HMS Home Warranty Value

My Decision About Renewing My Home Warrany

This is a follow-up to my prior posting about our decision to renew our HMS Homegard Home Warranty. While we were waiting for the repairs to be completed, we were pondering whether or not our decision to renew our warranty was a good decision. The way we were treated while interacting with the HMS customer service representatives and the over all length of time we waited for the repairs to our furnace would have an impact on our decision to continue to purchase this service. After the entire process was completed we came to the following conclusion.

There were some issues and concerns about HMS policies, procedures, and customer service staff's professionalism towards customers. The first issue is the waiting period we had to endure. We waited a total of eight days for our repair to be made. The replacement part was provided by HMS rather than the repair company hired by HMS. The rational was that the replacement part was twice the cost if they allowed the company performing the repairs to provide the replacement part. HMS saved themselves $400 buying the part and shipping it to the repair company. Our wait was due in part to the time needed to locate and ship the replacement part and the repair company closing for weekend after receiving the part.

Our second issue was that they told us that we may have to replace the furnace. HMS took two days to decide what repair options were available to us. One option was to replace the furnace rather than to repair it. Had we chosen that option, we would have paid for all costs to include labor out of pocket. We would have then had to send copies of receipts to HMS, who would have only reimbursed us $437, leaving us to pay the remaining cost of equipment and labor. We chose to take the repair over the replacement to save money. HMS did explain that should the furnace need to be replaced based on the recommendation of the repair technician, they would replace the furnace at no cost to us over the $100 deductible. But we would have to pay for replacing the ducts that would need to be modified to accommodate a new furnace. The quote for this cost was around $300 to $450.

We were lucky that we have a fireplace with a high efficiency gas fireplace that is capable of heating the lower level of our house. The extra cost of using the fireplace was minimal, a few dollars higher than heating the house with the the furnace. But if we did not have the fireplace and the luck of having mild weather that week, we would have had no heat at all in our home. I asked what HMS would have done for us if we had to stay elsewhere if we had bad weather or another type of repair that rendered our home unlivable until a repair was made. The representative's response was startling.

HMS will not provide any assistance should a covered system or appliance fail and render a dwelling uninhabitable. The home owner is not reimbursed for relocation expenses for any reason, even if a repair causes the home to be uninhabitable. They do not care about the loss of wages for having to be present for a repair, even if the repair takes more than one business day to complete. HMS will not cover the loss of food items or any other item damaged by the failure of a home system or appliance unless the loss is a direct result of a repair.

The customer service and claims specialist's can be rude, uncooperative, and uncaring of your situation. Be patient, a return phone call may be helpful if you ask for a supervisor. Nina and Constanina are one person, she is friendly and helpful as long as you accept answers based on her limited knowledge of HMS repairs and you don't ask her questions she can not answer. Not everyone is challenging, but it seemed to me that there is a 50/50 mix of good and bad customer service staff. HMS did call several times to ensure that we had our questions answered, to inform us about what repairs needed to be done and when the repairs would be completed. I did notice that the customer service staff used business days as a reference to when work would be completed while the technical and purchasing departments use business hours instead of days. Business hours are longer than business days. Forty-eight business hours equates to six business days, not two days. Pay attention to time tables given, especially if they use hours instead of days.

There is some pressure to replace entire large appliances or systems even though a replacement may not be necessary. In my case I was offered the option to replace the furnace instead of repairing it. The important thing to know is that if there is not a need to replace the system or appliance, don't take the option. You will pay the cost of an unnecessary replacement upfront and even though the total bill will have to be turned into HMS, reimbursement will only be the amount HMS determines it will cost to repair the system or appliance. If HMS determines a replacement is necessary, they will cover the cost of replacement, but will not cover any modifications to existing attachments such as duct work for a furnace, hard wiring, or pipes for water systems. Repair company technician tried to talk me into accepting the part he had on hand, I would have had heat that afternoon without the 8 day wait, but I would have had to pay him that day. I would have wasted the $100 deductible and paid an additional $595 had I been desperate to have my furnace repaired.

HMS returned the $100 deductible to us because of the length of time it took to complete the repair. Even though we waited over a week for our repair to be completed, we were not really inconvenienced by the loss of the use of our furnace. The total out of pocket expense we incurred was $8, the cost of natural gas used to heat our home using the fireplace. My wife and I still feel that our home warranty renewal was a wise investment. It saved us almost a $1000 in repairs, and another $130 for the service call to have the furnace inspected. We will continue to renew our HMS Home Warranty.

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