One of the best ways to preserve the value and integrity of your home is by having a comprehensive home insurance policy. This way, if the unexpected ever occurs, you won’t have to pay for the resulting repairs out of your own pocket. But what about the repair and replacement costs that you do expect? Is there a way to plan for the inevitable failure of costly home systems and appliances? Can you sidestep the financial hardship of having your HVAC system break down? The answer is yes. If you have an active home warranty, this agreement may cover some or all of your HVAC repair or replacement costs.
Understanding the Three Primary Options in Home Warranties
Not all home warranties provide the same level of coverage and protection. Some home warranty plans are labeled as “appliance only” plans and only cover a limited range of freestanding appliances. These warranty agreements will pay for the replacement or repair of standalone home appliances such as dishwashers, ovens, washers, dryers, trash compactors, and built-in microwaves.
Other home warranty plans are labeled as “systems only”. These plans won’t cover your freestanding appliances, but they will cover your HVAC system, your electrical system, and your plumbing system. When HVAC systems are covered under “systems only” plans, HVAC ductwork is not included. The maintenance, replacement, or repair of HVAC duct systems must be paid for by homeowners themselves. This is because your HVAC air ducts are considered to be a part of the building itself.
The third option in home warranties is a combination warranty that will cover both the appliances and the systems in your home. These warranty agreements cost a bit more upfront, but they’re capable of saving you the most money in the long run.
Making Sure That Your HVAC System Is Included in Your Warranty Agreement
To verify whether or not your HVAC system is included in your current home warranty agreement, review your policy documents. Check to see whether you’ve purchased a “systems only” plan, an “appliance only” plan, or a combination plan that offers coverage for both asset types.
Take the time to read through all of the fine print of this agreement, especially as it pertains to your HVAC system. This will tell you which types of HVAC problems are covered, how much protection your plan will provide, and what you’re required to do to continue enjoying these benefits.
How to Keep Your Home Warranty From Being Voided
Home warranties are often referred to as home warranty agreements and for one very important reason. They represent mutual agreements between the companies that offer them and the consumers who buy them. As a warranty holder, you’re obligated to take good care of all of the systems and appliances that your warranty protects. In most cases, this means staying up to date on all manufacturer-recommended maintenance. However, your warranty agreement may have several additional requirements. These may include having your HVAC system inspected more frequently toward the end of its lifespan or investing in a specific air filter type.
It’s also important to ensure that your covered items are only serviced by licensed technicians. If you have a friend or family member who’s especially handy with home heating and cooling equipment, letting this person perform repairs on your heater or air conditioner could cause both your home warranty and your home insurance policy to be voided. Allowing unlicensed and uninsured parties to complete work in your home can also open the door to a host of costly liability issues.
Common Caveats of Home Warranty Coverage for HVAC Systems
There are a few caveats that may apply when using home warranty coverage for HVAC repairs and replacements. To start, all home warranty agreements entail an initial waiting period. After you have paid your annual premium and signed your warranty contract, you will have to wait at least 30 days before submitting your first repair or replacement request.
When major, high-cost repairs or replacements are required, it is often also necessary to share your maintenance records. Home warranty companies want to know that they are only paying for wear-related issues rather than general neglect. Thus, if you have a home warranty, be sure to keep accurate records of any professional services provided.
There are also certain restrictions pertaining to the replacement and repair of HVAC equipment that you may be subject to. For instance, it may be that your home warranty will only pay HVAC replacement costs that are equal to the original cost of your HVAC systems. Some warranties also account for age and wear-related depreciation when determining what their contributions will be. If you choose to purchase a heater or air conditioner that exceeds your home warranty company’s contribution, the difference will have to be paid for by you. Finally, home warranty companies often reserve the right to either choose the contractors that will perform this work or require warranty holders to choose from their own select range of authorized partners.
Integrated HVAC Accessories
If you currently have a home warranty that covers your HVAC equipment, talk with your home warranty provider before having any integrated HVAC accessories installed. This is the surest way to avoid accidentally voiding your warranty. Your plan may have stipulations against having integrated air purifiers, air scrubbers, media filters, or whole-house dehumidifiers installed.
Special Benefits of Having a Home Warranty
If you’ve purchased a top-tier warranty agreement from a top-rated company, there may be a few additional perks included in your plan. For instance, many warranty agreements will pay for one or more service visits annually. These benefits are offered to help homeowners stay on top of appliance and systems maintenance and to prevent minor issues from worsening. If these benefits are included in your home warranty agreement, find out if there’s a limited time frame for taking advantage of them.
Understanding What’s Covered
Home warranties are often likened to home insurance given that both products protect consumers from excess financial stress when repair or replacement issues arise. However, home insurance plans cover damages that are the direct result of events like seasonal storms, house fires, and floods. Home warranties are only meant to cover problems that are the direct result of normal aging and general wear and tear. Knowing the difference will make it easier to determine which company to submit your claim to for each issue you encounter.
Important Steps That You Can Take to Protect Yourself
Much like home insurance plans, privacy policies, and user agreements, home warranty documents can contain a lot of legal jargon and other confusing language. If you have a hard time understanding the terms, conditions, or provisions that are set forth in this document, call your home warranty company directly. They can explain their agreement in full, and they can tell how to make the best possible use of your available benefits.
Residents of Vancouver, BC can always turn to Western Pacific Heating, Cooling & Airflow for their HVAC needs. We provide reliable heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair services. We also offer air purification services, VRF systems, and water heaters. If your heater or air conditioner is acting up, we can help. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.