(Family Features) As the real estate market continues to recover, more families are putting their money towards a sound investment - a home. As with any big asset, keeping it protected is critical.
Here are tips to think about while reviewing home warranties and how they can protect your investment:
Insurance, sort of
Don't think of the home warranty as insurance in the traditional sense - protecting against losses due to storms, fires or accidents. Instead, think of it as insurance for mechanical breakdowns on home appliances, such as furnaces, dishwashers and air conditioning units.
Know the age of your appliances
Base the type of coverage you need on the age of your appliances. It is also important to understand their average lifespan. For example, central air conditioning units generally last 15 years, gas ranges normally last 19 years and dishwashers typically have a lifespan of 10 years.
Review costs in your region
Home warranties can range in price from $300 to $500, depending on your locale. This service usually protects the home up to one year. If needed to fix a repair within that year, the home warranty provider typically sends an affiliated repair staff to assist. A service fee is normally expected for each call. These range in cost of $25 to $100 per visit. Costs of the annual fee and service fee can also be dependent on the age of the home.
Check their credentials
Do your research to ensure the company is reliable. The Better Business Bureau and online review sites can help you to assess a company's reputation.
The best home warranty services will have customer service support available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Be wary of companies that do not offer emergency assistance.
Read the fine print
Be sure to look closely to see what the contract covers. Some services may not protect every appliance or may have pre-existing conditions and restrictions on claims. Also, check to see if the plan allows renewal after the one year contract is over.
With these ideas in mind, you'll be on your way to deciding if or which home warranty is right for your new investment.