What does a home warranty not cover?

Check your coverage to avoid costly surprises later

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Home warranties probably cover a lot more than you think. Many plans go beyond just appliances with packages that cover systems like plumbing and electrical, and you can even get add-ons like pest control and electronics coverage.

That doesn’t mean home warranties cover everything, though. There are limitations to what you can file a claim on. Here’s what you need to know about what a home warranty doesn’t cover.

Key insights

Home warranties cover appliances and systems found in your home.

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Home warranties don't typically cover the structural areas of your home.

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Some limitations and exclusions can exclude certain items in your home.

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What does a home warranty cover?

Home warranties cover appliances and systems found in your home. Some of the items typically covered include:

  • Dishwashers
  • Ovens, stoves and cooktops
  • Built-in microwaves
  • HVAC systems
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Refrigerators
  • Garbage disposals
  • Garage door openers
  • Roof leaks
  • Pools and spas

Some home warranty companies also offer additional services like rekeying for locks, pest treatment and gutter cleaning. A few home warranties also cover electronics, like laptops and televisions, in add-on packages.

What’s not covered by a home warranty?

While home warranties cover a wide range of things around your home, there are some things it won’t cover. Typically, home warranties don’t include items around your home that are part of the construction. So, home warranties won’t cover any foundation problems, problems with insulation, doors, windows and faulty support beams.

Things found beyond the perimeter of your foundation are typically excluded from your home warranty plan, as well, with the exception of some pipes and a pool or hot tub. Fences, appliances or systems found in guest houses, outdoor kitchens, sprinklers and anything within detached garages are usually not covered.

If you have appliances or systems considered commercial rather than residential, they usually aren't covered under a standard home warranty, either. Be sure to check your contract to see if this may be a problem.

Limitations and exclusions

Home warranty companies usually have a few limitations and exclusions that can prevent certain items around your home from being included in your coverage. Companies often exclude preexisting conditions from coverage, meaning any issues already there before you bought the warranty won't be covered.

Also, there's usually a waiting period (commonly 30 days) after you purchase the warranty before your coverage kicks in. This helps prevent claims on problems that existed before you signed up for the warranty.

Any damage not caused by normal wear and tear isn’t covered, either. This means these situations aren’t covered by your home warranty:

  • Damage caused by flooding, fire, accidents
  • Items not installed properly or that don’t comply with local building codes 
  • Appliances or systems that have failed due to neglect or improper maintenance
  • Cosmetic damage like scratches, dents, dings or other visual problems

It’s also common for home warranty companies to include coverage caps in contracts. This means the company will only pay a certain amount for repairs or replacements. After that cap is reached, you’re expected to pay the rest.

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    What are the pitfalls of a home warranty?

    Home warranties typically have a lot of limitations and exclusions that could get your claim denied. Generally, only problems caused by normal wear and tear are covered.

    How much does a home warranty cost?

    Home warranties can cost between $450 and $1,400 per year, depending on the plan and coverage.

    Is a home warranty worth it?

    Whether a home warranty is worth it depends on your situation. You may not need a home warranty for a brand-new home or appliance. On the other hand, if you have systems or appliances around your home that may need repairs in the near future, a home warranty may be a good way to save money on repairs.

    Bottom line

    It's really important to understand what your home warranty doesn't cover to set the right expectations and make the most of your plan. Make sure to give your contract's terms and conditions a good read-through so you know exactly what's included and what's not.

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