HVAC Home Warranties seem like a good protection plan for homeowners that they avail of it to avoid unplanned repair or replacement expenses. However, not every home warranty meets the needs of homeowners. Usually, this is something that they inherit from a previous homeowner who would like to guarantee the condition of the equipment and systems in the home that they are selling. Some homeowners on the other hand avail of it for themselves, to prevent unforeseen expenses. This article will discuss the pros and cons of home warranties, and what homeowners need to know before purchasing one.
For instance, there are a lot of complaints about home warranties, especially concerning the HVAC system. Most homeowners would say that the home warranty falls short of their expected coverage and that they end up frustrated after seeking to get their expenses covered only to end up shelling out money to keep their HVAC at home running optimally.
Industry experts explain that to avoid disappointment, homeowners should instead look at home warranties as a discount plan rather than complete equipment insurance coverage. It is never the same, and if only homeowners would carefully read the fine print, they will discover that most of their expectations when it comes to home warranties are not at all in line with what it is. Here are some of the facts involving home warranties that cover HVAC issues:
Home warranty companies have a list of approved HVAC service providers.
Homeowners do not have the option of choosing the HVAC repair company that will service their air conditioner or heat pump. Usually, they choose newer, less experienced companies that charge less for labor compared to trusted local HVAC repair experts.
When repairs are carried out by less experienced technicians, it is likely that they are not as efficient as their expert counterparts. They take longer to diagnose issues and can make mistakes when it comes to repair or installation. While mistakes are few and far in between, they can still happen, and it is very inconvenient if it happens to one’s household.
The homeowner cannot choose to replace an HVAC system or its mechanical part
The home warranty company has the sole discretion if the damaged mechanical part or the HVAC system itself will be replaced or repaired. Most choose repairs over replacements since repairs appear to be much cheaper. Frequent repairs though are inconvenient to the homeowner. Failing systems and mechanisms are also less energy efficient, costing the homeowner more when it comes to utility bills.
If and when it is really necessary to replace the HVAC unit, most home warranty providers choose the cheapest unit in the market. While this sounds like a practical decision for them, it is bad news for the homeowner since most cheap units are less energy efficient. Overly-affordable HVAC systems also have a relatively shorter lifespan than high-quality units since higher-quality air conditioners and heat pumps are less prone to wear and tear, and are made of heavy-duty parts and mechanisms.
The truth: home warranties do not cover everything
Homeowners should make it a habit to read fine prints, especially when it comes to insurance coverages and paid-up warranties. Knowing the provisions and exact coverage helps any homeowner decide whether to avail of such a home warranty or not.
Home appliances that are usually covered by home warranties
Home appliances and systems typically covered by home warranties include heat pumps, furnaces, air conditioning units, mini split systems, centralized air conditioners, and major appliances like refrigerators, water heaters, and stoves. As for systems, home warranties usually cover plumbing and electrical systems.
Home warranties do not cover weather-related HVAC damage
Homeowners should keep in mind that home warranties do not cover repairs that are due to weather or climate-related HVAC damage. For instance, if an HVAC system fails due to flood damage because of hurricanes, home warranties will not cover repairs or replacements. This is usually indicated in the fine print, which most homeowners fail to read and consider. Homeowners however can take a chance on their home insurance, and see whether the weather-related HVAC damage can be covered by the home insurance policy.
Apart from flooding, damage due to fallen trees due to inclement weather is also not covered by home warranties. Usually, though, the home insurance covers these unexpected damages so better check out its provisions.
Home warranty requires routine HVAC care and maintenance
Since HVAC maintenance is key in ensuring the optimal condition and longevity of an HVAC system, home warranty providers require that homeowners regularly maintain their units. Ill-maintained or those that are not professionally maintained at all do not get covered by home warranties, since that is considered neglect. To assist in avoiding a warranty claim, please remember to change your indoor air filters. Here is a guide on how to change indoor AC and furnace air filters. Again, these are all indicated in the fine print of the home warranty provisions.
To ensure the upkeep of the HVAC system, homeowners may opt to avail of HVAC service contracts that guarantee scheduled maintenance and tune-up of HVAC units at least twice a year. Such service contracts also come with parts and supplies discounts and waived emergency servicing surcharges.
There may be insurance coverage from other sources
Homeowners may also double-check insurance coverage for the HVAC units from other sources. These sources include the homeowner’s insurance, which usually covers unexpected damage. Sometimes, inclement weather can cause severe damage to HVAC units so replacement is necessary. In such cases, homeowners can check if their existing homeowner’s insurance could cover a possible replacement.
HVAC damage due to home fire, vandalism, or water break is also usually covered by a home insurance policy. Take a look at the policy coverage or fine print or double-check with the insurance agent.
Brand new heaters and air conditioners meanwhile come with a manufacturer’s insurance. These usually cover parts, repairs, and replacement within a specific period. Take a look at what is covered and what is not. Craftsmanship warranty is also another consideration, usually provided by the AC company that provided installation and major servicing of the HVAC unit. Usually, they guarantee their work, and if something comes up within a specific period, the homeowner can lean on the craftsmanship warranty to cover the expenses.
Unmet conditions may mean a home warranty will not cover the repair or replacement
It is also possible that if the conditions stated in the fine print of a home warranty are not met, then they will not provide the repair or replacement they have otherwise guaranteed. Usually, the conditions include proof of routine maintenance, co-pay in the repair or replacement, or diagnostic servicing. Failure to meet these conditions could mean frustrations for the homeowner.
It is also possible that if the problem takes too long to get fixed due to contractor availability, the company could just give the homeowner a payout to choose his own repair company and negotiate the repair cost. This usually occurs during peak heating or air conditioning season, when most “affordable” HVAC contractors accredited by home warranty companies are too swamped to service home warranty holders.
While the payout seems logical, the homeowner gets shortchanged still since the home warranty provider hardly covers all the repair costs, and usually just gives out 1/3 of the amount needed to resolve the claim.
Expert HVAC Repair is within reach
If you are still weighing the pros and cons of getting a home warranty for your existing HVAC issues, assess the advantages and benefits and read up on the fine print.
When it comes to HVAC-specific concerns, it may be better to just avail of an HVAC servicing plan that guarantees maintenance and professional upkeep of the HVAC unit. This service contract, complemented by an HVAC manufacturer’s warranty could be even better than availing of a home warranty that hardly covers hardcore HVAC issues. We at Reliable Standard Heating and Air will be more than happy to explain all these to you and provide your HVAC repair and servicing needs. Call us up today!