Shoulda Bought the Warranty

Posted: 2016-01-14 in Life The Universe and Everything
Tags: , , , ,

I mentioned (in passing) that late last year, my family moved out of Casa de Bedlam into our new (as yet unnamed) home. It was a whirlwind move and my head is still spinning, but almost all the boxes are unpacked and we’ve already had family over for a number of celebrations (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’) and love the additional floor space for “entertaining.”


Home Sweet Home!

What I’m not loving so much? All the headaches that come with inheriting someone else’s home with all the hidden (or not-so-hidden) problems that tag along for the ride. Last month, the magnetron on the microwave went kaput, leaving us in a Hippy-like “No Nukes!” status for the better part of the week while we scheduled an appliance repair guy to come out and take a look. We all had a good laugh at how hard it was to adapt to life without a microwave nowadays (as The Bean said, “Guess we’ll be eating out all week, right?”) but we weren’t laughing when the invoice for the repairs came due. Yes, it was cheaper than buying a new microwave, but that didn’t make it any more palatable to shell out the funds for the repair.

I had actually considered buying a home warranty to cover those “unforeseen” repairs, at least for the first year while I was getting a feel for the state of the house, but didn’t get around to purchasing it at the house closing. And of course, the warranty companies put a 2-week hold on claims from when you sign a contract to prevent you from “purchasing after the fact”, and it slipped my mind to follow up with a purchase after the microwave was working again.


Picture this, but made out of 1/8″ cable on each side of the garage door. Not pretty.

So of course, what happens this week? Breakdown #2 – this time, the garage door. Torsion bar / springs failed, causing the cables to snarl in a big bird’s-nest mess on both ends of the bar. My mechanical knowledge in this area was limited to figuring out how to disengage all that mess from the door so I could roll it down and lock it in place, and (of course) figuring out how to use the telephone to call the Garage Door Doctor. Luckily for us, they were able to schedule a evening appointment same-day as I called, and replaced the entire assembly in an hour (to the tune of an emptying wallet).

So at this point, I’m expecting it’s only a matter of time before the third shoe drops (yes, I’m assuming there’s an octopus wearing shoes in the room above me, shut up). Time to get on that home warranty purchase before the next repair forces me to take a job as a male escort to pay the bills.

Anyone have any experience with home warranties? Any good companies I should consider? I can use my Google-fu to do some research, but it doesn’t hurt to have a head start on the process…


  1. Thomas says:

    We have a home warranty with HMS and it’s been a rollercoaster ride.

    First we had a crack in our glass stove top and they wouldn’t cover it. Only if water leaks through the crack and fries the mechanical parts, then it’s covered.

    Second we had a seal on our front loading washer rip. They said that’s not covered either. Very few parts on a washer and dryer are actually covered.

    Third the circuit board on our furnace fried. So far I haven’t heard that they aren’t covering it. We haven’t had heat since 1pm yesterday and so we’re in the middle of this claim. I think this one will actually be successful.

    It’s hard to now if warranties are good or bad. They seem good, but what the warranty companies actually cover is the tricky part. Chances are, they only fix the big things and only if specific things break. So if that happens, great. Otherwise, you’re on your own.


    • rossruns says:

      Good points, I’ll definitely have to look into the fine print of what is covered. My last home had a 1 year home warranty supplied by the builder with purchase, and it covered a bad magnetron in the microwave and a bad motor in the AC unit, but didn’t cover washers/dryers at all. I let that one expire once we had been there for a year because it was a brand new house and most of the stuff had made it through its burn-in period. With this new house, I’m figuring better safe than sorry for the first year since I haven’t experienced everything in all seasons yet, but I do need to take it with a grain of salt when it comes to my expectations for any claims…


      • Thomas says:

        Our furnace got fixed in a day and the guy was very nice. He said the cost would have been around $600 but we only paid $100. We call that a win. If you are concerned about bigger things breaking, then warranties may be worth it.


  2. madtante says:

    I can only share that a girl I’ve known forever (who is also a dumbass) got one with her new husband and proclaimed it the best thing ever cos right after signing on, their hot water heater needed work and something else. I mention that she’s a dumbass cos I don’t know if I can trust her judgement of what’s good or not BUT as neither had skills to repair anything themselves, it might very well have been well worth the money. I do recall that it wasn’t too much per month to pay, certainly less per month than even one repair, especially if you predict many repairs in the near future.


    • rossruns says:

      Don’t you hate when someone recommends something and you can’t figure out whether you can trust their recommendation? Thanks for the info though…


  3. snoringKatZ says:

    I had one with American Home something or another when we bought the house and it covered the water heater collapse very nicely. The plumbers they sent were really good, even when they had to rework the inlet lines because some prior doughball had ‘fixed’ a leak in the copper pipe by gobbing a pile of solder on the pinholes. When they heated the other end for a flare fitting, it loosened the solder gob and when they turned on the water… PPPPSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! TURNITOFFTURNITOFF!!!!

    That was pretty funny. They were really nice about just fixing it.

    When a drain line leaked in the wall by the kitchen sink, those guys did a lousy job. I found that out because three years later, the whole wall caved in under the cabinet and my real super-duper plumber I’d found by then showed me what a crappy job they did.

    The warranty is really specific about what it covers and how, and I expect if it had not been included in the purchase, I wouldn’t have gotten it. Very expensive for extreme limitations. And then the crap shoot of what contractor they send your way.

    All this was 15 years ago so I have no current knowledge of such things but I expect it is a great value if it actually covers a problem you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. snoringKatZ says:

    PS: I am very sorry your house is behaving badly. I don’t know why they do that. It’s like they know you’re someone who will take care of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My only experience is vicariously, and is not good. But, I also live in the middle of nowhere thus limiting options for repair people (meaning, the only guys willing to travel out here to do any work are only the ones who HAVE TO travel this far to get work because no one from their ‘home base’ will hire them). That being said, one of the people who – to me – has had numerous negative experiences still swears by the warranty.


    • rossruns says:

      Good to know. I too have heard horror stories of the warranty companies employing sub-par technicians because they’re cheap, usually because they can’t find work on their own (due to sub-par quality or previous employment problems). Still more to think about…


  6. leendadll says:

    My experience was that no matter what I called for, I was told “oh, that isn’t covered.” I believe that was AHS, but won’t swear to it.

    My microwave died last year and I decided not to replace it. The intent was to eat more home-cooked food. The reality was eating more “dinners” that were nothing but a bag of pre-packaged popcorn.

    Liked by 1 person

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