By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Home buyers often like the sense of protection they feel when getting a home warranty on the property they are buying. Until they discover their home warranty is much less effective than expected.

Seasoned and savvy buyers know that a home warranty policy offers limited coverage. They aren’t all-inclusive. In my opinion, some are kind of useless.

Why hate on home warranty companies? I order a lot of home warranty policies as part of my job. And I’ve had home warranty policies on my own properties. Seems like we all have stories of rejected claims and paltry payouts.

Most homeowners who get a home warranty policy do so at the time they purchase a home. Sometimes they negotiate for the seller to pay for a one-year policy as part of their purchase contract. That may be the best reason to get one.

“Any person can buy a home warranty in most cases,” says Julie Jones, Vice President of Real Estate Sales for Nations Home Warranty. “There are different plans and different pricing. You might get your best deal if you’re getting it at the time you are buying a home. “

Just what are home warranties and what do they cover?

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NBC 5 did a report on the City of Dallas' logo appearing on the SLWA solicitation.

NBC 5 did a report on the City of Dallas’ logo appearing on the SLWA solicitation.

When we opened an envelope emblazoned with the City of Dallas logo, our first thought was that it was our water bill or some other city awareness campaign about fees and services. But my husband was a little perplexed when he opened it only to find a pitch for a warranty on our sewer line. His first thought: “Is this a scam?”

When he handed it to me, that was my first instinct, too. We receive a lot of direct mail solicitations at our East Dallas home. Insurers who want to sell us coverage, Realtors who want to sell our house, and all manner of businesses who want to serve us. There’s one big difference between all the other direct mail campaigns we receive and this one: They didn’t pay for the honor of using the City of Dallas’ official emblem.

It only set Service Line Warranties of America back $450,000 to use the official City of Dallas logo on their solicitation, but it’s costing the city its reputation and the last remaining ounces of faith and goodwill from its citizens, the people who are tired of driving over potholes, paying for expensive public works projects that may never materialize, and all of the ugly politics at 1500 Marilla.

But I did want to find out if the service that SLWA offers with the endorsement of the city itself is actually worth the $73 annual fee it demands. I asked Charles Polansky, an expert with HUB International, whether this offer is something Dallas homeowners should consider, or if it should hit the circular file like most direct mail solicitations we receive.

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