7 ON YOUR SIDE asks are home warranties really worth the money?

7 ON YOUR SIDE asks are home warranties really worth the money? (ABC7)

Taylor Jensen, 15, had just put a load of clothing in the family's dryer when it went up in flames.

"When I walked back in the bathroom, I saw that there were flames coming from the top," Taylor Jensen said.

So she grabbed a fire extinguisher and then called the fire department. The dryer, when it was all said and done, was destroyed.

No problem, Taylor's mother Tanesha Jensen thought -- the family had a home warranty policy with American Home Shield and figured they were covered. A technician from a third party repair shop was sent to inspect the dryer.

“The dryer had been removed by the fire department,” Tanesha Jensen said. "So it was sitting outside when the technician came. He said I'm going to send the pictures to American Home Shield and I am going to send my diagnosis that this is beyond repair ... and they should contact you."

Tanesha Jensen says American Home Shield did contact them, but not with the news she had hoped for.

"They said, 'Ma'am we can't validate the claim because the dryer is no longer in your home.'”

Tony Georgianni of the Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Reports magazine says, “There are so many fine print restrictions in these contracts. You may be in for a shock when you try to make a claim."

According to Georgianni, these home warranties aren't really warranties ... they are extended service contracts. The warranty companies say its policies cover appliances and guarantee their repair or replacement when something goes wrong, but consumer advocates like Georgianni say beware. The warranties are full of fine print loaded with exclusions and the Jensens found that out the hard way.

"We pay $500 a year to have a home warranty company. We had to come out of our pocket $500 to pay for a replacement dryer they refused to replace," Tanesha Jensen said.

So are home warranties worth it?

“You'd be much better off taking the money put it in the bank and basically set up your own insurance," Georgianni said.

7 ON YOUR SIDE reached out to American Home Shield numerous times and received no response.

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