When somebody tells you that they're giving you a ten-year warranty on something, you've got to feel pretty confident. But in the case of the "structural warranty," that many builders offer, you're getting a lot less than you think.
Builders will often close a sale by offering this ten-year structural warranty. It's a long-term warranty, and the term "structural" makes it sound like the warranty is pretty extensive. It makes the builder look good because he's willing to have your back.
The problem with this warranty is what it doesn't cover. A structural warranty only covers you in the event that your home's structure collapses. Your home would have to spontaneously fall over in order for the warranty to be in effect. Let's say the ground shifts and the foundation of your home breaks.
With a warranty like this, any warranty company is going to see this damage as an "act of God." To use our example above, the crack in the foundation wasn't a structural failure, it was a shifting of land that caused the structure to move. While it seemed like one heck of a structural failure to you, it isn't on paper. Oh, and fixing the damage is on you.
Houses don't fall over. When a builder suggests a structural warranty to you, make sure that you know what that warranty does or doesn't cover. Odds are, it isn't worth choosing a builder over a ten-year warranty that doesn't cover much.