My name is Sarah Callahan and I just turned 37. I have purchased four different homes in my life, two of them with my husband. We have a 20 month old, Michael and a 10 year old English Bulldog, Gambler. We live in Sioux Falls, SD, my husband’s hometown. I am from Indiana, so I am roughly 800 miles away from my family. We run several small businesses here in town, so saying we stay busy is quite an understatement. My husband owns a security company that was started by his grandfather in 1950, so he is the third generation owning/running this business. He also rents out lot spaces for campers. We, together, own a Wine and Canvas franchise, which has been a top sales producer in the country for 4+ years running. Recently I started doing financial consulting, my background is in finance, accounting and analytics. Between running 4 businesses, it is important we enjoy our downtime and we aren’t stressed about fixing appliances or things inside our home. We feel having our home warranty has been a good financial investment. If only there were coverage for all of life’s unknowns when it comes to running multiple small businesses!
Homeownership Isn’t Always All It’s Cracked Up to Be!
From the very beginning I’ve thought paying for the “What If” scenarios coverage was truly a gamble. In my teenage years I worked at Best Buy and we sold “Service Plans” on just about everything. While assisting any customer, we needed to find out if they would have a need for the extra service. In the 90’s you had to keep your receipt otherwise the purchase could be lost, but with the progress of the software it was easier to keep records electronically. I always stressed to the customer to hold on to that pamphlet because if they lost it, they wouldn’t be able to prove they bought the coverage.
I actually won an Employee of the Month once, for selling a $40 service plan on a set of $10 headphones. The service plan was simple, if the headphones broke any time within the 2 years of the coverage, they would just replace the headphones, no questions asked. The couple purchasing the headphones, had 3 young boys, and knew they would use it. As a month of a young boy myself, I completely agree with their decision to purchase the coverage because little boys, and sometimes girls, have the uncanny ability to destroy anything within a few unsupervised moments! The sales managers couldn’t believe I was able to convince them to buy the coverage, but the parents knew the end user of the headphones and knew they would be back.
While service plans have matured I see that some coverage is no longer provided, probably because the providers were losing money on some deals, now that customers receipts could be held digitally and probably used warranties more than they did twenty some odd years ago.
In the last 4 years I purchased the service plan on a computer keyboard, but only after having to replace it twice. The first time I thought it was a fluke, and the second time I felt like a moron for not buying the $9.99 coverage to replace the keyboard anytime within the two year period. I then decided to buy the coverage. I have since replaced that exact same keyboard roughly four or five times. It is crazy to think that something as simple as a keyboard kept breaking. The last time it broke, Best Buy informed me that they no longer offer the service on that keyboard. Probably because the service was losing money! I had already had five keyboards! They refunded me the $9.99 and made me buy my last keyboard, but the time that I did use the service saved me roughly $150 in repeat keyboard purchases.
What does all of this have to do with home warranties?! Well not much, just that things used on a daily basis, like computers offer coverage and the fact that service or replacement coverage is available for your home and appliances, things that you use and unknowingly use on a daily basis have coverage available. When I bought my first home in 2004, this coverage was not offered to me. I am not sure if that was something the realtor should have sold me or informed me about, but I went on to buy two more houses and still never learned of coverage like this for homes. It wasn’t until 2012 when I bought my current house, that it was “thrown in” for one year by either the seller or the mortgage company or someone. I did not pay for the first year of the home warranty coverage. I bought an older home, it was built in 1950, and I felt that after the first year was up, it probably was a good idea to renew coverage. I didn’t know the history of the home and living over 800 miles away from my dad, who is my go to handy man. I felt watching youtube videos to try and fix my house wasn’t such a grand idea.
First year of renewal, the price did not even go up. I was paying roughly $33 a month. I was getting ready for work one morning and EEEEEEEEKK! The hot water in the shower ran out while I was taking a shower! That was an awful wake up call! I thought oh crap! Our water heater must have something wrong with it. I went to the fridge, not for a snack, but to get the phone number off the refrigerator magnet with the home warranty number on it. Lucky they provided that, because my filing system is a disaster, and it would have taken forever to find the paperwork. I called and they said they would put a call into the local service center to send a serviceman out. It was probably within an hour or two and I got a call that someone would meet me the next day between 8am and 10am. They arrived in the time window and looked over the water heater and decided it needed to be replaced. They called their shop and one was going to be brought right over if it was in stock. Lucky for me it was in stock. The delivery was on its way. The serviceman got it installed and tested it. We had all the hot water we needed after that. I paid the service call fee of $75 and the rest was paid for by my home warranty. I’m no expert, but I believe a new water heater cost a lot more than $75 with installation labor to boot. Needless to say I have renewed my home warranty coverage every year. The price has gone up, but it’s a minimal cost if you look at the big picture.
While my home warranty coverage story ends with a happy ending, I know others who did not fair quite as well. My brother built his house new. Everything being put into the house was new. Within the first 2 years the air conditioning unit failed and needed to be replaced. This was not covered by a manufactures warranty as one would think. My brother, usually wise beyond his years, had decided to decline the home warranty coverage assuming everything would have a decent life cycle. When he told me about his air conditioner going bad, I asked if he bought a home warranty. He said he did not. I was a bit shocked! I told him about my experience, and he said well if I had known this was going to go out I would have bought it.
Which brings us full circle, the “What If” scenario coverage. If we knew it was going to break, we would buy the service, but we gamble thinking if we buy it and never use it, we’ve wasted our money. If we don’t buy the coverage and need it, then we should have bought the coverage. When you buy a home, you should always assume that things in your home will need repair, replaced and serviced. Many of us do not know how to repair, replace or really even perform any service on the appliance in our home. Buying a home warranty is a very inexpensive way to save yourself time, energy and most likely money in the long run in the upkeep of your biggest purchase, your home.
If you are looking to buy or sell your home, this is a great purchase to provide peace of mind when it comes to all of the unknowns that come with buying a home.
Choosing the right company for your home warranty is important. View our main site for the Best Home Warranty Companies List.