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Friday, August 12th
You may be familiar with Cinch Home Services under a different name: Homesure, Total Protect, Cross Country Home Services, and HMS are just a few of the sub-companies included in the Cinch family. Even Sears home warranties are now powered by Cinch. Across the brand family, this home warranty provider has over 40 years of experience in the industry.
3 home warranty packages
Cinch has three home warranty plans to consider:
What's covered in each of those packages? Exactly what you'd expect from their names - and we were pleased to see that what many of Cinch's rivals make you pay for as an add-on, you'll get included here at no extra cost. For example, the Built-in Systems plan automatically covers your sump pump and garage door opener, and if you've got a free-standing ice maker it's already covered in the Appliances package. Cinch has a la carte extras too; you'll see after you select a plan that you can include your pool or spa, septic tank components and pumping, and a few other upgrades.
More affordable than the competition
Cinch home warranties are surprisingly affordable. They start at $27.99/month for the Appliances coverage, $32.99/month for Built-in Systems, and $39.99/month for the Complete Home plan that integrates the two. Those prices assume you're choosing the $150 deductible - usually referred to as a trade service call fee by other home warranty companies - but you can opt for a higher monthly cost to get a lower deductible of just $75 or $100 per claim. It was only on the checkout page that we spotted the option to pay annually instead of monthly - but our quote was more expensive for annual billing vs. monthly (which came as a surprise).
180-day workmanship guarantee
We recommend looking at Cinch's terms and conditions, to get a feel for any maximum coverage amounts or "caps" . Depending on the system, item, or home component, and also based on the plan you select, you could have a cap on the particular repair or across all coverage in your home. All of Cinch's home warranties come with a 180-day workmanship guarantee on repairs, and you'll be covered even if your claim is based on a pre-existing condition that you were unaware of.
Decent reputation, but some delays in service
How does Cinch stack up reputation-wise? They've got a "B" from the Better Business Bureau - not bad, but not an "A+" either - along with accreditation. That less-than-perfect grade is because Cinch has received over 3300 complaints in the last three years, but that rating also reflects the fact that Cinch is responding appropriately to all of their customers. The most frequently-mentioned issue in complaints here is repair delays: customers have gone without a working dishwasher, refrigerator, or other appliance for weeks or even months, and the response from Cinch seems to be "oh, sorry for the inconvenience" .
Outside of the BBB, Cinch customer feedback runs hot and cold; you'll either love your home warranty service here or you'll hate it. Of the reviews we read, over 30% gave Cinch the lowest possible rating of one star, and yet over 50% thought the company deserved a perfect five stars. We want to mention that as we looked through the reviews in order from most to least recent, the more current reviews were almost all negative. It gives the impression that as various home warranty companies have been brought under the Cinch umbrella (like Sears, Total Protect, and so on), what used to be a positive customer experience has changed to a less-than-great one.
Good as a back-up option
We give Cinch a "cautiously optimistic" 3.5-star rating. We like the simplicity of the plans and pricing here, the company's long history in the industry, and the number of customers who have had flawless warranty claims. The negative reviews shouldn't be completely overlooked, though, and that makes Cinch a home warranty provider to turn to if, for some reason, you don't get a quote you like from one of our preferred companies.
Maybe you're a landlord trying to mitigate your operating expenses. Or you're trying to sell your home in a tough market and want to set prospective buyers' minds at ease. Then again, you could be like the average homeowner who wants some protection against those unexpected expenses like a failing air conditioner or a leaky bathtub.
In all of these situations, a good home warranty is a wise choice that can make the difference between a quick, inexpensive fix and a huge repair bill. How do home warranty plans work? Most providers give you several plans to choose from, ranging from basic coverage of appliances or systems, to premium packages that cover just about every component of your home. There are usually add-on services for an extra fee, like coverage of your electronics, sump pumps, septic systems, pools/spas, and so on.
All home warranties have limits, exclusions, and caps on the amount your policy will pay over the life of the contract: this is one of those times where it's essential to read the fine print and understand what's covered and what's not.
You should also expect a 30-day waiting period before your coverage takes effect. In other words, don't think you can hurriedly throw a warranty plan on your broken fridge and expect it to get fixed - unless you want to wait a whole month. Many home warranty companies use this time as a money-back guarantee period, in case you change your mind or discover something in your policy that you weren't aware of when you signed up. One such "surprise" is often the trade call service fee: what you'll pay per service call, similar to a copay you'd have on a medical insurance plan or a deductible with your car insurance. Be aware that you could have multiple fees for a single repair, if the fix requires different tradespeople to get it taken care of (both a plumber and an electrician).
You've got a lot of companies to consider for your home warranty, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. How can you tell which ones will deliver what they promise? Here are the most useful criteria to guide your decision:
To help protect your home (and your savings), TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular home warranty providers. We're sure this information will help you choose the right plan for your property!
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