The listings featured on this site are from companies from which this site receives compensation. This influences where, how and in what order such listings appear on this site. Advertising Disclosure

What Counts as Normal Wear and Tear?

Knowing the answer could save you $1,000s.

C. Tarantino

June 5, 2023

By now, you might know that a home warranty can save you $1,000s in repair or replacement costs for your home’s broken-down appliances and systems. You might even know that certain exclusions can limit the breadth of your coverage. But when a home warranty company says that your coverage only counts under conditions of “normal wear and tear,” what exactly do they mean?

Before defining wear and tear, we’ll start with the coverage basics.

Home Warranty Coverage, Explained

Most home warranty companies offer a similar agreement: in exchange for monthly premium payments from you (the customer), the home warranty company agrees to pay repair or replacement costs when your home's appliances and systems break down from normal wear and tear.

Your coverage will only stretch so far: to keep themselves financially afloat, home warranty companies will exclude reimbursement payouts under set conditions.

Common Coverage Exclusions

The most common types of coverage exclusions are:

  • Non-covered units: The entire unit is not listed as covered under the contract. For example, air fryers are rarely covered by home warranties and would not usually be eligible for coverage.
  • Non-covered parts: If the result of the breakdown is from an excluded part or component, coverage may be excluded. For example, your garage door rail may be covered, but not the motor that provides the power.
  • Exclusionary breakdown conditions: Any breakdown that is not considered to be the result of “normal wear and tear” may be excluded from coverage.

When it comes to the first two exclusions, you will have to refer to your contract with your home warranty company to see which units and components are included.

The third exclusion, however, is a bit more difficult. What counts as normal wear and tear?

What is “Normal Wear and Tear?”

Although every contract will read differently, eligible “wear and tear” breakdowns are typically the result of time. As time passes, systems and appliances rust, corrode, fill with sediment, and otherwise fall apart. If your system or appliance is well taken care of and breaks down “out of the blue,” there is a good chance the breakdown is labeled “wear and tear” and will meet coverage requirements.

“Normal wear and tear” does not include breakdowns that result from:

  • Accidents: Accidents happen, but they rarely meet home warranty contract requirements. If you drop a microwave down the stairs during a move, the broken microwave won’t be reimbursed.
  • Intentional destruction: If someone purposefully destroys or vandalizes one of your units, your unit will not be reimbursed.
  • Maintenance neglect or misuse: If you fail to properly take care of a unit. the unit might not be reimbursed when it breaks down.

For the best possible home warranty experience, ask your home warranty company to walk you through your contract’s inclusions and exclusions before signing.

Sign Up for a Home Warranty

Interested in signing up for a home warranty? You’re in the right place. With our list of the top home warranty companies, you can easily click through America’s favorite home warranty providers, see coverage information, and select the perfect company for you.

Find a Home Warranty Company