Arlington, VA

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Do you think it’s worth it to buy a home warranty and, if so, is there a provider you recommend?

What Is A Home Warranty?

Home warranties protect many of the systems in your home including things like the HVAC (heating and cooling) and appliances. If one of those systems stops working while you’re covered, the warranty provider will repair or replace the system or cut you a check to replace it yourself. One year of protection generally ranges from a few hundred dollars to one thousand dollars, depending on the scope of coverage.

The most common time to purchase a home warranty is for/by a buyer when they’re buying a home. However, sellers can also purchase a warranty and transfer the coverage to a buyer and also benefit from coverage if something comes up on the home inspection. Home owners can also buy a warranty at any time if they want coverage. The provider usually requires a month or so between the time of purchase and coverage taking effect to prevent people from buying a warranty when something goes wrong (pre-existing condition).

Are They Worth The Cost?

I generally find home warranties to be worth the cost for at least the first year of ownership. If the home you’re buying has old systems, consider buying multi-year coverage. Think of the expense like you would home or auto insurance. If you’re somebody who prefers to pay higher premiums for more coverage/peace of mind, a home warranty probably makes sense for you.

A common scenario I see where home warranties pay-off is with HVACs when a new owner transitions from heating to air conditioning in the spring. During the winter, it’s often to cold outside to test the air conditioning during the home inspection so AC issues may present themselves after closing. With a home warranty, those issues should be covered.

Recommendation: Super Home Warranty

Warranty companies have a pretty bad reputation with complaints ranging from difficulty filing claims, low quality contractors and lengthy delays. I actually stopped recommending warranties to clients because of these issues.

However, in the last couple of years I have had fantastic experiences with a newer home warranty provider called Super Home Warranty and I would highly recommend them. They’re responsive, have a good user platform/app, use high quality contractors for repairs and I’ve yet to run into unfair claim denials.

They also have some really valuable inclusions that other warranty companies don’t offer. They have a contractor concierge that gives you access to their vetted contractors for any work you need like tree removal, roofing, plumbing and remodeling. Super also offers a bunch of helpful services for $75 like re-keying locks, carpet cleaning and HVAC cleaning.

It’s worth noting that I don’t get anything from Super for recommending them.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. #10C Arlington, VA 22203, (703) 390-9460.

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