What Do You Want From a Warranty?
You want it to be simple to understand. You want it to be easy to activate when necessary. You want it to be fair in paying out on claims.
Essentially, you want it to make your life easier. To give you some peace of mind while you don’t have to make a claim on it, and to give you a stress-free positive experience if you do.
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty has been around in the American warranty business since 1983. It’s carved itself a reputation in at least the Continental United States. The question you need to get answered before you sign a warranty agreement with the company is whether the company and its warranties are any good. Are warranties from 2-10 going to do what you need them to do?
Let’s take a look at the ups and downs, the pros and the cons, of 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty’s offerings.
Established for 40 Years
First, let’s re-examine what we know. 2-10 has been around in the American warranties market for almost forty years.
You could argue that any firm which has survived that long in a cut-throat competitive business like warranties is at least doing something right. But let’s not be so hasty. On the one hand, things which are good for the business may not necessarily be good for individual clients. And on the other, whatever the company’s reputation and practice was for most of its lifespan so far, 2-10 was acquired by Genstar Capital, a San Francisco venture capital firm, in 2018.
Really speaking then, any reputation it has now should be judged on the basis of how it’s conducted its business since that acquisition. That’s the difference between almost forty years of goodwill, and under five years of new ownership.
That said, in the last 10 years, 2-10 has had 2.4 million claims, and has paid out over $490 million in reimbursement as a result. Those are figures that speak to a degree of prompt, judicial action in getting clients the money they deserve.
How likely are you to be able to get a 2-10 warranty in the first place? More likely than not – the company has more than 6,000 contractors working in over 42 states. As of the time of writing though, if you’re in Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin or Wyoming…it has yet to get to you. That said, the company’s quite prepared to offer warranties to clients in states where it as yet has no contractors, at least in the continental USA.
So What’s The Deal With 2-10 Warranties?
Well, if you decide to take out a warranty with it, the company is savvy enough to reward you for your custom. If you’ve never used it before, you can get $50 off your annual Systems Plan, Major Appliances Plan, or Everything Together Plan. Hey, we all love a good bauble, and $50 is $50. More importantly though, you also get a 30-day cooling off and cancellation period, with zero cancellation fee. In the warranties market, that puts 2-10 at the impressive end of the spectrum.
But introductory gifts are all very well. How do the warranties work? How easy are they to understand? How easy are they to access when you need to? How often are they worth taking out?
Again, the figures for the last ten years are encouraging, but let’s delve a little deeper.
2-10 has two main warranty products available to homebuyers: New Home Structural Warranties, and Home Service Contracts.
Two things. So far, so good, so simple. Two things means only two directions to go in terms of finding the right warranty for you.
New Home Structural Warranties are available to homebuilders who are members of the 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty program. If you qualify on that basis, you can get the structural warranty for ten years. After ten years, you’re out of this kind of warranty. It doesn’t renew.
Costwise, you’re looking at less than half of 1% of the total purchase price of the property (including the land).
What Do You Get for That Half-Percent?
Well, it bills itself as a structural warranty, and the clue is in the name. You get coverage for: structural supports to the flooring of the property, as well as the actual floor framing; every column, every beam, every load-bearing wall; roof rams and foundation systems.
In fact, you get coverage for most things that might snap, crack, fall to pieces or leave you in either a pile of timber dust or a very big hole in the ground.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that these things are rarely covered by most warranty companies. So for half a percent of the purchase price, you get a 10-year warranty for most of the things that might otherwise haunt your homebuilding – and/or your investing - nightmares.
Home Service Contracts are only available to the actual homebuyers themselves.
If the New Home Structural Warranties cover everything that might snap, crack or fall to pieces, for $399 a year, homeowners get to cover everything that might fizz, bang, boom, splat or gush. We’re talking about systems and appliances – everything from the garage door to the washer dryer to the AC, the heating system, the dishwasher and the doorbell. If it goes beep, buzz, click or bing at any point in its working life, chances are it’s covered by this sub-$400 warranty.
In a moment of extraordinary usefulness, 2-10 has also broken the business of safe living down into two levels. All the things we’ve mentioned are covered by the standard £399 per year warranty. After which, you can choose from an a la carte menu of add-ons as you need them. Want your swimming pool covered? Check a box. Septic tank? Check. Want to get the peace of mind of a pre-season HVAC check-up? There’s a box for that too. And so on.
You can end up with a bespoke warranty – with a bespoke price, of course. One that covers all the basics for a set price, and then extends around the bubble of all the extra things in your home that you want to protect.
If all this sounds vague, we’re trying not to drown you in detail – 2-10 goes out of its way to make its warranties only as complex as necessary. Examples of specifics of cover though include:
Heating units: covers almost all heating units, including ducting, interior gas lines, thermostats etc. Does not include coal, wood, or fuel-burning equipment.
Electrical system: covers wiring, switches, outlets, panels, and phone wiring inside the home. Does not include external wires, energy management systems, or lighting fixtures that aren’t hard-wired.
Plumbing System: covers leaks and breaks of waste lines, water pipes, vent lines, assembly parts within the toilet tank, tub, shower, risers etc. Cover is limited for the likes of concrete encased pipes, faucets, spouts, showerheads and the like.
Getting in Touch
So the worst has happened. You need to make a claim against your warranty. How easy is that?
Well, it would be true to say that 2-10 has its feet planted fairly firmly in the 20th century.
2-10 is not on social media.
Breathe, everything will be OK. While plenty of companies do have the facility to contact them via Twitter, warranty claims are often far more detailed than a DM will allow.
The company does have a website of its own though, through which you can submit claims via your personal homeowner account. More disappointingly, the site has no chat facility either. That means if you’re deaf, have a hearing impairment or suffer from telephone anxiety, you’re out of luck, at least for now.
Claim Reponse Time
The other side of the communication coin is that when it comes to responding to claims, 2-10 scores highly with clients. If you’re submitting a service request, you can do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Routinely, the company will have contractors despatched to you within 2-4 business days. That’s a response rate that’s been noted by the Better Business Bureau, which gives the company an A rating.
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty is a company that’s been providing warranties to homebuilders and homeowners for almost forty years.
Looking at the offerings in its current range, it’s easy to see how it has not only survived those decades, but expanded through them. By keeping its front line offerings simply delineated. By using a two-layer homeowner offering which allows cover for basics+specific add-ons. By clearly stating what is covered and what isn’t. By maintaining a 24/7 claim facility. And by delivering rapid service when necessary, getting local, qualified contractors to fix your world when it goes wrong.
Ultimately, by taking the stress out of being a homeowner, 2-10’s warranty range has done more than earned it survival in a tough market. It has also reassured those homeowners about the safety of their homes, year after year. That has left them free to get on with the things that are important in their lives, certain that their home at least is covered should domestic disaster strike.