Sarah's Family

My Home Warranty Experience

My name is Sarah and I just turned 38. I have purchased four different homes in my life, two of them with my husband. We have a toddler, Michael and an 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 5+ years running. I do financial consulting and freelance writing, my background is in finance, accounting and analytics. I also launched a project to help young women explore their career opportunities, ExplorHer Career.

Between running all of our 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 them.  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.

Free Home Warranty Plan

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.

Should I Renew My Home Warranty?

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.

Only $75

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.

What If

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.



13 thoughts on “My Home Warranty Experience”

  1. Hi Sarah!
    Great reminder on home warranties…we’ll be buying again in the next year or so. I needed this article to remember what a benefit they can be. Thanks!

  2. Sarah,

    As a Realtor, I offer my clients the option of purchasing a Home Warranty as a Seller or as a Buyer. The Seller can be covered for those “oh no, I’m trying to sell” moments, and the Buyer has assurance for that first year on all the big mechanical things in the home. With so much water, electricity, and gas going through our pipes and cords on a daily basis, it is a great thing for my clients.

  3. I’ve been interested in buying a home warranty plan, and since my friend is the blogger, I read the article to learn a little more about them. It prompted the following questions

    1. If I purchase a home warranty, am I required to have it for a certain period of time before I can use it to make any necessary repairs?

    2. Does a home warranty deny repair on any appliance if it has “pre-existing conditions” – meaning it’s been repaired prior to purchasing the warranty?

    Thanks in advance for your assistance!!

    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for commenting on my blog.

      A home warranty may be subject to inspection prior to entering into a contract with a service provider. If there are items that need to be fixed before you enter into the home warranty agreement, they would need to be fixed before coverage could start.

      Your home systems and appliances should be in “working order” prior to purchasing a home warranty. The home warranty would not cover issues that already need to be fixed.

      If everything is in working order your home warranty should cover you for future needs even if appliances or home systems had previously been worked on.

      I hope this answers your questions!?

  4. I Have been a customer at service america since they bought the company from the former owner. Their service continues to decline with each year–last year it took 3 months to repair my microwave and this year I cannot even get a person to talk to. We have– been trying to get our air conditioner fixed for over 3 weeks –they came out 2 weeks ago and said they needed to order a part–so far, we have heard nothing and are unable to talk to anyone. We have paid the co-pay and have paid a $550 for this lousy servce. You can be sure, we will think twice about renewing our service contract next year. Service is required at [EDIT – WE HAVE REMOVED PERSONAL INFORMATION FOR YOUR SAFETY].
    When trying to deal with automative service –they do not recognize our contract number.
    Service contract # 202843-202843-017

  5. I see that the blog does not have a lot of recent comments and ran across this because I was checking to see how Select Home Warranty gets great reviews when their service is horrid. I searched many sites who all stated Select is tops but what we are going through now and the poor service doesn’t align with their awesome reviews. Stay away from Select if at all possible….they have turned a simple washing machine repair into a now three weeks and counting process. I do know that when we closed on our contract with them they asked us to do a review on them and we would get two extra months. The buying process is awesome….it is the service side if a claim is filed that is pure torture.

    1. Mariano could you please update us whether the issue was eventually resolved? Select does get its fair share of bad reviews but so does every home warranty company in existence. At the end of the day you have to separate the wheat from the chaff and read through 10,000 comments one by one to see how many were actually relevant and seem like a clear case of company abusing the contract. Select doesn’t seem that. We put up a pretty wide review that include all the data there is to be found online about them including their average score, what people complain about, and all of that. You are welcomed to read this select home warranty review.

  6. Marguerite G Kendall

    This is my comment. The economy is good right now, so ppl want this. In some companies I see more bad comments than good comments. Looking for reviews on “American Home Warranty”. See them on TV a bit.

  7. After paying over $1,000 to replace my water heater, I decided to purchase a home warranty. I hadn’t no idea this was an option because I have been in my house for 6 years. I thought it was only available to new home owners. I know there will be repairs and replacement coming up, so this is a great investment. I was lucky enough to lock in a $45 service call too! Totally worth it.

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