Posted on Friday, 19th July 2013 by

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We purchased a 9 year old home last year and the seller thankfully included a home warranty. Since we moved in we used the home warranty services many times saving us thousands of dollars in repairs. Recently, I renewed the contract and had to call them out shortly thereafter.

When we were purchasing our new home the inspector found a few things that the seller’s repaired however he missed so much more. My wife and I wonder why we paid for the home inspection after encountering so many problems after moving in. Unfortunately, even what appears to be a well maintained home often has underlying problems that you only uncover after moving in.

During the first year the home warranty service replaced the garbage disposal, main furnace blower motor, whirlpool tub motor and pump, counter top gas range, kitchen sink faucet, and initiated two furnace repair calls. The total repair cost would have exceeded $2800. 

Shortly after renewing the service the family room fan, mounted 22 foot high, had to be replaced. Again, the warranty service paid for the new fan and replacement. The repair service estimated that it would have cost me at least $600 to do the work had we not had the warranty service. They used a HUGE ladder, a Little Giant, and it took three men to set it up and maneuver it in place. When they were setting it up it started to fall and they stopped it just inches from crashing through our large palladium window.

This was my first experience with American Home Shield (AHS) services and I must say I was impressed. They offer home sellers a special $460 price for their Core Coverage Plan to get their foot in the door. We paid $60 for each service call the first year and the second year it increased to their standard $75 fee and it cost us $611 for their FlexPlan Combo or $51 per month for single family homes under 5,000 sq. ft. I already made up most of that cost with this first repair.

The Core Coverage includes heating, AC, ductwork, plumbing including whirlpool tubs, plumbing stoppages, water heaters, electrical, built-in microwaves and dishwashers, garbage disposals, ranges, ovens and cook tops and more. The FlexPlan Combo also includes their Service Plus and Coverage Plus packages and includes everything from ceiling fans, garage door openers, telephone, doorbells, smoke detectors, improper installations, refrigerant recovery, and mismatched systems! You can add coverage for your clothes washer, dryer and refrigerator for an additional charge.

As with all services there are drawbacks. You can’t choose who they send however if a preferred service company is on their list they will consider your request. You must request a preferred company when you initially report the problem. When our gas cook top was malfunctioning they sent Sears to repair it. Two of the four burners weren’t working. They ordered parts three times and we initially received broken parts. Finally AHS authorized a replacement and we went out and purchased a new unit from Sears. I had to initiate a replacement request with them and it took over a month from when we first reported the problem to being reimbursed for a new cook top. 

I typically check service company ratings on Angies List and the majority had ratings similar to most others in the area. You can visit the AHS site at www.ahs.com to explore what they have to offer. There are other warranty services companies however you need to compare their programs to what AHS has to offer. Many of the service techs that they sent thought highly of their services and found AHS reasonable and responsive.   

AHS covers much of the home however you still can incur major expenses to repair broken water, sewer and gas lines. In our area Dominion Products and Services, Inc. offers inexpensive line replacement and restoration coverage and you simply pay the additional charges through your electric utility. We pay $20 a month for full coverage and this also includes the gas line inside the house. Dominion also offers water heater replacement and furnace and AC repair at reasonable costs. You can enter your zip code on their site at https://dominionenergy.com/en/home-protection to determine if they offer services in your area or call your local utility company to see what is available. Initially I ordered Dominion’s water heater replacement coverage before renewing my AHS coverage. After reading the brochure they sent their program only covers water heaters up to 60 gallons, we have a 75 gallon water heater.

With both programs we are covered for most repairs and we don’t have to worry about the cost or who to call when a problem arises. I also maintain a list of preferred service companies in our area for things not covered such as roofers, window repair, general maintenance, and lawn services.

So far we are ahead of the game considering that many service companies are now charging over a $100 an hour plus parts. Check out these services in your area for peace of mind and to control your costs. 

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