·         Round the clock? Try your home warranty company's 24-hour help line before you have a problem. If your company does not have one, call them and ask them what to do in case of emergency on a covered repair.

·         Show me the money: Ask for if there is a cash-out option on items that you want to replace or upgrade yourself. You may get significantly less than what you will pay for the new item, however the price they give you reflects the wholesale price they are getting on a lesser-valued item. If you want to upgrade, though, it might be the way to go.

·         Maintain & document it: Maintain your home equipment regularly and document service dates. Keep written documentation on air conditioning and furnace servicing, cleaning the water heater, and other home maintenance records.

·         DIY: Attempt to tackle small problems, like a dripping faucet or or running toilet on your own. No matter how small the repair, a warranty company charges a set service-call fee no matter what. Additionally, the warranty company contracts its work out to local repair company, but charges their own fee. For small repairs, inquire as to a local company's service fee before contacting the warranty company.