“Home warranties aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.”
That’s a direct quote from money expert Clark Howard, and it flies in the face of all the marketing about homeowners enjoying peace of mind with a home warranty when an appliance or system fails.
Over the years, Clark has had many more callers to his radio show and podcast complaining about home warranties than sharing positive stories.
They call to rant about how home warranty companies fail to live up to their promises, how the contractors they send to your home do substandard work and how service techs show up and collect their service charges but don’t fix the problem.
They also say that when they do replace an appliance or system in your home, it’s with the cheapest and junkiest possible option on the market.
You can read more about home warranties and Clark’s thoughts about them here, but he’s not the only one fired up about bad home warranty experiences. We’ve gotten plenty of impassioned comments from Clark.com readers on our Facebook page.
We’d like to share some of them with you.
Home Warranty Horror Stories
“My toilet has a leak at the base of toilet (I think the wax ring needs to be replaced). And it rocks back and forth when sitting on it. Called for service, technician came out and [they] denied the repair because you can not see the leak on top of the vinyl floor (it is slowly seeping in between the concrete slab and the vinyl flooring). But [they] took my $100 fee.”
– Bill C.B.
“The few times I’ve called home warranty company for repairs I had to generously bribe and cajole the workers that showed up to do anything. On one occasion they charged me their ‘service charge’ for a guy who showed up and left inside of 2 minutes after simply saying, “We don’t fix that type of furnace,” even after I’d provided full details including make and model before making the appointment! Home warranty services are a complete ripoff.”
– Jerry C.
“Cancelled my HW from the company Clark mentions in the story and never looked back after we had a low pressure water problem on a new house. The repair guy came out and immediately said it was the pressure regulator that was buried 2 ft deep. To repair it they wanted to charge me $400 to dig a 2 ft down and 2 ft wide hole. Sorry, the warranty company does not cover the dig charge. I chased the repair man away, then called the city to make sure the problem wasn’t on the city side. Turns out the regulator was simply closed. We opened it up by turning the valve and surprise, surprise the pressure just needed adjustment. No need to dig. I avoided a $400 dig fee and canceled my worthless warranty with a full refund since we were within the 30-day buy period.”
– Michael S.
“I agree, worthless, worthless contract! We had this same company when we moved to our home 3 years ago — the warranty came with the house. I would rather have had the money instead of the warranty. They charged us to fix the latch on our stove, but they wouldn’t fix a burner issue unless they charged us separately for that. They supposedly fixed our dishwasher — charged us 3 times that they came out for the same thing, but they said it was for something different. The dishwasher was garbage and they refused to replace it even though the warranty said they would replace it if they couldn’t fix it. In the end, we bought a new dishwasher. Their contractors are horrible and there is nothing you can do. I was so glad when the year was up so I wouldn’t have to deal with them again.”
“My husband and I have had good luck with home warranties until recently. [A heating] element in oven caught on fire and burned hole in bottom of oven. They would replace the element but the hole was not covered. Basically, they wanted to replace the element [with] a useless piece of equipment. And it took weeks for them to decide to reject the claim on the hole because of their worthless technician. We’re canceling and going to do without since we have a healthy emergency fund.”
– Jenny P.R.
“I got one of these with the purchase of a new condo. The bathroom faucet that started leaking 30 days after we moved in? Not covered. The hot water heater that failed? Replaced with a far inferior one! And still cost $600 for ‘whatnots.’ [The company] called me about renewing & I just started laughing.”
– Deborah F.H.
But Just To Be Fair …
The trend is pretty clear from the reader responses above, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t note the handful of shoutouts people made for a job well done by their home warranty company.
In particular, we noticed a trend of landlords recommending home warranties, particularly when their rental property is far away.
“We have a policy on an out-of-state rental property. We have had great success with it. Repairs made to a refrigerator and an A/C unit.”
– Margaret K.
“I had a 20-year-old AC unit go out last summer on my rental unit on which I have a home warranty. It cost me a grand total of $75 to replace the $3,000 unit — the warranty covered the rest. If you don’t have a home warranty, at least on your rental property, you’re completely nuts!”
– Buddy E.
“I respectfully disagree with Clark on this. On the two homes I’ve owned, [the home warranty company] has actually come through for me on numerous claims, and I’m thankful I have them. Just do your homework and due diligence first. I’ve been very pleased with mine.”
– Janice R.
So which is it for you: home warranty or no home warranty? Join the discussion and let us know your thoughts in the Clark,com Community.