Understanding a Home Improvement Warranty (for Your Protection)

Whether you just purchased a new home or are a very lucky homeowner who’s never experienced major home issues, you might be confused about home warranties and home insurance protection. There are many terms under this umbrella: homeowner’s insurance, home warranty, and home improvement warranty.

So, what is a home warranty versus a home improvement warranty? What do home warranties cover? Does your homeowner’s insurance do it all? Is it important to choose a home remodeler that offers a warranty for your projects?

A male construction worker wearing a white shirt and tool belt measures a window sill around a newly installed window. There's exposed insulation and power tools around the window.

Home Warranties vs. Homeowner’s Insurance

What exactly is the difference between all these different types of coverage? Do you need them all? If you have issues with your home’s exterior finish, will any of them help?

First of all, if you have a mortgage, you need to hold homeowner’s insurance. The lender for your mortgage will require you to show proof of insurance and keep it in good standing until your home loan is completely paid off (and even then, you should have coverage to protect your investment).

What does homeowner’s insurance cover? Think catastrophic issues. Homeowner’s insurance covers major losses of personal property due to disasters, theft, and other emergencies. It’s imperative to do your research and familiarize yourself with your homeowner’s insurance policy. Every policy is different.

For example, here in Wisconsin, we get a lot of precipitation; whether or not you live near a floodplain, you may still experience flooding. Issues like broken pipes, sudden temperature fluctuations, or a downpour can lead to unexpected water in your home. But most Wisconsin homeowner’s insurance doesn’t include flood coverage unless you have a special policy.

You must talk to your insurance agent about your coverage to ensure you have the protection you need. Insurance companies should explain all the limits of your coverage and what to do should an unexpected issue arise.

Similarly, a home warranty is a separate piece of coverage you can purchase from home warranty service provider companies that may include a service contract or a service fee. What does a home warranty cover? These types of protection often cover certain large appliances and major home systems inside your house. Typical items include HVAC systems (furnaces and air conditioners), swimming pools, septic systems, major appliances like washers, dryers, large kitchen appliances, and water heaters. A home warranty company may also cover your home’s electrical system.

The items covered under a home warranty can vary, but a warranty usually extends the manufacturer’s warranty and covers wear, tear, and aging for an annual fee. It’s important to note that most home warranties don’t cover structural issues with areas like the walls, flooring, or foundation. They may not cover issues like asbestos or mold. They may also become void with improper care or maintenance.

Home warranties are a good idea when you purchase or install a large appliance or system in your home. It can go beyond a manufacturer’s warranty to offer extra protection and peace of mind about the cost of repairs. Be sure to read the contract terms to know what to expect and everything the warranty covers.

What Are Home Improvement Warranties?

As you’re reading the differences between home warranty plans and homeowner’s insurance, you’re likely noticing that neither type of warranty covers home improvement purchases and exterior updates like windows, doors, roofing, or siding–projects usually tackled by a home improvement contractor, like Weather Tight.

So, what type of plan do you have for these major purchases? Most of these types of exterior updates are individually covered by a warranty when a professional installation company handles them. Items like doors or windows may not be covered if the home improvement project is installed by a handyperson, general contractors, or the homeowners themselves.

While it may seem that installing windows or siding yourself is the best way to save money, it’s easy to quickly get in way over your head. Once many of the products are purchased, they may not be covered, and you may not be able to return them, even with latent defects or faulty workmanship. This can leave you stuck with a big, messy, and expensive problem (like a pile of windows that are the wrong size or dented siding that leaks). For a big home renovation project, you’ll save more and protect yourself in the long term by choosing a professional company that offers a warranty.

For Weather Tight customers here in Southeastern Wisconsin, most of our windows are backed by a lifetime transferable warranty (even if you sell your house). Our professional installers know exactly what they’re doing, and we’ve made sure we have top-quality products custom-manufactured for your home. You’ll get a perfect fit and protection for your investment.

We offer asphalt roofing manufactured by Owens Corning. With the Owens Corning Platinum Protection Limited Warranty, you have a lifetime of coverage against product defects, as well as some of the best materials and additional coverage in the business, including workmanship coverage (a rarity in the industry).

Similarly, our vinyl siding includes a lifetime warranty on most products, depending on the finish and add-ons like stonework. With home improvement warranties, it’s about more than covering just the product. It’s also about the installation process. Cutting corners in installation can often lead to void manufacturers’ warranties (and significant problems down the line). You need to trust both the product and the installers.

At Weather Tight, we work with all our product manufacturers to ensure we get the highest quality with some of the best warranties available. Why? Well, because we know there are a lot of fly-by-night home improvement companies out there that won’t stand behind their products or their work. We’ve been in the business for 37 years, and we’ve seen enough to know why those other companies come and go.

It may seem counterintuitive for a home improvement company to offer robust product warranties. After all, wouldn’t it be better for business if our customers had to return every few years for additional replacements? In this industry, reputation is everything. Much of our business comes from recommendations and referrals. When a customer has a good experience, they’ll return for other projects, and better yet, they’ll pass our name on to their family and friends—a much smarter business strategy in the long run.

What to Know About Home Improvement Warranties: The Fine Print

No matter the policy or the warranty, it will likely include some legalese and fine print. It’s very important that when you choose a company to work with, you review these details carefully. Your sales representative (from any company) should ensure you clearly understand your coverage and know what to expect before you pay.

At Weather Tight, our home representatives will be happy to review the warranties on your project and the products included in the installation. They can walk through the expectations with you to help you avoid unwanted surprises in a few years.

Should something occur, we’re happy to follow up with you, too. We promise always to do our best to deliver top quality to our customers. Our dedication to excellence has made us Wisconsin’s Most Recommended Home Remodeler—a reputation we proudly stand behind.

If you’re looking for a home improvement company you can trust for windows, doors, siding, roofing, and bathtub replacement, reach out today! We’re happy to show you the Weather Tight difference.