One of the most common questions we get when we’re out-and-about talking to people about AAA House Manager is; “So, it's like a home warranty?” We get it. On the surface it sounds like the two are very similar. But there are some key differences, and knowing and understanding them can help you decide whether one, or both, are right for you and your household.
A Comparison Snapshot
Let's start with a quick look at the similarities and differences between AAA House Manager and a home warranty, then we'll dive in a little deeper:
|AAA House Manager||Home Warranty|
|What's Covered||Everything in the home||Items specifically listed in policy|
|What's Not Covered||Major repairs and remodels||Everything not listed in policy|
|Cost of Work||$89 per hour + parts and materials||$75-$125 service fee + add'l fees if necessary|
|Home Visits||2 Home Health Check Ups a year||Only when you call for a repair|
|One Call for Help||X||X|
A Brief Explanation
Simply put, a home warranty covers your home’s appliances and systems when they break down from normal wear and tear.
Whereas AAA House Manager is a preventative home maintenance service provider (yes, we know it’s a mouthful) and partners with you to keep your home running in tip-top shape.
So, in the very simplest of terms, a home warranty is there to fix things when they break. AAA House Manager fixes things when they break too, but works to prevent them from breaking in the first place.
Many home warranty companies allow you to customize your plan, but only the specific items listed in the policy are covered. Items typically covered include: central air conditioning systems, central heating systems, kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, plumbing systems, electrical systems, and water heaters.
AAA House Manager subscriptions cover the entire home and everything in it. So that includes plumbing, appliances, carpentry, windows and doors, deck repair, electrical and more. Here’s a basic list of our services, but there’s flexibility in the projects we’re able to do. Just ask.
What’s Not Covered
Not everything will be covered with your home warranty plan. They generally don’t cover outdoor items, anything that was broken before the warranty was purchased, improper installation or maintenance, code violations, commercial-grade appliances, or items still covered under the manufacturer's warranty. And the term “normal wear and tear” is key. From our research, it’s fairly common for home warranties to deny coverage if they don’t think an item broke from normal wear and tear.
AAA House Manager doesn’t care how it broke—we’ll fix it. If it’s a major issue (new roof, foundation work, etc.) we’ll call in pre-screened experts we trust to do the job for you. We often get questions about whether we can do kitchen and bathroom remodels, which isn’t available yet, but will be soon.
Who to Call for Help
Home warranties and AAA House Manager both serve as a convenient one-point-of-contact when work needs to be done.
Who Does the Work
When you contact your home warranty company for a repair, it will call a provider with which it has a business arrangement. The provider will then contact you to make an appointment to come out and address the problem.
With AAA House Manager, you'll have a designated professional (or two) who will be assigned to you and your home. Their goal is to become an expert on how to keep your home running smoothly. All AAA House Managers are employed by AAA, pre-screened, and background checked.
The Cost of Coverage/Membership
Home Warranty plans vary from company to company, but we’ve seen them listed anywhere from $350 to $1,000 a year, depending on coverage and where you live. The rates of some plans increase upon renewal. Policies are for one year and can be prepaid or broken down into monthly payments, but month-to-month coverage is not available.
AAA House Manager memberships are based on the size of your home and range from $435-$660 for an annual subscription. Monthly memberships are also available for $40-$60.
The Cost of Repairs
Home warranty companies will usually pay to fix or replace the broken appliance, depending on the terms of coverage. The homeowner just pays a flat service fee for the visit, which we’ve seen range from $75 to $125. Some companies charge for follow up visits if the issue can't be fixed the first time around, while others don’t. And sometimes, certain tasks or extra work that is needed to complete the repair won’t be covered in the service fee and will cost extra. Make sure you’re clear on the terms of the policy.
Whether doing repairs, upgrades or replacements, AAA House Manager charges a flat $89 per hour for the work. Parts and materials are extra.
Home Inspection and Visits
There is no inspection prior to purchasing a home warranty. Because of this, it’s important to be sure that the items you plan to cover will qualify. Items must be properly installed, maintained and in good working condition at the time the policy is purchased, otherwise you may be buying coverage on appliances that won’t be covered if they break down. There are also no regular home visits with a home warranty so, if nothing breaks, you'll never need to interact with the company or pay anything beyond the year long policy.
There is no home inspection with AAA House Manager either, but there are Home Health visits every six months. This is your House Manager’s opportunity to check in on the current state of your home, note what issues need to be addressed, and handle a few basic maintenance tasks, like cleaning filters and changing the batteries in smoke detectors. You are given an updated Home Health Report after each visit with details and suggestions.
Is It Worth It?
A home warranty can definitely be worth the expense if things break down in that year. The cost of a year’s worth of coverage will likely be cheaper than replacing that appliance out-of-pocket. But there is a risk of being denied coverage. We highly suggest reading this article from Consumer Reports about what to consider when shopping for a home warranty, and this article from Consumer Affairs which breaks down the cost of warranties vs. the cost of appliance replacement.
And of course we’re going to say a AAA House Manager membership is worth it! Let’s face it, you’ve paid too much for your home to not have it properly taken care of. For a low monthly or yearly subscription, you'll buy peace of mind that if something goes wrong (or you want to make improvements or upgrades) you’ll have a reliable and trusted place to go for help.
You have many options to consider when it comes to protecting and maintaining your home and the items in it. With a home warranty, you're buying peace of mind that you'll likely save money if something breaks. With AAA House Manager, you're buying proper maintenance that will hopefully prevent them from breaking. Hopefully this is a first step in helping you determine whether one or both is right for you.