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Home Protection Policies


Dear Phyllis,

We have worked with the same real estate agent several times over the last two decades. On our most recent purchase he asked the seller to offer a home protection policy. Prior to closing escrow, he explained that often these companies don’t cover much. He also told us that when they do offer coverage, the tradespeople they send out are typically subpar.  We followed his advice and instead accepted the seller’s $750 credit in lieu of this insurance.  After we closed, we learned the pool skimmer was leaking and needed replacement.  The cost to demolish the existing skimmer and replace it is over two thousand dollars – well above the $750 credit. I am not angry with our agent but feel he gave us some really bad advice.  What do you think our next move should be?   No pool envy here



Dear No Envy,

Home protection plans, also known as home warranty plans, typically cover the cost of repair or replacement of the working parts (mechanical and nonstructural components) of a home during the first year of home ownership. Limited coverage of the plumbing, electrical and heating systems is generally insured. Built-in kitchen appliances and garage door openers are typically included in the basic coverage. Roof, pool and spa equipment and central air conditioning coverage is also available for an additional charge. A service fee of approximately $75.00 is charged to the new buyer when the company’s repair person makes a service call.

Home protection plans can be an asset as they enable the buyer to keep their first year’s out-of-pocket expense to a minimum. However, I agree with your Realtor® that many of these tradespeople are subpar. I recently had a client whose wife was afraid to be alone in the home with the repairman as he was angry and was yelling.  My client came home from work to ask him to leave.  He told me they would never use this insurance policy again. I asked the home protection company to cancel the policy and to refund the buyer which they did.

I had another buyer who after her first experience with an inexperienced repairman would ask the name or company name of the repairmen.  She would “Yelp” them before they came to the home and refuse them if they had less than four stars. Finally, the home protection company allowed her to select her own tradespeople for repairs.

I checked with a home protection company I often use and they told me that the pool skimmer is not covered. Typically, the Home Protection Company only covers items above ground, such as the filter, heater, motor and pump. So, it seems that your Realtor® gave you some good advice.

Once you get the pool taken care of, I am confident you will derive many years of enjoyment from it.  Congratulations on your new home.