A home warranty plan can offer some great benefits to a renter, but only if the plan is any good. This means that it might be prudent to pay a little bit more for your lease and get the protection included. However, you should remember that this plan only costs about $300-600 yearly, so any added cost must be proportionate.
Take your time to study the coverage plan word by word. Many of the contracts in this industry are rather bad and riddled with loopholes which enable the warranty provider to avoid making the payments they owe. Depending upon the terms of your lease, the cost of repair might fall onto you in this case, which is definitely something to avoid.
How a Home Warranty Plan Benefits the Renter
Many landlords are not happy to pay for appliance repair, so even talking to them about it can be unpleasant. You should also be prepared for a long wait because people with this attitude usually aren’t in a hurry to get the issue fixed. Therefore you’ll have to revisit that unpleasant conversation several times, and it may become progressively worse with each and every iteration.
Having a home warranty can remove all this bother because the landlord won’t really have to do much aside from contacting the provider of the coverage. This also means of course not having to postpone The Conversation until the last possible moment. Instead, you’ll be able to contact the home warranty company (or your landlord and ask them to do this) as the first warning signs of a broken appliance appear. This way, you’ll be able to catch the problem early and prevent more damage from taking place.
Bear in mind that if you rent a bigger and more spacious property, the risk of something breaking down will be greater. This is simply because you will in all likelihood have more appliances within it. Therefore the usefulness of a home warranty increases with the property size.
However, this coverage can actually be even more useful for cheaper old properties. These are more vulnerable to breakdowns because everything is old. Once again, with a home warranty, you can be sure that any problems will be fixed more quickly.
Finally, remember that the best home warranty companies are the ones who recruit contractors to come to your door. These businesses are operating within a highly competitive $2+ billion industry which hinges on customer service.
This means that the contractors they send to their customers are “representatives” of the company, so the provider makes an effort to ensure they leave a good impression. You can expect these repairmen to be professional, punctual, and efficient. Forget the stereotypical sleazy and shady characters coming into your home under the pretense of undertaking repairs. For some people, this alone can be a good enough incentive to start looking for a property with home warranty coverage.
Things to Look Out for When Renting a Property with Home Warranty
Do you remember how competitive this industry is? There are 180+ businesses in it today and new companies emerge regularly. Like with any business, not all of them are good and reliable providers. Therefore, do remember that plans are diverse. And some of them offer little actual value, despite seemingly grand promises. You’ll need to study the plan’s terms and conditions to understand whether it can be truly worthwhile. If the landlord refuses to show you this paperwork, consider it a red flag.
Things to look at when studying a home warranty plan for a rental property include:
- How exactly does the liability work under this contract?
- What does the coverage include?
Pay attention to not only the list of appliances and systems but to a more detailed breakdown of what kind of breakdowns are included. Many contracts won’t cover the most expensive repairs and replacements despite the fact that the appliance is technically covered by the plan.
- What are the payout limits?
Home warranty plans always have a payout maximum limit, so anything beyond that will be paid by the landlord or yourself (and find out which it is before signing the lease!). Research home appliance and system repair costs to understand whether these limits are reasonable.
- What are the claim filing terms?
You’ll need to learn both what the home warranty provider’s terms are and how you will need to act with the landlord. Will you have to file a claim or will they? How can you coordinate to ensure you meet the provider’s requirements? Will it even be possible to do this if the company has restrictions such as having to file the claim within 24 hours?
- What is the company’s reputation?
Do your research online and look up the home warranty company’s reviews and testimonials from its customers. You should look them up at independent professional review websites as well as consumer forums like Google Review and Yelp. Also, run a Google Search of the company to establish whether it has been associated with any major scandals, like the Wells Fargo fiasco. If the company has a reputation for not fulfilling its obligations or sending poorly-trained repairmen, you cannot trust this plan to work when you need it. And it doesn’t matter how good its terms and conditions are.
As a renter, you are giving up a lot of your control over what is essentially your home. A home warranty plan can help you take some of it back because, at least, you can be sure that any issues with home appliances and systems will be fixed promptly by reliable and qualified professionals. Also, your landlord won’t be able to shirk their duties in addressing your issues right away.
But if the plan on offer isn’t foolproof and provided by a reliable company, all these advantages disappear.
In Conclusion: Home Warranty for Renters Has Its Uses
Renting a property covered by a home warranty plan can be beneficial for you because it will simplify dealing with the landlord. However, you should always be mindful of the fact that the hundreds of available plans aren’t all equal. Therefore, reviewing the offered home warranty is one of the essential steps to take before you sign your lease.
Check out what kind of protections the plan offers and research the provider’s trustworthiness. If those aren’t impressive but the landlord still wants to charge higher rent because of the included warranty, consider looking for a different apartment.