Jesse Jones

Are home warranties worth it?

Watching folks wait weeks to get their air conditioners repaired during this hot summer, Nathaniel White thought he was making a smart move getting his wall heater repaired months before the fall.

“It has electricity going to it, but the heater itself is burned out,” said White.

The problem is the Parkland resident said he’s getting the chill from his home warranty company.

“Since I’m paying them $64 every month, I expect them to have someone to come out and attend to their obligation,” he said.

White has been waiting weeks for a repair or replacement, and he blames it on his home warranty company, American Home Shield.

Home warranties can run from a couple hundred to nearly $2,000 a year. They can cover the repair or replacement of your major appliances. But are they worth it?

“They’re almost always a terrible deal for most homeowners who buy them,” said Kevin Brasler, with the nonprofit Consumers’ Checkbook.

Brasler has studied many of these plans. His biggest issue with any and all warranty companies is that they — the consumer — get to pick the contractor.

“Called the 20 top-rated heating and air conditioning places and asked them are these, do you work with these companies? They unanimously said no,” said Brasler.

Brasler warns to watch out for exclusions and repair and replacement caps too — especially with air conditioners and furnaces.

“But they cap the benefit at about $1,500,” said Brasler. “So if your furnace dies or your heat pump dies, they’ll pay for part of the replacement but really not nearly enough to where you think you’ve got total protection from a plan.”

However, Bailey Carson from Angi, said home warranties are a great idea if you buy a home without an inspection or are a first-time buyer without deep pockets.

“It has been such a seller’s market that it’s been relatively common to waive home inspections,” said Carson. “If you haven’t had an inspection, a warranty could be really smart. Because you’re sort of going into it blind and don’t know the state of things.”

White paid $75 just to get someone to look at the heater. The first visit went fine. But the wait was long for the replacement.

But White said after waiting a few days more, he got a call back — and a new heater.

American Home Shield blames the delays on supply chain issues and the weather. It stated:

“During this time, our contractor, a small business owner, shared that he was managing overwhelming demand for air conditioning repairs during the record-breaking heatwave and failed to reach out to reschedule the installation.”

In this blast furnace of a summer, White feels great now that the heat is on.

“I feel much better that it’s been installed,” he said.

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