Much like your home insurance plan, the home warranty that you’ve purchased is designed to give you greater peace of mind. When flooding, storms, or fires cause property damage, your insurance policy will keep financial devastation at bay. However, when major systems and appliances start failing in your Commerce, Michigan home, it is your home warranty that will save the day. If you’ve got an HVAC system to protect, it’s vital to know the limitations of your home warranty concerning this equipment.
Not Every Warranty Covers Home Systems
One of the first things to know about your HVAC equipment and your home warranty is that not all warranty types covering heating and cooling systems. While heaters and air conditioners are marketed, sold, and referenced as home appliances, they aren’t appliances in the eyes of home warranty providers. Instead, HVAC systems are recognized as home systems.
This is essential to bear in mind when choosing a home warranty plan, especially if the cost of your warranty’s annual premiums are a major concern. Basic and lower-priced home warranties don’t provide the same level of coverage that more costly and comprehensive home warranties do. In fact, many of these options are labeled as appliance-only warranties. This means that they will only pay to repair or replace separate, standalone appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines.
Comprehensive warranty agreements cover both systems and appliances. In addition to paying for oven, garbage disposal, and freezer replacements and repairs, they’ll pay for electrical system, plumbing system, and HVAC system repairs. These home warranties are often referred to as systems and appliance warranties. If you already have an appliance-only warranty or if you’re only interested in protecting your home systems, you can shop for a systems-only plan. Some warranty companies will even allow you to add select home systems to an appliance-only plan by paying additional fees to include them as options.
All things said, it is best to get a clear understanding of everything that your home warranty will and will not cover before you actually need to use it. You can do this by reading through your policy documents or by speaking directly to a company representative.
Home Warranty Companies Are Not Responsible for Homeowner Negligence
When used correctly, home warranties provide consumers with protections that are nearly too good to be true. It’s almost impossible to imagine that warranty providers will pay to replace the systems or appliances in your home just because they’ve grown too old. However, there are ways for home warranty companies to reliably do this without becoming bankrupt themselves.
The best way for home warranty providers to maintain their financial health is by working with responsible consumers. Whether you have a home warranty or not, you know that replacement and repair issues are far less likely to occur when you practice good general maintenance. Scheduling twice-annual inspections and tune-ups, and being diligent about scheduling timely repairs can make all of the difference in the health and longevity of your heating and cooling system. Home warranty companies recognize this too.
Often referred to as home service agreements, home warranties are actually binding, mutual agreements between two parties: warranty holders and the companies that issue them. Warranty companies promise to pay for wear-related damage, but only if homeowners take reasonable steps to limit it. Homeowners agree to perform all manufacturer-recommended maintenance and to take any other preventative measures that are listed in their service agreements. Falling short in this area could cause your home warranty to be voided. If this happens, you’ll have to pay for your own HVAC system repairs and replacements.
It is additionally important to note that proof of maintenance is sometimes required. For instance, if you submit a request for a high-value HVAC repair or if you ask your home warranty company to replace any of your home heating or cooling equipment, you’ll have to share adequate proof of maintenance to avoid a request denial.
Other Actions That May Void Your HVAC Coverage
There are other actions that homeowners can take that might cause their home service agreements to be voided. These include:
- Attempting to perform their own system or appliance repairs
- Hiring unlicensed parties to perform repair services
- Modifying covered systems and appliances
If your HVAC system is covered by your home warranty, you’ll want to consult with your warranty provider before adding any integrated accessories. The addition of air scrubbers, air purifiers, or media filters may impact your coverage.
There Are Other Steps That Home Warranty Companies Take to Protect Themselves
One very frustrating but essential limitation of home warranty coverage pertains to the mandatory waiting period that all warranty providers have in place. Even if you purchase a home warranty that includes your HVAC system, you cannot use this agreement to cover HVAC repairs or replacements until 30 days have passed. Mandatory waiting periods protect warranty companies from consumers who are acting in bad faith. Any problems that arise immediately after your home warranty has been purchased will have to be paid for by you.
Which Aspects of a Home HVAC System Are Covered?
Certain aspects of residential HVAC systems aren’t covered by home warranties. For instance, the ductwork that supports central HVAC equipment is recognized as a fixed part of a residential building. If you’ve got old, damaged ductwork, repairing or replacing it will be an out-of-pocket expense. However, even though most warranty providers won’t pay to fix or replace damaged ductwork, they do make it mandatory for homeowners to diligently maintain it.
Home warranties do not provide coverage for freestanding HVAC appliances. For instance, if you have a rolling, portable air conditioner or a window air conditioner, your home warranty won’t help you repair or replace it. These items are only covered by their original product manufacturer warranties or by any extended warranties that consumers purchase.
Hiring Decisions May Lie in the Hands of Your Warranty Provider
Many home warranty companies make hiring decisions on behalf of warranty holders. This is yet another measure that they take to protect their interests. Hiring HVAC companies and other service providers that are authorized partners ensures that they’re kept in the loop concerning service agreement infractions. For instance, if your air conditioner stops working and the HVAC company that performs your repair notices that your air filter hasn’t been changed in months, this information will be relayed to the warranty company.
This makes it important to always contact your warranty provider before scheduling repairs. If this stipulation exists in your service agreement and you hire a contractor that lies outside of the approved network, you may have to pay for the repairs on your own. This is also another good reason to make sure that you’re on top of all mandatory HVAC maintenance.
The Difference Between Wear-Related Damage and Damage Caused by Unexpected Events
One of the most important things to remember about home service agreements is that they are only designed to pay for wear-related damage. Although home warranties are handy, they are meant to supplement home insurance, not replace it. If your HVAC system is damaged by a power surge. flood, fire, or other event, you will have to submit a claim to your home insurance company.
Since 1946, Matheson Heating, Air & Plumbing has been a trusted provider of HVAC services throughout Commerce, Michigan and the surrounding area. We offer HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair services as well ductless mini-splits, water heaters, water softeners, and sump pumps. If your HVAC system is no longer working like it should, we can help. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.