Whether buying a car or a camera, it’s comforting to know your investment is protected by a warranty.

The same should apply to the purchase of a home — likely the biggest single investment one will make.

There are several new home warranty programs available locally. The warranties provide coverage for all dwelling types, from detached homes to condominiums. You should always ask if the company that built, or is building, your home is a registered member of a program.

Basic coverage typically lasts seven years, with a guarantee the builder will repair defects appearing during the first year of ownership. The programs also offer conciliation service for disputes with the homebuilder.

Beyond the first year, the warranties continue to provide protection against major structural defects. Warranties transfer automatically and remain with the house. New owners can contact the warranty provider to confirm the balance of available coverage.

It is crucial to note the warranties are not designed to deal with deficiencies that exist on the day a purchaser takes possession from a builder. However, in an attempt to avoid holdbacks, deductions, or credits on closing, builders will suggest that outstanding or deficient items will be covered by new construction warranties.

This was the information that was given to three different buyers I was working with this week. In each case, the warranty companies proved the builders wrong. They confirmed defects in workmanship or materials apparent on the date of possession, and accepted by the purchaser, would not be covered by the warranties.

– Elias Metlej is a real estate lawyer with the Halifax firm Blois Nickerson & Bryson. You can write to Elias at askelias@yahoo.com