NBC 5 Responds

Alternatives to Home Warranties

Their stories just keep coming in. People who bought home warranties, pay a monthly fee and say their warranty doesn't pay.

The producers in our consumer investigative center have investigated more than 50 complaints this year about home warranties not living up to their promises.

Connie Self knew she had a leak in a pipe in her wall, not under the house like her home warranty tech insisted.

She called someone else and paid out of her pocket.

"No digging under the house. It was exactly in the wall where I knew it was gonna be, like, exactly," Said Self.

Phylissia Clark with the Better Business Bureau suggests you do as much research as you can, including deciding if you even need a home warranty.

“We always say check to see if your appliances are still under warranty, the manufacturer may have a warranty, they may have an extended warranty you choose to get. Sometimes your credit card may warranty some items,” said Clark.

Many home warranties require both a monthly payment and a service fee you must pay every time you use the plan.

If you take that money and put it in a plain ole savings account in one year you could have enough money saved up to cover many expenses.

If you have a large number of older appliances, or an old a/c system a home warranty could still be a good choice.

There are things to look out for.

“The thing that causes most complaints with home warranties is a misunderstanding of what's actually covered,” said Clark.

The company Complete Appliance Protection spells out relatively clearly what's covered and doesn't charge fees or deductibles. They also say they will not turn you down for failing to maintain an appliance which is a common complaint with many companies.

There's a different company called Super which is more like an insurance plan, with a set spending limit for the year.

You know what you can spend on a covered item and they claim they're not big fans of repairing.

“We're looking to retain the customer over the entire lifespan of the home so we may replace earlier because it saves us money over a period of time,” said Jorey Ramer, CEO of Super.

Both of those companies can be more expensive than many other traditional home warranty companies.

Take the time to survey your home, examine the condition of your equipment, and then make a choice about what works for you.

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