Important note: HMS Home Warranty now comes under the umbrella brand Cinch Home Services.
If you’re looking for a good home warranty, it makes sense that one of the companies you want to check out is HMS Home Warranty. They have over 30 years of experience (40 years for Cinch) and are an NHSCA member, which stands for National Home Service Contract Association. The NHSCA is a trade association of the nation's premier home warranty service contract providers, and they represent quality minded companies in the home warranty industry.
In this article, we’re going to look into the different types of home warranty contracts they have to offer, including coverage and pricing. Then we’ll take a look at a number of different factors in order to assess and review them, including the claim procedure, and what customers and review websites are saying about them. By the end of the article you will be very well informed about HMS’s home warranties, and be able to decide whether they might be the right choice for you.
Different Home Warranties Available
The first thing to note is that the various home warranties made available by HMS are largely determined by zip code. Whilst you can get a quote for home warranty on the company website, there is no definitive list of coverage plans and pricing UNLESS you download a brochure for your particular zip code.
It was deemed beyond the scope of this article to retrieve a specific home warranty brochure for every zip code covered by the company, so in the interest of brevity we simply picked one zip code, and all of the details we will provide here on coverage and pricing are all relating to the California area. Please accept our apologies if this information isn’t quite what you were looking for.
In their California brochure, HMS Home Warranty shows a strong bias toward providing home warranties directly aimed at home sellers and home buyers, as opposed to homeowners who simply want to save on their repair and replacement bills for their appliances and systems. That said there is a plan in place they can apply for.
What is Covered and What do you Have to Pay Extra For?
There is a great amount of similarity between the various home warranty plans on offer, and in fairness the plans are very comprehensive. Every single home warranty that HMS has to offer includes all of the following:
Central heating (optional for sellers)
Hot water heater
Attic exhaust / whole house fan
Central vacuum system
Clothes washer & dryer
Built in dishwasher
Built in microwave oven
Oven / range / cooktop
Appliance buyline program
The items that you would have to pay extra for are as follows:
Premier upgrade package
The Premier Upgrade Package provides home buyers with up to $1,000 of coverage for non-covered charges associated with a covered repair or replacement.
There are also 12 other items that you may or may not have in your home that you can get cover for if you pay extra.
For an existing homeowner, where there is no real estate transaction, the cost is $390 per year, which is quite a good rate for the area.
With regards to the home buyer plans, the cost of the plan for a single family home without air conditioning matches the plan for general howners at $390 per year.
This yearly cost is dropped by $50 if the home is a condo or townhome.
The addition of air conditioning to these plans adds (a staggering) $99 to the yearly bill.
The plan that offers the most coverage for a home buyer includes all of the items on the basic plans with the addition of both air conditioning and the Premier Upgrade Package we talked about earlier. The cost for this is $578 per year for a single family home, and this cost is dropped by $50 if the home is a condo or townhome.
The plans available for sellers meanwhile are very favorable, with a daily rate of $0.79 for a single family home, and a daily rate of $0.70 for a condo or townhome.
Important note: the pricing provided above is for the California area only. You can obtain pricing details for HMS home warranties for other areas via the company website.
As we have made reference to earlier, you can download a brochure about the various home warranty plans available for your particular zip code from the company website. And whilst this may not present a problem for homeowners with no intention of a real estate transaction, it does not provide an immediate comparison for real estate professionals. However there is nothing to stop said professionals from obtaining these brochures from any area they wish.
Once you have downloaded a brochure, you get a breakdown of everything that’s covered in each plan, along with set prices. In this respect, this is a far better level of cost transparency than you get with many other competing home warranty providers, who usually put several questions to you before giving you a quote. HMS is much more up front.
And better yet, there’s a sample warranty included in the brochure, so you can examine all of the fine print yourself, before you decide whether or not to sign up. These details include matters such as the cancellation procedure and dispute resolution.
However, and this is a biggy, whilst HMS Home Warranty make known on their website that homeowners will be asked to pay a low deductible for any repairs or replacements, they do not make known just how this is likely to cost. And neither do they make this known on the sample warranty included in the brochure.
Instead, they simply state in the sample warranty that “The amount of the approved cost of repair or replacement will be established by us at our sole discretion”. What can be inferred from this is that they can basically charge what they like. However, since they are an NHSCA member, as we made reference to earlier, it stands to reason that such charges will be fair and reasonable.
Customer Service and Claims Procedure
When a covered appliance or system fails, you can request service online, or if you prefer to speak to somebody you can call and speak to a representative directly.
When it comes to availability when you need them, this is where HMS Home Warranty shines, their claims process is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This means that you will never have to wait through the whole of a weekend or bank holiday to place a claim.
The procedure goes as follows:
Submit your claim
Schedule an appointment
Submit for approval
Repair or replace
Of course, the downside of this arrangement is that you will have to pay the deductible before the repair or replacement takes place. However, on the plus side there does not appear to be a charge for the claim diagnosis where the contractor comes out to your home to assess the damage and plan how to go forward.
Incidentally, HMS has a nationwide network of over 40,000 service partners, so they are quite likely to be able to get someone out to you quite quickly to look at your broken down appliance or system.
Of course, as with any other industry, the opinions of customers tend to be very mixed, and there will always be customers who are unhappy with their overall service, with very negative reviews, who are keen to ensure that other people “don’t make the same mistake”. But this is particularly true in the home warranty industry, and there is just no pleasing everybody.
According to the Better Business Bureau, HMS Home Warranty had 729 complaints closed in the last 12 months. Of course this sounds like a lot, but you’ve got to bear in mind that this is quite normal for a business of this national magnitude. And the rating provided by BBB is A-, which makes it one of the better ones in the industry.
Pros and Cons
Award winning company
Widely available in the U.S.
Multiple contractors available
Low cancellation fee
Clients report fair compensation
Unexpected fees reported
Delays in repairs reported
Higher chance of payment delays
We can now then reach a number of conclusions about HMS Home Warranty. First off, whichever you plan you choose, you will get very comprehensive coverage. Whether you happen to have a single family home or a condo or townhome, you can get a very good yearly rate for your home warranty, unless you want air conditioning covered which really pushes up the price.
As for how much you will have to pay if you ever needed a repair or replacement, this becomes very hard to ascertain. As they say in their sample warranty, “The amount of the approved cost of repair or replacement will be established by us at our sole discretion”. However you can expect the charge to be fair and reasonable, since HMS is an NHSCA member.
HMS is a good Home Warranty company, especially for home sellers, but unfortunately we can’t argue that it’s the best, and we recommend that you also browse through our other articles on home warranty companies before making your final decision.