The question, of course: Is any of this protection worth the expense? Or is it better to put the money you could spend on such coverage each month into a savings account for a rainy day?
Let's start with extended warranties. Bruce Hahn of the grassroots organization American Homeowners Foundation said he would echo the Consumers Union opinion that they are not worth it.
More specifically, Ben Popken, managing editor of the Consumerist, a website published by a not-for-profit subsidiary of Consumers Union, writes that "extended warranties are usually a bad deal. You usually get better protection from the manufacturer's warranty or the warranties provided when you buy with a credit card."
Consumer Reports, also published by Consumers Union, calls the plans cash cows for retailers.
"Stores keep 50 percent or more of what they charge for warranties," the magazine says. "That's much more than they can make selling actual products."
The North American Retail Dealers Association counters, however, that "extended warranties offer consumers the opportunity to have peace of mind as well as save time and money."
Bottom line: It's your call, but consider all the options carefully. Look at the product - say, a new refrigerator - and try to recall how many times the fridge it's replacing required an expensive repair.
Following the same logic can help you decide on the plans that utilities offer.
In New Jersey, for example, PSE&G's WorryFree contracts cover labor and many of the parts likely to fail on major brands of heating and air-conditioning equipment and major home appliances.
The "all-inclusive plan" covering kitchen appliances - refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, cooktop, and stand-alone freezer - is $28.74 a month. For $7.84 a month, PSE&G will cover a gas furnace and water heater; it's $10.31 a month for central air.
Philadelphia Gas Works also has a parts-and-labor plan that runs from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31 for appliances, heaters, and central air-conditioning. Costs typically change annually.
Hahn suggested that homeowners considering a utility company's heating- and cooling-system protection plans shop around.
"Usually, independent HVAC company maintenance agreements cost less, and you can check their record with the Better Business Bureau and neighbors who have used them," he said.
In addition, Hahn said, independent contractors "are more likely to quickly service existing accounts when your furnace stops working in January."
But sewer-backup insurance can be beneficial, he said, whether through the water company or your homeowners policy. A $50 rider on your policy, for instance, can cover up to $10,000 in damage, minus the deductible.
"It makes sense under extenuating circumstances - when you've previously had problems and are at future risk, such as basement bathrooms in homes at the bottom of the hill or homes with septic fields that are uphill from the home," Hahn said. "Both increase the likelihood of external-caused backup."
Inside-wiring protection, available for $7.99 a month from Verizon, covers "diagnosis and repair of the inside telephone wiring and jacks that provide your dial-tone service." It doesn't cover telephone repair or replacement, but there's a separate plan for that.
(Hahn's group offers no opinion on those types of coverage.)
Verizon FiOS offers a variety of equipment-protection plans at a range of prices. A bundled package is $20 a month, according to the Verizon website.
Comcast, too, has a protection plan, for $3.30 a month, which covers calls to repair services including cable television, cable Internet, and cable telephone, as well as "twisted pair [of wires] telephone service" provided by other local carriers.
The service plan applies to the inside wiring; Comcast is responsible for the outside wiring unless it has been damaged deliberately.
Keep your Internet service in good repair - Googling can be a help in decision-making. And online is where you'll find discussions of how well all these maintenance plans work.
Contact real estate writer Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472, email@example.com, or Twitter: @alheavens.