- Standard coverage provides a combination of systems and appliances
- Offers extensive add on options including roofs, sprinkler systems, and utility lines
- Comprehensive coverage plan includes pest control
Uncertain about your water heater? Concerned your garage door opener is on its last legs? A home warranty plan can help protect you from high repair costs on these and other home systems and appliances. In the state of Washington, homeowners have experienced a high rate of growth in real estate costs. Home warranty companies can help make sure your primary investment stays in good condition without unexpected expense.
In order to find the most comprehensive coverage for your home, read on for the top home warranty companies in Washington and a comprehensive home warranty buying guide.
The State of Washington has experienced tremendous housing cost growth in the last 15 years. The price of the average home has out-paced income growth in many high population areas. In fact, income growth in Washington lags behind the rest of the country by about 3%. At the same time, the cost of the average house has gone up over 50%.
Most of the state’s population lives in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Outside this region, which has a population of nearly four million, the state is sparsely populated and more affordable. However, a large portion of Washington’s land is forested and publicly owned, making the demand for housing particularly high and more expensive in less populated areas.
The “Evergreen State,” which many associate with the wet and relatively mild conditions in the state’s northwest quadrant, is quite different than the dry desert-like conditions homeowners in Washington experience east of the Cascade Mountain range.
If you don’t already live in the state, consider these geographic differences which can make your needs for a home warranty vary greatly based on where you plan to buy. There are three major climate areas to consider when it comes to finding the right comprehensive coverage for your home systems and appliances. These areas are generally the wet and mild northwest, the arid desert areas of the central portion of the state, and the extreme temperature and weather swings in the east.
Northwest Washington is the home of a wet climate surrounding the Puget Sound. Uncontrolled humidity in a home can cause mold, rot, and structural damage. You may also experience condensation within the home, which could decrease the life of electrical systems. Dehumidifiers, clean air ducts, and exhaust fans will be important items to cover in this part of the state.
Central and southern portions of Washington State are desert areas. If you live in this region, you’ll likely need a whole house humidifier, which may be hard to find coverage for under a home warranty. Dry air can be hard on the wood structures in your home, causing floors to shrink and cracks around your windows, which can let in cold air and increase your heating bills.
You’ll want to make sure your humidifier is covered in any home warranty service contract you consider. If you don’t have a humidifier, make sure that any systems that could be affected by the kind of adjustments a dry house experiences, like plumbing systems, are covered.
Homeowners in Washington’s eastern areas experience more seasonal temperature fluxuations than the northwest. These fluxuations put more strain on the heating and air conditioning systems in a home. Constant heat pumping through a furnace during the cold winter can potentially dry out your home even more than a desert environment.
Ensure proper maintenance is conducted on a seasonal basis for your HVAC system. Check the requirements of your home warranty service contract to make sure your home appliances will be covered.
Real estate agents are often the front line professionals in recommending the original purchase of a home warranty plan. Sometimes a home warranty plan has already been purchased by the seller as an enticement for potential buyers. Getting home warranty coverage is a great idea for someone who is purchasing a home—particularly a home which is not new.
A broken water heater, heating system, or other home appliance can quickly cause repairs or replacements to cost more than a thousand dollars. After what can often be the high expense of moving, those added costs are particularly unwanted.
Before purchasing a home warranty plan in Washington, consider whether or not you want home appliances or home systems covered—perhaps you want both.
Among appliances covered on warranty plans you’ll find items standard in most households:
On the plans we selected as the best choice for Washington residents, you’ll find all of your basic home systems covered, including:
Most homeowners choose a combination of systems and appliance coverage. For homes with upgraded systems, you may want to consider getting specialized coverage. This coverage will include things like plumbing stoppages, central vacuum systems, ceiling fans, ductwork, and garage door openers.
American Home Shield lets you customize your own home warranty plan. It’s a good choice for Washington residents interested in coverage for a few home systems or appliances. Home Service Club is another top choice for those in the damp northwest of Washington. They include pest coverage, which can be more of a problem in moist climates.
When we took a close look at First American Home Warranty, we found the company has a generous repair or replacement policy which doesn’t require you to prove you have properly maintained your covered household items. You also have no limit on the number of service calls you can make in a year.
Whichever home warranty plan you choose, make sure you first itemize a list of the home systems and appliances unique to your home. After you make the list, take a look at the terms of service on the plans to make sure the important systems in your home will be covered.
While the home warranty cost in Washington is similar to other areas of the country, an added expense in the State of Washington is sales tax. Since 2005, Washington has collected sales tax on repairs, also known as retail sales, to buildings.
The actual cost of your home warranty premiums or service calls may or may not include sales tax—this will all depend on how specific the product is covered. Systems are considered real property and not taxed. Repairs on tangible personal property, however, are taxed. Here are some examples of when sales tax will apply:
Overall annual costs for home warranties in Washington are similar to other states. They can range from around $300–$700. When you purchase a home new, that cost was likely covered in the original closing costs as a lump sum.
If you decide you want to continue that contract after the first year of owning a home, you can usually break that down into monthly payments. There are some extra costs you will incur on top of the initial fee for service, such as:
Home warranties can be activated in Washington State with just a couple of easy steps.
Home warranties may be more necessary in Washington than other states simply because of the high cost of housing. This ongoing problem—along with a lack of supply in housing—leaves some people priced out of the market altogether.
In highly populated areas, like Seattle, city leaders are trying to figure out ways to ensure the availability of middle-income housing that’s affordable for families. Any fix will likely still have homeowners stretching their resources to buy a home. A home warranty plan provides a needed safeguard for families once they get into their desired home.
As you review service contracts for home warranty plans in Washington, make sure the company is licensed in the state. The state has a series of laws related to the industry that are in place to protect Washington residents from potential risks related to the industry. Here are a few risks you’re protected against:
These are added protections in Washington State that other state law structures don’t provide. The laws cover all similar types of service contracts, including those you might purchase on a specific system in your home or in an automobile.
Below is a review from Mariana G., a customer with a Home Service Club contract:
“So far, I’ve had no difficulties with them in claims. In fact, I even had one service company go and sign up with them to get on their list to provide services in the Seattle area. I have a refrigerator-freezer by LG, side-by-side and the control on the front of the door had stopped working which made us not make ice and control the temp for my fresh produce. I submitted my claim over the phone and didn’t have any difficulty with explanations. A contractor was sent within the day and fixed my unit.”
Yes. One of the best parts of a home warranty plan is the confidence you can have in the technician sent to your home. Instead of having to screen plumbers, electricians, or other workers yourself, the company will identify and send the appropriate person to your home to handle the repair. This saves you time and money.
A home inspection can give you an idea of the age and condition of the home systems and appliances in your home. If you know your appliances are older, it’s a good option to invest in a home warranty plan.
If your home warranty company sends out a technician to fix a problem in your home, there’s usually a guarantee. If you have to call out again for the same problem within a designated time frame, you should not have to pay a second service fee. Don’t accept a home warranty without this kind of guarantee.
Washington State has many beautiful public places to enjoy. It’s a great state for outdoor enthusiasts but can be expensive for homeowners. Get a home warranty to help keep your house maintenance costs low. You’ll thank yourself when you choose good, standard coverage, like that offered by The Home Service Club. If you want to customize your plan to cover only the most expensive items in your home, consider American Home Shield. Both companies have a reliable service record and will be a good bet for homeowners in Washington State.
Looking for a home warranty? Our team at House Method reviewed the best home warranty companies so you can choose the right plan for your home.
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty does what most home warranty companies don't—keep their promise. It could be the most trustworthy home warranty company on the market today. Read our review for the full scoop.