Buyer Beware of HMS Home Warranty (HomeSure)
If you are buying a home, and your realtor recommends to you that you get a home warranty: RUN QUICKLY IN THE OTHER DIRECTION! The home warranty is a rip-off. While your realtor may tell you (and the literature from the warranty company may tell you) that everything in your house will be covered, once you get the service agreement from the warranty company, you will find that it is not.
I chose to get the home warranty on my new home purchase because I was getting some used appliances from the seller. Once I got the service agreement from HMS Home Warranty, and reviewed the coverage, the terminology is worded to basically say that everything in the house is covered until something goes wrong, then they have the ability to non-cover the claim because it is not within the terms of the agreement. For example, (as quoted directly from my contract with HMS Home Warranty):
Description of Covered Items: Standard mechanical parts or components located within the perimeter of the outer load bearing walls consisting of: main breaker or fuse panel/box; interior standard light switches, receptacles and general line voltage wiring; ceiling fan motors and their controls; door bells and chimes.
Examples of Items/Conditions Not Covered: Attic, bathroom, and/or whole house exhaust fans; fire and smoke alarm systems and batteries; direct current (DC) wiring and systems; exterior wiring and components (except main panels mounted to exterior wall); exhaust fans; intercom or speaker systems; lighting fixtures; load control devices; low voltage systems including wiring and relays; telephone systems; timers; touch pad assemblies; utility meter base pans; and wall fans. Failures and conditions cause by inadequate wiring capacity, circuit overload, power failure/shortage or surge, and corrosion caused by moisture are not covered.
OK, now let’s use some logic to follow what they cover. They cover standard mechanical parts and components of the system including outlets, switches, wires, and the fuse box. But, they don’t cover these in the event of inadequate wiring capacity, circuit overload, power failure, or surges. Now, we’re talking about an electrical system here. What could go wrong in an electrical system besides capacity, overload, power failure, or power surge? Uhm, nothing. Yeah, that’s right. They cover the ENTIRE electrical system, unless something goes wrong. Then it’s not covered.
Also, let’s look at the deductible/service fee. The deductible is $100 per service call. If it takes 3 service calls to complete the job, you’re out $300. That is probably more than it would cost to just have it fixed outright. And you have to use their contractors. Let me tell you about the contractor they assigned to me:
I was given the name and number of Renovations, Etc., which must be one man with a cell phone. I would call this man, and he would always say “I’m in the middle of something, let me call you back.” It took me a week to get hold of him to actually explain what my problem was. He told me he would be subcontracting it. I got one phone call from the subcontractor, and it went to my voice mail. I tried for a week to get the subcontractor to call me back. I FINALLY got a response after I called the next week and threatened, saying that my freezer had completely defrosted and leaked all over my carpet because the circuit was completely dead. The guy came in, moved a wire from one circuit to another, removed an outlet (but didn’t replace it because he didn’t have one with him), and basically “patched” until he could come back. This was on a Monday. He said, “I’ll come back later this week and fix it.” He asked for the $100 deductible upfront. As he was walking out the door, I asked him what that service would have cost me if I had had the service done directly instead of through the home warranty (trying to figure out how much I saved). He said, “Eh, about $100.” In other words, he just wanted my full $100, and didn’t itemize or anything. For what he did, it probably wouldn’t have even cost $100 if I had it done privately.
The next Friday (not the following, but the next) I called him to see when he was going to come back and finish, and to tell him that his “patch” had not resolved my problem. Let me tell you too, I was going to fight tooth and nail if they thought they were going to get another $100 out of me for a separate service call. It’s not my fault that an electrician didn’t have enough sense to bring supplies with him on a service call. Anyway, he basically told me that there was nothing more he could do except replace the entire breaker box, and it would not be covered by HMS. So right now, I have loose, live wires exposed where an outlet used to be, a dryer that blows the circuit half of the time, I paid $100 for this, and the home warranty does not cover it because they do not cover defective wiring or circuit overload.
Complaint filed with Better Business Bureau:
I would like to have a full refund of the contract price ($395) as well as a refund of the $100 deductible I paid their contractor for service which did not resolve the problem.