A home warranty plan can be the perfect complement to your homeowners insurance policy. It can be a lifesaver when faced with stressful and expensive home repairs — or it can add to your frustrations by excluding the appliance or system that needs repairing. If you want to get the most value for your money, here are the best home warranty companies of 2021, according to Money.
Money’s Reviews of the Best Home Warranty Companies
- American Home Shield: Most Customizable Plan
- First American Home Warranty: Most Comprehensive Basic Plan
- Liberty Home Guard: Most Add-Ons
- AFC Home Club: Lowest Premiums
- Select Home Warranty: Best for Discounts
Best Home Warranty Company Reviews
American Home Shield – Most Customizable Plan
- Largest home warranty service provider in the country
- Highly personalizable plans
- Lenient liability limitations
- Repairs are only guaranteed for 30 days
- Plans unavailable in Alaska
- Roof leak coverage unavailable
|Service Fees||State Availability||Number of Plans|
|$75, $100, $125||Nationwide, except Alaska||3|
With American Home Shield, clients can customize their home warranty plan and choose any 10 items from their systems and appliances options without collecting additional expenses.
AHS is also more lenient than most when it comes to liability limitations. According to its sample contract, coverage includes repairs due to insufficient maintenance, rust, corrosion, sediment, improper installations, and undetected pre-existing conditions.
Monthly payments vary depending on the state, but clients can customize repair service fees, choosing from $75, $100, or $125 per service call. The lower the service fee, the more you’ll have to pay for your contract each month.
With AHS, heating systems and air conditioner units with a capacity of up to five tons have a payout limit of $1,500, while appliances have a $3,000 limit per covered item.
|Air Conditioners||Air Conditioners||Air Conditioners|
|Heating Units||Heating Units||Heating Units|
|Built-in Exhaust, Vent & Attic Fans||Built-in Exhaust, Vent & Attic Fans||Built-in Exhaust, Vent & Attic Fans|
|Main Breaker & Fuse Panel Box||Main Breaker & Fuse Panel Box||Main Breaker & Fuse Panel Box|
|Doorbells & Chimes||Doorbells & Chimes||Doorbells & Chimes|
|Interior Electrical Lines||Interior Electrical Lines||Interior Electrical Lines|
|Ceiling Fans||Ceiling Fans||Ceiling Fans|
|Garage Door Openers||Garage Door Openers||Garage Door Openers|
|Interior Plumbing||Interior Plumbing||Interior Plumbing|
|Toilet, Faucets & Valves||Toilet, Faucets & Valves||Toilet, Faucets & Valves|
|Whirlpool Tub Motor & Components||Whirlpool Tub Motor & Components||Whirlpool Tub Motor & Components|
|Water Heaters||Water Heaters||Water Heaters|
|Kitchen Refrigerators||Kitchen Refrigerators|
|Built-in Microwaves||Built-in Microwaves|
|Garbage Disposals||Garbage Disposals|
|Clothes Washers||Clothes Washers|
|Clothes Dryers||Clothes Dryers|
|Roof Leak Repairs|
|FREE HVAC Tune-up|
|Unlimited A/C Refrigerant|
|Coverage for code violations and permits|
First American Home Warranty – Most Comprehensive Basic Plan
- Covers improperly installed or maintained systems and appliances
- Affordable basic plan options with competitive coverage
- Unlimited service calls
- Only two plans available, no systems-only plan
- Limited list of add-on coverage
- Only available in 35 states
|Service Fees||State Availability||Number of Plans|
|$75||Available in: Alabama, Arizona, California, D.C., Georgia, Idaho,||2|
With First American Home Warranty’s Basic Plan, you get comprehensive coverage for 10 costly-to-repair appliances for only $28 a month.
Bear in mind that this plan offers coverage for appliances only including washers, dryers, refrigerators, garbage disposals, and trash compactors. Clients who need coverage for both appliances and systems will have to opt for the company’s Premiere Plan.
Alternatively, customers have the option to add a “First Class Upgrade” to their basic plan for $9 per month, which includes coverage for specific systems such as HVAC, dishwashers, plumbing, and covers malfunctions due to improper installations, modifications, and previous repairs.
The service fee is standard for all plans: $75 for each contractor visit and appliances have a limit of up to $3,500 for diagnosis, repairs, and replacements. All plans also cover damages caused by lack of maintenance, rust, corrosion, and chemical or sedimentary build-up, which is vital if you’re buying an older home.
|Attic and Exhaust Fans||Attic and Exhaust Fans|
|Ceiling Fans||Ceiling Fans|
|Clothes Washer and Dryer||Clothes Washer and Dryer|
|Garbage Disposal||Garbage Disposal|
|Instant Hot Water Dispenser||Instant Hot Water Dispenser|
|Kitchen Refrigerator||Kitchen Refrigerator|
|Built-in Microwave Oven||Built-in Microwave Oven|
|Trash Compactor||Trash Compactor|
|Central Vacuum System|
|Garage Door Dispenser|
- Over 20 items of additional coverage options
- 60-day workmanship guarantee on repairs
- Overwhelmingly positive BBB reviews
- Does not service California, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
- Only two years of industry experience
- Relatively low payout limits
|Service Fees||State Availability||Number of Plans|
|$60-$125||Nationwide, except California, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin, or Wyoming||3|
Liberty Home Guard stands out for its list of optional add-ons. Customers can choose from around 20 items to add to their coverage — the most extensive list of add-ons in the home warranty market.
The list includes items commonly found in other providers — pools, spas, well pumps, sump pumps, central vacuums — and other, more rarely covered items such as limited roof leaks, replacing locks, gutter cleaning, pest control, and electronics protection.
Liberty Home Guard offers three types of plans: one for appliances, one for systems, and one that covers both. Liberty covers popular systems and appliances such as air conditioning, heating, plumbing, electrical, washers, dryers, and refrigerators.
Their service fee ranges from $65 to $125, with a payout limit of $1,600 per covered item.
|Appliance Guard||Systems Guard||Total Home Guard|
|Clothes Washer||Air Conditioning||Clothes Washer|
|Clothes Dryer||Heating||Clothes Dryer|
|Kitchen Refrigerator||Ductwork||Kitchen Refrigerator|
|Built-in Microwave Ovens||Plumbing||Built-in Microwave Ovens|
|Garbage Disposals||Water Heaters||Garbage Disposals|
|Ceiling and Exhaust Fans||Ceiling and Exhaust Fans|
|Garage Door Openers||Garage Door Openers|
AFC Home Club – Lowest Premiums
- A variety of additional benefits, from discounts to credit monitoring
- Some of the lowest premiums in the market
- Clients can choose their own technicians
- Platinum Plan covers microwave ovens, ice makers, and plumbing stoppages
- One-day period for reporting issues with a system or appliance
- Not available in California, Hawaii, Nevada, and South Carolina
- $75 plan cancellation fee
|Service Fees||State Availability||Number of Plans|
|$75, $100, $125||Nationwide, except Hawaii and California||4|
AFC Home Club (America’s First Choice) caught our attention for its low premiums. AFC’s plans include a systems plan, an appliances plan, and two hybrid plans covering both systems and appliances.
As with other providers, AFC pricing changes depending on the chosen service fee ($75, $100, $125). Nonetheless, the company’s prices are still low compared to other companies.
For example, for AFC Home Club’s System or Silver Plan, customers would pay less than $40 a month and $50 or less for their Gold and Platinum plan. Customers can also choose between a one-year contract or a three-year contract term, saving even more per month if they choose the three-year option.
|Silver Plans||Gold Plan||Platinum Plan||Systems|
|Clothes Dryer||Clothes Dryer||Clothes Dryer||Air Conditioning/Cooler|
|Clothes Washer||Clothes Washer||Clothes Washer||Heating Systems|
|Kitchen Refrigerator||Kitchen Refrigerator||Kitchen Refrigerator||Water Heater|
|Garbage Disposal||Garbage Disposal||Dishwasher|
|Garage Door Opener||Garage Door Opener||Built-in Microwave|
|Air Conditioning/Cooler||Garbage Disposal|
|Heating System||Garage Door Opener|
|Water Heater||Air Conditioning/Cooler|
|Electrical System||Heating System|
|Plumbing System||Water Heater|
Select Home Warranty – Best for Discounts
- Free roof leak coverage
- 90-day repair guarantee
- Discounts for multi-year plans
- Unavailable in New York, Nevada, Washington, and Wisconsin
- Low coverage caps for many home services
- To guarantee coverage on some systems, homeowners must provide 3 years of maintenance records
|Service Fees||State Availability||Number of Plans|
|$60-$75||Nationwide, except Nevada, Wisconsin, Washington, New York||3|
Select Home Warranty offers some notable discounts, including two months’ free service if the plan is paid annually, special multiple-year discounts — and the company also has occasional promotions that knock off between $100-$200 for new sign-ups.
Select has three plans: Bronze Care, Gold Care, and Platinum Care, which cost between $52 and $55 per month. Bronze Care covers appliances, while Gold Care focuses on systems. The most expensive plan, Platinum Care, combines both for more comprehensive coverage. Service fees range between $60 and $75.
Potential customers should be aware that the company may cap payouts per system or appliance at $150, if there aren’t three years of recorded maintenance. Other than that, HVAC systems are capped at $2,000, and appliances at $500. Extra coverage options are capped at $400 for repair or replacement.
|Bronze Care||Gold Care||Platinum Care|
|Clothes Washer||A/C, Cooling||A/C, Cooling|
|Garbage Disposal||Heating System||Heating System|
|Refrigerator||Plumbing System||Plumbing System|
|Stove/Oven||Electrical System||Electrical System|
|Built-in Microwave||Water Heater||Water Heater|
|Clothes Dryer||Garbage Disposal|
|Garage Door Openers|
Other Home Warranty Companies We Considered
This industry leader features affordable plans and reliable customer service. Choice Home Warranty didn’t make our list because it lacks flexibility in its coverage options.
CHW is unavailable in California and Washington.
Amazon Home Warranty — unrelated to Amazon the online marketplace — has reasonable rates and a variety of additional coverage options. Additional options are expensive, though, and its plans cover fewer items than other competitors. Moreover, the company’s BBB accreditation is currently revoked.
AHW does not service the states of California, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Washington.
Home Warranty Guide
What Is a Home Warranty?
A home warranty is a service contract. Customers pay the warranty premiums in exchange for getting home protection help when they need to repair major appliances.
A home warranty could save you money if your appliances and systems are reaching their life expectancy. What’s more, real estate agents often recommend buying a home warranty if you’re selling your home for two reasons:
- it can cover a system or appliance in case it breaks during or after the listing process, and
- it adds value and attracts homebuyers who worry about unknown home repair costs if they buy your house.
What Does a Home Warranty Cover?
Companies use a wide range of names for their different plans — Gold, Platinum, Bronze, Basic, Premier, etc. — but most plans fall into three basic categories: a systems plan, an appliances plan, and a hybrid or combo plan, which covers both.
Generally, home warranty companies offer coverage for the same array of home systems and appliances. Some companies also offer optional coverage options you can include for an extra fee.
|Most Common Home Systems Covered:||Most Common Home Appliances Covered||Covered Add-Ons|
|Heating and air conditioning (HVAC system)||Refrigerators||Pools and inground spas|
|Plumbing systems||Laundry machines (clothes washer, dryers)||Septic systems|
|Electrical systems||Ranges, stoves, ovens & cooktops||Well pumps|
|Water heaters||Built-in microwave ovens||Sump pumps|
|Ductwork||Garbage disposals||Ceiling fans|
|Doorbells||Garage door opener||Smoke detectors|
Home Warranty Quick Facts
As you browse home warranty companies and plans, keep the following things in mind before signing on that dotted line.
Differences in State Licensing
Each state has its regulations for overseeing the home warranty industry. Research and review home warranty regulations to ensure a company is licensed and legally allowed to do business in your state.
In many states, the insurance commissioner or Department of Consumer Protection oversees home warranty companies. To locate the regulator of your particular state, consult this State Licensing Guide.
30-Day Waiting Period
Most home warranty companies require a 30-day waiting period before homeowners can file a claim. If any system or appliance malfunctions during this waiting period, you won’t be able to request service, and repairs or replacement costs won’t be covered.
In other words, your contract won’t be effective until 31 days after you make the first payment. If something in your home were to malfunction during your waiting period, the warranty would cover only part of the repair.
Limitations of Liability
Usually, appliances with existing manufacturer warranties, malfunction resulting from rust, corrosion, toxic materials, improper installation, or pre-existing conditions (known or unknown) are not covered by a home warranty.
Companies are also not liable for repairs of cosmetic defects, maintenance routine, or malfunctions caused by acts of nature (fire, flood, earthquake, storms, etc.). That’s why homeowners insurance and flood insurance exist.
Some home warranty companies require a home inspection that reveals your systems and appliances’ condition before the contract begins.
Home warranties are a controversial product because they cover a specific list of appliances and systems. Although home warranty companies advertise peace of mind by helping homeowners save money on home repairs, many customers consider their experience with selected home warranty companies a headache.
Complaints usually relate to denied claims, repairs taking days or weeks to schedule or incorrectly performed, and consumers who wait over an hour on hold when trying to reach a customer service representative.
The best home warranty companies have better customer service reputations and more lenient policies around paying claims. Home warranty companies tend to rely on a network of service people who actually come out to your house to fix the broken item. Usually, these are not full-time employees of the home warranty company, they’re a local repair person. The best home warranty companies have a feedback loop to collect reviews from these technicians.
Are Home Warranties Worth It?
|Yes, a Home Warranty is worth it if:||A Home Warranty might not be worth it if:|
|You’re purchasing a previously built home, since systems may be approaching the end of their lifespan (usually 5-10 years)||You’re purchasing a newly built home, since new construction usually comes with a warranty from the builder for systems for up to 10 years|
|The appliances in your house are currently working, but haven’t been purchased recently||New appliances usually come with a manufacturer’s warranty, and some credit cards also offer extended warranties|
|You don’t know mechanics or contractors in your area, or good DIY skills||You have established relationships with contractors or handypeople, or are good at DIY-ing repairs yourself|
You’re more likely to be happy with your home warranty plan if you:
- consider the kinds of appliances you have in your house and if they’re currently working (warranties do not pay to fix items that are already broken)
- read sample contracts – pay special attention to the appliances you already have and read about how the policies may treat claims on these in particular
- find and choose a reputable company
How do you measure the value of a home warranty? If you end up paying less for the warranty than what you’d pay for in-home repairs without it, you know you’ve got a good deal. If budgeting for emergencies is something that’s hard for you, a home warranty might also be a good idea (forcing you to pay for something monthly rather than all at once).
- Best-case scenario: Your service fee ranges from $75 to $150 (along with your annual premiums) and you get a major system or appliance fixed or replaced. No unexpected big sticker shock. You sleep easy at night.
- Worst-case scenario: You pay the warranty’s premiums for several years, plus an upfront service fee for a home service call, and then learn that your warranty’s limitations prevent the plan from helping when you need it.
Customer experience with home warranty companies usually reflects one of these two extremes. Consider that happy home warranty customers have higher payout caps and fewer liability limitations.
Important Things To Know About Home Warranties
The Proper Maintenance Gray Area
Sometimes home warranty coverage is contingent on the “proper maintenance” of systems and appliances, meaning repairs won’t be covered if the malfunction was caused by a failure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance specifications. However, there are no clear guidelines as to what constitutes proper routine maintenance.
Some contracts give concrete examples such as changing filters, flushing the water heater, sanitizing your water filter, keeping proper refrigerant levels, or cleaning coils, but it ultimately depends on technicians’ inspections.
TIP: We would recommend that if you buy a home warranty, you take pictures with your phone and document that maintenance of the appliances is being performed.
Brand-new systems and appliances
If you’ve just installed new appliances or bought a brand new home, your appliances will probably already be protected by a manufacturer’s warranty. Since a home warranty won’t cover anything that’s already covered under another type of warranty, you might want to consult with a professional as to whether you need one.
Most homeowners would rather the manufacturer — Whirlpool, Samsung, GE, etc. — repair their own products anyway if the appliances remain under a manufacturer’s warranty.
How to Choose The Best Home Warranty For You
Get Quotes and Compare
Make sure to get at least three different quotes and compare them. Ask company representatives questions such as:
- What’s the cost?
- Which systems and appliances are covered?
- How much is their service call fee?
- Is there an item that’s included in one plan but not in another?
- What are their coverage add-ons and how much are they?
- Can your own plan be customized?
Read Sample Contracts
Once you’ve chosen at least three companies, the next step is to go over their sample contracts.
- Identify the limitations and exclusions in the contract – specifically the types of repairs it will or will not cover. It’s also useful to know what would happen if an item were deemed irreparable and how their claim submission process works.
- Another essential thing to check is payout limits. Your contract should disclose the exact amount of money a home warranty provider will disburse for the repair of each type of system and appliance per each contract term. The established cap will be the amount you’ll have available throughout the contract.
When in doubt about budgeting maintenance and replacement costs, remember the 1% rule and the square foot rule. Bear in mind that both are very rough estimates:
- 1% rule – When you purchase a home, set aside one percent of its total cost for repairs and maintenance.
- Square foot rule – The eventual replacement of a roof or major system may seem daunting, but budgeting about $1 a year for every square foot of livable space.
Best Home Warranty FAQ
How much is a home warranty?
A home warranty costs between $300 and $600 a year. This does not include the service fee, which is established in your contract. Companies charge a $75 to $125 fee for every repair call.
How soon can you use a home warranty after purchase?
Most home warranty companies have a 30-day waiting period after the date of purchase. However, if you bought your home warranty as part of a real estate transaction, your coverage starts on the day of closing.
When should you use a home warranty?
You should file a claim with your home warranty company as soon as your appliances or systems show signs of a potential issue. Some companies have shorter periods for filing an eligible claim, which means that, generally, the sooner you file a claim, the better.
[money-faqs-item question=”Will the home warranty cover old systems and appliances?”]
A home warranty plan may indeed cover “pre-existing conditions,” meaning when a system and appliances are failing or have failed before home warranty coverage begins. However, they will usually only do so if the system or appliance passed both a visual and mechanical inspection.
What voids a home warranty?
Performing unauthorized repairs, be it by using an unapproved contractor — licensed or not — or attempting to do the repairs yourself, can void your home warranty. Several types of home improvement projects, failing to keep your home up to building codes, and misplacing ownership documentation, could also void your home warranty coverage.
Does a home warranty require an inspection?
Most home warranty companies will not require an inspection when you purchase one of their comprehensive plans. We recommend that consumers consider making an inspection anyway to have a documented representation of the condition of their systems and appliances before buying a warranty.
Is a home warranty tax-deductible?
Paying for a home warranty generally does not make you eligible for any sort of tax exemption. However, if you pay for a home warranty plan on an income-producing building — such as a home office or rental property — your premium will be considered a deductible expense.
What is the difference between a home warranty and home insurance?
Unlike home insurance, which lenders usually require before issuing your mortgage, home warranties are an optional product. A home insurance policy will cover damage to your house or personal property from fires, theft, flooding, and other disasters or “perils.” In contrast, a home warranty offers a way to protect your budget from unexpected expenses after your HVAC, garbage disposals, washing machines, or electrical system breaks down from normal wear.
How do I cancel my home warranty?
First, get in touch with the home warranty company and make sure to get their name – while it may seem like more of a hassle, this tends to get quicker results. You may need to send a written notice of termination, which you should send via registered post or courier if possible, to make tracking easier. If your payments are automated from a credit card or bank account, make sure to cancel with the corresponding institution. Finally, it may be a good idea to request a written confirmation of the cancellation directly from the company.
How Money Found the Best Overall Home Warranty Plans
Most home warranty companies cover the same variety of systems and appliances. Because of this, our methodology focused on four key factors: transparency of service, claims processing, cost, and quality of customer service.
More specifically, we considered criteria such as contract terms, the types of covered malfunctions or failures, payout limits, cost-efficiency, and service fees.
Transparency of Service
We find that the best home warranty companies are transparent when disclosing their terms, prices, exclusions, and coverage limits.
We chose to feature home warranty providers that offer a clear explanation of their claims process and customers’ responsibilities. We also favored companies with clauses in their contracts that allowed for quicker claims in case of an emergency and for customers to choose their own technician.
We looked at the cost and service fee compared to the number of items covered, exclusions, and payout limits to determine the value of coverage plans.
We looked for companies that offered 24/7 customer support and provided alternative channels for communications, such as live chat or an app. We also checked every company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), including their accreditation or lack thereof, rating, and reviews.
Summary of The Best Home Warranty Companies
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