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  https://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  https://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  https://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  https://homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#22

 

NHSCA URGES CAUTION ON WEB SITES RANKING HOME WARRANTY COMPANIES

The National Home Service Contract Association says to get all the facts before relying on various internet-based services that rank or rate home service contract providers.

(Lenexa, KS ) Some internet-based web sites have begun “rating” home service contract providers, but such can be biased or based on a limited and perspectives. The NHSCA cautions consumers to be aware of the inaccuracies of such ratings. The ratings are generally not subject to quality control or statistical analysis, and most of these services specifically state that they accept no responsibility for the quality or accuracy of their references or ratings. Having offered this caution, some of these sites are legitimate and provide some useful consumer information. 

It is important for consumers to be aware that many internet ratings are generally not based on the number of complaints as relative to the size of a company. For example, a company with three poor reviews could have 3,000 other very satisfied customers. Unfortunately, this type of data is rarely collected or shared, and therefore proves inadequate for the consumer to truly make an informed decision. Consumers may be better served by organizations such as the Better Business Bureau. Or just stay with a registered member of the NHSCA.

Some internet sites openly accept advertising dollars from the companies that they review. Organizations serving in the best interest of the consumer, will not accept advertising due to the conflict of interest it presents. Members of the NHSCA do not accept paid advertising from their independent network contractors. This practice allows them to maintain the highest level of standards and integrity. If a contractor does not meet performance standards, they are not retained. Consumer complaints are investigated and NHSCA raises concerns regarding reviews of home service contracts handled swiftly, assuring contract holder’s concerns are addressed effectively and efficiently.

Members of the NHSCA continue to be among the most highly recommended service providers by real estate professionals everywhere. Home service contract providers of the NHSCA are regulated in all fifty states under applicable consumer protection laws and are specifically licensed or registered in nearly half the states.

Both regional and national home service contract providers support large independent contracting firms as well as small family-owned, businesses in the communities they serve. They strive to provide consumers with the best local plumbers, electricians, appliance repair and HVAC contractors a community offers.  When a “preferred rated” contractor from an internet rating service does not perform, the consumer has little, if any, recourse. When a local contractor dispatched by an NHSCA home service contract provider fails to meet expectations, the provider typically works with the consumer to resolve their concerns.

The industry offers contracts to repair or replace most household appliances and systems that become inoperable due to normal wear and tear. Contracts generally cover dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical wiring 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 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, media and consumer information, visit  https://homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

 

#21

 

 

REAL ESTATE AGENTS ADD VALUE TO EVERY HOME SALE

Homes Service Contract Industry Reaffirms Your Need for a Real Estate Agent

(Lenexa, KS) Whether we are in a buyers market like the years following 2007, or in a sellers market as hit high gear  in 2016, real estate agents remain invaluable.

A side effect of this seesaw of  economic change is that today’s home buyers are more savvy and looking for added value with their purchase. However, they may not always know where that value can be found. That is why working with a knowledgeable and resourceful real estate agent is more important than ever before.

One way agents are protecting their clients and themselves is by educating homebuyers and sellers on the benefits of products such as home service contracts.

Home service contracts provide service, repair and even replacement of major home systems and appliances. At an average cost of $350 – $550 a year, these contracts typically cover items such as heating systems, interior plumbing, electrical systems, water heaters, dishwashers, and garbage disposals.

Home sellers, buyers, and real estate professionals benefit from the service provided by home service contracts. By including a home service contract as a condition of the sale, sellers instill an added sense of confidence to prospective home buyers because the buyer feels comfortable, knowing that covered systems and appliances will be repaired in the event of failure after closing. In addition, most home service contract companies offer seller’s coverage, which protects the seller in the event of a system or appliance failure during the listing and escrow period. Not only is the seller protected from additional cash outflow, if the home is under contract when a system or appliance fails, the service contract can help to keep the transaction flowing along smoothly.

Benefits to the buyer include budget protection from unexpected repair or replacement of home systems or appliances. This is especially important for properties that have sat on the market for long periods of time because, although a covered item may work at the close of escrow, one never knows when that system may fail. Even a change in household size can push a system or appliance to the breaking point sooner than expected. With many home buyers opting to take advantage of bargains that can be found with the glut of foreclosures currently on the market, home service contracts help take the risk out of the unknown. For first-time buyers with tight budgets, the unexpected replacement of a major system such as a furnace can be devastating; clearly the peace of mind a home service contract provides is valuable to financially strapped homebuyers.

A home service contract can bring peace of mind and referrals to the real estate agent. Real estate agents want to provide the best possible service experience to their clients because so much of their business growth is based on referrals. By offering a home service contract to their clients, the agent demonstrates their professionalism and concern for their client’s well being even after the sale. When the plan holder obtains the service they need from their home service contract provider, they will thank their agent for having the foresight to offer this valuable protection. Of course, when a client is satisfied with the agent’s service, they are much more likely to refer that agent to their friends and family who need real estate services.

Your own real estate agent is also knowledgeable about local markets, pricing, how to market your home effectively, and the many nuances of issues most are not such as PMI,  title insurance, fence line agreements and home inspections. “Personally, I think most anyone is just a sandwich short of a full picnic to avoid using a real estate agent when buying or selling a home,” says Art Chartrand, Executive Director and Counsel to the NHSCA. “A qualified and educated real estate agent doesn’t just show a house and point out shiny appliances.  They know insulation, roofing, taxes, school districts and crime, not to mention the value of granite, a good mortgage company and requirements of VA loans. Buying or selling a home without your own agent is pretty much like trying to fly a plane without taking a lesson.”

The NHSCA works diligently to promote excellence in the home service contract industry. By promoting education, fostering the improvement of business conditions, providing clear statutory definition and standards, and encouraging sound and ethical business practices; higher business standards, better business methods and cooperation within the industry continue to grow.

In our ongoing efforts to foster the relations and understanding between the home service contract industry and REALTORS®, we would like to hear from you. If you have a suggestion, area of concern or just would like more information regarding home service contracts, please contact us.

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  https://homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#09

VACANT HOMES SITTING IDLE ON MARKET CAN POSE PROBLEMS

Lack of use can cause costly repairs, not to mention denied  insurance claims.

(Lenexa, KS)   When home sits idle on the market, or vacant for most any reason, lack of proper maintenance or simply lack of use can cause costly repairs or replacements down the road. They may also result in lack of coverage under your insurance policy.

“When it comes to home appliances and whole house systems such as heating and cooling, wear and tear is not the only concern these days, just the lack of use can result in problems.   Cars, boats and motorcycles are no different,” advises Art Chartrand, Executive Director and Counsel to the National Home Service Contract Association. “These mechanical systems were meant to be used, not sit around. Even with a service contract and proper insurance, you still have to check on a vacant property, “  Chatrand advises. They just fail from non-use.  Valves freeze, gaskets dry out and gears rust form moisture.  P-traps in drains also dry out and can fill your house with methane sewer gasses.

 “Now, more than ever I am strongly encouraging my clients to require the seller provide a home service contract – especially if the home has been on the market for an extended amount of time,” advises Mitch Miller, REALTOR with Better Homes & Garden Real Estate.  “Contracts generally range from $350-$550 a year and can be renewed by the home buyer. It just makes good sense especially, as in the case of a foreclosure, there is no homeowner available to provide information. In addition, many companies provide seller coverage free of charge during the listing period, so it helps protect the seller as well.”

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).  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.

“Our goal as an industry is to provide the best value for the consumer, “  said Billy Jensen, Fidelity National Home Warranty. He added  “In 2016, our members paid out over one billion dollars in wholesale value of claims.”

Aside from the need for a home service contact, homeowners need to be careful with their insurance coverage as well. While most policies cover you for routine absence due to vacation and cover otherwise furnished and utilized vacation homes that are unoccupied for great lengths of time, they often do not cover “vacant” homes. A vacant home may be described as one without any furnishings or utilities active.

One novice in Kansas recently bought a house and left that very day for Texas leaving their son living across town in charge. The son did nothing and the house was vacant for the next ten days. Upon returning to town, a water leak in the kitchen was discovered that caused major damage.  This is an insurable peril and cannot be covered by a service contract by law. The insurance carrier balked claiming the house was vacant and unattended.  Homeowners then haplessly tried to blame everyone form the seller, to the their agent to the tooth fairy to no avail.  The fact is they had the keys and just left the house vacant and things happen.  So make sure you check with your insurance carrier if your home will be vacant and unattended for any length of time.

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  https://homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#24

 

TRADE ASSOCIATION CAUTIONS CONSUMERS PURCHASING CONTRACTS

Complaints and Investigation of New York Company Elicit Response by National Home Service Contract Association

(OLATHE, KS – January 12, 2009)

OIn today’s economy it has never been more important for consumers to verify the credibility and dependability of any company in which they invest or purchase services. The National Home Service Contract Association strongly advises when purchasing a home service contract, consumers should do their homework, solicit references from seasoned real estate professionals and, most importantly, carefully read contracts before signing.

“Many consumers do their shopping for services via the Internet,” Billy Jensen, President of the NHSCA said. “While this method can be convenient and a time-saver, consumers must remember that anyone, including unscrupulous business people and scam artists, can host a well-designed and convincing Web-site. Consumers must do their research.” 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.

This caution comes in light of recent consumer complaints and ensuing investigation against National Home Protection which according to its Web-site, is a home service warranty company based out of New York City. Published reports contend that NHP was not properly licensed in the states in which it operated including Texas where the state’s attorney general has filed action against the company. NHP currently has an “unsatisfactory record” nationally with the Better Business Bureau.* NHP is not a member of the NHSCA which has published a Code of Ethics that requires its members to act in conformity with all applicable laws and regulations.

“We certainly do not like to see any home service provider cast in a bad light, or worse, not fulfilling their contractual obligations,” advises Billy Jensen, President of the NHSCA. “One of our missions is to fully inform and educate consumers as to what contracts do and can provide. Unfounded expectations only later lead to dissatisfaction which is not in anyone’s best interest.”

Home service contracts provide a variety of benefits to service, repair or replace specifically listed household systems and appliances for a set, annual fee, but do not cover everything. Additionally, they do not cover insurable losses from events such as fire, windstorm, vandalism or theft. “If a dishwasher breaks down, the dishwasher repair is covered, but if a water leak form the dishwasher destroyed your ceiling, under state law, the homeowner must look to their insurance company for that loss,” Jensen clarified. For more questions and answers on home service contracts visit the NHSCA website page www.homeservicecontract.org

* The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; 1/11/2009