Home Warranty Plans
We evaluated 21 companies to find the 14 best home warranty companies for 2021. We analyzed consumer review sites, considered the variety of services offered, read contract terms and verified service areas.
Other top choices are American Home Shield, Choice Home Warranty, First American Home Warranty, Complete Care Home Warranty, ServicePlus Home Warranty, Select Home Warranty, America’s 1st Choice Home Club, Liberty Home Guard, Global Home Protection, Cinch Home Services, First Premier Home Warranty, Ideal Home Warranty and Harmony Home Warranty.
Top Home Warranty Tips:
- Home warranties do not replace homeowners insurance. The warranties cover repairs due to wear and tear, not accidental damage.
- Read the plan documents entirely. Ask questions about any confusing terms, and keep a record of the answers you receive.
- Find out if you pay to repair the same issue more than once.
Tips for a Wise Home Warranty Buyer
This guide will help you decide if you should consider buying a home warranty. We provide tips for choosing the best home warranty coverage for your needs. You’ll learn how home warranties work, what the contracts cover and what they don’t. Our goal is to help you find the right balance of coverage and cost.
FA home warranty can repair plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems. You can also purchase a repair and replacement contract for appliances. All of our top home warranty companies offer both types of contracts as well as one that combines both services. You also have the opportunity to add coverage to repair pools, roof leaks and other options.
What is a Home Warranty?
A home warranty protects you from paying for costly repairs to your home’s systems and appliances when they break down. You pay a monthly or annual fee for a repair contract. When an appliance or plumbing, electrical or other system breaks down, you pay a relatively small service fee for a contractor to determine what caused the issue. The home warranty company pays for the repair or replacement either entirely or up to a set limit.
A home warranty can be beneficial if you have an older home or appliances or don’t have the time or knowledge to complete repairs yourself. If you’re considering selling your house, a home warranty provides the buyer with a cushion against expensive repairs during the first year of homeownership.
What Does a Home Warranty Cover?
Home warranties pay for expenses homeowners insurance doesn’t cover. These service contracts provide repair or replacement of appliances and household systems. Examples of what a home warranty helps pay for are a furnace breakdown, electrical problem or malfunctioning refrigerator.
|Repairs Covered by Home Warranties|
|Heating and air conditioning
Plumbing stoppages and system
Fans (exhaust and ceiling)
|Oven and cooktop
Garage door opener
Washer and dryer
A home warranty is most valuable for reducing the cost of repairing big-ticket items, like plumbing, electrical and other home systems. You can usually extend coverage with add-ons for pools and spas, septic systems, an additional freezer, a well pump and more.
Home warranties do not replace insurance.
The most customizable home warranties can cost a bit more, but you won’t pay for coverage you don’t need. Most home warranty companies offer basic plans, too.
A contract is binding and the only thing you can truly count to determine what is (and is not) covered.
What Home Warranties Don’t Cover
ome warranty repairs are specific to household systems and appliances. We listed many exclusions in this section, but your contract may contain others. Don’t count on a repair contract to fix problems with your home’s structural issues (like the foundation) or cosmetic damage (flooring wear, nicks in trim, paint). Issues caused by corrosion and sediment are not covered.
We found information from various sources saying home warranties don’t cover breakdowns from normal wear and tear. However, the contracts we read provided this coverage. If normal wear and tear is excluded in a home warranty you’re considering, ask what types of malfunctions are covered.
Home warranties don’t cover preexisting conditions, which covers a lot of ground:
- Covered items not operating properly when you signed your contract; service technicians can usually determine when something stopped working.
- Anything a home inspector finds before you sign your contract
- Manufacturer defects
- Neglected regular maintenance
- Items previously repaired by another company
- Correcting code violations while making a repair, although a few companies pay something toward the cost
Home warranties don’t pay for incidental parts, like knobs, racks, wheels, buttons, decorative trim and similar items. Asbestos removal, mold removal and radon mitigation are best handled by experts and are not covered by home warranties.
Home Warranty Coverage Limits
Your home warranty will not pay for limitless repairs. Each company places a cap on the aggregate and per-incident or per-item payouts. You’ll find a great deal of variation between home warranty limits across providers. It’s worth your time to compare the cost between contracts with different caps to see if you can get better coverage at a lower price.
The aggregate limit is the total the home warranty company will pay for all covered repairs. For example, if your contract lists a $15,000 annual aggregate limit, the company stops covering any repairs once it pays out $15,000. Some contracts don’t list this total but instead rely on per-item aggregates or caps. Your contract may use both.
The dwelling limit is the size of your house. Know your home’s square footage, and don’t sign a contract that covers a smaller space.
Appliance replacement caps limit the amount the home warranty pays to fix or replace appliances. Many appliances plans only pay up to $500 per replaced unit, although you can find higher caps. Some home warranties have a separate annual cap on the payout for the total cost of all appliance replacements. We found caps as low as $500 per year, which may not cover the cost of one appliance, up to no limit.
Have a plan to pay for what a home warranty does not cover.
System repair caps limit the amount a home warranty covers to repair plumbing, electrical and HVAC repairs. Other systems are included in some contracts. For example, the warranty may pay up to $1,000 annually for electrical repairs, $1,500 for HVAC and $1,500 for plumbing.
Home Warranty Costs
The national average cost for a home warranty is currently around $950 per year, but prices vary greatly depending on the property size, location and coverage configuration. Fees range from about $200 to $1,700 across the country but can go up to several thousands of dollars for a premium package with several add-ons. Annual payments usually offer savings compared with paying monthly. Ask about a discount for a multiyear plan when considering a home warranty.
Another cost associated with home warranties is the trade service fee. You pay the fee when a technician is dispatched to your house to diagnose a problem and determine if your contract covers the repair cost. You do not pay a service fee when the contractor makes the repair.
You may hear home warranties come with deductibles, but that’s actually the trade service fee. The cost averages around $100 but varies a great deal by region and company. Avoid home warranty companies that don’t state the service fee amount in your contract.
Consumers with older homes or appliances benefit more from a home warranty than those who recently renovated a similar house and upgraded some home systems.
Research at least three home warranty companies to pay the lowest cost for the right level of protection. You’ll also want to ask about the guaranteed service response time. To know if a home warranty is worth it, determine the total cost for potential repairs over the contract term (usually one year).
Read Your Home Warranty Contract
Reading any contract can be tedious, but you need to understand what the home warranty will pay for to know if it’s worth the cost. The contract should clearly explain covered repairs, coverage caps, exclusions and when coverage starts (usually 30 days after signing).
We read contracts from our top companies, and they explained the benefits in detail for each covered system, appliance or add-on option. The terms said as much about excluded items as they did about included coverage. You should expect the same level of information in your contract.
Read the fine print.
A customer service representative may explain the main contract features, but you should read the document entirely before signing. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If you sign a contract online, print out a copy immediately to prove proof of coverage at the time of purchase.
Our Search For The Best Home Warranty Companies
1. We searched for a comprehensive list of home warranty companies.
2. We evaluated these home warranty companies based on our expert-guided buying criteria.
3. We brought you the best home warranty companies for consideration
Many home warranty companies are competing for your business, and choosing the right one can be confusing. We did the research necessary to narrow your options to the best home warranty companies we could find. We started with the 21 most popular home warranty companies and narrowed those down to our 14 final recommendations.
- We started with a comprehensive list of home warranty companies.
We identified the companies most consumers are likely to consider due to familiarity through advertising or discussions in homeowners groups.
We assessed the service area and home warranty coverage.
We excluded regional companies with limited service areas to provide recommendations for the majority of U.S. homeowners. We also omitted home warranty companies that didn’t offer a broad range of coverage options.
We considered ease of use.
We removed home warranty companies that made it confusing or challenging to request service or sign a contract. We sought companies that made consumer information easy to find online and via phone.
We followed our wise home warranty buyer advice.
We looked for companies with clearly stated coverage limitations. We read sample contracts to verify our top home warranty companies offered understandable terms.
Home Warranty Reviews
Our evaluations yielded our selections for the best home warranty companies: American Home Shield, Choice Home Warranty, First American Home Warranty, Complete Care Home Warranty, ServicePlus Home Warranty, Select Home Warranty, America’s 1st Choice Home Club, Liberty Home Guard, Global Home Protection, Cinch Home Services, First Premier Home Warranty, Ideal Home Warranty and Harmony Home Warranty.
Select Home Warranty
Comprehensive Plans |
Select Home Warranty provides a combination of affordable pricing and extensive coverage. The Bronze home warranty plan covers appliances. The Gold plan covers major systems, including heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical. Platinum is a combo plan covering appliances and systems.
Screenshot: Select Home Warranty’s award
Select Home Warranty’s terms of service have relatively few exclusions. For example, all oven and range components are covered except the vent hood. You can file a claim 24/7 online or by phone.
The Home Warranty Awards recognized the company with the 2017 Best in Service award and the 2021 Editor’s Choice Award.
For more information, read our full Select Home Warranty review.
ServicePlus Home Warranty
Great Options |
ServicePlus Home Warranty has a great selection of optional home warranty add-ons. The variety of additional coverage allows consumers to craft a home warranty to meet their specific needs. The add-ons reduce the chance of paying for repair coverage you’ll never use.
ServicePlus Home Warranty Gold covers some kitchen appliances, plumbing, water heater, ductwork and fans. The Platinum plan includes additional appliances and up to two heating and cooling units. ServicePlus Home Warranty plan options include ice makers, an extra heating unit, sump pump, well pump, central vacuum, pool and more.
Read our full ServicePlus Home Warranty review.
First American Home Warranty
Flexible Coverage |
First American Home Warranty’s flexible plans include the First Class Upgrade option in most service areas. Home warranties don’t always cover the cost of permits or correcting code violations when completing repairs and replacements. Sign up for First Class, and the company pays up to $250 to correct code violations and up to $250 toward building permits. First American Home Warranty pays per occurrence for local building permits.
Consider First American Home Warranty for monthly payment plans with straightforward pricing and customized benefits.
Or, for a more detailed look, read our comprehensive First American Home Warranty review.
American Home Shield
Great Reputation |
With 50 years in the home warranty business, American Home Shield offers three plans and several add-ons. Shield Silver protects heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing systems. Shield Gold adds kitchen and laundry appliances to the Silver coverage. Shield Platinum includes all the benefits in the Gold plan, plus roof leak repairs, free HVAC tuneups with unlimited refrigerant and up to $1,000 annual coverage for code violations and permits.
Screenshot: American Home Shield
American Home Shield provides relatively high appliance replacement limits. The Shield Gold plan pays $3,000 per appliance and Shield Platinum pays a healthy $6,000 per appliance. You have six add-on options to choose from: electronics, pools and spas, roof leak repair, septic, well and guest quarters coverage.
American Home Shield lets you customize the service fee ($75 to $125). Select a higher service fee to lower the cost of your warranty, or pay a bit more for your contract to keep service fees down.
Read our full American Home Shield review.
Additional Home Warranty Companies
– Sears is a household name for many when it comes to appliances, and it offers three home warranty plans. Read our full Sears home warranty review.
– Cross Country Home Services offers various home warranty services, including three home warranties from TotalProtect. Read our comprehensive Cross Country Home Services review for details on home warranty plans.
– 2-10 Home Buyer Warranty is a home warranty company focused on helping new homebuyers. Read our comprehensive 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty review for details on home warranty plans.
Related Home Warranty Resources
Readers of this home warranties guide also read these related articles and found them helpful.
Read about what a home warranty covers, advantages and disadvantages and their limitations.
It’s important to know the difference between a home warranty and home insurance.
Home warranties cover many of your home appliance but you have other options if your policy doesn’t.
More Related Articles
Home Warranty Companies By State
Frequently Asked Questions about Home Warranties
Do home warranties only cover new homes?
No, not the home warranties listed in this guide. Builders offer warranties on new home structures, and appliances come with manufacturer warranties. Our featured home warranty companies provide repair contracts designed to lessen the financial burden of fixing out-of-warranty home systems or appliances.
How do home warranties work for older homes and appliances?
Home warranties don’t cover pre existing damage or problems, but the home or appliance age generally doesn’t prevent you from buying coverage. You should expect service on all covered items in working condition when you buy your home warranty unless the contract says otherwise.
Can I choose the contractor that completes home warranty repairs?
Home warranty companies have agreements with the service providers that repair covered systems and appliances. You can request a contractor when you call for service, but the home warranty company is not under any obligation to fulfill your request. Even if your favorite contractor works with your home warranty company, another contractor is likely to show up at your door.
What if my homeowners insurance and home warranty both cover the same item?
Homeowners insurance does not typically cover system or appliance breakdowns as home warranties do. It’s unlikely you’ll ever pay for dual coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, home warranty contracts typically stipulate no payout on claims covered by insurance.
Can I see a home warranty contract before I purchase?
Yes, and we encourage you to read and understand the entire contract. We do not recommend working with a home warranty company that doesn’t provide the contract in advance of the sale or that doesn’t answer questions thoroughly.
Concluding Thoughts on Home Warranty Plans
Your home warranty service is only as good as the contract you sign. Read all documents carefully to know what you can expect.
Home warranty payments can be easier to budget for than high-value repairs. However, these repair contracts aren’t for everyone. Understand payout caps in home warranties, and always read contracts thoroughly. Be sure the contract says repairs required due to normal wear and tear are covered, and compare contract limits to cost to get the best service for your money.
The Best Home Warranty Companies
|Home Warranty Company||Best For||Phone|
|1||American Home Shield||Great Reputation||888-312-6764|
|2||First American Home Warranty||Flexible Coverage||877-755-6974|
|3||America’s 1st Choice Home Club||Great Payment Options||888-317-6195|
|4||Complete Care Home Warranty||Broad Appliance Coverage||(855) 915-3224|
|5||America’s 1st Choice Home Club||Great Payment Options||(888) 317-6195|
|6||Select Home Warranty||Comprehensive Plans||888-759-4052|
|7||Liberty Home Guard||Great Extras||888-205-9398|
|8||Cinch Home Services||Great Work Guarantee|
|9||First Premier Home Warranty||Simplified Coverage Options||(844) 916-3028|
|10||Ideal Home Warranty||Multi-year Discount||(855) 431-0251|
|11||Global Home Protection||Great Customizable Options|
|12||Harmony Home Warranty||Great Add-ons|
|13||ServicePlus Home Warranty||Great Options|
|14||2-10 Home Buyers Warranty||Honorable Mention|