Best Home Warranty Companies
Use our guide to find the best home warranty for you. Our research team vetted 24 companies rated by more than 36,000 customers. We compare coverage options, service fees, repair guarantees, availability and verified reviews.
- Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
- 3,699,411 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
- We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
- We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
- Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.
Our 7 top home warranty picks
Below, compare our picks for the top home warranty companies by plans, pricing and other features. Premiums are based on quotes for a house of less than 5,000 square feet in Austin, Texas. For more information about how we made our top picks, read the methodology below.
- Our pick for value: American Home Shield
- Our pick for quick service: Choice Home Warranty
- Our pick for roof coverage: Select Home Warranty
- Our pick for low service fee: American Residential Warranty
- Our pick for easy claims process: Cinch Home Services
- Our pick for service guarantees: America's 1st Choice Home Club
- Our pick for low starting costs: HomeServe
- Monthly cost: $29.99 a month to $69.99 a month
- Service fee: $75, $100 or $125
- Labor guarantee: 30 days
- Availability: 49 states (not Alaska)
American Home Shield is our top home warranty provider pick because it has excellent reviews and some of the most comprehensive coverage on the market. AHS does not require a home inspection, and you can get a plan at any time, regardless of the age of your home’s systems and appliances. For the price, it's one of the better options.
What reviewers like: Several positive reviews highlight the company’s prompt services. “AHS is easy to deal with. We just call them and they do the work in the background. We're so busy, so it really helps our lifestyle,” a reviewer in South Carolina said.
“We've used them at least three times for air conditioners, refrigerators, and electrical. And everyone and the people that have come out have been fantastic,” a reviewer in California said.
Other reviewers say AHS is “very simple” to use and offers a “one-stop plan” for homeowners.
Plans and pricing: Plans from AHS cost $29.99 a month to $69.99 a month. Depending on your plan, service fees are $75, $100 or $125.
- ShieldSilver: This plan covers 14 major systems, including heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing.
- ShieldGold: This plan covers 23 appliances and systems, including kitchen and laundry equipment, heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing.
- ShieldPlatinum: The most comprehensive plan includes everything covered under ShieldGold, plus roof leaks and more.
Optional add-ons: AHS offers an electronics extended warranty and add-on coverage for pool and spa, well pump, septic pump, guest unit and roof leak repairs.
- Monthly cost: $46.83 per month to $54.75 per month
- Service fee: $85
- Labor guarantee: 30 days (90 days for parts)
- Availability: 48 states (not CA or WA)
Choice Home Warranty is known for its network of professional technicians and customer support. The company works with more than 25,000 contractors across the country and says it has covered more than a million homes and processed more than 4 million service requests. Choice starts a service response within four hours of a request.
What reviewers like: Happy customers highlight professional and prompt repair technicians. According to a reviewer in Florida, scheduling through Choice’s website is the “best and fastest way to get service.”
“Two technicians arrived when scheduled — quickly determined what need to be done, and explained repairs to me,” a reviewer in Oregon said. Another Florida reviewer said the company “came out promptly and went above and beyond.”
Plans and pricing: Choice Home Warranty plans cost from $46.83 per month to $54.75 per month. All plans come with a flat $85 service fee. Coverage lasts for one year — expect to pay a $50 cancellation fee if you cancel early. However, you can transfer the contract for free.
- Basic Plan: This plan covers 14 systems and appliances, including heating, electrical and plumbing.
- Total Plan: The Total Plan includes everything in the Basic Plan and adds coverage for your washer and dryer, refrigerator and air conditioning system.
Optional add-ons: Choose from pool and spa, well pump, sump pump, central vacuum, limited roof leak, septic system, second refrigerator, stand-alone freezer and septic tank pumping coverage.
- Monthly cost: $57 per month to $63 per month
- Service fee: Starts at $75
- Labor guarantee: Contact for info
- Availability: 44 states
Of the home warranty companies on ConsumerAffairs.com that offer roof leak coverage, Select Home Warranty has the highest percentage of 5-star reviews that mention roofs.
Select Home Warranty’s roof leak coverage pays out if there is a leak in any occupied area of your home. It has some exclusions, including metal roofs, chimney components, shingles, tiles and patios.
The roof coverage add-on is $99 annually, but the company often runs specials for free roof coverage when you buy any plan. You can also get a discount for signing up for multiple years of protection.
What reviewers like: Recent positive reviews highlight Select Home Warranty’s value and coverage. “Great price offering with inclusion of roof and sprinkler systems, which are all increases with other home warranty companies,” a reviewer in Texas said.
Paying for a plan annually “is the best way to go” because it comes with “an additional 12 months plus the roof leak coverage for free,” according to a reviewer in Maryland.
A reviewer in California switched from First American Home Warranty to save money: “Select Home Warranty was quite competitive with cost. … They also offer more covered services like roof leaks and lawn sprinklers. The sales agent was informative but not pressuring and very knowledgeable.”
Plans and pricing: Select Home Warranty offers three plans, with prices ranging from $57 per month to $63 per month. You can reduce your premiums by paying annually instead of monthly. Select Home Warranty allows an unlimited number of repairs on covered items on each plan.
- Platinum Care: Select Home Warranty’s most popular warranty plan covers 18 major items, including ductwork, plumbing, kitchen appliances and more.
- Bronze Care: This plan only covers appliances, such as the garbage disposal, dishwasher, refrigerator, stove and oven and clothes washer and dryer.
- Gold Care: This systems coverage includes air conditioning and cooling, the water heater, ductwork, heating, plumbing and electrical.
Optional add-ons: Add coverage for a pool pump, central vacuum, sump pump, well pump, roof leak, stand-alone freezer, lawn sprinkler system or septic system.
- Monthly cost: $34.99 per month to $124.99 per month
- Service fee: $55
- Labor guarantee: 30 days (60 days for parts)
- Availability: 50 states
At $55, American Residential Warranty’s service call fee is one of the lowest. We like that the company is transparent about rates and fees, but some plan options vary slightly by state.
One potential downside is that some appliances' annual limits are relatively low (capped between $300 and $500 for certain items). It’s best to contact the company for the most accurate pricing and coverage information in your area.
What reviewers like: What stood out to us was the high frequency of happy customers who say customer service representatives go above and beyond. Recent reviewers describe reps as “very professional,” “helpful” and “respectful.”
A reviewer in Tennessee said their customer service rep “was knowledgeable and thorough. She even followed up …” American Residential Warranty is also “consistent with their promises of services,” and prices are competitive, according to the reviewer.
Plans and pricing: American Residential Warranty plans cost from $34.99 per month to $124.99 per month. You can select from Heating & Cooling, Kitchen Plus, Platinum, Platinum Premier and bundle packages with extra coverages.
- Heating & Cooling: For $39.99 per month, coverage includes HVAC, plus the electrical system and humidifier.
- Kitchen Plus: For $34.99 per month, coverage includes your range, oven and cooktop, exhaust fan, refrigerator, dishwasher, built-in microwave, water heater, electrical system and garbage disposal.
- Platinum: For $49.99 per month, this plan combines Kitchen Plus and Heating & Cooling plan coverages.
- Platinum Premier: For $59.99 per month, this includes everything in the Platinum plan, plus plumbing system and stoppages, refrigerator ice maker, garage door opener, ceiling fans and ductwork.
- 3-in-1 Bundle: For $109.99 per month, you get everything in Platinum Premier, plus washer and dryer coverage, the Deluxe Advantage package with extra coverages and Ultimate Electronics Protection.
- 4-in-1 Bundle: For $124.99 per month, you get everything in the 3-in-1 Bundle, plus coverage for sewer and water lines.
Optional add-ons: You can add coverage for your washer and dryer, well pump, water or sewer lines, ice maker, pool and spa, and electronics. The A/C Advantage add-on covers refrigerants and leaking coils, and the Plumbing Advantage plan adds on to existing plumbing coverage. Other add-ons are available.
- Monthly cost: $27.99 per month to $61.99 per month
- Service fee: $100, $125 or $150
- Labor guarantee: 180 days
- Availability: 48 states
With Cinch Home Services, you can submit a claim through the company's online portal or over the phone 24/7. After you request service, the company sends a professional technician to your house to complete repairs. You can expect Cinch Home Services to contact an independent contractor within two hours after you request service.
We like that Cinch repairs have a 180-day workmanship guarantee, which is longer than the industry average. Customers can get discounts when they buy new brand-name appliances.
What reviewers like: Submitting claims “is the easiest thing ever,” according to a reviewer in Virginia. “It was so easy because I don't have to call anybody. I just go online. I submitted a claim on a Sunday night and at 7 a.m. the following day, I got a call.”
“Cinch works with you,” according to a reviewer in Louisiana. “They understand everything that you are going through and they're very willing to help.”
Plans and pricing: Cinch Home Services has three straightforward options: an appliances plan (starting at $27.99 per month), a systems plan (starting at $32.99 per month) and the Complete Home plan (starting at $39.99 per month). Service call fees are $100, $125 or $150. Each plan includes a water sensor to detect leaks and a credit for an air conditioner or water filter.
- Appliances: This plan covers washers and dryers, cooktops, dishwashers, ovens, ranges and range exhaust hoods, refrigerators, free-standing ice makers, built-in microwaves and trash compactors.
- Built-in Systems: This plan covers air conditioning (including ductwork), attic and ceiling fans, central vacuums, doorbells, garage door openers, garbage disposals, instant hot/cold water dispenser, toilets, sump pump, water heater, electrical system, heating system, plumbing system, smoke detectors and a whirlpool or jetted tub.
- Complete Home: With the Complete Home plan, you get everything in the appliances and systems packages, plus a one-time annual reimbursement of up to $500 if you have to pay a deductible on a homeowners insurance claim.
Optional add-ons: You can add pool, spa, septic system and well pump coverage. The optional Premier Upgrade Package provides up to $1,000 toward typically excluded items for a repair or replacement.
- Monthly cost: $32.08 per month to $55 per month
- Service fee: $75, $100 or $125
- Labor guarantee: Up to three years
- Availability: 49 states (not Hawaii)
America’s 1st Choice Home Club has a service guarantee even longer than Cinch's. In fact, it has the longest service guarantee period of any company we’ve seen.
Clients can request service as often as they need without limits on the number of claims. Requesting frequent service also doesn’t affect your rate. New customers get a five-year guaranteed rate on coverage.
What reviewers like: Recent positive reviews tend to highlight customer service and value. A reviewer in Connecticut likes the “little extra peace of mind on the new home that we are buying. I also appreciated the professionalism and being able to get a lower rate than online!”
A reviewer in Florida appreciated that a rep didn’t try “to sell us more than we needed or wanted and only what was most important to us.”
Plans and pricing: AFC has four plans, including one just for major systems. The plans cost from $32.08 per month to $55 per month. Service fees are $75, $100 or $125. You can choose to make monthly or yearly payments. A $75 fee may apply if you cancel before your term ends.
- Systems Plan: This plan includes coverage for your air conditioning and cooler, water heater, ductwork, heating and electrical systems and plumbing.
- Silver Plan: The Silver Plan covers your kitchen refrigerator, oven and range, dishwasher, garbage disposal, washer and dryer and garage door opener.
- Gold Plan: This plan combines coverage from the Systems and Silver plans.
- Platinum Plan: The Platinum Plan covers everything in the Gold Plan, plus plumbing stoppages, a built-in microwave and an ice maker.
Optional add-ons: You can add coverage for a sump pump, hot water dispenser, stand-alone freezer, septic system, tankless water heater and pool and spa.
- Monthly cost: $7.99 per month to $58.33 per month
- Service fee: $100
- Labor guarantee: One year
- Availability: 50 states
HomeServe makes it easy to get coverage for a few specific items for a relatively low cost. You can find plans starting at $7.99 per month and combo plans with an average price of $58.33 per month. HomeServe offers a convenient app for tracking and scheduling repairs.
With a plan, homeowners don’t have to worry about finding a contractor, getting multiple bids or paying the final bill. Some plans come with a 90-day repair guarantee. Other repairs are guaranteed for a full year.
What reviewers like: Highlights from recent positive reviews include affordable premiums and quick response times.
“Having HomeServe has saved us more than we've spent on the bimonthly premiums. They have never failed to respond immediately when we call and have only sent really good contractors to unclog a sink, toilet or laundry line,” a reviewer in Kentucky said.
According to a reviewer in South Carolina, “It's the best program to protect yourself and your household against any home disasters.”
Plans and pricing: Depending on the coverage you choose, expect to pay anywhere from $7.99 per month to $58.33 per month. Coverage can include the major components of plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems.
- Plumbing plans: Plumbing plans can cover sewer and septic lines, exterior water service lines, interior plumbing and drainage systems.
- Electrical plans: Electrical plans offer coverage for exterior electrical lines, interior electrical lines and surges.
- Heating and cooling plans: Heating and cooling plans can cover your heating system, water heater and interior and exterior gas lines.
Combo plans: HomeServe has multiple combo plans, including the TotalHome Warranty Combo, which covers systems and appliances, and systems-only and appliances-only plans.
Home warranty reviews
Read 83,043 Reviews
Choose from three plans to cover systems, appliances or both. Combo plans average around $60 a month but vary by size of home and location. Service call fees range from $75 to $125. 30-day workmanship guarantee.
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Read 43,660 Reviews
Offers two plans with basic or comprehensive coverage. Get a plan for $46.83 per month to $54.75 per month, with an $85 service call fee. Optional coverage for limited roof leaks, pools and spas available. Make a claim online 24/7.
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Read 388 Reviews
Covers systems, appliances or both. Plans range from $64.99 per month to $74.99 per month, with service fees of $125. Add-on gutter cleaning, floor cleaning and pest control coverage available. 60-day workmanship warranty.
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Read 9,904 Reviews
Coverage for appliances only, systems only or a combination of both. Plans start at $27.99 per month and vary by location. Service fees range from $100 to $150. Includes a 180-day guarantee on repairs or services.
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Read 2,076 Reviews
Choose from four plans ranging from systems-only to Platinum combination coverage. Combo plans average around $55 per month, with discounts for pay-in-full or multiyear contracts. Deductibles range from $75 to $125.
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Read 2,049 Reviews
Choose from three plans ranging from kitchen appliances to comprehensive protection bundles. Plans cost from $34.99 per month to $124.99 per month, with deductibles of $55. Electronics protection add-on available.
|Get a Quote Call Now Toll Free (561) 363-0798|
Read 28 Reviews
Home warranties with appliance-only, systems-only and combo plans. Extensive list of optional coverages. Blanket liability limit of $1,600 for most items. No home inspection or maintenance records required.
|Get a Quote Call Now Toll Free (954) 231-6771|
Read 27 Reviews
Offers two home warranty plans in select states. Additional coverage options for pools, ice makers and similar items available. Prices start at $43 per month or $369 per year.
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Read 13,009 Reviews
Appliance, system and combination plans available. Pay around $63 per month for Platinum Care (combo plan). Roof coverage included. Special promotions include free extra months on your contract and annual pay discounts.
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Read 3,814 Reviews
Offers two combination plans that cover more than 20 systems and appliances. Pricing starts at $43 per month with deductibles of $75 and $100. Drywall, doorbell and burglar and fire alarms are included in coverage.
Chat with a ConsumerAffairs decision guideLive agent
What is a home warranty?
A home warranty is a service contract that protects you financially in case a major household system or appliance breaks down from normal use and is no longer under manufacturer warranty. A home warranty covers repair and replacement expenses after you pay a service call fee (established in the contract) for a contractor to visit your home and diagnose the problem. Home warranty companies have networks of licensed, reputable technicians, so you don’t have to find one on your own; instead, the company assigns one to your service request. In some cases, you may be able to choose your own contractor.
Your home warranty contract may cover systems, appliances or both. This includes heating, air conditioning, plumbing, ductwork, the electrical system, kitchen refrigerators, washers, dryers, built-in microwaves, dishwashers, ovens, septic tanks, garbage disposals and water heaters. Most home warranty contracts last for 12 months, with a 30-day waiting period before coverage starts.
Home warranty costs vary by provider and plan type, but you can expect to pay around $60 per month for comprehensive coverage. There is also a service call fee established in your contract, which you pay each time you make a claim; this fee ranges from $55 to $150, depending on the company. You can purchase a home warranty plan at any point, whether you are buying, selling or have lived in your house for years.
Compare home warranty companies
Below, we compare our picks for the top home warranty providers on available coverage and annual costs. If you're having trouble deciding between home warranty companies, check out our comparison resources to help make your choice easier.
|Covered systems||Covered appliances||Roof leak add-on||Annual cost*|
|14||9||Yes||$359.88 to $839.88|
|8||8||Yes||$532 to $627|
|9||9||Yes||$588 to $660|
|8||8||No||$394.88 to $1,424.99|
|10||12||No||$335.88 to $743.88|
|7||8||No||$330 to $550|
|8||8||No||$95.88 to $699.96|
|14||9||Yes||$359.88 to $839.88|
|8||8||Yes||$532 to $627|
|9||9||Yes||$588 to $660|
|8||8||No||$394.88 to $1,424.99|
|10||12||No||$335.88 to $743.88|
|7||8||No||$330 to $550|
|8||8||No||$95.88 to $699.96|
*All prices are based on a quote for a house of less than 5,000 square feet in Austin, Texas. Information is accurate as of time of publishing.
Compare home warranty companies side by side
Many companies offer home warranty plans to protect household items, so homeowners have lots of choices. We did the work to compare these providers side by side, researching coverage, prices, service call fees, contract terms and feedback from customers. If you're having trouble deciding between home warranty companies, check out our resources to help make your decision easier.
- American Home Shield vs. Select Home Warranty
- Liberty Home Guard vs. America's 1st Choice Home Club
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. Home Warranty of America
- Choice Home Warranty vs. Super Home Inc.
- View all comparisons
- American Home Shield vs. Liberty Home Guard
- American Home Shield vs. American Residential Warranty
- American Home Shield vs. Super Home Inc.
- American Home Shield vs. Cinch Home Services
- American Home Shield vs. OneGuard
- American Home Shield vs. America's 1st Choice Home Club
- American Home Shield vs. HomeServe
- American Home Shield vs. Landmark Home Warranty
- American Home Shield vs. Old Republic
- Choice Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield
- First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield
- Select Home Warranty vs. Choice Home Warranty
- TotalProtect vs. American Home Shield
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. American Residential Warranty
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. Landmark Home Warranty
- American Home Shield vs. Fidelity National Home Warranty
- Liberty Home Guard vs. First American Home Warranty
- Liberty Home Guard vs. Select Home Warranty
- American Home Shield vs. AHW Home Warranty
- American Home Shield vs. Home Warranty of America
- Liberty Home Guard vs. HomeServe
- Choice Home Warranty vs. Landmark Home Warranty
- Liberty Home Guard vs. AHW Home Warranty
- Choice Home Warranty vs. Liberty Home Guard
- Liberty Home Guard vs. Super Home Inc.
- Choice Home Warranty vs. American Residential Warranty
- Choice Home Warranty vs. America's 1st Choice Home Club
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. Liberty Home Guard
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. AHW Home Warranty
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. Super Home Inc.
- Liberty Home Guard vs. American Residential Warranty
- Choice Home Warranty vs. ServicePlus Home Warranty
- Liberty Home Guard vs. Fidelity National Home Warranty
- Liberty Home Guard vs. Home Warranty of America
- Choice Home Warranty vs. Fidelity National Home Warranty
- Choice Home Warranty vs. Home Warranty of America
- Liberty Home Guard vs. Cinch Home Services
- Choice Home Warranty vs. Cinch Home Warranty
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. First American Home Warranty
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. America's 1st Choice Home Club
- Choice Home Warranty vs. AHW Home Warranty
- ServicePlus Home Warranty vs. Cinch Home Services
- Choice Home Warranty vs. OneGuard
- Choice Home Warranty vs. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty
- Choice Home Warranty vs. First American Home Warranty
- Choice Home Warranty vs. HomeServe
Find companies near you
If you're looking for the best home warranty coverage in your state, check out our local guides. We searched for the best home warranty companies in each state to help you find the right match for your needs.
How to choose a home warranty plan
To find the best home warranty company for you, look for a provider you trust that has a plan that covers the home systems and appliances you consider essential. The price — whether you pay monthly or annually — also needs to be in your budget.
If you're buying a home warranty, here are three tips for comparing coverage and finding the right plan:
1. Take inventory to determine coverage needs.
Many home warranty providers offer three primary types of plans: appliances, home systems and combination plans. An appliance plan covers items like your dishwasher and refrigerator. A home system plan covers a home’s plumbing, electrical and other systems. A combination plan covers your home appliances and systems.
Some companies have add-on options for things that don’t typically fall under the appliance and system categories, such as swimming pools and roof leaks. Most customers opt for a combination plan, but some prefer coverage for appliances or systems only.
There are different types of home warranties for buyers and sellers. For example, a homebuilders warranty is for newly constructed homes and covers more than a typical plan. If most of your home appliances are new and still covered under a manufacturer warranty, you may want to opt for a systems-only plan.
2. Compare quotes to find a plan in your budget.
Providers generally charge from $36 to $68 a month for a home warranty. If cost is a significant factor for you, shop around for the best deal and consider choosing less coverage or a higher service call fee to reduce the price. You can save money if you get a warranty that only has coverage for the items that need it.
Be sure to get quotes from multiple companies — some home warranty companies may offer price matching. As you research, we recommend comparing:
- Monthly and yearly costs
- Service call fee options
- Plan options
- Number of covered systems and appliances
- Available add-on coverages
- Waiting periods
- Service recall period (the length of time a warranty company guarantees a repair)
- Coverage limits
Warranty plans come with a cost, but paying a monthly premium could be much less expensive than paying hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket for a system or appliance repair or replacement.
3. Read reviews and sample contracts.
Not all home warranty companies are created equal. After analyzing 1-star reviews about multiple providers, we noticed some commonalities between many of the poorly rated companies, including patterns of denying claims, misleading or aggressive marketing tactics, hidden fees and service delays.
Systems and appliances of any age qualify for coverage.
Always read a home warranty contract thoroughly before you sign. Look for details about coverage, exclusions and limits.
- Understand what’s covered: Your contract should list what items and parts it covers and when coverage applies. It should also explain how to request service and how long it takes before the company sets up service with a technician.
- Look for exclusions: A “covered” appliance or system may only be covered for certain parts. A contract will list exclusions under each covered item or under a separate section. Make sure you understand what components of each system or appliance qualify for repair and replacement after a breakdown. Also examine the circumstances when you can be denied coverage (e.g., an appliance is still under manufacturer warranty; a system was improperly installed).
- Check coverage limits: Providers have annual payout limits or per-item caps. Check the contract for these maximum amounts. You are expected to pay out of pocket for expenses that exceed the dollar limit listed in the contract. There may also be limits regarding matching brands or colors if an item needs to be replaced.
For more advice, read about questions to ask a provider before purchasing a plan.
Home warranty FAQ
- How does a home warranty work?
- A home warranty policy covers the cost to repair or replace specific systems and appliances that break down from wear and tear. Providers charge customers a monthly or annual premium in exchange for coverage, which usually lasts one year.
Once you buy a plan, there’s usually a waiting period — often 30 days — before it goes into effect. The provider might waive this period if you are changing from a different home warranty provider and haven’t had a lapse in coverage or you are purchasing a policy as part of a real estate transaction.
When you make a claim, you pay a service call fee (from $55 to $150) for the home warranty company to send a licensed contractor to your home and diagnose the problem. As long as the issue is covered, the company pays for the proper repair or replacement.
Proper system and appliance maintenance are typically required to keep coverage. A claim will likely be denied if the problem results from a preexisting issue or lack of regular maintenance.
- How much do home warranties cost?
- On average, home warranty costs are between $36 and $68 a month, or $264 to $1,425 annually. Combo plans average about $60 per month. Depending on the coverage you choose, you may pay a little more or a little less. You might get a discount if you pay in full upfront or opt for a multiyear plan. In addition to your premium, you pay a service call fee any time you make a claim and the company sends a service technician to your home to diagnose an issue. Service call fees range from $55 to $150 per visit.
- What’s the difference between a home warranty and homeowners insurance?
- There are several differences between home warranties and home insurance. A home warranty is a service contract that covers repairs or replacements of household systems and appliances that break down from routine use. People occasionally refer to a home warranty as “home appliance insurance,” but this is somewhat of a misnomer; even the best home insurance policies won’t pay to repair or replace appliances if the damage is caused by wear and tear — that’s what a warranty is for.
Homeowners insurance covers structural damage to your home and loss of your property caused by lightning, fire, smoke, hail, vandalism, theft and other perils. It also covers the policyholder’s liability if they are responsible for an injury on the property.
Unlike homeowners insurance, a warranty does not cover damages caused by these events; it only covers breakdowns resulting from normal use.
If you have a mortgage, homeowners insurance is likely required. A warranty is not mandatory for homeowners, but it helps pay for expensive home repairs.
- Is a home warranty required at closing?
- No. If a warranty is wrapped into the purchase of your home, it will be included in closing costs. However, whether it's a part of the buyer’s or the seller's costs depends on your purchase contract and your local regulations.
- Who regulates home warranty companies?
- Every state has some state-level regulations and requirements home warranty companies must follow. In some states, the insurance commissioner is the regulating authority; in other states, the real estate commission or another agency governs home warranty regulations.
These types of regulating authorities help protect consumers from fraud and mistreatment by monitoring companies and giving residents a way to file complaints when necessary.
- How long do home warranties last?
- Most home warranty contracts last 12 months. Each year, you have the option to renew coverage. If you decide to buy a new home warranty, be sure to read the contract’s terms and coverage exclusions. Most home warranties take effect after 30 days, with exceptions for contracts purchased as part of a real estate transaction or if you previously had coverage.
- Should I get a home warranty?
- While a home warranty isn’t required by law, it’s often a smart idea to have one. It’s especially helpful in the following situations:
- You own an older home: Older homes often have older appliances and systems. A warranty helps you keep your vintage charmer in working order.
- You’re buying or selling a home: Buyers, sellers, real estate agents and current homeowners are all eligible to buy a home warranty. In many areas, it’s customary for the seller or real estate agent to package a home warranty in the purchase price as an added benefit to the buyer. This can be particularly attractive for first-time homebuyers or people purchasing older homes that are more likely to need repairs.
- You don’t have a large savings account: If you don’t have a rainy day fund set aside for unexpected expenses — like when your air conditioner goes out or your dishwasher calls it quits — a home warranty helps protect you financially for a relatively affordable monthly premium.
- You’re not handy: Those who have not owned a home before or are unfamiliar with the maintenance of major systems and home appliances should consider how much a plan covers and how much work they are willing and able to take on themselves. Many industry professionals recommend that new homeowners choose a more comprehensive plan that helps them acclimate to the responsibilities of owning a home.
- You own a rental property: Landlords benefit greatly from the security of a warranty. You’re protected against unexpected costs when major systems or appliances malfunction, and you can budget the warranty price into your overall expenses and adjust your rental fees to cover the cost.
We started with a list of the 24 home warranty companies on this guide. To narrow it down, we first eliminated those with overall satisfaction ratings below 3.5 stars (as of Oct. 13, 2021).
The ConsumerAffairs Research Team compared the 16 remaining companies on multiple factors, including:
- Plan cost: We gave preference to companies with average or below-average premiums and fees.
- Availability: We prioritized companies that provide service nationwide.
- Coverage options: We gave preference to companies that offer multiple plans.
To dig a little deeper, the ConsumerAffairs Research Team analyzed more than 36,000 reviews submitted by verified home warranty customers over the past year (Oct. 13, 2020, through Oct. 13, 2021).
We used this review data to ultimately select the top seven home warranty companies. Five-star review data also informed some of our top-pick recommendations as well. For example, Cinch Home Services is our pick for “easy claims process” because our research team observed a higher-than-average frequency of 5-star reviews mentioning this topic.
To make our final rankings, we scored companies based on their percentage of 5-star reviews and the difference between the number of 5-star and 1-star reviews.
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Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
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