Home insurance policies cover damages caused by accidents and unexpected events. Problems resulting from fire, floods, wind, and whole-house backups are among some of the things your home insurance plan might cover. But what if you’ve recently purchased a Flower Mound, Texas home with an aging HVAC system? Will buying a home warranty give you the protection you need if your heating or cooling equipment breaks down or fails entirely?
Some Home Warranties Will Cover HVAC Systems in Texas
While home insurance covers the unexpected, home warranties are designed to cover the inescapable, age-related decline of covered appliances and systems. This includes general wear and outright failure. However, not all home warranties are guaranteed to cover HVAC systems. Many warranty companies offer appliance-only products. Their warranty plans cover broken appliances like dishwashers, garbage disposals, washing machines, and dryers. They do not include complex systems such as plumbing, HVAC, or electrical systems.
When choosing a home warranty plan, you will find either separate plans for appliances and systems or plans that include appliances and systems together. Understanding the difference between these options will ensure that you are not facing any unfortunate surprises if your HVAC systems stops working. Combination appliance and systems plans cost a bit more, but they provide far greater financial protection.
Be Ready for Waiting Periods and Exclusions
Unlike home insurance plans, most home warranties do not have the option of making monthly payments on premiums. Instead, you will pay an annual premium up front. Once this is paid, you may have a waiting period before your coverage kicks in. For most policies, this waiting period is 30 days from the date the policy is signed. Waiting periods are designed to prevent homeowners from paying for home warranties due to an immediate need for expensive replacements or repairs.
Home warranties also have a number of exclusions. These typically include replacements and repairs for problems caused by anything other than normal, age-related wear. Fortunately, most damages that are not the result of normal wear are usually covered by home insurance policies. Having a home warranty is not a substitute for having home insurance. Although the two agreements provide similar benefits, they are designed to protect homeowners against different types of loss.
When in Doubt, Ask Questions
It pays to read the fine print on home warranties. Similar to home insurance policies, these agreements have exclusions, requirements, and restrictions. If you have questions about what your warranty will and will not cover, when coverage will start, and what your out-of-pocket costs will be in different scenarios, contact a live agent. You can also ask representatives to explain any language that you don’t understand in your warranty contract before signing.
Your Home Warranty Company May Have a List of Approved Providers
Another important note about home warranties is that not all policies give consumers the freedom to choose their own contractors. Many home warranty companies maintain their own networks of approved providers, and they will choose your contractors when wear-related issues are reported. If you have yet to purchase a home warranty, it is best to ask about approved providers first.
The Decision of Whether to Replace or Repair
Whether damaged systems and appliances are repaired or replaced is also a decision that home warranty companies will make. This is one of the top reasons why consumers should read company reviews, carefully study general policy documents, and fully understand the terms and conditions of these agreements before signing them. Home warranty companies are prone to making decisions that suit their own financial interests and likely to approve total replacements when the likelihood of recurring repairs is high. Given the high costs of HVAC equipment, some companies will pay to repair even old, outdated units.
You May Have the Option of Upgrading Your Current HVAC Unit
If your HVAC unit is approved for replacement due to significant wear-related issues, your home warranty policy may require you to choose similar equipment at the exact same price point. Some policies are a bit more flexible. When homeowners want to upgrade their HVAC units, they may have the option of doing so as long as they’re willing to pay the price difference.
How Insufficient HVAC Maintenance Can Void Your Warranty
One of the most important things to know about home warranties is that much like home insurance policies, they represent mutual agreements. Home warranty companies will not pay to repair or replace items that have sustained damage as the result of general neglect.
Home warranty companies require homeowners to practice diligent maintenance. They may have specific requirements set forth in their policies that detail mandatory schedules for essential maintenance tasks, or they may simply require homeowners to remain current with all manufacturer-recommended maintenance. No matter what the maintenance requirements may be, it is always in your best interest to carefully document any professional services done. If you have a major repair issue arise, or if you hope to have an appliance approved for replacement, you will want the ability to show that you have consistently remained up to date with all maintenance.
With warranties, it’s also vital to avoid do-it-yourself (DIY) repair projects, aggressive DIY troubleshooting measures, and repairs that are performed by friends, family members, or other unlicensed parties. Like insufficient maintenance, do-it-yourself actions like these can leave you without the protections offered by your warranty.
Covered Inspections and Maintenance Services
Many home warranties provide a range of covered inspections and maintenance services. If you have never had a home warranty before, this is another perfect reason to spend some time studying your policy. Not only do the covered inspections and services make it infinitely easier to stay on top of required maintenance, but they also allow contractors to catch and correct minor issues early on. Moreover, if you do not know that these benefits exist, you may not get to take advantage of them before they expire.
For HVAC systems, these benefits might include annual heater and air conditioner inspections, cleaning, and servicing. These are perks that help home warranty companies save money by keeping HVAC systems running efficiently and ensuring that minor issues don’t spiral out of control.
Is a Home Warranty the Right Choice for You?
Unexpected repair issues can sideline homeowners who are unprepared to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the necessary work. This is especially true in the case of HVAC breakdowns. However, although home warranties can be incredibly helpful, it’s important to ensure that you purchase the right warranty type. For assured HVAC coverage, be sure to look for a home warranty that covers both appliances and systems, and speak with a company representative to verify that your particular HVAC system is included in the policy.
At Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating, we’ve been helping residents of Flower Mound, Texas, and the surrounding areas take good care of their HVAC systems since 1949. We provide heater and air conditioner installation, maintenance, and repairs. We also offer indoor air quality service, humidifiers, and air conditioner rejuvenation. To request a quote or schedule service, get in touch with Triple A Air Conditioning & Heating today.