Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of worthless home warranties - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of worthless home warranties

(Toledo News Now) - Home warranties have become almost standard with home sales these days with more than 75 percent of homes sold through realtors including a warranty. However, warranties may not always be worth it.

If you want peace of mind in your home, a home warranty sounds like a smart move. It protects you from the high cost of major repairs, such as furnace or water heater failure, for just a few dollars a month.

But for some homeowners, that peace of mind vanishes the first time they try to use it.

Spent $400, Then Tried To Collect

Joe and Leslie Ruhe didn't want any surprises when they bought a 25-year-old house so they spent $400 on a home warranty.

The furnace went out soon after they moved in.

"They wouldn't cover it. They didn't cover the valve, they excluded it," said Joe Ruhe, regarding the warranty. 
Indeed, in the fine print, it turns out gas valves were excluded by their warranty.

Then when their garage door opener went out, the warranty company wouldn't cover that either. 

"They denied it based on the fact it was caused by a power surge," explained Leslie Ruhe.

The Ruhes tried to show there was no evidence of a power surge or power failure that day.

"That time it was denied because they said it was still under warranty, but it wasn't," said Leslie Ruhe. 

So they filed another claim.

"The last straw was this week when we called about the garage door again, and he told us it was going to be denied because it was a pre-existing condition," said Leslie Ruhe. 

Among the furnace, garage door opener, and a failed kitchen disposal that was also denied, the Ruhes ended up paying and paying.

"$335 for a garage door, $473 for the furnace, another $140 for the furnace they wouldn't cover, then the disposal," Joe Ruhe said, as he added the numbers on a calculator.

The total amount they have paid in repairs, including several $100 service calls to look at the problems, is $1,143.

Don't Let This Happen To You

The Better Business Bureau reminds homebuyers to:

-Check a company's rating at the BBB. Some warranty companies get an "A," while others receive a "C" or "F" as a result of too many complaints.

-Find out what's excluded. If it excludes plumbing leaks and stopped drains, for instance, you may want to pass.

-Find out what qualifies as a pre-existing condition. Some companies will not repair a 20-year-old air conditioner or furnace when it goes out, claiming its useful life is over, and its failure was a pre-existing condition when you bought the home. Do not assume a warranty will give you a new furnace, air conditioner, or water heater.

-Find out if you can use your own contractor, or have to wait for theirs. In those cases, you may have to wait three or four days before their man can schedule you.

The Bottom Line

If you are going to have to pay for most repairs, buying a home warranty is not worth it.

If it comes free with your new home, any warranty is worth having, but if you're considering buying a home warranty out of pocket, search online for reviews and complaints before you buy it. Some get good reviews, others, not so much.

Even with the best of them, read the rules closely, so you don't waste your money.

Note: We are not naming the warranty company at this point, because we are giving them time to respond to our calls and e-mails. If they fail to respond within a week, we will name them when we update our report.

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