One of the most important — yet often overlooked — aspects of buying a new construction home is the new home warranty. Many homeowners take this warranty for granted without knowing why they need it, what it covers (and what it doesn’t), or how to take advantage of it if something goes wrong.
At Lowder New Homes, we believe our customers should be well informed to get the most value from their new construction home. We’ve assembled the following new construction home warranty guide as a resource to give you a better understanding of how new home warranties work, what should be covered, and how to avail yourself of the coverage as needed.
Why Is It Important to Get a Home Warranty for a New Construction Home?
One of the most common questions new homeowners ask about new home warranties is, “Why?” If everything is new, they wonder, why does the warranty matter – especially considering the chances are slim that they’ll ever need to use it? This is one of the main reasons new homeowners aren’t properly informed about their warranty (if one is included) or don’t feel the need to purchase additional coverage. They don’t see that it’s necessary.
However, all it takes is one malfunction for these homeowners to get a huge wake-up call. They end up spending thousands of dollars on repairs they didn’t realize their warranty covered – or worse, the costs weren’t covered because the builder didn’t provide a good warranty. Let’s look at the two reasons why having warranty coverage is important, even with a new construction home.
1. Nothing is Foolproof.
The reason every reputable manufacturer offers a warranty on their new products is simple: Even new products malfunction from time to time. The same holds for new construction homes, consisting of thousands of components and appliances working in multiple systems. Despite everyone’s best intentions, headache-inducing issues are known to happen from time to time.
What matters most is not the problem itself — but the quality of your builder’s warrantied promises and customer service. Luckily, if something is going to go wrong, it often presents itself sooner rather than later. Having a strong warranty provides extra protection against these types of mishaps, so you don’t end up with a shocking repair bill right off the bat.
2. Some Problems Don’t Show Up Until Later.
New homes built by reputable builders will undergo a final inspection to ensure everything is installed properly and working according to spec. As we mentioned earlier, you’re likely to catch any problems within the first few months of living in a home, but that’s not always the case. Your new home may have passed inspection with flying colors only to have a major system failure later due to something previously undetectable. The new construction warranty makes sure you’re financially protected if that happens.
What Do Home Warranties Cover?
As with any other type of coverage, new home warranties aren’t all the same. Some policies may cover different things for different lengths of time. The builder may provide their own limited warranty on certain materials and workmanship. Alternatively, the builder may provide a more expanded warranty through an insurance provider. Some homeowners opt to buy additional warranty coverage on their own.
With all these different types of warranties available, the better question isn’t “what do they cover?” — but rather “what should be covered, and for how long?”
When reviewing a home warranty, you should make sure the following basics are covered:
- Workmanship and materials. A good builder will stand behind their work, so their warranty should cover any malfunctions caused by faulty materials, improper workmanship, or incorrect installation. Lowder New Homes, for example, offers a one-year limited warranty on all workmanship and materials. This covers cabinets, door panels, roof coverings, paints, carpets, etc., and is valid from either the date of original conveyance or occupancy of a new Lowder home (whichever comes first).
- Infrastructure/distribution systems. This refers to coverage for systems such as your plumbing, electric wiring, heating, ventilation and airconditioning (HVAC), and mechanical systems. The builder’s warranty generally covers these systemsfor the first year and manufacturer warranties thereafter.
- Structural warranty. This coverage protects you against structural problems affecting load-bearing elements of your home, including foundation, roof structure, load-bearing walls, and wall and floor framing. This coverage is usually obtained through outside insurance (either provided by the builder or purchased by the homeowner). Since structural issues may take years to manifest, the coverage should be for a minimum of five to 10 years.
What Is Not Typically Covered
A new home warranty won’t cover everything, and your policy will list exclusions. Most warranties won’t cover minor damage (e.g., cracks in drywall or tile), for example, and appliances have their own coverage with the manufacturer’s warranty. Your warranty should cover the cost of major repairs, but it won’t cover costs like hotel bills if you have to leave your home while repairs are being made. Those costs should be covered under your homeowners’ insurance.
What If I Need to File a Claim?
Every warranty will include instructions on how to file a claim and how those claims will be processed, so read your warranty information carefully and follow the instructions for filing a claim. A good warranty will make this process easy – often with a phone call to a hotline, followed by an in-person inspection and repairs. To make the most of your coverage and help ensure a smooth experience, be sure to do the following:
- Send in a written request, even if they give you a hotline to call. Create a paper trail as proof of your claim.
- Document everything. Take photos of the damage, write down details of phone calls and interactions, and keep all receipts and paperwork. This reduces the risk of ambiguity and misunderstandings.
- Read the fine print on dispute resolution. If the repairs aren’t done satisfactorily or if the warranty company wrongly claims a certain repair isn’t covered, the warranty includes instructions to follow regarding dispute resolution – typically through a third-party mediator. You’d rarely need to take these measures, but it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with this process.
Lowder New Homes’ Warranty Policy
At Lowder New Homes, we are so confident in the quality of our work – and so committed to the complete satisfaction of our homeowners – that we offer one of the strongest new home warranties in the business. This warranty includes complete coverage of all systems for the first year, plus a 10-year transferable structural warranty secured by one of the most reputable home warranty companies in the U.S. – not to mention full manufacturer warranties on all appliances. Read more about our warranty coverage.
When you buy a new construction home, you rightfully expect that home to be in excellent condition and free of defects. At Lowder, we’re committed to meeting and exceeding these expectations. Contact us today to learn more about our available homes in the Montgomery, AL area.