Home Warranties for Seniors
When seniors choose to stay in their homes as they get older or they choose to invest in a smaller space, they may want to consider a home warranty. Home warranties can be bought at the time of closing or anytime while you’re living in the home.
Why Do I Need a Home Warranty?
Some people may question why they need a home warranty when they have homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance covers circumstances that may happen, like a fire or a flood while a home warranty will cover things that most likely will happen, like a plumbing problem or a heating malfunction.
Home warranties for seniors are a good idea because many times seniors are no longer equipped to handle these types of situations on their own. A home warranty provides peace of mind that these emergencies can be handled by a professional in a timely manner.
What Do Home Warranties Usually Cover?
While the fine print in home warranties may differ, they typically cover the following items:
- Plumbing systems
- Electrical wiring
- Heating & air conditioning systems/ductwork
They may also cover some appliance problems that involve dishwashers, ovens, water heaters, and garbage disposals.
While home warranties can cover the above issues, it’s important to note that many home warranties have a cap for what they cover. A home warranty may cap the cost to repair an HVAC system at $1,500 while the full cost may be much more than that. When these situations arise, the warranty will cover as much as it can, and the customer would be responsible for paying the balance.
How Much Do Home Warranties Cost?
While all home warranties may vary in cost, the basic ones will typically run $300-$400. The cost of a home warranty will depend on:
- Extent of coverage
- Type of plan
- Additional benefits/services
- Size of the home
The less you spend on a warranty, the less coverage you will typically have. Many homeowner warranties may also offer package upgrades that can increase the cost of the warranty to anywhere between $500-$1,000. While warranties will cover repairs, the homeowner is also usually responsible for a copayment for service calls that can cost about $60.
You can usually choose to break up the yearly payment into twelve monthly installments or pay the total cost up front and avoid monthly processing fees.
How Should I Choose a Homeowner Warranty?
As with anything else, you want to do your homework about the company you’re choosing. This includes checking for reviews and complaints as well as reading the fine print on any contracts. Narrowing the field down to a couple that you can request quotes from is a good idea. See what each company is offering for what price so that you can compare.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Home Warranty?
A home warranty is similar to insurance in that, if you need to rely on it, it’s there. For seniors who may not want to deal with the burden of high repair costs, a home warranty makes perfect sense. There is protection in place to help fix a broken furnace or electrical problem or other issues that may come up.
Many people may shy away from home warranties because they view them as being wasteful if they’re not used. But, when they are needed, they come in handy and can save the homeowner hundreds of dollars. For seniors living on their own with little or no access to repair companies, a home warranty makes practical sense. They can usually get a problem addressed with one phone call versus taking the time to track down multiple contractors.
Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Home Warranty
Before agreeing to a home warranty, it’s important to ask several questions. Consider these:
Are There Any Exclusions or Limits to the Warranty?
You’ll want to know if any problems are not included and what the limits are to the items that are included. This refers to caps in coverage and any items that will not be covered under any circumstances.
What Are the Annual Costs and Service Call Fees?
Since many seniors are on a budget, it’s important to factor in the annual cost of the warranty as well as any service call fees. Knowing this up front will help determine if a home warranty is affordable for you.
What Contractors Are Used?
You want to make sure the companies that are used are fully licensed and insured. You can ask for a list of contractors that are called so that you can do your independent research. You can see for yourself if the contractor is licensed and look at any online reviews. If you don’t like what you see, it may be a good idea to consider another home warranty company.
In the end, a home warranty can provide peace of mind and make it easier to get a problem in the home fixed quickly when it arises. It’s important to look into all companies and see what home warranty is best for you.