Have you ever purchased a home warranty and wondered exactly how long the coverage lasts? Or maybe you’re thinking about getting a home warranty, but you want to understand all the important timeframes before signing up. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about the duration of home warranty coverage. We’ll look at when policies take effect, how the claims process works, what deadlines you need to be aware of, and more. Whether you already have a home warranty or you’re shopping for your first one, this info will ensure you maximize the value of your policy.
Let’s get started!
What is a Home Warranty?
First things first – what exactly is a home warranty?
A home warranty is a service contract that covers repairs and replacements for major home systems and appliances in your house. When something stops working due to normal wear and tear, the home warranty company will pay for the cost of the repair or replacement, offsetting expensive bills.
Home warranties differ from homeowners insurance in an important way. While homeowners insurance protects against environmental damages like fires, floods, or storms, a home warranty specifically covers breakdowns of home systems.
The typical home warranty policy lasts for one year. Companies generally offer customers the ability to renew annual policies so coverage can be extended over multiple years. Now let’s look at when that coverage kicks in.
When Does Coverage Begin?
With most home warranty companies, your coverage won’t begin right away when you purchase a policy. There is usually a waiting period before the plan becomes active.
Typical waiting periods range from 30 days up to 1 month. The most common waiting period used in the home warranty industry is 30 days. Popular providers like American Home Shield use this standard 30 day waiting period.
So why the waiting period before your home warranty kicks in? It prevents people from signing up only after something breaks down. The delay ensures that any issues with appliances or systems are not pre-existing problems from before you had coverage.
Pay close attention to the details of what is covered during the initial waiting period. Some providers may offer limited coverage or charge additional fees for service calls during this timeframe. You don’t want any surprises!
Once the waiting period passes, your home warranty coverage will be in full effect. Then if something stops working, you can file a claim to get repairs or replacement covered.
How Long are Home Warranties Valid For?
The typical home warranty policy term is one year. Most providers will let you renew and extend your coverage annually after the first year is up.
However, a small number of home warranty companies offer two year initial policy terms. For example, leading provider American Home Shield offers one and two year options to choose from.
When your initial policy term comes to an end, you’ll need to renew your coverage in order to continue the protection. Many providers automatically renew home warranty customers from year to year. This prevents gaps in coverage that could leave you vulnerable.
If you don’t want your policy to auto-renew, make sure to notify your provider in advance so you can cancel the renewal. Check your specific home warranty company’s cancellation policy to understand the deadlines.
The main thing is avoiding gaps between policy terms. Even a short gap could leave you paying expensive repair bills out of pocket. Renewing keeps you protected!
What is the Cancellation Period?
Now you know how long home warranty coverage typically lasts. But what if you change your mind and want to cancel? How long do you have to back out and get a refund?
Most home warranty companies give new customers 30 days from the time of purchase to cancel their policy and receive a full refund. This serves as a trial period in case you have second thoughts or find the provider isn’t the right fit.
A small number of companies give you less time, such as only 10 or 20 days. Read through the cancellation terms closely so you know the exact window to cancel with a refund.
After the initial cancellation period, you may or may not get a partial refund depending on the provider. Many charge a cancellation fee if you cancel mid-term, deducting this from any refunded amount.
Before canceling, think about whether you’ve needed any repairs in the first year and if the warranty has already paid for itself. Don’t cancel just because you haven’t used it yet – breakdowns can happen any time!
Weigh the ongoing cost versus value before making a cancellation decision. Home warranties provide important protection that could be worth keeping.
When Can I File a Claim?
If something does break down, how long do you have to file a claim?
The window to report issues is typically very short. Around 40% of home warranty companies require you to submit a claim within 1 day of noticing a problem. This prevents further damage from emerging.
A small number give slightly longer, between 2-14 days. But it’s always best to call your provider ASAP when something stops working, for fastest repairs.
Having documentation ready speeds up the process too. Have any appliance manuals, maintenance records, purchase receipts etc on hand to submit.
Follow the proper protocols outlined in your policy for filing claims. Using the right channels gets contractors dispatched quicker.
Waiting too long past the allowed window can nullify coverage. So know the deadlines and report breakdowns right away.
How Soon Can I Get Repairs?
Once you’ve filed a claim, how long will you have to wait for a contractor to come do repairs? Let’s look at timeframes for both non-emergencies and emergency situations.
For non-emergency service requests, most home warranty providers will dispatch an authorized contractor within 2 business days. A small number may take up to 30 days to schedule repairs, but this is less common.
If a breakdown requires emergency service, you can expect a 24-48 hour response time from most leading home warranty companies. For example, American Home Shield promises emergency repairs within 48 hours of claim submission.
Some providers allow you to pay an extra fee to speed up emergency service even more. The priority will also depend on which system is affected – plumbing issues may get faster attention than a broken appliances, for instance.
Another factor that extends repair timeframes is weekends and holidays. Only around 4-9% of home warranty companies guarantee 24 hour or 3 day service on weekends/holidays. Many simply pause the countdown during those times.
Manage your expectations accordingly based on whether it’s an emergency, the day of the week, and your provider’s policies. Paying extra fees can accelerate service in a pinch.
Are Repairs Guaranteed?
Let’s say your home warranty covers a repair for a broken water heater. But then it stops working again a month later! Are you covered to have the repair redone?
Many home warranty companies provide a re-service period when they will redo covered repairs for free if the same issue recurs. This guarantees the quality of the initial fix.
For labor, the typical re-service period is 30 days. Around half of major home warranty providers offer this 30 day workmanship guarantee. For parts, 60-90 days is more common.
A small number of companies go above and beyond here. For example, Liberty Home Guard provides a 60 day labor re-service period and a full year for parts! Review your provider’s policy so you know what to expect.
If your repaired item fails again within the specified timeframe, make sure to contact your home warranty company promptly to have the repair redone at no cost before the re-service period expires.
How Can I Extend My Coverage?
As we discussed earlier, home warranties typically last for one year terms. To continue your protection into future years, you’ll need to renew your coverage when each annual term ends.
The good news is most providers make this renewal process easy by automatically renewing customer policies annually. All you have to do is continue paying the renewal premium.
If you don’t want to auto-renew, be sure to officially cancel within the specified timeframe – usually 30 days prior to expiration. Check your policy documents for exact details.
Before renewing, think about your needs. Do you want to add coverage for new appliances or systems? Are you satisfied with the current provider or do you want to shop around?
Renewing maintains seamless coverage. But switching plans or providers is also an option if you find a better deal or superior service.
The key is deciding in advance so you don’t end up with an unwanted auto-renewal or gaps between policy terms. Plan ahead to keep your home warranty protection uninterrupted!
A complete rundown of the key durations, deadlines, and timeframes related to home warranties.
The typical home warranty lasts for one year. Make sure to renew on time to avoid gaps in coverage. Pay close attention to waiting periods, cancellation policies, claims deadlines, and re-service periods.
Knowing the ins and outs of timeframes for your home warranty ensures you get the smoothest service and maximum value from your policy. Now you can shop confidently and maintain seamless protection for your most important home systems and appliances.