Home Warranties and Senior CitizensHome warranties are on the rise!  These home maintenance products are designed specifically for people who reside in older homes, and do not have the capacity to fix malfunctions on their own and may face difficulties financing big repairs and home appliance replacement. Hence, a significant portion of the service clients are senior citizens.

What is a Home Warranty?

Home warranties are service agreement between providers (which are not insurance companies and not regulated in the same fashion) and customers which, in essence, cover the customers’ home systems and appliances against the wear and tear. Once one of the items covered under the policy breaks, the home warranty company is responsible to fix it, or, if it is not repairable, replace it.  This is great for senior citizens whose physical health might not be conducive to fix repairs on own, any longer.

While the concept may sound extremely attractive, there are several pitfalls associated with it. Before we delve into the nitty gritty, it’s important to state that there are several dozens of home warranties in operation today. That means that not each and every company shares all the pitfalls we will be listing on this article. With that being said, even the largest and oldest companies in this space are getting constant negative press coverage, and consumer rating sites have a lot more complaints than positive reviews, which definitely signifies there is an inherent problem with this type of coverage.

Things to Ask a Home Warranty Provider

With home warranties there are plenty of issues which are constantly problematic. Below you can find the most common complaints as collected by Review Home Warranties:

  • An item breaks and it was not covered in the policy.
  • An item breaks, deemed as unrepairable, and the reimbursement by the home warranty company is insufficient to replace the item. 
  • An item malfunctions, and the home warranty issuer claims the cause is a preexisting condition, hence it doesn’t provide service.
  • Customer calls for a service call and is surprised to find a service call fee ranging from $50 to $75 per call.
  • The repair person sent by the company isn’t up to part in terms of professionalism or courtesy.
  • A client submits a claim and gets either no response back, or a delayed response.
  • An existing customer have his annual policy renewed automatically at the end of year.

Some of these issues could be avoided by looking carefully at the policy before joining any service. For example, a customer should be fully aware which plan he signed to, and what does it cover. An additional example could be service call fees which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Some of these commonly reported issues are difficult to avoid though. If the repair person hired by the home warranty company is unprofessional in either capabilities or approach, for example, or in cases where home warranty companies ignore claims leaving clients uncovered.

Many of these issues simply occur because unfavorable policies. Similarly, renewable annual policies are generally a legal practice in the USA (to our best knowledge, not legal advice) but it’s simply a bad practice that does not help clients establish trust with their providers.

To summarize, a home warranty policy may have many issues. If are an elderly person and considering a home warranty, you should first be aware of them and carefully scrutinize the contract before you sign it.