A home warranty is a service contract that allows homeowners to pay monthly or annual premiums for coverage of repairs and replacements of household items. These policies cover normal wear and tear on home systems and appliances, allowing homeowners to save on services that typically cost a pretty penny.
Home warranty coverage seems simple enough, but there are still exclusions and limitations to consider. To help you understand repair coverage before purchasing a plan, we’ve compiled a list of 10 household items a home warranty covers and five it doesn’t.
10 Things Your Home Warranty Covers
First, we’ll jump into the good stuff: what your home warranty does cover.
Remember that your provider will help you pay for damages caused by normal wear and tear on household items. This means you’ll get coverage for problems that develop naturally over time as your systems and appliances operate. Keep this in mind as you read and consider how coverage could help you budget for home repairs.
The table below lists 10 items all standard home warranty policies cover.
|Dishwasher||All components and parts are covered.|
|Clothes Washer||All components and parts are covered.|
|Clothes Dryer||All components and parts are covered.|
|Built-In Microwave||All components and parts are covered.|
|Oven and Stovetop Range||All components and parts are covered.|
|Refrigerator||All parts and components are eligible for coverage, including the built-in freezer unit.|
|Water Heater||All components and parts are covered, including:|
|Heating and Air Conditioning System||All parts and components of the following systems are covered:|
Split and packaged units
Ducts from the unit to the point of attachment to appliances
Replacement parts needed to meet government guidelines
|Electrical System||The following electrical components are covered:|
Wiring from the electrical panel to any other covered item
Direct current (DC) wiring
|Plumbing System||These parts of your home’s plumbing system get coverage:|
Toilets and related mechanisms
Breaks and leaks to the system’s water, drain, gas, vent lines
Toilet wax ring seals
Hose bibs and valves
Sewage ejector pumps
Whirlpool motors and pumps
5 Things Your Home Warranty Won’t Cover
Home warranties cover many of your home’s systems and appliances, but they don’t cover everything. Next, we’ll show you five household items your home service contract doesn’t include. Knowing these limitations in advance will help you choose the right coverage for your home and save for additional repairs where needed.
Windows aren’t covered by home warranties because these items aren’t systems or appliances. Instead, windows typically fall in the structural category and are, therefore, covered by homeowners insurance.
According to Cinch Home Services, home warranties may rarely cover “repairs to windows that threaten the integrity of the rest of your home.” However, you should typically rely on your home insurance plan for help with these coverage needs.
Like windows, doors are part of your home’s structure – not its systems and appliances. For this reason, a home warranty won’t cover them. Many home warranty providers cover garage door openers, the devices that signal the door to open and close. However, warranties don’t cover any other parts of the door, such as its windows, tracks, and outer materials. You must address your homeowners insurance policy for structural damage to your home’s entryways.
Bathtubs and Showers
Home warranties don’t cover bathtubs and showers because these items don’t count as systems or appliances. If your tub develops a large crack or your shower stops draining properly, you’ll have to pay for these repairs out of pocket.
Home warranties cover your home’s plumbing system, so you’ll need to address your policy for inclusions. Cinch Home Services covers items connected to the home’s main plumbing, such as showerheads, faucets, and valves, so you’ll have some coverage for specific shower and tub issues.
Home warranties cover the systems within your home’s walls or foundation. For this reason, gutter systems aren’t eligible for coverage. Additionally, most gutter issues result from a lack of maintenance, which is never included in a home warranty plan.
Even if your gutters fail due to what you consider normal wear and tear, your service provider won’t pay for repairs or replacements. Standard homeowners insurance is also unlikely to cover gutter damage, so it’s up to you to maintain and budget for these items.
Smart Home Systems
Home warranty providers currently do not cover smart home systems. Smart home devices are digital systems that connect a home’s systems and appliances, allowing the homeowner to control everything from a computer or cellphone.
According to Digitized House Media, warranty providers don’t cover these items because the cost isn’t worth it. Smart systems have frequent, high-cost repair needs that could easily exceed a policyholder’s annual premiums. For this reason, providers avoid taking on the costs of financially burdensome devices.
Other Coverage Exclusions to Consider
In addition to the items your home warranty won’t cover, some stipulations can limit reimbursements for covered items. These clauses, called exclusions, are part of every service contract.
The list below spells out coverage exclusions all home warranty providers enforce. These limitations apply to all items included in your home warranty policy, so it’s crucial to understand them before purchasing a plan. Always address these clauses before filing a home warranty claim to ensure you’re adequately insured.
Your home warranty won’t cover items that need service for:
- Pre-existing conditions – No home warranty provider covers repair needs caused by pre-existing conditions or issues your items had before you signed the service contract. If any of your systems or appliances have problems prior to your warranty, they might not be eligible for coverage.
- Lack of maintenance – Home warranties won’t cover repair costs for items that fail or break due to lack of upkeep. This means it’s your responsibility to perform routine maintenance on items to ensure they stay in the best possible condition.
- Cosmetic damage – Damage that doesn’t affect an item’s functionality – scuffs, dings, paint splatters, and fading – aren’t covered under home service contracts. These contracts only cover items that suffer damage or breakage from normal wear and tear.
- Improper installation – If you or a professional installs a system or appliance incorrectly, and that malpractice leads to a repair need, your home warranty policy won’t cover it. This clause also applies to items you damage further by trying to repair yourself. If an item breaks down, your best bet is to leave it alone and file a home warranty claim ASAP.
Your provider won’t cover items under the effect of:
- Waiting periods – These are periods at the beginning of a contract before repair coverage kicks in. Home warranty providers enforce waiting periods to prevent customers from buying a plan for an item already exhibiting problems. It helps the company avoid fraudulent claims and ensure repair coverage is for newly damaged items.
- Manufacturer warranties – Systems and appliances manufacturers provide warranties for a certain time to cover issues for newly purchased items. Home warranty providers won’t handle repairs for items already covered by a manufacturer warranty, so keep this in mind before filing any claims.
- Coverage caps – Coverage or “payout” caps are dollar amounts your provider won’t exceed when paying for your repairs. If a service surpasses the cost listed in your contract, you’ll pay the difference out of pocket.
At the end of the day, it’s your job as a homeowner to know what coverage your household items have in the event they need repairs. However, don’t rush to buy a service contract without researching beforehand.
You should thoroughly read the fine print before signing anything; service contracts can be sneaky, and you want to be aware of any loopholes a provider could throw your way. With that in mind, you’re well equipped to start shopping for your home’s ideal coverage.