Solved! Does USAA Offer a Home Warranty?
USAA offers many insurance products, but home warranties are a different type of financial protection for your home. While USAA no longer offers warranty policies, that doesn’t mean military families can’t benefit from a home warranty, and USAA does provide a lot of information and advice about how to choose one.
Q: We are a military family, and we are buying a new home. Our real estate agent has advised that a home warranty would be a good option for us, especially with the potential for unanticipated deployments that could make handling our own repairs expensive and inconvenient. Most of our insurance products are through USAA; do they have a home warranty policy as well?
A: Your real estate agent is correct; especially in a new home whose quirks and problems you don’t really know yet, home warranty plans can be a great way to protect yourself from unexpected repair and replacement costs. With your potential for deployments, they’re especially helpful in that you don’t have to hunt for contractors on your own to do the repairs. The best home warranty companies will offer the option of choosing your own contractors or taking care of that hassle for you. At this time, USAA does not offer home warranties, but a warranty from another company can be a great complement to your USAA homeowners insurance. The two policies will work together to provide more complete protection from financial hardship resulting from system or appliance failure, damage caused by named perils listed in a homeowners insurance policy, or even wear and tear or age.
USAA used to offer a home warranty in the past, but it hasn’t for several years.
In previous years, USAA offered a home warranty policy as a component members could choose as part of a comprehensive home protection plan. While USAA still offers a wide range of home insurance products, including standard homeowners insurance, renters insurance, flood insurance, and others, it no longer offers a home warranty policy. Why? While many sources refer to a home warranty as “home warranty insurance,” a home warranty is not actually an insurance policy. Instead, it is a service contract to cover the whole-house systems and appliances in your home when they need repair or replacement. Homeowners pay a set premium for a year’s worth of coverage. If a covered appliance stops working properly, policyholders can call their warranty company, which will arrange for a technician to come to the home, assess, and repair the problem or replace the appliance. Homeowners will pay a preset service fee for this call, and then the warranty covers the cost of the visit, parts, and labor for the repair. This makes it easier to budget for repairs, and while it’s an additional cost on top of your home purchase, a warranty’s total cost is often considerably less than one or two major repairs or a single system replacement. If the homeowner’s appliances are new, a warranty can extend the standard manufacturer home appliance warranty and will cover a variety of maintenance problems or failures, unlike the manufacturer’s warranty, which really only covers defects.
A warranty is not, however, the same as insurance, which covers damage to the home from fires, storms, vandalism, and other named perils, but does not cover maintenance. USAA’s home products are primarily focused on insurance policies.
Active and retired military can get a home warranty from a number of alternate providers.
Even if a homeowner’s other policies have been purchased through USAA, they will still be able to consider home warranties from other companies. While homeowners insurance and home warranties work well together to create a financial shield around a home, there is no rule that says the policies need to be from the same providers. In fact, many homeowners build their home protection plans from different sources. While you can sometimes get a multi-policy discount by choosing policies from the same company and bundling them, it’s actually a better plan to carefully consider the offerings from different companies and choose the policies that work best for each individual’s situation. Active military homeowners often have different concerns when selecting long-term plans and policies, so it’s important to choose the best home warranty company for your needs.
Make sure you ask a potential home warranty provider about military discounts and transfer policies.
Fortunately, many companies offer home warranties that work well for active and retired military. The best home warranty will be flexible; because military families are often reassigned unexpectedly, or the service member is deployed and the family staying behind wishes to move elsewhere for the length of the deployment, an ideal home warranty will be transferable. That way, if the homeowner has paid for a year of coverage and has to move after 6 months, the policy can go with them to their new home, rather than the policyholder having to give up half a year of coverage or deal with cancellations, refunds, and repurchasing coverage for their new home. Ask any potential warranty companies about their transfer policies, or, if they don’t allow transfers, their cancellation and refund policies, and be sure to indicate that you are active or retired military—many companies offer discounts for service members and their families. As you read through home warranty reviews online while checking out different companies, look for comments on how easy other customers have found it to actually use the transfer or cancellation policies; just because they’re offered doesn’t mean they’re simple to navigate.
Although there is no USAA home warranty, the company does offer homeowners insurance and other products designed for service members.
As homeowners research their options for a home warranty, they will come across a lot of other information about home protection products. Homeowners insurance will likely be required by the lender, and other products, such as flood insurance, condo insurance, umbrella liability insurance, extra insurance coverage for collectibles and items of high value, and mobile phone coverage are desirable, especially when the homeowner needs to move frequently. USAA’s website has a wealth of information on the products it offers that are aimed specifically at military families and the concerns and needs they have that are different from non-military situations. While there is not a USAA home warranty, the USAA website does provide guidance and explanations of the benefits of home warranties and other insurance products for their members, who can use the site to access USAA homeowners insurance quotes, flood insurance quotes, and other financial information to help them make the best choices about protection for their home.