Should You Get A Home Warranty?

Are Home Warranties a Waste of Money?

By: Jillian A. Mills, REALTOR®

The answer to whether or not a home warranty is a waste of money varies greatly depending on who you ask. Someone who didn't use theirs or had a bad experience might very well say they're worthless while someone who had an experience that saved them some cash when something malfunctioned will likely have the opposite opinion. So, how do you know if having one is the right decision for you?

Most of us have car insurance and many have health insurance. We don't give it a lot of consideration because it's either required or we're simply grateful for it because we know we want it if we end up needing it. Though, sometimes in the homebuying process, it can seem like just another expense. But, is it an unnecessary expense? For someone who can get appliances, parts, etc., at a reduced rate and install them themselves - like a contractor or handyman - that could be the case. But, what about the rest of us who will be paying retail and installation fees?

We've all heard someone say that things just aren't made like they were "back in the day." But, is this true? According to stats collected by the National Association of Home Builders it seems it is! That shiny stainless-steel fridge you adore is no match for its avocado-green cousin of yesteryear. In fact, statistically you can expect a household appliance to have a lifespan of only about 10 years. And, what about other things that can go wrong in a house like plumbing or electrical? Are those covered? They can be.

So, if you decide you want a policy, how do you choose the right one? Well, if your mama told you, you better shop around…listen to her! Your real estate agent can give you a list of warranty companies or you can Google them. It's up to you to look at ratings and read reviews. Once you've narrowed it down, make phone calls.

Good questions to ask and things to notice:

  • Are they easy to get ahold of or are you in an automated system nightmare when calling?
  • Are you able to choose your contractors? This is especially important in remote areas (like resort towns) so you can assure your technician is local. (Out-of-town contractors may not be inclined to drive to remote areas for a service call.)
  • What is the turnaround time on pay? Contractors are generally used to being paid at the time of service or shortly thereafter. If they won't get paid for 90 days, they simply may not come out.
  • What's covered and for how long? Some companies will tack on a couple of extra "bonus" months. And, while some policies only cover the very basics, others have options that are extremely extensive.

Ask questions and compare everything. Where cost is concerned, ask about AARP, active military or other available discounts. Want a free policy? Ask your agent to request the seller cover the cost. In my experience, many sellers will! Bottom line: If you don’t want a policy, don’t get one. If you want that extra layer of protection, you now know what to do and what questions to ask to insure you get the right policy to suit your needs. Good luck!

Jillian A. Mills, REALTOR®

Associate Broker


(915) 208-0270