As a new homeowner, you may have received a home warranty from the builder or previous owners. It’s a nice perk, yes. But don’t get the false impression your warranty will cover everything that goes wrong in your new home. You might be surprised at what is covered — and what may not be covered. It’s also important to know what to do if you need to make a claim.
Home warranties are typically purchased on your behalf from a third-party company. The warranty is usually valid for one year but may give the option for renewal at your own expense. Read it carefully to avoid misunderstandings about coverage. For instance, although fixing a poorly constructed roof may be covered, it’s unlikely your relocation costs or any personal items damaged as a result of the faulty roof will be covered. If you, the buyer, have an FHA or VA loan, the builder or previous owners may be required to purchase a warranty.
What’s covered? A warranty for new construction homes usually covers workmanship and materials for the first year and major structural defects like the roof or foundation for ten years. Warranties on resale homes may include replacement parts but not labor. Or the warranty might specify a small service fee. On new construction homes, It’s a good idea before taking possession to do a detailed walkthrough and clearly outline which items the builder is responsible for under the terms of the warranty. Consider doing the same at the end of your warranty, particularly if the house has had major problems. The inspection will cost you several hundred dollars but could save you considerably more in the long run.
If you need to file a claim, follow the instructions contained in the warranty. Everything must be in writing. Save emails and make copies of all receipts.