(STL.News) Many homeowners buy a home warranty but don’t know how to request service calls once they feel the need to use the warranty. The truth is that everything you need to know about such cases is written on the contract you signed. If you take the time to read the details of your agreement, you’ll find out what you need to do when it’s time to call for service.
However, some home warranty companies are not upfront about the terms and conditions of their services. That’s why you have to look for a reputable home warranty service provider. You may need to read a Choice Home Warranty review or two and ask for recommendations from your network to find a warranty company that’s easy to work with.
If you are with a reputable company, you will be well-guided on how to make claims and request service calls. Below are details on what to do in these situations.
Read Your Contract
Before calling the company, read the contract and know where you stand. It’s bad enough that you have broken down appliances, but it will be even more inconvenient to find out these appliances are not covered by the warranty. If you need clarifications about how to proceed, that’s when you make the call.
Call or Submit a Request Form
The warranty service provider’s customer service line is probably stated in the contract. Some companies will also have a client portal on their website. You can place a request for a service call there. Most warranty companies will schedule a service call within 48 hours. If the home warranty company offers 24/7 assistance, you will get a call even during weekends.
Prepare for a Preliminary Diagnosis
A service request will start the warranty claim. When you call, the company will make a preliminary diagnosis to see if the issue can be resolved without needing a service visit. You have to communicate and cooperate with the warranty company. Be specific when describing the problem and answer the company’s questions as clearly as possible. Some questions the agent may ask involve the age, condition, and brand of the appliance.
Schedule a Visit
If the appliance or system cannot be repaired over the phone, the company will schedule a visit with a service provider. The company will coordinate the request for a visit. You just need to wait for the service provider’s call to set the schedule of the visit. When technicians arrive at your house, explain the issues and show them the defective appliance.
Choose Between Repair or Replacement
After they diagnose the issue, the service provider will give you two options: repair or replace the appliances. Some warranties don’t have a replacement clause, so it’s always best to ensure this is an option. The technicians will likely recommend the most cost-effective option for the warranty company. However, you have the power to negotiate with them.
You can choose to replace the appliance or system instead of having it repaired, provided that you cover the price difference. The warranty company can provide a cash settlement so you can purchase a new appliance. However, if repairing the appliance will cost less than the cash settlement, the company is unlikely to offer a cash settlement.
Pay the Service Fee
The technician will charge a service fee for the visit. You have to shoulder that fee, and the amount is usually stated in your contract. You may also need to pay any costs that aren’t covered by the policy.
Home warranties don’t cover the repair or replacement of the whole appliance. For example, the warranty can cover the repair of the stove but not the glass door or the timer. You need to pay for the repair of the parts that the warranty company will not.
Get the Appliance or System Repaired or Replaced
Finally, when the technicians get approval from the company, they can repair or replace the defective appliance or system. They will again schedule the visit according to your preferences, though make sure to accommodate them as rescheduling can be difficult. If there are any extra fees you need to pay, you’ll settle that directly with the service providers.
Takeaway: Buy from a Trusted Company
For a hassle-free claims process, choose to buy a home warranty from a reputable company. Do your research and read reviews, if necessary, to find trustworthy warranty providers. You can also ask your realtors for recommendations on warranty companies that are easy to work with.