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Spending your money on maintenance is always wiser than buying a policy that kicks in only when something breaks. Here are a few hitches that can make a home warranty more trouble than it’s worth: 

  1. The plan doesn’t cover everything in your house. Faucets and outdoor sprinklers, for example, usually are not covered, and you’ll probably have to pay extra if you want your refrigerator, washer/dryer and garage-door opener included in the package. Likewise, your pool and hot tub are extra. Tip: If you buy a home warranty, know what’s covered and what isn’t.
  2. Pre-existing problems are not covered, even if you don’t know about them. Among the most common homeowner complaints about home warranties is that the plans too often decline to pay claims, claiming the appliance or system had the glitch before the homeowner got into the program. In fact, those who have complained say the more expensive the repair, the more likely they were to be told the problem was pre-existing. Tip: Insist that the warranty company inspect your appliances and HVAC system and notify you in writing of any pre-existing conditions, before you pay your annual fee. Chances are, the company won’t agree to do it. If that’s the case, you can hire a home inspector, but that will cost you as much as your warranty. 

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