Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Guest Post by Credit.com
Many homeowners have a home warranty. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t fully understand everything that can void their home warranty. This lack of knowledge can be expensive when the homeowner tries to make a warranty claim.
This article will cover some of the things that can void your home warranty. Also, every warranty is a little different, so you should examine your contract to understand anything that could void your specific warranty.
How a home warranty works
A home warranty works like any other warranty. You purchase it through a third party, they do an inspection, and then you can begin the warranty process.
When something covered by the warranty breaks, you call your warranty provider. The provider will then send an approved repair person to fix your issue.
If you don’t call the warranty company when you have an issue, you most likely won’t receive any reimbursement for the product. This varies by company though, and you should fully understand your contract before inquiring about any warranty repairs.
What is covered by a home warranty?
A home warranty can cover many different things depending on the policy. The following is a list of some things that your home warranty might cover. Keep in mind, this varies depending on the policy and the level of service that you purchase.
- Air conditioning
- Electrical components in your home (fuses, fuse box, etc.)
- Water heater
One common way that homeowners void their warranty is by performing unauthorized repairs. This could include using a licensed contractor that is not approved by your warranty provider. It also includes using an unlicensed contractor or attempting to do the repairs yourself.
The contractors that home warranty providers use are manufacturer authorized contractors, and this means that they only use authorized parts for repairs and know the proper procedures. Jerry-rigging, or low-quality repairs, are rarely done by manufacturer authorized contractors.
Furthermore, all manufacturer authorized contractors put the repair work into a database with the corresponding serial number for the parts. The next repairman will be able to access this database and quickly determine the repairs that have occurred on your home.
If you feel tempted to do the repairs yourself because you think you can get away with it, then you should know that authorized service providers can easily determine if a repair has been done or attempted. They can usually tell because of the low-quality parts used or the insufficient repair work.
In other words, it’s not worth it to do the repair yourself. It might save you money in the short term, but it will cost you money if the warranty provider discovers it and voids your warranty completely.
Unauthorized installation is another common way that a warranty can be voided. This usually happens when a homeowner decides to do an installation themselves.
Not only must you have an authorized contractor maintain your appliances and fixtures, but the authorized contractor must also install the fixtures. Again, it is done this way so that a proper paper trail manifests for the equipment.
Not making prompt repairs
Every warranty provider will want you to make prompt repairs. The exact definition of prompt varies by the warranty, so check your contract to see the exact terms. If you have a leaky roof and ignore it, then don’t expect much sympathy if you try to file a claim on your destroyed ceiling fan. It just doesn’t work that way.
Prompt repair issues normally occur when you have a small problem that turns into a much bigger and much more expensive problem after being ignored. Plumbing stoppages are one example where this can happen.
A homeowner may notice a slow draining faucet and ignore it for a year. The problem could have easily been fixed simply by calling a plumber to snake the pipe. However, the homeowner waited too long, and the plumbing system rusted, so the pipe developed a leak.
The home warranty in that scenario might be void since the homeowners could have easily prevented the problem if they had taken the proper steps and ensured preventative maintenance.
Overall, remember that pushing off a minor repair could void your warranty. You should always make repairs as soon as you notice them to ensure your warranty stays valid. Also, make sure that you use the proper channels to do any repairs.
Unusual wear and tear
Warranties do not generally cover the effects of normal wear and tear to equipment. They only cover replacements and damage when a product breaks due to a manufacturer defect or when it breaks during normal use. If you intentionally put your appliances under stress, then you will most likely void the warranty.
Examples of unusual wear and tear might include bent ceiling fans from hanging something on the blades. Other issues could be a large amount of grease in your plumbing (improper disposal) or a frozen air conditioner from keeping the air too cold. However, this stipulation can be quite subjective. Generally, the warranty company will assume the wear and tear.
A good way to avoid unusual wear and tear is to make sure that you constantly maintain your appliances and fixtures. Also, follow the usage guidelines outlined in the owner’s manual. If an appliance has clear instructions on how to use it, then do not deviate from those instructions.
Lack of documentation
Do you tend to misplace your receipts or user manuals? Don’t do that if you want to maintain your home warranty. The receipt, user manual, and other documentation that comes with new products and equipment often contain everything that you need to set up and secure your warranty. Your home warranty provider might also require this documentation before beginning any repairs.
It can be difficult because a home warranty will often cover all kinds of different appliances and you might keep the documentation for your air conditioner, but not many homeowners keep documentation for their ceiling fan or garbage disposal.
A good method to employ so that you don’t lose your documentation is to keep it in a place where it won’t get mixed up with other documents.
Another good way to keep your documents safe is to keep a scanned copy on your computer. When doing this, make sure that you scan all the documentation and that it is easy to read. You don’t want a blurry copy. Additionally, ensure you have a backup copy available as well. A scanned copy might not always work for your home warranty, but it is better than nothing. The best thing you can do is to keep the physical copy.
Not following building codes
Do you keep your home up to code? Most homeowners don’t keep their home up to code, and this might sound surprising.
Many municipalities will update building codes every year. The only reason homeowners have for making sure their building is up to code is when they want to do a renovation. A city home inspector will visit the property and only issue a permit if the building meets building code.
Your warranty might become void if you fail to stay up to code, which is a good reason to stay up to code on your home. This might sound strict, but building codes are put in place to ensure the safety of your home. The types of violations that can void your warranty tend to be the ones relating to safety, which usually relate to plumbing and electric.
A home warranty might be financially responsible, or it might not make financial sense. This will vary from person to person. If you do decide to go with a home warranty, then you certainly want to make sure you don’t accidentally void it. Following the steps listed above should help ensure that your warranty always stays valid.
Make sure that you review your contract to find any other scenario that could possibly void your warranty and be sure to report any damages or issues immediately, so they can get repaired.