplied the parts, we could not charge The warranty company any more than if than if we didn't supply it. Therefore, we would just let purchasing send the parts from wherever they chose, without overnight shipping. We tried offering the service to customers of picking up the parts locally (for extra $) but that is a no-no and just made everyone angry. So, everyone just had to wait. There was little or no more money coming from the repair after the service fee is collected from the customer. You might ask why we worked for them. It was to try to sell good service, solid equipment, at reasonable prices outside of the home warranty policies. As times have gotten tougher, that has become less frequent, as the complaints and hassles have increased. Therefore, we quit working for all home warranty companies to offer our services to a higher quality clientele. One last thought: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

DDD

Subject: Home Warranty Companies

The people who buy these home warranty plans do not expect to get something for nothing. We pay several hundreds of dollars per year for that "protection" ...just like you probably do for health insurance. We may go for several years without filing a claim, just as you might with your health insurance. But, when you finally do get sick and need to use the policy you have been paying on for years and only owing your co-pay is seen as trying to get something for nothing? Have you ever actually thought that opinion of yours through to it's logical end? What is a warranty for? What is insurance for? I would imagine that someday, after paying for your health insurance or a new car with a warranty, for many years without ever using it until a tragedy strikes, you find yourself needing to use the protection you had been PAYING for, only to find someone just like yourself at the other end of the desk. I would pray that is what would befall a person with reasoning like yours.

Danza Martin

Subject: Home Warranty

Well... that is very interesting that Old Republic made a comment in the article to defend themselves and actually said they charge up to $375 in Texas. I wonder if they even know what they are quoting or if they just pick a number off the top of their head? I received a quote just this week sent from them to me on my very small beach house of 1500 sf in Texas. The house has 1 AC unit, 1 water heater, 1 washer & dryer, 1 refrigerator and NO dishwasher. The quote they sent to me was for $540! That is ridiculous! Then in doing my research I just asked a neighbor because I knew she had a home warranty. She said that she had many pool and plumbing problems this past year. They sent someone out for her plumbing problem. They were without water for almost 4 days waiting on the guy to show up. When he did not only was he not very professional he seemed to be very new to the trade and didn't know what he was doing. He ended up causing more problems than they started with and FORGOT to turn off the water to their garage apartment before he left for the evening and the next day the apartment was flooded which created a whole new slew of issues of having to replace carpet, sheet rock and molding. No thank you I don't need someone coming into my home and creating additional problems.

Because I own a beach rental I thought a moment about adding the home warranty but then hearing these problems I will decline the offer and just call a contractor when I have an issue. Come to think of it, I would think the more reputable contractors wouldn't be aligned with a home warranty company because they would have years of customers built up and wouldn't have the time to do home warranty work anyway.

This article was very helpful. Thank you!

Bill

Subject: Home warranty

I've had the distinct displeasure of wasting both time and money on plans from both Old Home and AHS (AHS being the worst by a mile.)

At best, they will simply patch a problem using the lowest bidder. At worst, they will cite some microprint in the contract you signed (after being assured by the sales person that "hey no worries! It's all covered except the roof!) to outright deny your claim and then add insult to injury, still charge you the "dispatch fee."

AHS contractors are usually not the type of people you want in your home, let alone playing with tools. I'm all about giving people 2nd chances in life, but... you've been warned!

carri

Subject: well said

I couldn't have said it better. My personal story is such a migraine, I don't want to bother in the retelling. But, in summary, I can't believe these companies are legal. If I did this type of "warrantying" I would be booked for fraud!

Carrie

Subject: AHS - terrible follow-through

We recently purchased our first home which was built in the 1920's. The age of the house along with my husband being away from home at least 60 hours a week and having a newborn + a 2 year old prompted us to purchase a plan through AHS. We'd hoped this would alleviate stress & unexpected expenses, but instead it has only added stress to our lives. Just to get a few small leaks repairs has taken over two months and one of them is still not fixed. Their contractor was definitely sketchy. AHS had us find our own contractor to diagnose the other, unfixed leak and said to have the contractor call in. Problem is of course the call wait times are over 30 minutes and the contractor wasn't going to wait on hold that long. I waited and AHS refused to discuss policy coverage on the repair since I wasn't the contractor. AHS refuses to make outbound calls to customers or contractors except if you request a supervisor, then you get a call back within 24 hours with more platitudes, but no actual resolution. Really disappointing.

Cheryl

Subject: Such a helpful article!

I am buying a 100-year-old home with a 50-year-old furnace that, while still chugging away, I've researched to find it is incredibly difficult and expensive to get parts for. It will likely need to be replaced within a few years and would certainly save on home-heating costs to replace it sooner rather than later. I was going to rely on a home warranty to help with this, but after reading a bunch of articles online, I found this one on Angie's list, which saved the day AGAIN. Discovering that home warranties don't cover replacement costs may change whether I actually buy this house. Thank you, Angie's List, for your research and listings!

HVAC contractor

Subject: What is your time worth?

I think people make the mistake of valuing money over how much time they will waste on something like fixing the Air Conditioner as an example.

We as humans are on this planet for a set amount of time. There is no changing that. Money on the other hand can be remade.

If you are limited by choice (not able to choose your own contractor) then the situation is further worsened not knowing who you are wasting your time on? (will they even show up?)

I've done work for home warranty companies in the past, they simply don't allow the contractor to repair the HVAC system as it should be. My time, your time is eternally wasted.

The last thing I want to do is spend half my summer "trying" to make something work that should just be recycled or put in the ground in some fashion.

Once you spend the time... it's gone forever... there is no getting it back.

roland mcknight

Subject: warranty companies

I am a service manager for a HVAC company, we do work for some of the warranty companies, of course those rates are reduced, not any different than what your health insurance company does with your in network providers, from the doctors to the laboratories. There really isn't anything wrong with such a concept, UNTIL we begin to look at warranty companies that are nothing more than a scam. Believe me, they are out there.

We were recently contacted by one, they wanted to know if we would be interested in doing some of their work in our area, we took a look at their contractor agreement, let me tell you this, what they wanted for us would have done two things if we had accepted their proposed rates / their work. #1 It would have created a situation where even our top technicians would have had no time to properly diagnose problems, and the customer would have received patch repairs just to keep it going versus a solid repair to at the very least help prevent future failures due to conditions that we were supposed to overlook as per the warranty company.
# 2 We would actually lose some of our regular business customers as a result of the bad reputation we would have gotten from doing work as per the requirements of the warranty company, we would have actually in most cases been subsidizing the cost of the job, as they wanted to lock us into a pricing model from the 1960's... I know I have been in this trade / business for almost forty years, had relatives in the business as I was growing up, so I know. We couldn't even remain in business very long at their rates.
On the other hand, we also have GREAT warranty companies out there, we recently have replaced entire HVAC systems as they were in fact non repairable, replaced complete furnaces, and condensing units as needed. In each and every one of these the customer only paid the deductible averaging some $70.00.
I wish I could say which ones are good and which ones to stay away from, but, I simply do not have a budget that can carry a full legal staff to defend these facts, or fight the bad ones when they came after me. But, you, you have the power of choice, as I said earlier, there are some very good ones out there, do your research, read the reviews.
The time you put in researching these companies is going to save you the expense of not having done so, and face it, you won't be mad at yourself when you end up feeling like a fool because you believed everything the sales person said to you.

Thomas Glascock

Subject: AHS and other warranties

I had an AHS warranty when I bought the house I'm in now. The experience was horrible because they didn't have good contractors, except for the last guy that came to fix the AC. I kept him on as my AC guy.

He left AHS because they would not let him repair things the right way, instead, insisting on overhauling pieces parts instead of replacing the thing, for example.

AHS also tried to deny some claims because of so-called improper installation, something the homeowner usually is not aware of until they have to call.

Please be aware, home warranties are a sales tool and nothing more. They don't actually protect the seller from anything except for a limited number of appliance breakdowns.

w0ntoan

Subject: Home Warranty a success... on certain conditions

I've found my home warranty to be a worthwhile purchase, but this is given a very specific set of conditions. 1) The house I bought had old but functioning appliances, enough that I'd have expected 2 or 3 calls within the year. 2) The previous owners only kept up superficial looks, but other items in terrible condition. The upstairs bedroom had carpet soaked in pet urine. Amateur private bathroom paint job. If it was out of sight for guests, it was not cared for. Given that, I was able to get a good deal on the house by accepting a reduced price instead of repairs, then buying a home warranty to cover me when appliances did fail. Also, be prepared. Contractors will blame Home Warranty, and Home Warranty will blame Contractors. You have to work both sides to squeeze value out.

Alison

Subject: Who did you use?

Who did you use for your Home Warranty? That is almost exactly the situation we're getting into and that's exactly the reason we would like to get a Home Warranty. Old systems, beat up house, need to spend our money on renovations and not worry if a system breaks right away/first year or so!

HVAC Contractor

Subject: Service contractor that works for Home Warranties

Much of what everyone has said here is the absolute truth. I am a service contractor that subs out to 2 different home warranty companies. We have to keep our ticket prices low or we don't get calls. When we do feel like our customer needs a new condenser, compressor, or a coil, we are penailzed because it drives our ticket prices up.

Here is fair warning. Warranty companies want their service contractor to fix or replace a part to keep your AC or heating running. It doesn't matter if the system is 10, 15 or 20 years old. As long as a part will fix your issue, that is what you will get.

To further complicate the matter, when a warranty is being sold to a consumer, the salesman is offering them the world. Your whole system can be replaced up to $15,000 value. What that warranty really means is $15,000 on replacement "parts" can be spent in a year to keep your existing unit working.

This is a very touchy subject for home owners and service contractors. While the warranty business fills in our slow time, we are also hindered in what we can say and do for a customer. We always are mandated to fix what is there at a low cost for service, labor and parts that the homeowner does not see. The deductibe is paid and then we have to charge less than market value for all of the rest of the work when billing the warranty company.

Jean McCarthy

Subject: home warranties

At first glance one would thing a home warranty is the way to go. But what is the recourse for a young women who purchased a plan and every time the furnace or air conditioner breaks a tech comes out to 'replace' a part. Even though they have stated it is an old unit and needs replaced. However, the warranty company keeps sending a tech to replace each part. At this rate I will have paid for new unit because the visit fee is $75.00. What recourse do I have, I've told them the unit needs replaced they keep sending tech to replace parts. One part is replaced and another breaks. Frustrating and I feel as if I am stuck.

Sharalyn Ayers

Subject: Home Warranties

Let's face it, home warranty is no different than any other insurance, period. If you recognize that you are paying for something that may never be needed going in, then when you have a loss, you recognize the benefit. The 50-70 per loss/claim is your deductible, which you have to pay on any coverage, cell phone, auto, homeowners, etc. Each and every claim is a new loss. With that said, I will say, I had a home warranty on my "home from hell" in California, and Thank God we had it. They paid for a new furnace, new water heater, new well pump, just to mention a few things. Yes, I had to pay my deductible each time, but the $500-600 warranty paid for itself over and over in that home. I would rather have paid the $500-600 and never had to call on them. I would have probably been like everyone else out there complaining that they are a big waste, but when you have a claim that would have cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars, writing a check for the $50 deductible is relatively painless. I found this website while looking to purchase a home warranty on a home we are about to buy, and I will have no regrets, especially if I never need to use it. Take a moment to add up how much you have spent on auto insurance. If you have never used it, you might have been able to buy a car with the money, but it only takes one claim, one lawsuit, to make that 'expense' a worthy investment! Best wishes.

TJ

Subject: They do not replace appliances anymore.

Sharalyn,

You are talking about home warranty plans from years ago, things have changed in the last few years. They do not, I repeat DO NOT replace things anymore. They will part it and piece it together over and over again and at $60 a visit from a tech it adds up. I even upgraded to a premium plan. My furnace is over 20 years old, has been involved in a major lawsuit for leaking CO, and my warranty company refuses to replace it. When I asked them how much it would be to pay out if I just want to buy a new furnace myself, because hey, don't want the family and I to die from Carbon Monoxide poisoning in the middle of the night, they tell me the payout is $60. This for a part that I can't find for less than $250. We have small children, it is mid-winter and currently we have been without a furnace now for a week and counting, while the warranty company continues to order parts and repair when we have had 3 separate HVAC pros recommend replacement, not to mention one of their own techs refused to work on this unit. Home warranties are a complete waste of money, unless you don't mind being nickeled and dimed to death and living with appliances that are continually dying, and lets not forget dangerous! I have documented all of this and if my family and I dies from CO poisoning, I have made sure my surviving family will sue my home warranty company. We will not renew our warranty when it comes up, but will instead save the money toward a new furnace. The only time I would recommend a home warranty is when you buy a home and the seller pays for it, maybe you can have one expensive repair taken care of in that first year, but don't expect them to replace anything or be timely about it. And expect to be on hold for 20 to 60 minutes on the phone every time you talk to them.

Mike

Subject: Home warranties can be a scam

I paid $500 for a warranty to cover several large appliances in my new home. The ice maker went out in the freezer. After paying a $50 service fee the technician told me that replacement parts were roughly $450. BUT the plan only covered up to $250 per appliance. So if you have any issue beyond a gasket or a filter tightening, the plan is worthless.

Patrick G

Subject: Home warranties

As a Realtor I have been in the habit of buying these policies for my buyer clients. I have mixed feelings about these. The companies are known to deny claims however I have almost always been able to intervene to make sure they fix the broken item. A call to their regional representative, and a threat to stop buying policies if they don't fix the appliance, gives me some leverage because of the thousands I spend on these every year. Of course there are some home buyers who expect the warranty companies to cover items that are not included in the contract. Can't help there. It is a fact that these companies are more likely to send substandard contractors. It is necessary to lean on the warranty company in some cases. It can take longer to get a satisfactory resolution as compared to the home owner who simply calls his own contractor and pays out of pocket.

If a home buyer has the funds to fix any appliances or HVAC problems out of pocket, I would suggest they don't bother with home warranties. The warranties are good for the first time buyer whose funds are light after the closing. In order to overcome the "pre-existing condition" claim by the warranty companies, it is important to have some documentation that the items were working normally when the new owner occupies the house. A home inspection report and a Walk-through report on the day of closing are sufficient evidence in almost all cases.

Consumers often like the fact that they have some warranty on the systems and appliances. I buy these policies for my clients because they are more likely to remember me positively when they save a few hundreds or thousands on repairs. That's one way to get referral business and repeat business. One should be aware that systems and appliances are always failing. A house may have no expenses for years then all of a sudden there are a series of repairs. Maintain an emergency fund of, say, $10,000 and you will be able to deal with almost all repairs when necessary. The cost of warranties over many years can be about the same as simply fixing or replacing the items when these break.

Marco

Subject: Home warranties

As an A/C contractor which has done work for home warranty companies, This is a complete waste of money for any homeowner. Denials for repairs are numerous and this is the first thing the technician is looking for when he walks into any house. Improper installation, code violations, lack of maintenance are the key top three. Guaranteed, hardly any installer or previous service guy will cover the little details that will get a denial in the future. That's what we're trained to spot. Then, if we do have a descent job, we're going to hit you for up-charges. By the time we're done, we have close to 75% of a regular full paying job. Plus what little the warranty company kicks in.

mnaski

Subject: Home Warranty Companies

We are a Service repair Hvac company who will not work for home warranty companies. They twist all information and ask us to bill the customer for all items not covered by their terms. It is not worth the wasted time. most customers think the will pay nothing and are not prepared for this expense.
They also do not pay the bill we send them. and fully hide behind email - no return calls and time. Advise other contractors for hvac to not work for them. you will consume phone call time and customer is usually not pleased with any results in which they have to pay (again) customer of these service should stop paying after the home purchase passes first year. many times the reality company will pay the difference this 1 year period to please customer (repair only) not replacement. CAUTION CAUTION TO ALL THAT USE OR GET INVOLVED WITH -- LOSS OF FUNDS WILL REAR ITS HEAD IN TIME.

Doug Lerner

Subject: AHS and proper maintenance and denials

I'm curious about the comments where A/C unit repairs were denied by AHS because of claims of improper maintenance. Their current contract terms read as follows. Is this not true?

2. Coverage under this contract includes normal wear and tear malfunctions during the contract term (as defined in Section B). Coverage under this contract also includes malfunctions of covered items which occur during the contract term resulting from the following situations prior to and during the contract term:
a. Insufficient maintenance, rust, corrosion, or sediment;
b. Improper installations, repairs, or modifications;
c. Mismatched systems where the indoor and outdoor units were not properly matched to each other in capacity or efficiency for proper operation; and
d. Undetectable pre-existing conditions which are defects or mechanical failures that could not have been detected by a visual inspection and/or simple mechanical test. A visual inspection of the covered item verifies that it appears structurally intact and without damage or missing parts that would indicate inoperability. A simple mechanical test is defined as turning the item on and off to ensure that it is operational. While turned on, the item should operate without causing damage, irregular sounds, smoke, or other abnormal outcomes.

Rachael Washington

Subject: AHS Coverage

You are referring to "ServicePlus" coverage - an add on package with AHS - if they client purchased the "core" product, then they would not have paid or received this additional coverage. Could explain the denial.

Alex

Subject: worth it if you know how to pick them

If you do your research and pick a reputable company from your area then the warranty is totally worth it. I have paid $1600 for the last 4 years of service. And I have gotten about $2800 worth of repair done. So I saved $1200 and the hassle of finding contractors every time something acted up.
There was only one time they refused to repair an appliance and that was only because the breakdown was clearly from a part not covered.

Keep in mind my appliances were only 4-6 years old at the time that I started getting the warranty so these were regular breakdowns and not breakdowns on old appliances. The only negative I have seen is the time it takes them to finish repairs. Sometimes I got the issue resolved within 1-3 days. Other times I would have to wait 1-1.5 weeks because of parts needed/no appointments available because they were too busy.

Chifti

Subject: How do you pick them?

Hi: You say it's worth it if you know how to pick them, but you didn't say whom you picked. Please enlighten us. Thank you!

Gene Cohen

Subject: Onr of Angies painter

I can tell you this as many good contractor that are on Angies list I'll bet there are just as many bad and I had the worst ever. I have a home warranty and I could tell you they do a great jobwhen I call them so I don't know what there talkingh about.

janice

Subject: americn home shield warranty

I have had ahs for about 5yrs now overall the service has been good, I have had good and bad contractors,
one i had for my a/c was terrible, the tech did not seem like he wanted to do the work and lied about access to my house, when i called the company re their tech they took up for him, the next time i had a/c problems i told ahs i did not want that company and was given a different company, this company was very helpful and professional. I have used ahs many times during this 5 yr period and they have always been very helpful. Today I had to call them re my washer, last month my garage door broke, i called for service and a company was dispatched the springs on my garage door broke as this was not covered under my warranty ahs did not pay for the repair, the company told me i didn't have to pay the service fee if they did the work which i let them do, i did not know whether i pay the fee or not the company bills ahs and they pay the company and ahs will charge you for the fee anyway,well today when i called about my washer i was told about the previous fee, i expressed to the agent i did not have money to pay the previous fee and the new fee for my washer, agent told me she could send me card to cover my fee for the washer but i would still have to pay the previous fee before i could go with my next request, so i told them to cancel request for my washer, at this time i was mad because the garage door tech lied about me not having to pay service fee to them they just billed ahs and knew ahs would get money from me i called garage door company and expressed my displeasure with them to no avail i called ahs back and spoke to a different agent who went ahead and processed the request for my washer and told me when i received the card for the previous fee just call back and they will apply the card then, so now all i have to pay is for the tech to come out for my washer. i have mixed feeling regarding home warranties, i don't know if the warranty companies are bad or if it is the contractors they use or a little of both, so far ahs has been ok for me as most times i needed them they have provided the service i needed

Robert

Subject: Garage Door

Permalink, why wasn't the spring covered? It's not excluded in the contract??

Sean Peters

Subject: Home warranties a waste of momey

As an hvac contractor I refuse to work with these companies. They never have the homeowners interst in mind. They only want you to make the repairs as cheaply as possible. Will almost never authorize a unit replacement over a repair no matter how old the unit is.

Sean Peters

Subject: Home warranties a waste of momey

As an hvac contractor I refuse to work with these companies. They never have the homeowners interst in mind. They only want you to make the repairs as cheaply as possible. Will almost never authorize a unit replacement over a repair no matter how old the unit is.

jarrod

Subject: 2-10 home warranty

Purchased in January 2012 now its.July and.the.summer is here a/c unit its.not cooling.my.house 2-10 home warranty stated it was not properly.hooked up and they are not going.to fix.it

Deb hawthorne

Subject: 210 home warranty

Yep this is exactly what happened to us with the ac system. Our was shot. Completely rusted put. The handler gone but home warranty won't cover a whole list of parts that need to go with the handler. You can't just replace one part of a system. So all said and done , after 10 days in July heat. With no ac. About 20 calls in. No one giving us an answer. We had to take into our own hands. Find a company to install a whole unit which costs anywhere between 5500-8000 depending on brand etc. in the end they sent us a check for 684. This was after we had paid 100 to be told unit is shot. I guess that check almost covered the cost of the 210 policy for that year but if u ask me. Is home warranty worth it?? Not so sure. Maybe just when u r selling your house. We will cancel it this year!

Mark Hammond

Subject: Angie's List

I'm looking at the comments people wrote about home warranty companies, and having worked in the media for years, including advertising, consumers should realizethat many of the compliments might have been written by employees or owners of the companies they compliment. As I recall, I spoke t one home warranty company about signing up with them, as they were listed on Angie'ss list, and the employee said it is expensive to be listed with them. I wonder if this was a disgruntled or honest employee.

philip provost

Subject:

we have a newly built home that is less than one year old. we ask your advice on getting a service cintract for heating/cooling/water heater, just majpr items, we live in las vegas nv,

Allen

Subject:

I am an HVAC contractor and have worked for most of the home warranty companies over the years. The warranty company is nothing more than a middle man sucking money out of the customer, the contractor, and providing a terrible disservice to both for it. They bully the contractor to work for ½ what he would normally do the job. The contractor with the lowest average cost per call is put in the number one position. If the contractor has a large repair it skews the average and the contractor won’t get calls. If you consistently do what is right for the customer and push to replace equipment that is old and rusted out then you will suffer the consequences! After working with A------n ---e S----- for 10 years the customers loved my company! They would request me and **S didn’t like that. They (HWC’s) want to control the contractor sent out so they can put the contractor with the lowest avg. cost per invoice out first. I was told I replaced too much equipment! I suggest to other contractors not to get on this treadmill! They give the business to you, and they can take it away just as fast. Contractors’ end up treating the warranty company like the customer, I never agreed with that. When the warranty company dumps you as a business for the next cheap service guy, then all you have left is the bad reputation.

Sally Lay

Subject:

AHS came with my home, and the evaporative cooler stopped working within 30 days of buying my home. The contractor said it was the cooling pads, which was not covered. The AHS contractor failed to answer my questions in a knowledgeable way, and I hired another contractor who stated the problem was the motor. For a fair price, he replaced the motor and pads. Motor replacement was specifically covered in the AHS warranty, but AHS continued to deny the claim. I got some good advice for sellers of homes: put up a $1500 escrow fund for the buyer when you sell a home (the typical maximum amount for home warranty companied) with appropriate terms and conditions for use of the funds for 6 months to 1 year after sale. Of course, fully disclose any work or replacement that needs to be done when you sell the house. That's a better deal all the way around than a home warranty company.

D.A.S. Appliance Service

Subject:

As a contractor, we have discontinued service for American Home Shield and Sensible Home Warranty because they do not pay in a timely manner if at all. At present, Sensible Home Warranty owes for invoices dating back to the beginning of March of this year. We had to personally visit AHS to collect money which was due us. I am sure this is one of the reasons (along with many, many others) reputable contractors will not work with most home warranty companies. At present, the one company which we will work with is Plus One. Customers should look on the internet before signing any warranty contracts.

rancho

Subject:

I had AHS and have been struggling with their contractors to repair the AC for the past 75 days...The contractors didn't want to give you enough time and attention, were not well qualified and completely inconsiderate of your situation. I spent all month without air in 100 degree Georgia weather.. If I had invested the monthly premium that I've paid, I could have actually saved money on the repair. My experience recommends staying away from these contracts..

Ashley

Subject:

I was given American Home Shield by my realtor when I bought my condo. I renewed it for two years, but found it a waste of money. I needed a new oven, and they paid very little toward it. It was not worth the annual fee. My advice is to keep a list of useful phone numbers for service providers so that you have people to call when something breaks, and skip the huge AHS fee.

Mike V

Subject:

...Note that PSE&G is a service contract, not a home warranty. I think that's a big difference consumers need to be aware of... maybe what you need is a service contract instead of a "warranty" which implies insurance.

Mike V

Subject:

I use PSE&G Worry Free Service... only for big ticket items... Furnace/Air, Fridge, and leave the rest uninsured. I've used their service several times for furnace/central air problems and they always show up the same day or next day and have always fixed the issue with no service charge. In my old house, they replaced the circuit board on the HVAC unit twice in a year for no charge. Of course it would only die on the coldest day of the year... and they'd still come out and fix it same day. In my new house, they gave us a freon charge on the A/C for no service call charge or additional cost (up to 1 lb free... which was all we neeeded).

Bessie Rhoades

Subject:

Are there any more reports available on America's Preferred Warranty?

Kimberly

Subject:

I think the problem is, is that consumers do not read their contracts. Most warranty companies have options that add other coverage to the basic plan. Also, consumers don't have fair and reasonable expectations. When he weather is 95 degrees outside, don't people think that EVERYONE is calling in? The contractors that home warranty companies use are RETAIL companies. They also have their own business to service. If you didn't have a warranty on those days, you wouldn't get any faster service by calling someone out of the yellow pages. I think most of the complaints that show up about warranties is because people just don't read their contract and don't understand it. The best advice is to know your local representative. They are the one's that can step in and help resolve issues. Try it....you will be surprised.

Seth

Subject:

My realtor did recommend the home warranty, which was $575 the first year with an option to renew. Once the seller and I had negotiated the price, I called the realtor and ask him to take of the warranty, lowering the home price by that amount. So, I'm the only one who's transaction was $355,475 or something. All in all, 11 months have passed and nothing has broken. But if it did, I'm sure it'd be way easier to take care of it on my own than deal with a firm that is structure to make money off what you pay them.

MaryAnn A

Subject:

I had an Old Republic warranty on my current home that was provided by the seller. I had a problem with my AC on a particularly hot weekend in coastal Louisiana. I called OR, the customer service rep was very polite and arranged for a repair person to come out that day. The repair person was actually here within an hour but only because he was in the area already. Anyway, he was polite and performed the replacement with no problem. Reading the entries here I probably should have made more claims, but I didn't. Nonetheless, I decided not to renew figuring that a savings account is a better plan that will actually pay me in the long run.

Jim Russell

Subject:

I was very pleased to see your review of home warranty companies and the way they operate. When a hot water recirculating pump burned out in my home, my own horrendous experience with one of the biggest home warranty companies was quite a learning experience. Here is what I learned:
1. Service companies that work with these warranty companies may be inclined to find reasons that your problem is not covered. In my case, they blamed faulty original installation of the pump. I needed to confirm with the pump’s manufacturer and the county building inspector who inspected and approved the home – that it was correctly installed.
2. After months of back-and-forth communication with the warranty company, I filed a lawsuit in small claims court – which is very easy to do. I never even had to go to court. As soon as the suit was filed, then and only then did the warranty company settle for the entire claim plus legal costs. Seems they didn’t want to risk a judgment against them.
3. Finally, they made me sign a non-disclosure agreement, which is why you don’t see their name mentioned anywhere in this letter.

Their game is to be stubborn and wait you out. In retrospect, I would give them a reasonable amount of time to respond and then jump immediately to the small claim, which you can file yourself at a very nominal charge. Just go online and download the forms for your jurisdiction.

Mark

Subject:

I thought the article on home warranties was fairly useless. Your article didn't express any point of view. In fact, I got the sense you pulled your punches, in the hopes that more warranty companies would pay to become Angie's List reviewed. Here is a simple test to determine if a home warranty makes sense to you. Call your state insurance department and ask them what the loss ratio is for warranty coverage in your state. As an example, the industry average for after market auto warranties is 8%. That means for every dollar the warranty company collects from their clients, they pay out 8 cents on the dollar for claims. You can actually get better odds in Vegas.

PS - could you make the message box just a little smaller? I find it distracting to see more than four words in a line. Is there a shortage of electrons on your website?

Daniel

Subject:

I just purchased American Residential Warranty, for $55 service call, i have yet to use the service, but would like more info about the best rated Home service Plan.

John Perry

Subject:

I received a home warranty when I bought my home from the estate of the previous owner. It proved valuable, since the previous owner had not kept up maintenance for some years. The warranty paid for replacement of the frozen main water shutoff, fixing an unsteady toilet and fixing a leaky tub drain fixture. That said, the quality of some of the work was not great. The toilet was unsteady because the tile floor on which it sat was uneven. The "fix" made was replacement of the wax sealing ring, which made the toilet steady for a few months but was not really a permanent fix. I ultimately set the toilet in a bed of grout to get a lasting fix. The second issue I had with the quality was that the "fix" for the tub leak would have left me with a $7 plastic drain in place of the original Eljer chrome-plated, solid brass, triplever pop-up bath drain (which would cost about $400 were it still available). Fortunately, I watched the plumber closely and stopped him when he uncased a reciprocating saw. Rather than go to the store to buy a replacement washer, he intended to simply destroy the fixture and put in a cheap plastic one which he already had in his truck.
The servicepeople which the home warranty companies send out are the low bidders and they have little incentive to do what's best for the homeowner. The warranty company is really the client, not the homeowner. I think the fact that neither the ten home warranty companies contacted nor the National Home Service Contract Association chose to respond to Angie's List's interview requests speaks volumes about the character of the industry.

Karen

Subject:

AHS is just bad. We had a policy with them for one year. That was enough! We made two service calls and got no satisfaction either time. We never renewed and they call us constantly!

liz

Subject:

THANK YOU EVERYONE who wrote of their bad experiences with AHS. I too have had a policy for five years, which I used only three times for very minor repairs. Made me go look at the policy and inspiration to cancel it as the renewal date is next week ! I could have used the $2000 for other things .... now I need to set up a special savings account to put the monthly payment into to save for when I need to pay for the next repair.

gman863

Subject:

When I purchased my current home in 2007, I came with a warranty from American Home Shield (AHS).

The dishwasher and garage door opener were dead when I moved in. In both cases, I opted to take a lowball cash option offer (about $150 each, including installation) to buy and install quality replacements instead of going with a “builder grade” (read: junk) replacement item provided by AHS.

My AC system was another story: Pure Hell. Over two years, I had seven service calls due to system failure or water leaking from the condenser/blower unit in the attic.

In every case, AHS’ service providers treated me like a second-class citizen. Although paying customers were able to receive same-day service, I usually had to wait 2-3 days for a tech to show up. In every case, the tech jury-rigged the AC so it worked and told me that (although AHS would not pay for a new system), my condenser/blower unit was bad and gave me an unsolicited “estimate” of between $4000-$6000 to replace the unit out of my own pocket.

The final straw was when a tech “fixed” the unit by pulling burned wires and hooking up a Rube Goldberg system of external wires tied to an automotive fuse! I called a friend who is a certified AC tech in another state; he told me type of “repair” was a fire hazard waiting to happen!

Given the risk, I had the blower/condenser unit replaced at my own expense and got into a screaming match with AHS that lasted three weeks, ending up with me hiring an attorney. Although I am prohibited from stating the exact settlement I received from AHS after threatening to sue, it fell far short of my actual replacement cost.

The final irony is I never had the chance to contact AHS and tell them what bodily orifice they could stick their policy up. Immediately after my out of court settlement, they beat me to the punch by sending a notice that my policy would not be eligible for renewal.

Steve Griffing

Subject:

AHS has been worthless for us, too. The main issue is time: when you need a repair, you're at their mercy, and they're in no hurry.

We had a leak in our water heater that we discovered the night before we had to catch a plane for a week's vacation. AHS couldn't have cared less, and I had no choice but to hire my own man to do the repair the next morning.

After I cancelled my policy, AHS phoned me a couple of times a week for about a year trying to get me to renew. No chance!

I regret being stupid enough to insure depreciating assets such as home appliances. (That's like insuring the tires on your car.) Put the $400/yr. in a stable mutual fund - you'll be money ahead, and in control. The very concept of home warrantee is bogus, and they know it.

Jackie

Subject:

I signed up with Total Protect just last month. I have received mail about them for several years from my mortgage holder, Bank of America. I am located in Charlotte, NC. Has anyone in this area had any experience with Total Protect. (I signed up for the Total Protect Gold program. $49 per month; $75 service calls)

Terri Ogle

Subject:

I bought a home last year and at the suggestion of my real estate agent purchased a home warranty plan with Old Republic. My agent said he used to suggest AHS but had found there were a lot of complaints. I thoroughly read the details so I knew when I had to make calls for service what was and what was not covered. Every one of my service calls were handled smoothly by OR and the contractors were knowledgeable and prompt in resolving the issue. I had my dishwasher repaired, my refrigerator/freezer repaired, some plumbing and electrical issues. Thank goodness for the Home Warranty plan and that Old Republic customer service was so good and their networked contractors seem to be of a higher caliber than is reported here in this article. I paid $375 for the plan and $75 for each service call. I think it was money well spent and am very satisfied!

Cathy

Subject:

We've had a HW with First American for many years now. The first year we had the policy, our furnace had a gas leak in the middle of the coldest week in over 50 years. They fixed it in two days! We've used it numerous times since then, for repairs to our dishwasher, clothes drier, a ceiling fan, garbage disposal, and more. We don't use it every year, but some years we've had 2 - 3 calls; I figure that we've probably broken even over the years.

Mark

Subject:

I had a 1-year policy with American Home Shield (AHS) that came with the sale when I bought my renovated 1908 Craftsman home. I used their service twice to fix valves that had been installed backwards in the bathroom water fixtures. Other than that their service was a complete waste of $500/year. Each time I called about a problem having to do with faulty plumbing, electric, or faulty workmanship, AHS always found an excuse with the problem that disqualified it from their coverage plan. Each time I paid $60 for a plumber or electrician to come out only to tell me the problems were never covered by AHS. I decided to cancel the policy after 2 years but AHS made me pay for a 3rd year. Their services and policies are complete crap. Avoid them and go through your home owner's insurance or sock money away in an account earmarked for home maintenance & repairs.

Nancy

Subject:

I am a property manager for residential investment properties. I agree that people rarely get their money's worth from a home/service warranty. The vendors that my company uses provide better service and lower prices. My clients agree and those that have the home warranty let it expire and don't renew it; those that were considering this option never purchase one after I provide my opinion.

Shelley Butler

Subject:

AHS was the worst investment we have ever made. The service was terrible and the cost was worse. Filing a claim was a nightmare. Now we use Angie's List to get reputable, good service!

Chuck Barker

Subject:

After miserable results with the companies mentioned in these posts, last year I changed & now have Complete Appliance Protection. I researched all the best companies & found them to be the best and different in that there are no service fees I've had no problems nor calls yet, but those of you looking for something different could check them out.

bonnieburte

Subject:

Our house came with AHS warranty. I have kept it for over 10 years. I have learned to look up the companies they want to send out on Angie's list and any other site that rates companies. If I don't like the company they are going to send, I request another one on their list. Most times they have sent out OK to good repairmen. We did have one bad summer with an air conditioning problem. I had my maintenance people come out and tell me what was wrong,after a long problem with their company. When they sent out the new company, I was armed with info. and they paid the $900 repair. Ask for a supervisor and keep after them if you are not happy. Also, do look at what is covered before calling. So far, a few major repairs have made it worthwhile to keep the warranty.

Emmett Henderson

Subject:

I've had AHS basic warranties in the last 3 houses I've owned. There have been no problems with my current house but in Virginia Beach, the air conditioning seemed to need freon about every 6 months. The problem was that each time AHS was called, a different contractor was sent out. They all fixed the symptom, low freon, but didn't have the historical data to determine that I had a leak in the cooling system. A call to AHS to explain the problem resulted in a new contractor who did a complete system check. The contractor found the leak but the cost to replace the leaking component was almost as great as the cost of a total new system so AHS paid for a total replacement. All-in-all, I've been satisfied, but I read the fine print and know what I'm paying for. Most consumers do not, methinks.

Donald

Subject:

I am glad new laws prevent what were kick backs to real estate agents for referals. I have been a seller and buyer and did not want a warranty. As seller I offered the buyer the money, as buyer I offered to take half the money, but in both cases the real estate agent pushed a sale on the other party with scare tactics and promises of peace of mind and no worries. End result - two policies sold.

Barb

Subject:

We had American Home Shield for several years before not renewing. When our a/c compressor died, they insisted on ordering a replacement compressor from the factory which took 6 weeks. That meant no a/c for the total of 8 weeks from the time it broke until the time it was replaced. We also have a heat pump. When that quit working, they refused to even figure out what was wrong since we had a programmable thermostat that they claimed made the warranty void. I had to pay for a non-programmable thermostat to be installed. Their chosen contractor installed it wrong and burnt it up. They then had to install yet another thermostat and finally determine the heat pump was indeed broken and it wasn't the programmable thermostat! Altogether that took 4 weeks from beginning to end before the heat pump was repaired in the winter. That was 4 weeks without heat to the second floor.

I would never recommend AHS.

Robin Lake

Subject:

Interesting article, but not very helpful. Why not give us specifics as to what we should be looking for in a home warranty contract?

Marianne

Subject:

American Home Shield service has been good for several years but 6 weeks ago our dishwasher broke and it's still not working, this, after 5 technician visits and 2 parts orders. No one at AHS is riding herd on getting this fixed. No one stays in touch with me. I have to call in and find out what is going on. Each time a different rep answers and expresses concern; only one actually called me back to tell me parts are on order--now for 2 weeks.

Trish

Subject:

I currently have AHS and they are the absolute worse! My a/c went out last Wednesday. I called for services the same day and had to call AHS on Thursday night because I had not been contacted by the company assigned. I was finally contacted around 8:45 the same night and scheduled a tech to come out the next day between 10am-2pm. I took off work and waited in my home all day in the sweltering mini heat wave we're having in MD. By 2:30 I began calling the company to no avail. By 3:30 I reached the owner of company assigned. The owner told me he had already been to my home as I had a "blue Toyota" in the driveway. Well, I dive an Acura and my car was in the garage. The owner said he "tapped" on the door and did there was no response. I asked why he did not ring the doorbell...duh...it works! Needless to say I called AHS and they offered to find another company for emergency service on Saturday...yeah right. Of course they were unable to find a company that would come. So, I was assigned another company that I had to call on Tuesday evening because I had not heard from them. I was scheduled for a service call today, Wednesday 6/1 (an entire week from initial breakdown and missing another day of work) between 10a-2p. At 2:30p I started call the company again to no avail; then called AHM waited for 25 minutes for a service rep to share that the service tech has not yet shown up. AHS called the company and didn't get an answer at either number the company provided. However the AHS rep said she left a message asking that the company call me directly upon receiving the message. At 3:48p I called the company and spoke with someone that says I'm still on the schedule for a service call, even though it's almost 2 hours outside my window for service. I'm still waiting in the heat for a service call. I will not be renewing with AHS! They have refused two other plumbing service calls. I'm very leery about the impending a/c service.

unskinator

Subject: Service

You get what you pay for. Sorry you had to suffer in the heat. If that is the worst problem you have then life is good.

Loretta

Subject:

My experiences with home warranties has only been with American Home Shield. When I got them 10 years ago, they were the best. I felt great about not having to worry about repairs on the home I bought that was already 14 years old. In recent years though, AHS service has steadily eroded. I'm currently looking for a new warranty company, but may be stuck with these guys. If I renew with AHS, it will be for the minimum and I'll look for other coverage on issues relating to plumbing and garage doors. AHS does not give quality service, but it's better than nothing I suppose.

Jackie

Subject:

We just signed up with Total Protect this month. We received flyers from Bank of America for several years and decided to give them a try. NOW, I'm really worried. Anyone else in Charlotte used Total Protect currently or in the past?

patricia

Subject:

Have had AHS for years. Many times I've had to pay $60 for a repair person who told me that he can't fix it, because it isn't covered or is only partially covered. Lousy system, call someone and he goes away without fixing the problem.

Sue

Subject:

How ironic you're running this piece now. After investing in our AHS policy for years and still having subpar a/c guys out to our home repeatedly over the summer (4-5 times) bandaiding the thing, we finally got smart. The new a/c guy is here analyzing the situation. At least I got smart and am spending my money toward resolving the problem.

Mary

Subject:

The home warranty that came with our house purchase (can't remember the name) was a disaster. They wouldn't pay for two plumbing problems saying they were "pre-existing conditions". We switched to American Home Shield three years ago and so far, have been satisfied. I am a senior citizen on a limited income and a $60 co-pay is much easier to pay than a several hundred dollar repair bill.

Peggy Adams

Subject:

This could not have come at a better time! I just finished dealing with American Home Shield for the replacement of a compressor for the outside unit of my heatpump. I reported the problem on the 13th of May, the contractor contacted me that afternoon and set up an appointment for the 16th, which they kept. He diagnosed the problem which was the compressor was not working and needed to be replaced. He said he had to call in the information to AHS that afternoon and they would send the replacement compressor to the contractor. That week was quite chilly so I had to order another tank of propane to use my fireplace to take the chill off the living area, plus I had to put extra blankets on my bed. I received a call on Thursday, the 18th from a gentleman at AHS who told me there would be extra charges associated with the repairs. They would not pay for the capture and return of the Freon, plus there was another charge for the "carry off" of the broken compressor. He also told me the work would be completed on either Monday or Tuesday of the following week (23rd or 24th). Monday morning I called the contractor to set up an appointment for Tuesday because I had doctor's appointments on Monday. I couldn't get through to the contractor, even though I called every half hour for two hours prior to departing for my appointments. When I returned at noon, the contractor's secretary had left a message that she had "just received" my message (at 1138am) and that the earliest they could get to me would be Thursday. I called AHS to find out why my work order didn't take priority over any new ones going to that contractor. The contractor's sec. didn't say a word about parts being received or not being received. The lady I talked with at AHS on the 26th checked records, then called the contractor. She called me back and told me one part had come in but the second part had not. (When the workers came yesterday, they only unboxed one part, so I'm skeptical about the one and two part story). Anyway, she also told me that the part was only supposed to be shipped that Monday or Tuesday, not installed on those dates! I spent the Memorial Day weekend trying to find the coolest place to pass the time since the temperature inside my home was 87 degrees. I knew I'd get nothing from the contractor on the holiday so I called their office Tuesday morning (yesterday) to see if the part had been delivered. It had, and they said they'd be over after lunch to install the compressor. I watched them install it to make sure they did a good job and were conscientious with their work. The contractor told me that if he could have purchased the part from the Carrier distributor in the next town, he could have installed it the day after he diagnosed the problem. He also told me that AHS shipped the compressor FREIGHT, which he did not understand. I've been upset for 2 1/2 weeks due to the poor customer service from AHS. They cared not one iota that a customer was freezing or sweatinig to death, both of which happened to me during the 2 1/2 weeks I waited to have the compressor installed. I tend to agree with those in the article that say a home warranty is a waste of money. I'm very disappointed in AHS and in the contractor because neither business kept me informed of the situation or the status of the order. When my policy is up for renewal with AHS, it will NOT be renewed. I pay almost $500 per year with a $60 dollar charge for each service call. I expected better service with my A/C problem.

Cari Chenkin

Subject:

I have a policy with Old Republic, and I've used it 3 times, with very good results! The 1st year, my realtor who sold me my home paid for the policy as a housewarming gift. I have since renewed the policy myself, cost around $360/year and I find it well worth it. Old Republic has been very easy and friendly to work with, and the contractors they've sent have been reliable and professional.

royalfuzziness

Subject:

Good to about USAA because i may be changing my car insurance.

Ashley

Subject:

I had the seller give me the warranty. They don't cover anything. The contractor quoted me $8000 to replace my whole HVAC system. The electrician told me he doesn't go in attics after 10 AM and never checked the breaker box wiring outside. WASTE OF MONEY!

Angie's List Staff

Subject:

Hi everyone. Thanks for the feedback. For those of you who said you had unsatisfactory experiences with your home warranty company, if you submit a report on your experience, our Complaint Resolution team may be able to help.

David Eastlund

Subject:

Well I have had AHS for nearly 10 years and really have no complaints. They have been out more times than I can count including major AC/Furnace work. When they can't get an item fixed, they will usually provide a stipend on a new item and very good discounts on major appliances through special vendor deals. Honestly they are Awesome!

Corie

Subject:

I bought a home warranty when I bought a home the other year. It has been a pain. I had problems because the warranty company was not paying the service company and they called me looking for the money. I had my water heater replaced that they are supposed to send me a reimbursement check. They said it would take 6-8 weeks. It's been 5 months and I am still waiting and paying interest on my credit card. I also requested to have a plumbing company come out again to do another job, but since my warranty company didn't pay them from the first job that they did the month before that, I couldn't get them to come out. The plumbing company was nothing but cooperative, my warranty company was not.

Phil

Subject:

I've had it on two different homes because both time the buyer offered it as part of the deal.

On the first house, a 1920s bungalow, it was a waste of money. By definition, almost everything in the house was 'old'. When the built in floor heater's thermocoupler died, the service rep declined the claim saying that it was dusty and therefore not covered. Outrageous.

On my more recent home with modern appliances, I filed a claim for a built in cooking vent and the guy who fixed it with no problem despite the fact that it was a custom order part and took him 3 days to complete the job.

Overall, I think the experience had more to do with the personalities of the contractor sent. In the first case, the guy came, seemed upset to even be there, insisted on getting the $50 fee upfront, and then spent about 3 minutes looking at the unit before declining the order. Was probably on location for 10 minutes total. I'm sure the insurance company 'loves' him as he keeps the costs down. The second time around, the contractor completely examined the unit before even requesting the $50 upfront fee. Was courteous and through.

All that said, I did not nor would not purchase it for myself. I used it for the 1 year it existed because it was 'part of the deal', but let it expire and have been plenty happy with that decision.

As the articles states, it's pretty much a 'feel-good / anti-liability' product for the seller of a property. The real estate agents LOVE it because if there's a problem with the place after purchase (which there always will be), they can say "talk to the insurance company" instead of "talk to me or my seller"

Lisa Berger

Subject:

I have had AHS for many years, ever since I paid more than $800 for a new water heater while my neighbor paid only the then-$35 fee for AHS. It has been a mixed bag in terms of value. For small repairs, such as leaking plumbing, a glitchy appliance or garage door, etc., it is a good deal. Most of the contractors are at least competent, and many are terrific. I have always been contacted within 24 hours, perhaps because I am in the Los Angeles area. Larger items can be a challenge, however. The contractors seems to be trained to try and palm off any repair as due to a lack of maintenance, taking it outside the contract. The appeal process is generally successful but time-consuming and annoying. The best example is my HVAC, installed in 1980. It needed constant service due to coolant leaks and general age. Over the years, AHS practically rebuilt it (new compressor, fan, heating coil) while I had to rely on fans or space heaters during the repairs. I successfully appealed denials several times before I finally accepted the fact they were never going to replace the unit and I did it myself. Have I gotten value for my premiums? Some years yes, some years no. When it works--usually with smaller repairs--it is great.

Mike

Subject:

I am a HVAC contractor that will not do business with the home warranty companies. In the past, I have worked at places that did do warranty work. The standing order was to do whatever was possible to deny the claim and then to offer repairs at the companies own rates. Another tactic the warranty contractors use is to delay service over many days by claiming to order parts that are usually on hand at local suppliers. The more reputable contractors don't handle warranties because the warranty company does not pay the contractor enough to make a profit. I get quiet a few calls from homeowners and property managers that are fed up with the hassles and want repairs done now. It's also interesting the number of Real Estate people I do business with will not use the home warranty companies for their own homes.

Asobinin

Subject:

I purchased a First American Home Warranty with our first (and current) home. The key thing is that it does provide peace of mind after such a huge investment of cash in purchasing the house. You just want to do what you can to manage risk. And it was $245 at the time. I continued it for another five years, using it 3 times for minor stuff, and 1 time for a potentially expensive pipe leak repair and drywall patch. The contractors weren't memorable, but all did their jobs. The policies are limited and you usually pick up on that with your first call. I didn't feel scammed, though. I just decided I could take what was now $400/yr and use it for other things.

gene jacobson

Subject:

What annoys me about these companies is that I get solicited by them through my mortgage company which includes their literature in my monthly statement. But disavows any connection, though they would collect the fee as an add on to my mortgage payment. EVERY company they've recommended I have checked through the BBB and found NONE of them to be worth anything. And if you go to a place like Rip Off Report, you'll find horror stories galore. I think they are a complete waste of money, better to save and prepare than expect quality service and actual replacement of entire service systems.

Les

Subject:

Your article neglects to mention that American Home Shield has been named in several class action suits in the past few years, and yet realtors continue to recommend them as a CYA? That's just wrong.

Stan P

Subject:

After purchasing a home warranty through my mortgage company, HSBC, I thought it was a good idea to guard against major expenses. After paying for several years of service, I had my refrigerator stop cooling on the Friday of a holiday weekend. Although the conditions of the warranty language stated someone would be dispatched within 24 hours, when I called the emergency number, I was told no one could come out until Tuesday. When I contacted both HSBC and Home Sure of America to request cancellation and return of premiums paid for their violation of the terms of the agreement, HSBC ignored the letter and continued to bill me and Home Sure refused to return premiums for which they provided no service when requested. Letters to the attorney general of both NY and Florida were useless. Fortunately, I found a repairman on Angie's List and he had the refrigerator working within 45 minutes after I called.

Sheila

Subject:

I have Old Republic and they have covered everything that has gone awry in my 35 year old home, including replacing a new air conditioning unit. However, it took a heck of a lot of negotiation and a lot of hassle to get them to agree to full coverage of some things. The cost of their policy for me is close to $400, and I don't have any add ons since the A/C has been replaced. I'm actually thinking of dropping them this year. My water heater is due to go out next, but I figure I've paid out close to $4500, including service calls, so I'm at my break even point.

Bob

Subject:

I have the warranty because I need the help negotiating with service people who always want to sell you a new AC. It is a hassle and takes too long, but saves money

Mary Newton

Subject:

A few years ago Sears offered a home warranty backed by USAA Insurance Co. I bought it because of USAA's excellent reputation (not Sears'). My water heater rusted out and Sears called it a "plumbing problem" and refused to do anything and charged me $50 for a service call. I complained to USAA headquarters,and the next day Sears brought out a new water heater and installed it in my house for no charge. Hooray for USAA!

WARDELL HOLLIS JR.

Subject:

I HAD TOTAL PROTECT HOME WARRANTY, BUT RECENTLY SWITCHED TO AMERICAN HOME SHIELD. HAD ONE REPAIR WITH TOTAL PROTECT GETTING THE WASHER REPAIRED AND THEY MADE THE REPAIR IMMEDIATELY. OF COURSE MY HOME IS 5 YEARS OLD.

patricia Arnold

Subject:

I have been with American Home Shield for 3 years. the only complaint I have is if something breaks on a Friday like your hot water heater or AC, you won't get service until Monday. If it is a holiday weekend, you won't see anyone until Tuesday. My AC went out on a Saturday and the company assigned to me was not open for business until Tuesday. since it was almost 100 degrees, I did not want to wait that long, so I paid out of pocket for an independent repair service.

art wegweiser

Subject:

Any organization that refuses to answer a reasonable inquiry about their products or services should be avoided and told directly why - even if one is not currently looking for their product or service. If enough people do this they will get the message about being polite and not rude. It's an early warning signal
about the quality of that business.

Ruthe

Subject:

you must establish a relationship with legitimate contractors (Angies List) and use them. I have rental houses and I know how important this is.

B Rodis

Subject:

We have had American Home Shield for almost 15 years. We have had minimum amount of problems. It is rare that I haven't gotten back at least as much as I have paid into the program. They require you to show that you have kept your systems up to date (yearly maintenance proof for AC for example), but they have taken care of every problem. Our biggest problem is that they do not have service people in Pleasanton. I am able to hire a local contractor and pay the contractor and AHS pays me back. AHS has 24 hours to find someone and then I am able to find a local person. We haven't had any problems with the reimbursement as we carefully have followed the AHS rules. We have the enhanced coverage where they cover usual stuff as well as stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, installed microwave, washer, dryer, etc. My appliances are old and they either replace or repair. I know that when my AC units go out I will have to pay some amounts, but I have spoken with rep and know what my coverage will be. Communication is key--talk with the various companies before you commit.

Karen Robbins

Subject:

I had a warranty from American Home Shield, a company as disappointing as it could be. My warranty cost nearly $600/year with a service call price of $55. Technicians sent by AHS did everything possible to refuse to render service, including claim "improper installation" of an item not even related to the repair. They broke a major appliance--of the repair company's own brand!--that I had to replace for six times the amount AHS would give me. And under AHS' own emergency standards, could not repair my furnace for days during an unusually cold spell. One AHS plumber lied to me and tried to collect additional funds on the side, and was so incompetent that he actually had no idea how to fix the problem. I knew the solution but he did not agree, showing both disrespect and ignorance. My actual cost for that repair, by an excellent plumber who came independently to the same diagnosis as I did, was thousands. Overall, technicians sent by AHS had far less experience, skill, and ability than those with high recommendations on Angie's List. Not to mention that AHS threatened me with collection AFTER a dispute already had been resolved. If I still used AHS and could rate them, I'd give them an F. Home warranties simply aren't worth the paper on which they're printed.

Robin McBee

Subject:

I have 2-10 Home Warranty, and I have generally been quite satisfied with their contractors and the value I get for what I pay annually. I have even added some of their contractors to my list of go-to's because I was satisfied with their work. My house was a newly constructed house, so all appliances and systems were new, but over the last 7+ years, there have been equipment failures, and for the most part 2-10 has responded quickly and according to the coverage and what I expected. It has definitely been worth the annual investment.

Peter Joyce

Subject:

One point you do not make is that many home warranty companies nearly double the price if the home has an area of over 5,000 square feet - even if it is only just over that size. And the service does not improve for the additional cost. I long ago stopped using these companies.

Becki Towns (Goode)

Subject:

I had a HOW with AHS for 10+ years and paid extra for A/C coverage, but when my A/C went out they would not cover anything because I could not show proof the unit was serviced annually. It was in fact serviced by a friend of our family every spring. When I had the unit replaced, the service tech told me my Trane was installed improperly and resulted in failure after 5 years. This had nothing to do with maintaining the unit. I canceled my HOW with AHS and will never throw my hard earned $ away on a useless warranty. Now, I save what I would normally be paying into them, so I will have an emergency fund should anything major happen in the future.

Spyrka Electric

Subject:

This article was very informative for clients and contractors working in the service related fields. We are a service based electrical company and have worked with home warranty companies in the past. Cost is a major factor in all work being performed. We want to maintain a working relationship with our clients and with such restrictions it can cause friction at time of service.

Jim Greene

Subject:

I have had Total Protect Home warranty for about 10 years now. I have been plagued with Air conditioning woes for that long as well. It seems that the start of every Summer and Winter, my unit fails and its always a parts replacement. Each time, the repair companies that come out say that the unit should be replaced but the Warranty company would NEVER allow that to happen. So... Am I really coming out ahead? I pay $45.00 monthly PLUS a $95.00 deductible. I'm afraid to do the math.

Kelly Rydlund

Subject:

I rent my old house out and had a contract with American Home Shield. They were terrible. I had a heater issue and they went out and there contrator told me I needed a new furnace and work to the tune of 6000.00. The house was 9 years old. I obtained a 2nd opinion from the company I worked with in the past and I had a 280.00 repair. 3 years later all is fine. Also, the heater replacement wasn't going to be covered for some reason. The exact reason I don't recall anymore but my opinion was these warranties are of very limited value. I paid far more than I got and when a significant problem occurred, it wasn't covered.

Terri D

Subject:

We have American Home Shield, and overall they have been pretty good with us. We have had our compressor replaced and pool pump repaired. We had a freon leak from our A/C unit outside, and then a storm knocked out some switches in the garage, all of which were repaired or replaced with no problem. Our service fee is $60.00 and we pay 63.50 per month. Everything is covered with the exception of our stand alone freezer in the garage which they do not cover stand alone feezers. Sometimes they try new repair companies. The latest one they sent out for our pool pump, I was not impressed with and I requested they send the repair crew from Paradise Pools that had been servicing our equipment previously and that was not a problem. So far, I have had little problem with AHS home warranty, although I understand other folks have. I would like to hear any feedback anyone may have on this issue. Thanks!

Herb Rivera

Subject:

I've had have 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty for 2 years and they charge $100.00 per visit. So far, no REAL problems but there is a disconnect in their customer service who do not provide follow up. Some of their contractors are shady but if you do your homework and use BBB in your argument, they usually change out contractors.

Tom Brenner

Subject:

I believe that article was good in that it highlighted problems with warranty companies.
I previously had American Home Shield. I believe they had more ways to keep from paying claims than Carter has little pills. Having a warranty just creates a false sense of security. A company may fix a small problem so you will not drop the warranty, but when a big problem arises, it is a different story. The only good warranty would be one that covered all appliances without exception.

Jenn G

Subject:

I bought my house in July and it came with an American Home Shield warranty. I've had to call them three times in the past year and each time, they've not covered the work for one reason or another. I don't feel it's worth it and the service with both the contractor they called and with AHS customer service was subpar to say the least. I won't be renewing my warranty.

bbains

Subject:

I had a warranty with AHS for a couple of years. I paid $500-600 per year with a $50 service fee. I used thema few times, and I was happy overall with them and the contractors they sent out. I stopped using them only because I felt I could make better use of the money myself. I now make regular, automated transfers into a savings account that is specifically for home repairs and maintenance. Couldn't be happier with the decision. This year I found some water damage to my home's stucco exterior that was caused by a failed piece of flashing. My homeowner's insurance wouldn't cover it, and it's outside the coverage of my former home warranty too. Because of the forced savings, I have the funds to pay for the repairs without impacting my day-to-day finances.

Paul England

Subject:

I use a home warranty the first year that I purchase a home to share the increased risk of failed equipment or hidden damage. As a homeowner, I set aside funds for repairs during the following years. It is expensive to share the risk with a profit making company. If you prefer to self insure, then be diligent about saving for repairs that come on their own schedule. The premiums are high because the risks are high. Read the policy and hold the contractors to the standards. If you by an HMO equivalent, do not expect PPO service.

C McFarland

Subject:

I had a home warranty after purchasing a house and I was really glad that I had not directly paid any money for the warranty (seller included it as a bonus). There were never any contractors available in our area. In order to have a claim paid, you had to call the warranty company. They then had 24 hours to get a contractor to call you (they would not tell you who would be calling or when). So even if you had no heat in the winter, you had to wait 24 hours. The three times I used the warranty, no one ever called within the 24 hours. So I had to call the warranty company back. Then the have 48 hours to find someone else. Twice that company called to say that they did not service our area. This was a ridiculous waste of time and money. We did have one successful service from the warranty but we basically had to call the company and say that we feared that our house would catch on fire and burn down due to an electrical problem for them to send someone any more quickly than a week after we called. I will never buy a home warranty and I would certainly not consider having one included in the sale of a home a bonus.

Elizabeth Lichter

Subject:

Last year, when I was researching home warranty companies, I couldn't find any listed on Angie's list. One of your researchers gave me some names that he'd looked up in the Better Business Bureau. I chose a local company, American Masters Warranties, and was very happy at first, despite the cost ($600/year, $100 per repair). but now, it's harder to get them to come and one repair, promised since last August, has still not been done.

Glenn Ratchford

Subject:

Probably better to put that money to the side for unexpected home expenses--especially if you're just getting the warranty for piece of mind. I've always felt that warranties are a big money maker for people other than homeowners. Just another scam. Yes, I've had a few of them myself and have really never had a need to use the service. Many of these companies bank on the fact that customers rarely read the agreements and always seem to put the blame back on the homeowner. That seems to be standard operating procedure for many of these companies.

Lawrence Bukovey

Subject:

American Preferred Home Warranty, Inc lets the owner choose their own contractors. I think they are the only warranty company that permits owners to choose who works on their home.

Joseph M. Hazen

Subject: Hvac

Im contractor who and unfortunately know most HWC agenda. They want every thing fixed cheap, even temporary repairs or most allow used parts. I recently put my license and trust in these companies with a partner. Now I've find they had inside contacts who in which allowed and continues to allow them to contract. The price agreement sheets that were fradulantly accepted would turn any business upside down in a couple months. The money is made by charging customers for covered item by simply rewarding or threaten that their contract will be cancelled. I've been trying to work on getting contracts,agreements, scope of work n claims against a lic. I didn't know was being use. They are corrupt

Joseph M. Hazen

Subject: Hvac

Im contractor who and unfortunately know most HWC agenda. They want every thing fixed cheap, even temporary repairs or most allow used parts. I recently put my license and trust in these companies with a partner. Now I've find they had inside contacts who in which allowed and continues to allow them to contract. The price agreement sheets that were fradulantly accepted would turn any business upside down in a couple months. The money is made by charging customers for covered item by simply rewarding or threaten that their contract will be cancelled. I've been trying to work on getting contracts,agreements, scope of work n claims against a lic. I didn't know was being use. They are corrupt

Jaime

Subject:

We had American Home Shield when we purchased our home. In the first year our furnace broke and needed to be replaced, we thought they did an OK job until we had to replace the AC unit 5 years later. There were so many completely hidden code violations (including laying the electrical wires on a steel plate directly on top of the furnace burners) that we are lucky that the whole thing didn't explode and kill someone. Not surprisingly he did not pull a permit (as required by my city) and when the city tried to go after the contractor he was no longer in business. These are a complete waste of money and in our case could have even killed us. When we reached out to AHS when we discovered these issues they responded with the stock line of "we hire certified and insured contractors." and didn't offer us any kind of help or compensation, they totally brushed off the fact that the contractor that THEY had sent to my house could have killed my family.

Admiral WImberley

Subject: Broken Furnace

Similar if not the same . I bought my home a few months ago and when it started raining it leak in through the poor job of the furnace company who installed the unit and soaked all throughout the furnace now the company is saying the warranty is nontransferable and they dont want to replace it . Now i dont know what to do

Melyssa

Subject:

I think home warranties are a very good idea for older homes purchased via a short sale or in foreclosure, like ours, but might be wasted money for a newer house. We've had a good experience so far with American Home Shield. Our hot water heater needed replacing one month after we moved in, and it was great to pay only $60 for that! We've also needed to replace our air conditioner and our pool pump, and had no problems with either. I think AHS is one of the good companies. If your major appliances and systems are old and you would have a hard time paying out-of-pocket for a major repair, a home warranty can be a lifesaver.

Lisa Hall

Subject: Home warranties

You need to watch the warranties.They will say the cover pre-existing,lack of maintenance or unknown conditions on 1 page.The next page will say the don`t cover that.I have been fighting with the HSA company everytime i put in a claim

Paloma Miller

Subject:

I purchased the home warranty a few months ago and find I will have to file a claim because my oven broke a few days ago. After reading the article I am really dreading making that call.

Cindy Brock

Subject:

I have Old Republic and my annual fee has NEVER been as low as $375 (as quoted above). In fact, I pay close to $500 with a $75 service fee. I've only filed 1 claim in 6 years so you would think my premium go down; however, it hasn’t.

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I appreciate the fact that with homeowners like you who want to beat the insurance co out of deductibles, so then my rates and every other homeowners rates can also go up just to save you.....Thanks for NOTHING..[8o|]
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