Smart home devices are becoming more and more common, as they save users time, money, and are often energy efficient. It seems like there’s a smart version for every home appliance and tool. But does my home warranty cover my smart systems and appliances?
A smart device is an everyday object, like a home appliance, that functions with some level of interactivity or autonomy. Smart devices are generally connected to other devices through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or 5G. Together, these devices create the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart devices use their internet connection, and access to other devices on the network, to make our lives easier. Whether increasing a home’s temperature when it dips too low or recording when there’s motion at the front door, smart devices automatically execute their programmed action.
Examples of common smart home devices include Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats (like Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat), smart doorbells (like Amazon’s Ring Video Doorbell), and interactive refrigerators.
Although this question is simple, the answer is a little more complex. Coverage depends on the component, malfunction, and diagnosis of the smart home device.
If your home warranty would normally cover the component or malfunction of your smart device under the terms and conditions of the plan, it’s covered! Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats with a malfunctioning valve component are covered because the valve is covered under the home warranty plan.
However, if the malfunction only relates to the smart home features of the device, it’s not covered by the plan. If your smart refrigerator isn’t connecting to the internet due to a faulty router or internal mechanism, Old Republic Home Protection would not cover the cost to repair the smart component(s).
Moreover, the breakdown must affect the function of the machine for coverage to apply. Old Republic will not repair or replace smart components that do not affect the core function of the system or appliance. If a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat cannot connect to Wi-Fi resulting in the inability to adjust temperatures on a cell phone, but the thermostat operates as intended manually, Old Republic would not cover the malfunctioning Wi-Fi component.
Old Republic Home Protection’s plan states, “[Old Republic Home Protection] is responsible for providing installation of equipment comparable in features (that affect the operation of the system or appliance), capacity, and efficiency only.”
Old Republic will always replace a smart thermostat with another smart thermostat, if covered by the terms and conditions of the plan. However, there’s no guarantee that the replacement smart thermostat will be the same brand as the smart thermostat that malfunctioned. But it will be comparable in features, capacity, and efficiency.
*See your state’s plan brochure for complete coverage details.