You would think that the question of whether to buy a home warranty for your Berks County home would be a tame one, but it can really stir some strong emotions. Everyone has their own story about buying a home warranty. Some may say it's a scam and a waste of money. Some will tell you how much it saved the day when they couldn't afford a critical repair.

In the end though, the decision and how much it will benefit you is based on how comfortable you are with making critical repairs out of your own pocket when needed. If your AC goes out in the middle of summer, will you have the money to fix it? What about your hot water heater?

Here are 3 important points that can help you decide if your home in Berks County needs a home warranty.

Know the Cost

A basic home warranty costs about $350 to $500 a year or more. It usually covers such items as kitchen appliances, plumbing, water heater, heating and electrical system components, sump pump, whirlpool tub, and ceiling and exhaust fans. You can buy an "enhanced" plan that covers things such as your washer and dryer, AC system, refrigerator and garage door opener. Optional coverage can be added, including pools and septic systems.

You can usually make monthly payments if that works better for you. Keep in mind that warranties will usually require for you to pay for the service call. This is called a home warranty deductible, or service call fees. This fee usually hovers around $75 per visit. Some companies, like American Home Shield or TotalProtect Home Warranty, let their customers choose the amount of a deductible, which depends on the amount of premium. The higher the premium, the lower the deductible.

Peace of Mind

The main goal of any home warranty is for those unforeseen repairs. You never know when the AC will take a dive, or some other expensive repair will pop up. If you don't have the money to cover that repair at the time, you could be stuck. For example, the average cost of a new AC unit with installation is around $5000. If you have it covered with a home warranty, you won't have to shell out all that money if it goes out completely.

Home warranties also make sense for people who aren't handy or who don't want to worry about tracking down a contractor when they have a problem. Warranties can also make sense for people with expensive taste in appliances.

Not Everything is Covered

Home warranties don't cover everything, so don't think that having one will mean you never have to pay for home repairs again. This is no doubt why some people say they're a scam or a ripoff. As long as you know what's covered and what's not, then you won't be as angry if your warranty doesn't cover a particular repair or item.

Some problems won't be covered by the warranty, either because the you didn't purchase coverage for that item or because the warranty company doesn't offer coverage for that item. Also, home warranties usually don't cover components that haven't been properly maintained. And if the warranty company denies a claim, you will still have to pay the service fee and will also be responsible for repair costs.

In the end, whether or not you buy a home warranty depends on how you choose to handle your finances, as well as your peace of mind.

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