My fiance and I recently bought a house in Roanoke, TX, and even though the house was in very good condition, the fact remained that it was a foreclosure, and our real estate agent recommended that we ask the seller to pay for a home warranty, which they did. Two and a half months later our HVAC system had a major problem and we were thankful that our agent recommended the home warranty. To make a long story short, we were able to get a technician to the house with orders to repair the problem if the cost didn't exceed $100.
Unfortunately the estimated cost was over $2,100 - the compressor was damaged beyond repair. This is where we started having problems with Nationwide Home Warranty. It was at this point that they requested maintenance records and would not continue to process our claim until we provided them with sufficient documentation. Unfortunately, since we had just bought the house, we could not provide them with the previous owners maintenance records. Add the fact that this was a foreclosure and you might understand why we don't have any contact information whatsoever for the previous owners.
So here we were, in the middle of January, with a non-functioning furnace. We were lucky to have a few nice days in the 50s and 60s but when the temp dropped down to 45 degrees I decided that our claim needed to be upgraded to emergency status, which by their definition is "a threat to health or property", and our situation met both of those criteria. Even though we explained why we could not provide maintenance records, the staff at Nationwide Home Warranty refused to process our claim and take care of us. I provided them with the records for the home inspection that showed the HVAC system working properly and in good condition and I also sent them copies of the receipt for the filters I purchased three days after moving into the house. Apparently, these were still insufficient.
When the temps dropped into the 30's I demanded that Nationwide take care of the issue before it got any colder and caused the water pipes to burst which would then cause additional damage throughout the house, in addition to negative impact to the health of fiance and myself. Their recommendation - pay for the expenses yourself and seek reimbursement from Nationwide afterwards. Even though this was not a good option, I had no choice so I contacted two other HVAC contractors and they came to the same conclusion - bad compressor. Fortunately, I was able to get it fixed by one of them for $1,920, as opposed to paying the higher $2,100.
Over the course of the past six weeks I have made over twenty phone calls to Nationwide, spent approximately 4 hours on the phone with them, and I'm no closer to getting reimbursed. I would say that about half the total time spent on the phone I was on hold, ironically, listening to their advertisements saying things like "We are the Gold Standard in home warranties...proudly servicing customers since 1951", "...when the washer is full of laundry or food in the the refrigerator, we're sure to get it working again, REAL FAST", and "When your heat goes out in December, we'll get it working again - IN A HURRY". Even though my blood pressure was rising a notch or two every time I heard one of these sales advertisements, I was able to keep a cool head because I understand that honey catches more flies than vinegar. My cool head has not however, proven useful.
I believe that Nationwide Home Warranty is using their request for "maintenance records" to deny legitimate claims based solely upon the amount of the claim. Remember, they were willing to take care of the issue if it did not exceed $100.
Regarding the maintenance records... The bottom line is that Nationwide had their opportunity to request maintenance records before my coverage began and they accepted the warranty policy. On top of that, Nationwide should definitely NOT be marketing their home warranty to home buyers. Since they also make a habit of selling home warranties to home sellers (they claim that it increases the sale price), they should be forced to obtain any relevant maintenance records from the sellers BEFORE accepting the policies. The whole marketing campaign revolves around the peace of mind that a home buyer feels by buying a home warranty on the premise that he or she does not know the intimate details of the condition of each appliance/system that would be covered by the warranty. Further, a home buyer can not be expected to provide paperwork that was never even in his or her possession.
Nationwide should also be paying the additional costs of the emergency heating system that I had to use when the temperatures got too cold before our system could be fixed, which added up to almost $500.
Anyone that deals with this company should get in contact with the Better Business Bureau of New and file a complaint as soon as possible (https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/getstarted.aspx).
You should also get in touch with the New York Attorney General and file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection (http://www.oag.state.ny.us/bureaus/consumer_frauds/pdfs/complaint_forms/nyc_complaint.pdf).
You should also contact the various government agencies that regulate the insurance industry. I am in the process of that right now.