Home warranty plans can be a smart financial investment and one that has the potential to save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. While you will have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for the warranty, just like any other insurance coverage, it can be well worth it by ensuring you are covered if any issues arise. Most of these plans are designed to cover things that your homeowner’s insurance policy does not, such as your major appliances or your home’s plumbing and electrical systems. Depending on your specific policy, a home warranty may also cover some or all of your HVAC system.
Understanding the Types of Home Warranties
Home warranties typically cover repair costs for your major appliances and systems. In most cases, if any repairs are needed due to wear and tear, costs for labor and replacement parts will be covered. The warranty should also cover replacing equipment or appliances that fail due to age or normal wear and tear.
Some home warranty plans will cover only your major appliances while others will only cover your plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. You can also find plans that will cover everything.
What HVAC Components Will a Home Warranty Cover?
When choosing a home warranty plan, it is vital that you carefully read through the policy so that you know what is and is not covered. If the plan covers your HVAC system, the policy should explicitly list which components are covered. Most plans only cover your furnace, central air conditioner, heat pump and blower fan. If your home uses radiant heating, the boiler and radiators will also likely be covered. Some plans will also cover electrical wall heaters.
The best home warranty plans should also cover your home’s ductwork and the various other HVAC components, like your thermostat. If you want complete protection, this is definitely the type of plan to choose. While it will cost more, it can still save you a lot of money since some repairs can cost several thousand dollars.
Home warranty plans will generally only cover permanent HVAC components. It is unlikely that the warranty will cover a swamp cooler, window air conditioner or space heater.
In addition to repair and replacement costs, home warranty plans may also pay for the cost of maintenance on any covered components. The plan will typically pay for you to have your heating and air conditioning systems maintained once a year. This type of policy is great as it can help ensure your systems are working effectively and efficiently. Regular maintenance can also reduce your energy costs and extend the life of your furnace, AC unit and other HVAC equipment.
How Does an HVAC Home Warranty Work?
After signing up for a home warranty plan, contact your warranty provider if your HVAC system starts experiencing any issues. You will first need to file a claim with the provider, and the company will then schedule a technician to come and inspect your system. Most home warranty companies will require you to use whatever HVAC contractor they specify, but some plans give you the freedom to choose any company you wish as long as they meet licensing and certification requirements.
The technician will inspect your system to determine if the problem can be repaired and perform whatever repairs are necessary to get the system working correctly. If the technician determines that the problem is fatal and the system cannot be repaired, they will schedule a time to replace the unit.
Most warranty plans charge a flat rate per visit. This rate will be listed in your policy and cannot be changed throughout the term of the policy, which is usually one year. This flat rate is all that you will have to pay since all repair or replacement costs will be covered.
If your HVAC unit needs to be replaced, the policy will cover the cost of purchasing and installing a new unit of equal value and the same power, size and efficiency as the old model. Some policies will allow you to upgrade to a more efficient unit as long as you are willing to pay the price difference between this and your old model. If your policy does not specifically state that this is possible, the only way to upgrade to a better model is to pay the entire cost yourself. For this reason, you will want to carefully consider this option when deciding which warranty plan to select.
How Are Home Warranty Claims Judged?
When you file a claim, the HVAC technician will first need to determine whether the damage resulted from age, wear and tear or some other issue. Wear and tear and age are the only things that are covered. This means that if the unit was damaged by something else like a storm or flood, the warranty won’t cover it. The good news is that in these situations your homeowner’s insurance should cover the damage.
Most home warranties have very specific requirements in terms of maintenance. Whether or not your policy covers maintenance costs, it will still likely specify that you have to have the system maintained by a licensed, certified professional every year. For policies that don’t cover maintenance, you will usually need to produce records to prove that you have met the maintenance requirements. If not, your claim will be denied and you will have to pay for everything out of your own pocket.
Your claim can be denied if the technician determines that the issue was caused by a lack of maintenance or something you did or didn’t do. Let’s say that your blower fan motor burns out. If your air filter is extremely dirty or your vents or ducts are clogged, this could give them cause to deny the claim. These and other similar issues can greatly increase the strain on the fan motor and cause it to run for much longer. In this situation, your warranty provider may determine that you neglected these other issues and that is the reason the motor burned out. Since the issue is unrelated to normal wear and tear, your claim would likely be denied.
Performing any work on your HVAC system yourself or having anyone who is not licensed or certified do any work will also void your warranty. For this reason, it is essential that you always hire a professional HVAC contractor for any necessary repair or maintenance work.
Professional Heating and Cooling Services
At Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we have more than 30 years of experience providing professional heating and cooling services. With locations in Los Molinos, Olivehurst, and Sacramento, we serve customers in Northern Valley and the Greater Sacramento area. Our highly trained, NATE-certified technicians service and repair all brands and types of HVAC equipment. We also specialize in installing furnaces, central air conditioners, heat pumps and ductless mini-splits. If your HVAC system is experiencing any issues, give Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning a call today to get the prompt, professional and courteous service and support you deserve for your home.