We purchased a ten year old home last January and, at the same time,
acquired a home warranty policy through American Home Shield. The AHS
experience wasn't very good (our experience involved poor customer service
and some seemingly less than competent service contractors). Has anyone had
any experience with HMS National Home Warranty/HomeSure Services (or is
there another provider that you might recommend)? Our AHS policy is coming
up for renewal (no thanks) and I'm looking at other options. Thanks in
It seems the general consenus is that you are better off putting the
money that you would have used for the warranty into your own "home
repair fund" and use that when you have a problem. Like with any
insurance, if they weren't making money off the average customer, they
wouldn't exist. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the premium is just
as much as it costs to replace smaller items, like a water heater, and
on large things like HVAC they will find a way to stick you with a
large portion of the cost and a crappy installation to boot.
I'm currently battling with them over a furnace replacement. I did not
buy the policy, it was paid for by the realtor. I agree that it's a
total waste of money, and I'm glad that it wasn't my money. I am NOT
glad that I have to jump through hoops like a circus act only to have
the claim denied due to "pre-existing" problems that occurred before
the policy was purchased. Well, I think almost EVERY time something
breaks it can be traced back to some pre-existing problem of one sort
or another. On the other hand, I guess I allowed myself to be fooled
into thinking that this very aged furnace would be covered by this
policy and we shouldn't worry about it. live and learn.
I doubt it, since our agent was a buyer's agent and took her cut from
the seller's agent fees. However, your last sentence is correct. We
are STILL paying for it by having allowed a false sense of security to
convince us to buy this house without renegotiating the price downward
or walking away.
yes, we had an inspection (don't get me started on home inspectors -
there's more wrong here than the furnace). The furnace was noted as a
potential problem, but a HVAC contractor hired by the seller (as part
of an ammended sale contract) deemed it ok and found no problems.
We're currently trying to get said contractor to provide us some
statement like that so we can send it to the warranty company in the
hopes that they will reverse their decision. I'm not holding my
breath. Bottom line is, we allowed ourselves to be fooled into paying
more for this property than we should have. In the end, we'll probably
still make some money back out of it when we eventually sell it, but it
still burns my a$$. I don't mind fix things, including houses, but I
do mind paying too much for a fixer-upper. Hindsight, and all that...
Yes it was inspected, the furnace was noted as a possible problem and
written into the contract as an item for the seller to send a licensed
contractor to look it. Said contractor found "no problems" with it.
During our walk-through the day of the closing, we noted that it didn't
look like anything had been done, and I still saw rust flakes sitting
on the base of the unit. To counter our reluctance to close the sale,
the agent bought this HMS policy for us with the assumption on all our
parts that it would cover a new furnace should this one fail. We were
foolish enough to be satisfied by this. The lenders here around the
Baltimore/DC corridor apparently don't have the same requirements as
they do elsewhere. Don't get me started on the inspection either... I
think that was the second biggest waste of money (second after the
purchase of this house). The guy pointed out some things that were
relatively minor (like outlets with the wrong polarity), didn't even
get the ladder off his truck much less do a roof inspection, and
totally missed the fact that an entire room was built on top of an
exterior deck instead of a proper foundation. This last item has cost
me huge amounts of time and some money (luckily I'm doing most of the
work myself with some help from family). All in all, this purchase was
a mistake. I don't mind fixing a house up, in fact I sort of enjoy it
a little most of the time. The part about all of this that burns me is
that we paid too much for what should have been billed as a "handyman
special". Hindsight, ya know?
I had an HMS warranty, that paid by the seller. Technically we paid for it
as part of the house, but I had no say in it, so it was just something that
was thrown in. The brochure was very pretty and it was branded as the
realtor company's warranty.
I made three claims with them, with mixed results. Still I feel like I did
really well with them, but I also feel I was very, very lucky.
Claim #1 was a plumbing leak (drip every 8-10 seconds) inside a wall. I
found it shortly after closing, which was about 6-7 weeks after the house
inspection. I'm fairly sure that the inspector and/or myself would have
found it (I hope, a sink was wet underneath due to the water following the
outside of the pipe) so it's very possible that the leak happened between
the inspection and closing. I first called them to verify I had coverage
(i.e. the seller actually paid them. I put in the claim, they gave me a
number, and they called back later with a plumber (their choice) to
call. I got ahold of the plumber and it was a day or two before he could
come out. He had to cut through a wall (fortunately in the basement and
repaired the leak by replacing/resoldering a crappy joint, and also fixed
another minor issue. He spent over an hour with them on the phone, mostly
on hold, getting authorization to proceed and crap. I felt bad because he
was on a cellphone and we didn't have phone service yet. But they paid
him, and all I paid was the 95% deductible. I was pissed about the leak
but very happy it only cost me $95. Plus repairing the large drywall holes
was my responsibility, but hey it was the basement.
Claim 2 was the gas furnace. Like you I knew the furnace wasn't in that
great of shape. It was an old American Standard model, and must have been
original to the house. (American Standard exited the home heating business
in the late 60s shortly after the house was built, so I knew it was that
old.) [A-S reentered the market years later when they bought Trane from
Anyway the home inspector had looked at the furnace with me and found it
operated ok. The burner/controls had recently been replaced, which the
seller was very proud of for some reason. I noticed later his disclaimer
said no inspection of the heat exchanger.
So come the fall, I figure I better get the thing checked out before
winter. I called an HVAC company to do the annual cleaning. They took the
time to send a camera inside it, and found cracks in the heat exchanger.
At that point they ended the cleaning and said I would need a new furnace.
Great! I thought, I'm under warranty. I put in a claim with HMS. After a
bunch of false starts and back and forth on the phone, they sent the same
plumber back. I was happy with his plumbing skills but not too sure he
would be a good HVAC person. Anyway when he came out, I told him what the
first HVAC company had found and showed him the documentation. He took a
few measurements (and the deductible), insisted the new furnace should be
the same size (input BTU) as the old one, and put in the claim for me.
Eventually (days later, good thing it wasn't winter yet) I got called by
HMS and was told that they had selected a furnace, a Payne model. Payne is
a cheaper line made by United Technologies, who also makes Carrier. At
first I thought this sounded pretty good, but I kept answering questions
and they offered me a claim credit of about $1000. They said that they
wouldn't pay for certain things like certain ducting and electrical stuff
that would be needed to replace the furnace, just the $1000. I pointed out
that their contract explicity said it would cover what they said it would
not cover. They said a claim manager or some title would call me and a day
or two later one did. Unfortunately I missed the call and I couldn't get
back in touch (busy/voicemail) for several more days. To make a long
story short, they weren't going to cover what their contract said they
should because of how they interpreted another part of the contract and
that was that. I took the 1000 and used it toward a high efficiency
furnace that cost several times that.
Claim #3 was for air conditioning and was basically useless.
So I feel very lucky because they paid out at least the warranty fee. But
it was a big pain to deal with. The customer service people are very
polite, but having to keep calling them back and having them select
contractors that can't do the job (ie. air conditioning) got old really
fast. The claim supervisor was not very polite at all. Also being told
that they would fully cover furnaces (in their literature before you make a
claim) and then find out there's a million loopholes and they only select
their contactors and their crappy brand of furnace (and then don't cover
much what is needed beyond that) they left me with a sour taste. That's a
major downfall of warranty companies, is you need to use their contractor.
But I should feel lucky they didn't try to say that it was "preexisting."
I did point out numerous time that the house was inspected. They also
play games and refuse to tell you their actual street address for some
strange reason. [1625 Northwest 136th Ave Ft Lauderdale FL 33323]
I did not renew. I feel like I won and left the casino.
Take the money you normally spent in premiums and put it in a savings
account, and use it for your repairs the warranty company would normally
cover. Chances are you will have money left over in a few years!
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