What does a home warranty cover?

Introduction

If you are unaware of what a home warranty is and differences found in this type of cover in the UK and the US, then simply click here.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the items that a home warranty covers.  Let’s jump straight in!

 


What does a home warranty cover when buying a house and how does it differ in the UK and US?

The US

As highlighted in the previous article, a home warranty in America is essentially a one-year renewable contract. It covers the cost of repairing or replacing certain mechanical systems and appliances in your home if they break down from normal wear-and-tear.

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If you have for example, just purchased a home, you may find that home warranty cover is included in the sale.

Some real estate agents also purchase home warranty cover for the buyer as a way to say thank you.

 

“Sellers in the US often provide home warranty coverage because they want to minimise any potential problems in the first few weeks after the sale.”

 

Home Systems & Appliances

New home warranty cover or a home appliance warranty as it is sometimes called in the USA is especially useful when purchasing a new home, as you can’t always be sure if the major components of the property are in good condition.

It gives you the certainty that major systems like plumbing and electrical can be repaired at an affordable price.

When buying a home in the US, you may receive a full year of coverage or a transfer of any remaining coverage on the home. If a seller is transferring coverage to you, they will need to contact the home warranty provider to give them your details and a copy of the settlement statement.

The items that are generally covered under a home warranty policy in the states can greatly vary.

Many providers even divide their coverage into Systems and Appliances:

A Systems plan will cover things like:

  • Air conditioning and ductwork
  • Heating systems
  • Water heaters and furnaces
  • Roof leaks
  • Plumbing systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Central vacuums
  • Ceiling fans
  • Doorbells

Appliance plans usually include things like:

  • Kitchen appliances (refrigerators, stoves, and dish washers)
  • Ovens and cooktops
  • Ice makers
  • Trash compactors
  • Washers and dryers
  • Garage door openers

What other potential coverage is there?

Non-mechanical items are not covered, so you will not be reimbursed for any damage to windows, walls, and doors.

There may also be optional coverage available for things like pool and spa equipment.

Many providers will let you create custom coverage packages that matches your requirements.  For example, you could have electrical and plumbing coverage combined with kitchen appliance coverage.

If any of the items covered by the warranty break during the coverage period, contact the home warranty insurance provider.  They will send one of their service providers to look at the issue.  The service provider will arrange a convenient time to visit your home and attempt to diagnose the fault.  If the issue is covered by your home warranty insurance, they will immediately attempt to repair it or organise a replacement.

It’s important to be aware that there are some costs involved when making a claim on your home warranty cover.  You will have to pay a service fee each time a service provider visits the home.  This fee is usually between $50 to $125, depending on the type of service provided and the home warranty insurance provider.

There may also be limits on the amount that the home warranty provider will pay for certain items.  For example, some policies may pay a maximum of $500 per year to replace washing machines or dryers.

Home cover warranties will only cover items that malfunction from daily use.  You will not be covered if you intentionally damaged your property, failed to maintain an appliance, installed an appliance incorrectly, or used an appliance incorrectly.

The UK

In the UK home warranty cover does not so much look at the contents of your house, but rather covers you in preparation of building the house / building.

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Home warranty coverage in the UK or “structural defects insurance” as it is otherwise known covers you against major faults in the design or construction of a building / house which includes things such as drainage issues or damp penetration.

It is generally insurance that is taken out by builders and people who want to build their own homes. Coverage generally includes things such as :

  • Floors
  • Roof structures
  • Exterior wall face
  • Windows
  • External doors
  • Roof covering

Does home warranty cover plumbing?

In the US Yes, most home warranty policies will cover plumbing.  Most common problems are included, including:

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  • Clearing of sink, shower, bathtub, and toilet stoppages
  • Clearing of mainline drain and sewer stoppages (usually with a distance limit)
  • Repairs to mechanical components of bath tubs
  • Shower components like heads, arms, and valves
  • Fixing of malfunctioning toilets
  • Leaking water pipes
  • Sewage ejector pumps
  • Risers, gate valves, diverters, angle stops, pressure regulators
  • Expansion tanks

 

In the UK, you can expect coverage can differ, depending on the provider you opt for. In general, you can expect cover for major faults, such as:

  • Drainage issues
  • Water penetration
  • Structural issues

It will not most likely cover internal issues which can include things such as creaky floorboards, internal plumbing and heating, as these are normally seen as a separate insurance policy.
 


Does home warranty cover electrical issues?

Again, in the US Yes, as home warranties will take care of most electrical issues in your home.

The following items are usually covered:

  • All electrical wiring and electrical switches in the home
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Built in fans

 

Some electrical items in your home will not be covered including:

  • Computers
  • Audio and video equipment
  • Alarm systems
  • Telephones
  • Face plates
  • Issues caused by circuit overloading

In the UK, as this cover is focused on protecting against any faults happening prior to building a house, these will not be covered.
 


Does a home warranty cover a roof?

Most home warranty providers will offer roof leak cover as an optional extra. This is an excellent form of cover if you are unsure about the integrity of your roof.

If this occurs during the design of the building, then this can also be considered in a UK home warranty.

 


Does home warranty cover water heaters?

Most home warranty coverage providers will include water heaters in their Systems coverage.  They will repair or replace the components of both standard and tankless water heaters.  They will also repair any problems with circulating pumps that occur due to normal wear and tear.

Most providers will not cover auxiliary tanks, problems with noise, and issues with fuel storage tanks.