That groaning, creaking garage door always seems to break at the worst possible moment, doesn’t it? You’re rushing to get to work and -CLUNK- it gets stuck half open. Or you’re arriving home late at night to find the opener has gone kaput, forcing you to get out and haul it up by hand. Major inconvenience!
While home warranties can be handy for protecting against breakdowns of appliances, HVAC systems, and other household equipment, you may be wondering – does my home warranty cover garage door repairs or replacement when that old door finally gives up the ghost? Let’s lift the door (so to speak) on what is and isn’t covered when it comes to one of the largest and most frequently used systems around your home.
What Does a Home Warranty Typically Include?
Before looking specifically at garage doors, it helps to understand what types of items a home warranty generally covers. Many home warranty companies offer basic plans that cover repairs and replacements for:
- Major appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, etc.
- Heating and air conditioning equipment
- Electrical systems
- Plumbing systems and pipes
- Water heaters
- Garbage disposals and sump pumps
Coverage often extends to other common home systems like garage door openers, ceiling fans, and doorbells. Most plans allow you to customize by adding coverage for supplemental systems like pools, wells, septic tanks, and more – for an additional monthly fee.
While home warranties can really save the day when a covered system unexpectedly fails, they do have exclusions. Normal home maintenance and repairs – think clogged drains or wiring a new light fixture – are typically not included. Home warranties also tend to exclude damage from accidents, floods, fires, and other insurance-claim type events.
Does a Home Warranty Cover Garage Door Repairs?
Now for the big question – is your temperamental garage door itself covered under a home warranty?
Unfortunately, the answer is usually no. The physical garage door and its component parts – the panels, rollers, tracks, hinges, springs, and cables – are not covered under most basic home warranty plans.
Repairing or replacing the garage door due to normal wear and tear is generally an out-of-pocket homeowner expense. On average, garage door repair costs range from $100 for minor fixes up to $400 or more for replacing broken springs, cables and other components. Complete garage door replacement typically runs $700 to $1,500 installed.
But the Garage Door Opener is Often Covered
The good news is that while the garage door itself isn’t covered, many home warranty plans do cover the electric garage door opener. As an integral home system that can unexpectedly break, the opener falls within the realm of what basic warranties include.
Specifically, most home warranties cover the motor, drive chain, circuit boards and electronics that operate your garage door opener. If your opener starts making weird noises, stops responding to the remote, or simply conks out, your home warranty provider will usually pay to have it repaired by a professional, or replaced if needed. This can save you a few hundred dollars compared to paying for garage door opener repairs out of pocket.
However, home warranty coverage does have its limits. Some components of your opener may be excluded, like remotes, keypads, or light bulbs. Physical damage is also not covered – so if you accidentally back into the opener and bend its rail, you’re on the hook for repairs. Always read your coverage details closely!
How Do I File a Claim for Garage Door Opener Repairs?
When those early morning or late night garage door mishaps occur, here are the steps to take in filing a claim with your home warranty provider:
- Call or go online to request service from your warranty company. Provide details about the issue.
- The company assigns a local technician to come evaluate your garage door opener.
- The technician diagnoses the problem and contacts the warranty company for next steps.
- If approved, the technician proceeds with covered repairs or arranges for replacement.
- You pay your trade service call fee – usually $50 to $100. The warranty company covers the remaining technician labor and parts costs.
Getting warranty-covered repairs for your garage door opener is the easy part. But what about when the door itself starts acting up?
Options When Your Garage Door Needs Repair or Replacement
Since the garage door and its components are not covered under standard home warranty plans, you’ll have to foot the bill when it’s time to repair or replace your aging door. Here are some ballpark costs to expect:
- Garage door tune-up or minor repairs like hinges and rollers: $100 to $250
- Replacing broken door springs: $200 to $300
- Installing new garage door panels: $500 to $1,000
- Full garage door replacement: $700 to $1,500
Ouch! While not cheap, paying for repairs or replacement is likely cheaper than installing a brand new garage door, which runs $3,000 to $5,000.
If your garage door is irreparable or just too outdated, when shopping for a replacement consider:
- Sturdy steel or aluminum will last longer than wood.
- Insulated doors provide better noise reduction and temperature control.
- Higher gauge numbers indicate thicker, more durable metal.
- Openers with battery backup allow operation during power outages.
- Keyless entry pads and smartphone controls add convenience.
- Professional installation is recommended, but adds $300 or more.
To help defray costs, check if your homeowners insurance might cover any storm, accident, or theft damage to your garage door. And seek out any valid warranties – some cover doors for 15 years or longer against defects.
Maintaining Your Garage Door Leads to Longer Life
Want to delay needing repairs or replacement as long as possible? Make garage door maintenance a priority. Here are a few tips:
- Visually inspect the door and opener monthly for signs of wear or damage.
- Test the door balance by disconnecting the opener and manually operating it. A properly balanced door will stay in place when opened halfway.
- Lubricate the opener’s chain drive and any rollers/hinges per manufacturer instructions.
- Check cables for fraying and test the auto-reverse function for safety.
- Replace weatherstripping and tighten hardware to prevent elements from infiltrating the door.
- Clean the tracks and use a track lube to help the rollers glide smoothly.
Taking proper care of your garage door system can add years to its lifespan. How long a quality insulated steel garage door lasts depends on climate and usage, but typically 15-30 years. Openers last 10-15 years. With preventative maintenance, you should be able to go many years before needing major repairs or full replacement.
Shopping for a Home Warranty? Compare Providers Carefully
If you’re in the market for home warranty protection, conduct thorough research before choosing a provider. While most major insurers like American Home Shield and Choice Home Warranty cover garage door openers, policy specifics, price, coverage limits, and customer service ratings can vary significantly.
A few top-rated home warranty companies to consider include:
- Cinch Home Services: Known for comprehensive coverage and strong customer service, Cinch gets high marks from reviewers. Their basic plan includes garage door opener coverage with reasonable limits. Monthly fees start around $50.
- Select Home Warranty: Select offers affordable plans that include garage door opener coverage. Claims can be filed online or via mobile app for convenience. Select has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.
- First American Home Warranty: As an industry leader, First American offers flexible plans with reasonable pricing. Existing system coverage and convenience service perks appeal to buyers. Monthly fees start around $40.
Always read the fine print about coverage limits, exclusions, and service fees when comparing home warranty options. And remember – while the garage door opener is typically covered, the door itself is usually excluded. Weigh the costs against potential repair bills when deciding if a home warranty makes sense for you.
Other Garage Door protections to Keep in Mind
Beyond home warranties, a few other tips related to garage door coverage:
- For a recently installed door, check if the manufacturer provides any warranty covering defects for several years.
- Today’s high-tech openers can connect to home automation systems and smartphone apps, allowing for convenient remote operation and monitoring if problems occur.
- While DIY repairs to garage doors are possible, the large spring-loaded doors are complicated systems best serviced by professionals. Don’t take chances with safety.
- Be sure to add your garage door and opener to your home inventory for insurance purposes in case repair bills exceed your coverage limits after damage.
Does Your Home Warranty Provide Peace of Mind?
As we’ve covered, basic home warranty plans generally exclude the large, heavy-duty garage door itself while covering the garage door opener motor and mechanics. This provides protection against opener breakdowns, but leaves you responsible for repairs and replacement when the door panels, springs, rollers and hardware wear out.
Carefully compare warranty coverage and costs to make the best choice for your home. And maintain that garage door well so it operates smoothly for many years before needing attention! With some preventative care and the right home warranty protections, you can have confidence knowing you’ve got one less major home system to constantly worry about.
- Home warranties typically cover appliances, HVAC, plumbing, electrical systems, and more – but generally exclude the physical garage door assembly.
- However, many plans do cover repairs or replacement if your garage door opener motor, chain drive, or control board malfunctions.
- File a claim with your warranty provider when your opener acts up to potentially save hundreds on service costs.
- When the garage door itself needs work, costs aren’t covered. Maintenance helps maximize the door’s lifespan.
- Compare home warranty companies’ offerings to find the right plan for your home and budget.
Go enjoy using your garage again, and don’t sweat the door repairs (for now anyway). That’s what home warranties are for!