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What you need to know before picking a home

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 19, 2016
Home warranties are sold for peace of mind. If your air conditioner or water heater fails, it's covered. But is it? One man learned about some major catches.
 
New homebuyer David Lutz discovered one night his dishwasher would start, but it wouldn't turn off.
 
"The dishwasher stopped working shortly after I moved in. I had a warranty, so I wasn't too worried about it," says David.
 
He bought a home warranty to cover surprises just like this. So he called the warranty company, which after assessing his machine, made him an offer for a new dishwasher.
 
"The warranty company initially offered me $200," says David.
 
The problem is, his Bosch dishwasher was originally $700. So he asked about repairing it.
 
"Since I didn't think $200 was reasonable, we tried to repair it and they informed me that I owed 2 deductibles on the machine because 2 parts were broken," says David.
 
They wanted 2 payments of $150. For a total of $300, to repair the broken Bosch. 
 
The lesson here? When picking a home warranty company, read the fine print. Make sure you understand what's expected of you when it comes to paying a deductible, or service call fee.
 
The consumer guide on Angie's List says before you purchase a home warranty: Ask who their repair people are: in other words, are they reputable contractors? Ask how much the initial service call costs? Find out what the deductible is for a new appliance. And check their rating at the Better Business Bureau.
 
As for David, after he complained, his warranty eventually offered $400. He won't be able to afford a new Bosch. But it's better than the original offer.
 
"I would like it working, or at least a comparable one," says David.