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Problems with home warranties

Posted at 10:15 AM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 10:15:56-05

Best Tip: Be aware of all limitations.

Steve Jongewaard has gone more than a week without a working furnace because he and his family are waiting for their home warranty company to pay an expert to repair it. As a result,  Jongewaard is learning one of the downsides of some home warranties.

Home warranties offer peace of mind when you purchase them, but it's another story when you try to use some of them.

Jongewaard 's furnace has been out more than a week. "It's been awful, this is the worst thing I've ever seen," he said.

Jongewaard has been trying to get his home warranty company  to fix his eight-year-old Carrier furnace, and he says it's been a nightmare.

"We've called multiple times," he says.  My wife and I have been on the phone a minimum of 10 hours."

Typically if your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner goes out, you call a local repairman, and he comes right out. But with a home warranty, you need to call the warranty company, and they call their repairman. If you jump the gun and call your local repair shop, the warranty company may not reimburse you.

Jongewaard says the repairman his warranty company finally sent  tried replacing the circuit board but then said there were more problems than originally thought and that Jongewaard needed a Carrier expert.

Now Jongewaard  is back on the phone trying to get his warranty company to send another repairman who actually knows the intricacies of a modern Carrier unit.

A couple of years ago, Travis Hileman complained to  that his central air unit went out, and he too had to deal with the warranty company's repairman. And in that case, he was told the unit was too old and was excluded for warranty coverage.

We're not saying home warranties are a bad thing. They can save hundreds of dollars on a repair, even providing you a new furnace or appliance in many cases. Many people are happy with them.

But you should this:

  • You typically cannot choose your own repairman.
  • Many won't covered existing problems.
  • Many won't cover if poor maintenance is to blame, or if the unit is out of its serviceable life (such as older than 20 years old)

So know the downsides before you purchase, so you don't waste your money.

That way you don't waste your money.