A few weeks back I wrote an article on Pensacola Real Estate News about how you should protect your investment in a home warranty by making sure that all warranted items were in working condition when you moved into your home. I noted that the home warranty company would try to find a way out of paying for repairs if at all possible. The article was written based on the experiences of one of my clients. You can read that article by clicking on this link: Pensacola Real Estate News – Home Warranty Article
The fact that I am writing a follow-up article tells you that I’ve learned something since that previous article was published. I also learned that I have readers out there who are sharing feedback with me, and I greatly appreciate that. Just the fact that I have readers really excites me.
The day after publishing that article, a manager from the local branch of Old Republic Home Warranty company called me. He thanked me for the great article and was very complimentary (Thank you Stewart). He also told me that my article was accurate up until mid-December 2007. He said that in December Old Republic modified their agreement to cover unknown pre-existing conditions. I took a look at the new home warranty agreement and found the following wording:
Coverage may apply to a malfunction which existed on the effective date of the Plan if, at that time, the malfunction was unknown, and would not have been detectable to seller, buyer or agent by visual inspection and simple mechanical test. This Plan does not cover known defects.
I will let my readers decide how they feel about this wording. I believe it does indicate that they would cover an unknown pre-existing condition, but I do not like the word “may”. I prefer the word “will”, as in “coverage WILL apply”.
I do appreciate the call from the home warranty manager, and I fully believe he is sincere in his promise that they will cover pre-existing unknown problems. I do, however, still suggest that home buyers follow my advice given in the previous article. Check out all warranted equipment when you move in to your new home.
As for my client, well I’m afraid he was a male who doesn’t do much cooking and wasn’t clear on how to operate his warranted oven. After he was told by the sweet home warranty operator that his problem was not covered because he did not know if it worked when he moved in, he took another shot at it and found that the oven worked fine once he turned the correct knobs in the correct order. Now this guy in the picture is not my client, thank goodness. While he appears to know how to operate the stove, he kind of creeps me out with that sinister grin. I have to wonder what he is cooking.
Aside from the creepy dude, all is well with my client, and his lack of oven experience happened to make for a great article. However, he purchased his home warranty in February of 2008, after the new policy was in place. Thus the new “unknown pre-existing” clause should have been in effect. Was the home warranty operator unaware of the change in the contract? Or was she aware of the change, and still trying to avoid paying a claim? Good question.
I must end this article by saying that I have other clients who had warranties through Old Republic and were extremely satisfied with the service they received on warranted equipment. I am not trying to criticize any warranty company’s service, only trying to show home buyers how to protect themselves against the unknown.
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