Home ownership in Berks County is an expensive endeavor. When you take on an already expensive mortgage, you often find yourself paying for things you never even considered before. Home owners are essentially on their own when it comes to maintenance, unlike apartment dwellers whose landlords do all the work.

As such, you may be considering buying a home warranty. It's important to understand how home warranties work before purchasing one. It is common for homeowners to misunderstand the terms of their warranties, as evidenced by hundreds of consumer reviews left on websites. Keep these three things in mind to avoid unpleasant surprises.

The Home Warranty Basics

Home warranties are similar to car warranties. When you have a car warranty, you can take it to the dealer and the dealer will fix the problem for free as long as you are within the warranty period. In a home warranty, you pay a monthly fee, and the warranty company sends a service representative to fix any problems.

While there is a service fee, $60 is much less than hundreds you'd otherwise have to pay if your dishwasher broke. Most people agree that a home warranty is an easy way to feel confident in their home and a way to help with unexpected problems and repairs that come up.

The world would be a better place if only this were true.

The Real Home Warranty Situation

Some companies offer home warranties that are pretty much true to their advertising. However, many others aim to make a profit at any cost. They frequently lower rates on the contractor side of things while refusing to help customers on the other.

You have a problem with your air conditioner. Your home warranty company sends a service representative to your home. You are told that ice has fallen on your air conditioner, and it is not covered. The service representative is happy to fix your air conditioner if you pay him directly, but - oh, yes - it's a $60 service call.

While things may not be considered an accident of nature or your fault, (the air conditioner is dirty - we can't cover that!) there is still a lot of pressure on the service company to keep costs low. One company was told to drop their rates. They couldn’t drop them and stay in business, so the warranty company cut them as a provider.

Placing the Blame

There is a lot of complexity involved in the home warranty business. If your air conditioner, sink, dishwasher, or furnace needs to be repaired, then you just want it done. To maximize profits, the service company must avoid fixing things. In the middle of all this, the home warranty company stirs up trouble and counts the cash.

At the same time, customers and contractors are frustrated and irate. Customers of home warranties might be better off putting their money in the bank rather than in the coffers of home warranty companies. Savings would enable them to deal with problems when they arise, instead of dealing with hassles on the way.

In the end, it’s up to you as a Berks County home owner to decide if a home warranty is worth it. Make sure you do your research to find the right one if that’s how you decide to go. Doing so could save you a lot of headaches when problems arise.

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