So you bought your new home and you have decided to purchase a home warranty. Three months later, you notice your floors are cracking. Not a problem, you say to yourself, I’ll just call my home warranty company and they will provide a repairman. You pat yourself on the back because you just saved a bunch of money with your home warranty. Well, don’t give yourself too much credit yet. Most likely, your floor isn’t covered under your home warranty policy.
Does a Home Warranty Cover Anything?
Home warranties are optional when you purchase a house. If the seller threw in a home warranty for an added incentive, unless the buyer renews the warranty after a year, the warranty ends. So what do home warranties cover? They cover all major appliances in your house such as a refrigerator or washing machine. Most home warranties do not cover any structural damage; that’s usually covered by homeowners insurance, which is required in most states. What about flooring? If your flooring is damaged because of an installation issue, then it is covered under warranty. Everything else, like normal wear and tear or stains is not covered. Even if the repairman who was hired by the home warranty company to fix your refrigerator ends up damaging the floor during his repairs, it’s not covered by your home warranty.
Don’t Forget About the Builder Warranty!
Just because the home warranty doesn’t cover flooring, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck…yet. If you purchased a newly constructed home or a home that is still under the builder’s warranty then you might get some relief. Most builder warranties are good for only one year from the move-in date. For major structural damage, (like if your wall suddenly caves in) your home will be covered for ten years from the move-in date.
So, if your flooring cracks because of a defect in the construction, then the builder warranty will cover the repair and/or replacement. However (there’s always a catch) the crack must not be bigger than 1/8 inches wide. If it is, then the crack isn’t covered. Also, the defect in the flooring must be apparent after thirty days of moving into the house and prior to the one-year warranty period. This includes hardwood floors under carpeting.
The builder warranty, like the homeowners warranty, does not cover most damage. If your floor has stains from water damage, it’s not covered. If you have squeaky floors, it’s not covered. It your carpet has stains or regular wear and tear damage, it’s not covered. If you carpet starts to fray or come up, the same rules apply as above: thirty days after move-in and prior to the one-year warranty period.
How to Protect Your Floors
Unfortunately, most damage to the flooring will not be covered under homeowners insurance, a homeowner warranty or a builder warranty. So what can you do to protect yourself and your wallet? Take care of your floors. If you moved into an already carpeted house, be aware that the builder probably bought cheap carpeting that will last, on average, only five years. When it comes time to replace the carpeting, cheaper is not better. Choose quality carpeting that will last ten or even fifteen years. It will cost more, but in the end, you will save when you don’t have to replace your carpet every five years.
If you have hardwood floors, maintain them and they will last a lifetime. Remember to sweep every week. If you wash the floors, use a damp mop to avoid excess water, which may cause damage. Consult an expert about refinishing your floors every five years. He will know the proper wax or polish to use on your floor.
When in Doubt, Call the Expert
When it comes to your floors, if you are ever unsure about how to clean a stain or maintain them regularly, call an expert. You can either call the company you purchased the flooring from or if the flooring was already in place when you moved-in, ask call your homeowners warranty company. Even though they may not cover the damage, they can refer you to a good repairman. At least that’s something, right?read more