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ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
Pulte Home's Protection Plan
Thursday, 07 October 2004

A Review of
Pulte's Home Warranty
The Pulte Protection Plan
HomeOwners for Better Building



The warranty provided by Pulte Homes is basically the Residential Warranty Corporation which we have already reviewed. It provides as much or as little protection as the RWC. In fact it refers to the RWC as their Claims Administrator, so it is assumed the Pulte Warranty language is a wrapper around the RWC. Pulte calls in a "Home Care Kit" and claims it to be easy to understand and "common sense".

As with the RWC, Pulte's Warranty is extremely limited. Homeowners believe they have a 10 year warranty when structural defects are only covered if it makes the house unsafe or uninhabitable. This would have to be quite a defect before this warranty would kick in. Luckily unlike other warranties, it does not have any unrealistic maintenance procedures for your foundation.

1-2-10 year protection plan. 

One Year Coverage: Warrants the house to be free from defects as defined in the Performance Standards. This is the "catch". The performance standards are very limited. There are many things that can be fixed during the period, but you have to read and understand their performance standards.

Two Year Coverage: Warrants the workability of electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilating, A/C and other mechanical systems, as defined in the performance standards.

10 Year Coverage: Warrants the "structural elements" of the home if the defects causes the home to be unsafe or uninhabitable. This is a very important caveat. Foundation cracks are not necessarily covered after the 1st year, and most are not covered in the 1st year either. If the defects does not cause a structural element to lose its ability to perform its load bearing function AND the home as a result is unsafe or uninhabitable, then the defect is NOT covered. 

Some of the more interesting exclusions include
Loss or damage due to active soil.
Uninhabitability or health risk due to the presence of unacceptable levels of radon gas, formaldehyde, or other pollutants or the presence of hazardous or toxic on-site materials.
Consequential damages. Such as a faulty roof leaking and destroying your furniture.

Implied Warranty is Waived:

This warranty disclaims and excludes all other expressed or implied warranties. For instance if in Texas, the implied warranty of good workmanship and habitability which have been provided to the consumer since 1968, would be waived under this warranty.

Binding Arbitration Clause:

The warranty has a binding and mandatory arbitration clause, so you give up your 7th amendment constitutional right to a civil trial in case there is a breach of this warranty. This clause also states:
  • The findings of their investigator is binding on you and Pulte
  • The findings can be disputed via arbitration IF filed within 30 days
  • The Claims Administrator (RWC) chooses the arbitrator
  • The award can be appealed within 20 days.

  • Insurers Repairs

    The total cost of the repairs can not exceed the cost of the contract price of the home. The RWC has the authority to fix the defect, or pay you the reasonable amount needed to fix the defect. Prior to the repairs, there is a deductible of $0/$250/$250 for the 1st/2nd/3rd+ years. 
    Pulte's Performance Standards:
    This is what defines a defect and whether that defect is covered under the warranty. Without going through each one, here is a list of the most interesting and "common sense" defects that are/are not covered. We encourage homeowners to read the warranty before buying the house. Many of what you would consider to be covered is only covered for 1-2 years. 
    • Cracks in drywall. Pulte will fix one time during the first year only. This is different from the RWC. The RWC requires the crack to be 1/8 of an inch before they will fix.
    • Cracks in stucco walls must be greater than 1/8 of an inch before they will repair it. 1st year only. "Hairline" cracks are normal, so it is assumed anything less then 1/8" is a hairline.
    • Siding materials. Pulte will hold the manufacturer responsible for repairing for the first 2 years only. It does not say how Pulte will do this.
    • Cracks in hardwood floors must be greater than 1/8 of an inch before they will repair it. 1st year only.  One time only.
    • Cracks in tike must be greater than 1/8 of an inch before they will repair it. 1st year only. 
    • Foundation. Serious cracks in the slab, footings and walls, are covered for 10 years IF it causes the home to be unsafe or uninhabitable. "Serious" cracks are not defined. So cracks in your foundation is not necessarily covered.
    • Framing. There are a list of defects that are covered for 10 years BUT the defect MUST CAUSE THE HOME TO BE UNSAFE OR UNIHABITABLE. Otherwise, it is not covered.
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