Even in a Seller’s Market, the Value of a Home Service Contract Remains Strong

 

Lenexa, KS – When sales in the residential real estate market grow, often resulting in a shift towards a sellers’ market in many areas, no one should forget the basic economics of selling or owning a home. The National Home Service Contract Association reminds home buyers that the true cost of home ownership extends well beyond the sale price.

A home service contract provides needed peace of mind and budget protection at a time when they need it most, during the first year of home ownership. They also protect the seller and the seller’s agent from an unhappy and frustrated buyer who encounters a significant repair right after closing.

Home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC), which may become inoperable due to normal wear and use. Coverage does not include preexisting conditions. At an average cost of $400 – $550 a year and service calls ranging from $50-$100, a home service contract can easily pay for itself with just one use, and is one reason they are highly recommended by real estate brokers for both the seller and buyer of a home.

There are many ‘unexpected’ expenses that add to the cost of home ownership – especially during the first year according to national data and the NHSCA.  Jeff Powell, President of First American Home Protections says “We all love those ‘do it yourself’ television shows but the reality is that there are many home repair or replacement projects that occur in that first year which can, and should, only be done by a skilled professional. The true cost of owning a home includes items such as maintenance and repair. The average cost for those items in the first year of home ownership is roughly 1% to 2% of the purchase price. That can really cause a burden to homeowners who have just made what is likely the biggest purchase of their life. That is where a home service contract can really protect a homeowner’s bank account and provide peace of mind.”

The national median existing single-family home price for the first quarter of 2016 was $234,000. That translates to potential maintenance and repair bills ranging from $2340 to $4680 and higher. That figure is for maintenance and repair alone, and doesn’t even include items such as a major system replacement, insurance, property taxes, utilities, lawn care, pest control, or the purchase of new items such as furniture. 

“Even in a sellers’ market, home sellers still can set their home apart from the rest by providing such coverage,” Powell said. “And home buyers still need and want to safeguard their budget. Why leave anything to chance when it’s a win-win for all parties involved?”

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#04a

Tips on Spring Home Prep

Just like winterizing, NHSCA says adding home appliances to cleaning list in spring just as important.

Lenexa, KS – The experts with the National Home Service Contract Association advise that cleaning and inspecting major appliances should be at the top of every homeowner’s spring cleaning checklist.

“Organizing closets and cleaning windows certainly are typical spring cleaning tasks but smart homeowners who really want to keep repair bills down and efficiency up, add the major appliances in their homes to their spring cleaning ritual,” says Jeff Powell, President of First American Home Protection.

The experts at the NHSCA suggest a few important spring-cleaning tasks:

Air Conditioning

  • Check your air filters. Replacing every 30 – 60 days is highly recommended.
  • Keep the outdoor compressor unit free of debris. Trim shrubs and plants to ensure proper air flow and circulation.
  • Spraying off the outdoor coil is a great idea but make sure all electricity and breakers turned off first.
  • Better idea? Schedule a professional HVAC expert to do a maintenance visit.

Washing Machine

Whites looking a little dingy? It may not be your detergent, but the machine itself.

  • Inspect cold and hot water supply hoses for cracks and deterioration.
  • Look for signs of water or oil leakage.
  • Check to make sure the machine is level, and adjust it if needed, by turning the legs clockwise to lower them or counter-clockwise to raise them.
  • Your washer over 12 years old? Time to upgrade.

Dryer

  • For gas and electric dryers, check and tighten supply connections.
  • Be sure to clean the lint trap after every load. According to the United States Fire Administration, every year clothes dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses. Check to see if the dryer is level; if it’s not, the drum may vibrate and damage the unit. To adjust the level, turn the legs clockwise to lower them or counter-clockwise to raise them.
  • Clean the vent pipe to outdoor or replace. These vents really clog up after a few years and not only can start fires, they kill the efficiency of your dryer.
  • Is the dryer over 12 years old? Time to go shopping

Water Heater

The last thing anyone wants to do is step into an ice-cold shower.

  • Drain and flush sediment from tank to prevent rust or failure.
  • Check pressure-relief valve once a year to make sure this crucial safety device is not clogged.
  • To prevent accidental scalding and burns in homes with young children, be sure that your heater is set below 120° F.
  • Make sure no flammables (or anything)  stored or stacked near or that could fall around heater.

Many home service contract providers also offer a menu of optional items such as pool and spa equipment, well pumps and freestanding refrigerators, for an additional fee. Contracts are typically annual and renewable. Members of the NHSCA effectuate the actual diagnosis, repair or replacement through a network of independent contractors.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#10b

 

CONSUMERS URGED TO RESEARCH SERVICE PROVIDERS AND REPORT SUSPECTED FRAUD

Check on potential providers at homeservicecontract.org

Lenexa, KS —The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is cautioning consumers to research service contract providers before signing on the dotted line to be assured they are registered and fully compliant with state laws. The easiest and quickest way is to be sure you are dealing with a registered member of the NHSCA.

 “Members of the NHSCA adhere to a strict Code of Ethics which promotes sound and ethical business practices,” said Jeff Powell of longtime NHSCA member, First American Home Protection.  “They are reputable, licensed home service contract providers in good standing. Unfortunately, there are other providers out there that don’t meet our quality standards and even operate illegally.”

Home service contracts, (often referred to as home warranties), generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) which become inoperable due to normal wear and use.  Home service contracts also have limitations. Paying particular attention to the contract’s terms and conditions can also help avoid confusion when a service call is needed.

Home service contract companies are regulated in all states. In about 25 states, specific laws require prior registration or license from the state prior to transacting business. In other states, providers are regulated by the state attorney general’s office.

Consumers should consider the following items to be “red flags” that necessitate further research:

  • Lack of a physical address on company web site. A post office box is fine, but if no address is it could be a sign that the company is trying circumvent state regulations
  • Advertising prices and services at large discounts that are far beyond industry norms
  • Lack of an NHSCA Company Code that designates NHSCA registration as a trusted and qualified service provider.

 “The NHSCA works with state and federal regulators to not only combat fraud, but assists in ensuring that all providers are, at a minimum, compliant with their laws, “ Powell said. “Realtors may also be an excellent resource, however if you do suspect fraud, be sure to visit the NHSCA website or contact your local regulator, to report it immediately.”

To confirm NHSCA company codes and report suspected fraud, just visit www.homeservicecontract.org.
The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#15

COLD TEMPS NOT OPTIMAL FOR HVAC TESTING

 

National Home Service Contract Association cautions home buyers about limitations on HVAC testing in colder temperatures

Lenexa, KS – The National Home Service Contract Association is cautions consumers purchasing an existing home in the winter that colder temps make it difficult to determine the proper function of residential air conditioning units.

HVAC professionals generally caution that anytime the mercury falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, a home inspection report can only verify that a unit will turn on, but cannot verify it actually cools without high risk of severely damaging the compressor.  In winter, the coldest spot in a refrigeration circuit is in the compressor crankcase, located outside the home. Because refrigerant naturally migrates to the coldest spot in the unit, if the system is tested, the refrigerant may travel into the compressor, causing damage.

The NHSCA urges buyers purchasing an existing home to hire a qualified and experienced home inspector, pay special attention to the testing of their HVAC unit and request the seller provide a home service contract as part of the real estate transaction to help insulate them from costly repair or replacement costs of for undetected problems in future months.

To offer reassurance that the system is operating properly, real estate agents representing the buyer will generally ask the seller to sign a form stating the date of the last time the air conditioning system was fully functioning. However, if a home has been on the market for an extended period of time, this statement may not provide accurate information on the current condition of the unit.

“If a house has been sitting empty and an undetected leak has slowly depleted the refrigerant, the new owner will have no idea until they turn the air conditioning on in the summer,” says Art Chartrand Executive Director of the NHSCA. “At that point, a service call to get the refrigerant level back up and the unit running will likely cost in excess of the cost of an annual home service contract on the entire home. “  One also need to understand that low levels freon would indicate a leak in the line that will continue to deplete refrigerant until it is located and fixed. That translates into more repair dollars for the homeowner.

The NHSCA also notes that in the past some homeowners have opted for a temporary fix by simply having refrigerant added to their systems to keep them operational. However, the dramatic increase in the cost of refrigerant in recent years can make this approach as costly as a repair. Freon is currently scheduled by the EPA to be unavailable after 2020 due to its adverse environmental concerns.

Home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems – and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC), but do not cover pre-existing conditions. Paying particular attention to the contract’s terms and conditions can help avoid confusion when a service call is needed.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#10c

           

 

HOMEOWNERS ENCOURAGED TO OPTIMIZE BENEFITS OF HOME SERVICE CONTRACTS

Seller-Purchased Contracts Offer Convenience and Benefit for New Homeowners

(Lenexa, KS)  Home sales  can get hot and can slow down in quickly changing markets these days, but a home service contract always makes sense for sellers and buyers. Homeowners should get the most of them.

Home sellers very often  purchase home service contracts on behalf of the buyer as an added incentive.  They also may receive protection during the listing period and fewer issues after the sale.  To receive the maximum benefit and convenience of these contracts, the National Association Home Service Contract Association offers the following guidance.

Review the home service contract to be sure that you understand all terms and conditions.Home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems – and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).

Maintain all appliances and household systems to keep them in good, efficient operating order. You will benefit from uninterrupted service and as well as potential energy savings.

Request optional coverage be included if you feel you may need coverage on items not typically specified under the standard coverage. If the home you are purchasing includes features such as a swimming pool, septic tank or spa, advise your agent to request this optional coverage.

Keep a copy of your contract easily accessible and post the providers toll-free service number in a visible location like the refrigerator door.

Call your contract provider at the first sign of trouble. Do not call a repair contractor directly.One of the benefits of your home service contract is that your provider works with a network of prequalified and licensed contractors in your area. If a breakdown poses an actual risk to your health or safety (such as lack of water or heat in freezing temperatures) most providers will work to expedite emergency repairs.

Follow up with your provider if for some reason you are not satisfied with the service provided. They will work with you to resolve your concern.

Be aware of when your contract expires. For your convenience, many companies will provide automatic renewal of your contract. If you did not wish to renew, contact your provider right away to exercise your cancellation rights.

 

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#25

 

 

VALUE OF HOME SERVICE CONTRACTS ON THE RISE IN CALIFORNIA


MEDIA CONTACT: Art Ansoorian, Ansoorian and Associates • 805-653-1648 • Email

(SAN RAMON, CA – Sept. 1, 2012)  By reducing overhead and improving operations, the home service contract industry in California has done what few industries have been able to do – increase coverage without passing the cost along to consumers.

“Today home service contract providers are covering twice as much as when the industry began in the 1970’s with very little increase to the price of overall coverage,” Gwen Gallagher, board member of the California Home Service Contract Association (CHSCA) and president of Old Republic Home Protection Co., San Ramon, said.  “When the industry started in the late ‘70s, the standard price of coverage was about $265 with a $35 deductible.  Prices in California today are approximately $260 with a $60 deductible.”

Home service contracts (also referred to as home warranties) generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems – and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). * Many home service contract providers also offer a menu of optional items such as pool and spa equipment, well pumps, and free standing appliances such as refrigerators and clothing washers and dryers for an additional fee. Contracts do not cover pre-existing conditions, but will provide service, repair or replacement for failures arising due to normal wear and tear during the contract period.

Home service contracts were originally designed to offer homeowners buying resale homes protection against potential budget-breaking costs of major system or appliance failures.  In addition, contracts provided “peace of mind” while helping Realtors compete with new homes on the market. According to the CHSCA, 84 percent of homebuyers today purchase a resale home.

“Contracts initially covered heating and electrical systems, standard kitchen appliances such as dishwashers, ovens and disposals, and plumbing, including toilets and water heaters.  That was basically it,” Gallagher said. “Today we also cover items such as well pumps, spa equipment, septic tanks and salt water cells and provide more comprehensive coverage which can save individual customers hundreds of dollars annually. ”

About CHSCA

Members of the new CHSCA, which provide approximately 95 per cent all home service contracts in California, include 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, American Home Shield Corporation, BPG Home Warranty, Fidelity National Home Warranty Company, First American Home Buyers Protection, HISCO/CRES Home Warranty, HMS National/Cross Country Home Services, Inc., Home Security of America, Inc., Home Warranty of America, Inc. and Old Republic Home Protection Co., Inc.    For more information, visit www.homeservicecontract.org/california.htm.

About the National Home Service Contract Association

The NHSCA is a non-profit 501© (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States.  To learn more about the NHSCA and to find answers to the most common questions regarding the purchase of home service contracts, visit www.homeservice contract.org http://nhsca.iugonow.com

           

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

EPA HEAT ON HOMEOWNERS AND HOMEBUYERS IN 2020

National Home Service Contract Association offers advice to homeowners and homebuyers on air conditioner mandates by EPA.

(Lenexa, KS). In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency placed into effect a ban on the manufacture of new HVAC systems using R-22 refrigerant. R-22 refrigerant, more commonly known as Freon®, is used in systems such as window air-conditioning units, dehumidifiers, heat pumps and central air conditioners.

The purpose is to reduce the amount of hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) emitted into the environment.  The EPA then added a gradual  production limits for R-22 refrigerant gas each year down to a total ban by 2020. After January 1, 2020, servicing of R-22-based systems will rely solely on recycled refrigerants or simply not at all. New systems must operate on an air called “410-A.  [Some have argued 410-A is just as bad for the environment, but another story].  The bottom line, if you have not converted your air conditioner to 410-A by 2020, you are going to feel the heat or put out significant dollars to upgrade.  You nd your real estate agent need to consider this development when pricing a new home.

Here is the issue  in a nutshell.  410-A cannot be utilized in older systems which previously used R-22 without making some substantial and costly changes to system components. Most new systems being installed today run on 410-A, but most existing systems still use R-22. Adding to the problem is many manufacturers have skirted the requirement in recent years by continuing to manufacture R-22 units but shipping them “dry” and having local HVAC installers fill with R-22 onsite. As a result, many HVAC professional have stockpiled R-22, but the price continues to rise in many areas to well over $100 a pound. As the price gets even high, consumers choice will be to pay over $1000 for black market or recycled R-22, or just convert to 410-A.  Neither may be in your budget.

“What is going to happen to the poor, those on limited incomes or even average middle class folks who don’t have perhaps $10,000 by 2020 to change out their air conditioners to 410-A?  Given the huge demand leading into 2020, won’t prices even go higher? Is Congress likely to sit by and let people die in the heat?” These are serious questions being asked by NHSCA Executive Director and Counsel Art Chartrand. Will the Trump administration delay the ban or offer other alternatives?

There are other gasses posing promise. Some are marketing R-421a from  RMS of Georgia marketed as Choice Refrigerant that claims it can replace R-22 with the same equipment. Everyone needs to carefully watch this and other new technologies that may affect this issue. Right now, most equipment manufacturers will not endorse R-421a as suitable.

Home service contracts provide service, repair or replacement for various items such as dishwashers, ovens, electrical and plumbing systems – and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) – that become inoperable due to normal wear and tear during the contract period. Contracts do not provide coverage to upgrade units to meet new EPA rules, including 410-A, which could mean unexpected out-of-pocket costs to home sellers and buyers when replacement of an air conditioning system component is necessary.

“We wish to avoid consumers thinking or hoping that their home service contract will totally pick up this cost. The industry would love to,  but tis is akin to the government mandating all cars run on electricity. Car manufacturers could not cover that conversion cost under warranty. Home service contract providers cannot bear the cost of this huge and unproven governmental experiment either,” said Chartrand.  The good news is while the 410-A upgrade is not covered, the expense will often be far less with a home service contract in place says Chartrand. If 421a or other gasses prove worthy, then even more so. So prepare your existing home with a home service contract in place to help mitigate any cost. And be very aware when buying a new home.

 “We are recommending home buyers order a specific HVAC inspection to determine the exact life expectancy of the system – that is in addition to a routine home inspection,” said Billy Jensen, Fidelity National Home Warranty. “If an older system is still in good condition, and could be operational for another 5-10 years, it may not be a problem.  But if the system is more than 15 years old, and could potentially need expensive repairs or component replacement in the future, it’s probably best to negotiate with the seller.”

As always, the NHSCA suggests homebuyers work with a licensed and seasoned real estate professional to assist them in navigating this issue, as well as ensuring their own understanding of the refrigerant issue and its potential impact on them if a service problem arises, including the specific coverage afforded by their home service contract.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#23

CODING SYSTEM FOR HOME SERVICE CONTRACT PROVIDERS PROTECTS EVERYONE

Codes to help consumers identify reputable providers.

(Lenexa, KS) In an effort to eliminate confusion and reduce fraud, the nation’s largest trade association in the home service contract industry, the National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA),  implemented a coding classification system in 2012 to more clearly identify member companies. The system works best when recognized used by consumers. For instance, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty of Denver has the registration number is NHSCA C0-Code 12H101; HomeGuard Home Warranty of San Jose is NHSCA C0-Code 12H422.
Typically purchased by the buyer or seller during a residential real estate transaction, home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems – and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).  Contracts do not cover pre-existing conditions, but will provide service, repair or replacement for failures arising due to normal wear and tear during the contract period.

“The coding system assures consumers that they are dealing with a registered member of the NHSCA,” reported Mark Celichowski of American Home Shield of Memphis.  Many of these companies are household names – such as Old Republic, 2-10 Homebuyers Warranty, American Home Shield and First American Home Protection. However, the industry has seen an influx of other companies with similar names. Some are even automobile insurance product warranties – this can be very confusing for homeowners. We believe this six-digit code will ensure that our members, who maintain the highest level of professionalism and service, may be easily identified and at the same time combat fraudulent representation” says Art Chartrand Executive Director of the NHSCA.

In early 2017 the NHSCA released a similar system to track non NHSCA members who purport to offer home warranties throughout the United States. Chartrand stated this part of the tracking system is design to assist the industry and regulators. It is largely based upon the system that tracks insurance companies. Home service contract companies are not  insurance providers and provide no insurance benefits as they provide a service, repair or replacement  contract the tis never covered by insurance. 

Company codes may be found under the Contact NHSCA Members tab on its website,
www.homeservicecontract.org.  Not all members operate in all states. Please, check with each company or on member web sites for availability in your area.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#19

 

 

NHSCA TAKES LEAD TO PROMOTE PROTECTION IN THE HOME SERVICE CONTRACT INDUSTRY

Association Adopts Automatic Renewal Model to Protect Consumer Interests

(OLATHE, KS – November 8, 2011)

The National Home Service Contract Association has taken the lead to protect consumers from a lapse in coverage by drafting and promoting a model automatic renewal clause for the home service contract industry.

In an effort to create a balanced approach in favor of consumers, the NHSCA model allows consumers to choose automatic renewal to prevent a lapse in service, while also offering a simple process to cancel if their preference changes regarding automatic renewal.

Many customers prefer the convenience and uninterrupted service an automatic renewal provides. However, some states have erroneously suggested that all automatic renewals are bad for consumers. This is not the case. “The issue is how should an industry respond when a customer decides they did not intend to renew,” said Mark Celichowski, President of the NHSCA. ” We take an approach favoring the consumer.” The actual NHSCA model can be found in the NHSCA Resource Center.

“Automatic renewals on consumer contracts are a beneficial consumer choice, but so is the consumer’s right to cancel. Our model law was developed with input from state legislators as a balanced and fair approach to preserve consumer choice and prevent abuse,” Arthur J. Chartrand, NHSCA Counsel, said. “As an association, we wanted to take the lead and give states model language.”

The NHSCA is a nonprofit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. To learn more about the NHSCA and to find answers to the most common questions regarding the purchase of home service contracts, please visit us at www.homeservicecontract.org

MEDIA CONTACT: Nancy Besa, Besa Public Relations • 816-674-4775 • Email

 

TRY A “LIST” BUT NHSCA PROVIDES SOLUTIONS

NHSCA and Angie’s List Offer Similar Advice, but NHSCA provides vetted and guaranteed contractors.

(Lenexa, KS)   Every year, millions of home service contracts (often referred to as “home warranties”) are purchased nationwide—a number growing dramatically every year as consumers seek home care solutions. While a growing number are marketed directly to consumers, the majority of contracts remain purchased as part of a real estate transaction and  subsequent renewal.

There is little doubt that these numbers reflect the fact that consumers are seeking security and financial protection.  Home service contracts provide the peace of mind that helps alleviate potential concerns of both home sellers and buyers during the resale transaction and for one year following the close of sale. In addition, renewal customers have continued protection from aging home systems, appliances and utilities. “Today’s consumer either lacks the skills, the knowledge or the desire to properly maintain their home and fix things that breakdown.  Many children simply lack the time to handle these needs for their parents,” according  to Art Chartrand Executive Director and Counsel of the National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA).

Internet based Angie’s List of Indianapolis often publishes reports advising consumers to be smart when buying a home service contract. We could not agree more. We support both a consumer’s need and right to understand all consumer contracts they purchase.  “Angie’s has appeared to grow more fond of the home service contract industry in recent years as her “list” and home service contract providers work hard to find the best local contractors who actually come in to your home,” added Chartrand.

Home service contracts will vary in the details of benefits provided. The market is very competitive and consumers have many choices when it comes to benefits, service and pricing. NHSCA member contracts are typically only a few pages and outline the complete terms and conditions of coverage. Consumers should compare contracts and consider the systems, appliances and utilities unique to their home property. This will
help consumers better understand their needs. If you live in a rural area, you may wish to consider adding well pump or septic tank protection. Do you have a pool or a spa? Do you wish to cover a freestanding appliance such as a refrigerator in your garage?

While the price of the product and optional coverage available is important, so are many other factors. Consumers should consider a number of questions in order to ensure they are making a wise purchase. Is the contract written in simple, easy to read and understandable language? Does the company clearly identify what services are not covered? Is the trade fee for each service call clearly disclosed? Is there an aggregate limit per system or appliance, per service call or per contract? Can a service call be placed 24/7 every day of the year? Is emergency service available when necessary? Is there a clear process that can be followed if the services rendered are not satisfactory?

It is also important for consumers to acknowledge that “everything” cannot be covered by a contract that typically costs about $500 a year. While contracts cover many breakdowns, there must be reasonable limitations. NHSCA members paid out well over one-half billion dollars to local contractors in 2010 to service customer’s homes. Even so, NHSCA members are always working to make contracts easier to read and understand as the industry strives to close any potential gap between available benefits and customer’s
expectations.

Consumers should also know that their home service contract provider has a solid reputation for serving its customers. References from real estate professionals and friends and a rating from the Better Business Bureau can be extremely helpful in the selection process. Either the state attorney general or insurance commissioner regulates all providers. (In Texas it is the Texas Real Estate Commission). Contact the appropriate state agency to inquire on a provider’s standing.

“If a consumer doesn’t take the time to perform their own ‘due diligence’, they may well end up as another ‘statistic’,” Gwen Gallagher, President of Old Republic Home Protection, said. “What is important to
consider is that out of the millions of contracts sold and million of service calls provided by the home service contract industry every year, only a very small fraction of consumers were not satisfied with either the coverage or service they received.

Some consumers may lodge a complaint on Internet sites such as Angie’s List where they
may often be viewed with disproportionate attention. The fact is the overwhelming
majority of consumers value their home warranty protection and remain quite happy with
both coverage and service.  Chartrand also noted that  “While Angie’s List may provide a “list” of local contractors for you to call, NHSCA home service contract providers actually vet these local contractors, call them for you, service or replace your broken appliance, pay them for you and then guaranty their work. Our members not only go the whole 9 yards, they go the full 100 yards.”

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#22