Most home warranties in the US cover two main areas, reports US News: systems (electrical, heating, plumbing etc) and appliances (including refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens). The National Home Service Contract Association reports that home warranties have soared in popularity in recent years, with its members selling over four million home service contracts in particularly lucrative years. If your fridge breaks down, your water heating system is no longer working, or there is a leak in your plumbing, what steps should you take if your warranty claim is denied?
Check Your Home Service Contract Thoroughly
Before taking legal action to reclaim your rights under your contract, ensure that your system or your home appliances are insured under your written contract. Different home warranty contracts cover a different array of breakdowns. For instance, some offer free roof leak coverage; others demand an additional sum for this service. When a claim is denied, it may be because of factors such as improper installation, damages that pre-date the contract, or problems arising from neglect or poor maintenance.
Making the Claim
If your contract does not have any stipulation contrary to your right to exercise your right to a claim, then you should contact your home warranty provider and ask about the process to appeal the denial of your claim. It is also a good idea to get a second opinion on the reasons for breakage of your system or appliance regarding the probable cause of breakage or damage. Ensure you send all the documentation and evidence the company requests, to ensure you receive an answer as soon as possible.
Seeking External Help
If the company still denies your claim, check with the Office of the Attorney General of your state or the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company has had other complaints lodged against it. You can also fill in a customer complaint with the latter, ensuring your complaint is thorough and well written. Home warranty companies wishing to maintain an untarnished reputation may decide to change their mind to avoid their ratings being affected by your complaint. Finally, if the damage to the system or to an appliance is large enough for you to consider legal recourse, see a lawyer and ask about filing a suit with a small claims court. If fraud is involved, then contact your Attorney General for advice.
If a system or appliance that is covered by a home warranty contract is damaged but the company denies your claim, the first step is to check the contract to see its exact scope. If you think the damage is covered, then you should appeal any decision denying you of your rights, following the steps imposed by the company to the letter. Finally, if you think it is worth getting into a lawsuit, visit a lawyer that is specialized in insurance and home warranty law, to raise your chances of success.