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The warranty paid for replacement of the frozen main water shutoff, fixing an unsteady toilet and fixing a leaky tub drain fixture. That said, the quality of some of the work was not great. The toilet was unsteady because the tile floor on which it sat was uneven. The "fix" made was replacement of the wax sealing ring, which made the toilet steady for a few months but was not really a permanent fix. I ultimately set the toilet in a bed of grout to get a lasting fix. The second issue I had with the quality was that the "fix" for the tub leak would have left me with a $7 plastic drain in place of the original Eljer chrome plated, solid brass, triplever pop up bath drain which would cost about $400 were it still available. Fortunately, I watched the plumber closely and stopped him when he uncased a reciprocating saw. Rather than go to the store to buy a replacement washer, he intended to simply destroy the fixture and put in a cheap plastic one which he already had in his truck. The servicepeople which the home warranty companies send out are the low bidders and they have little incentive to do what's best for the homeowner. The warranty company is really the client, not the homeowner. I think the fact that neither the ten home warranty companies contacted nor the National Home Service Contract Association chose to respond to Angie's List's interview requests speaks volumes about the character of the industry.
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A warranty can also be helpful for someone who has just depleted their savings to buy a home and wants to avoid any additional major expenses. For home sellers, offering the buyer a paid up, one year home warranty with the home purchase may provide a measure of protection against buyer complaints about any home defects that arise after the sale closes. However, providing a home warranty does not exempt the seller from her legal requirement to disclose any known problems with the home. To learn more about protecting yourself, read Consumer Protection Laws You Need To Know. Home warranties aren't expensive compared to the cost of repairing or replacing most of a home's important components, and this fact is one of a warranty's major selling points. However, there may be many years when nothing at all breaks down or wears out in the home. In these years, the homeowner gets nothing except, perhaps, peace of mind in exchange for his premium. That money could be put into an emergency fund for making the same repairs and replacements that the home warranty would cover. Also, if the homeowner tries to use the warranty and the claim is denied, he will probably feel like the money spent on the premium and the service call fee was wasted. Home warranties do eliminate the need to find a contractor when something breaks. However, they also eliminate the freedom to choose your own independent contractor if you want the warranty to pay for the repair or replacement.