new homeowner lesson: making a home warranty claim

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Lessons Learned:

1 – ALWAYS buy a home warranty.

2- Check your warranty to see if things would be covered before calling the repairman.

3 – Call/Communicate daily to make sure things are on track.

4 – Do what you can to make yourself comfortable in the meantime.

As some of you may have read about in our previous post, our AC went out Sunday night. Because of course. And I naively said that we should have air conditioning by that night. Nope. Because of course.

At first, I wasn’t thinking, and called the first repairman I could find with good reviews to come out and look at the unit. It would be about $150 for them just to come look at it, since it was on a weekend. I should have just waited, but ya’ll, it was already 83 degrees in the house. I was uncomfortable and Tabby was panting up a storm. If it had just been us, I think we would have soldiered on, but can you say no to this cuteness? I JUST CAN’T, OK?

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So, after the AC repair guy came out to the house, diagnosed it as a dead compressor, and came inside to break down what it was going to cost to fix it. Wait for it…$20,000. He wanted $20,000 for a entirely new system. SERIOUSLY? He said it wasn’t worth it to just replace the compressor, and that we needed to replace the entire thing. NOPE. All the nope.

Just to replace the compressor was $2,300, so I (thankfully) remembered that our wonderful realtor had convinced us to buy a home warranty when we bought the house. It was maybe a few hundred dollars? I can’t remember. That month of my life, I felt like I was just writing checks left and right. Money meant nothing anymore.

So I tried to call the insurance company. No luck – there’s nobody there for you to report claims to. You have to do it online. I think I must be old fashioned or something, but I still like talking to a human being. It seems to make things move along much faster.

My sweet aunt offered for us to come over and escape the heat if we needed to, but Aaron was at work and I’m up at school getting ready for the year (T-minus 10 days!), so we decided to tough it out.

The next day, the warranty company’s AC guy came out to the house to diagnose the problem (they needed to verify it was actually the compressor before approving a claim). He was polite, quick, and didn’t mind me hovering over his shoulder. He said they would get the claim submitted that day, and would probably have it fixed by Thursday. Womp womp.

My parents and the warranty company’s AC guy suggested that we buy a portable air conditioner in the meantime, so off to Lowe’s we went! We brought home this baby:

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$399 was no cheap buy. But our outside unit is 5 years old, and our inside unit in on it’s last legs according to our home inspector when we bought the house. Our AC will most definitely go out again someday, and it would be nice to have around. It provided more than $399 worth of comfort, and it was less than a hotel that lets dogs stay would have been for those days. It meant we got to stay in our house, sleep relatively comfortably, and help Tabby whine a little less 😉

My only gripe about the unit is that it is rated for 400 square feet, or roughly 1/4 of our home. We had it running 24/7 in our bedroom with all the doors closed (it isn’t anywhere near 400 square feet), and it never got more than 5-7 degrees cooler than the temperature outside. It works – it just doesn’t work that well. Texas summer heat is intense though, and our windows needed replaced about a millennia ago. I might be returning it, but haven’t decided yet.

Ok – so fast forward to Wednesday morning. Haven’t heard anything from the warranty company or the AC repair company. I’m getting a little impatient. Hot Catherine is cranky Catherine. I call the AC people, no answer. I leave a message.

Fast forward to Thursday morning. I’m upset now. At least return my call! I call the AC people again, no answer, I leave another message. Then I call the warranty company’s customer service hotline, and they type in my claim number. Turns out they needed approval from me for there to be a separate charge for copper in the repair, since the warranty doesn’t cover that. They said the AC people should get the approval momentarily (I think they could hear the bubbling anger in my voice), and would call me to schedule the repair. The rest of the day went as follows

2:00 PM – AC company calls me and says they should be out before 5:00 PM to get it fixed.
2:05 PM – I leave school to go sit and wait for the repairmen
2:15 PM – I excitedly text Aaron that we should have AC by 5!
5:20 PM – Aaron comes home, no AC.
5:30 PM – Repairman shows up, calls to say he is outside. Tabby starts barking.
6:30 PM – Still no AC. I bring the repairman a glass of water – he looks exhausted!
7:30 PM – Repeat above.
8:30 PM – He finally starts packing his things back into the truck (Welding in Texas in August. Poor guy)
8:35 PM – Start up the AC inside. IT WORKS!
8:40 PM – Thank our AC guy, pay for the copper, and send him on his way.
9:00 PM – Take a shower and collapse into bed. I haven’t slept that well in a long time!

Tabby’s daycare (yes, we’re that kind of dog parents) mentioned to Aaron that a lot of people’s AC units have gone out this week. Austin recently broke it’s record for power consumption. And then broke it again the following hour. This city is growing, and fast!

What about you guys? Any major household appliances break only a few months after moving in? Have you worked with a home warranty company?

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