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ByBrian Robson Insurance and Finance Ronin

Brian Robson is one of the main Reviews.com refresh specialists. He specializes in finance and insurance pieces.

The Best Home Warranty Companies

A home warranty is an optional service that covers home systems and appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning for a specified amount of time, usually one year.

The best home warranties cover what your homeowners insurance doesn't. They have excellent, transparent policies and customer service, and allow for customization of your plan. In order to help you find the best home warranty companies, we scoured customer reviews, spoke with service contract experts, contacted providers’ customer service agents and dug into their service agreements. We compared the various home warranty plans and found eight companies that rose above the competition. See our beginner's guide to home warranties for more details on how they work.

The 8 Best Home Warranty Companies of 2019

The Best Home Warranty Companies: Summed Up

 
American Home Shield
Home Service Club
Choice
TotalProtect
AFC Home Club
Landmark Home Warranty
Sears
First American Home Warranty
Best home warranty company for Personalized plans New Homebuyers Customer satisfaction Generous liability caps Workmanship guarantees Western states Claims caps Low fees
Service fee $75, $100, or $125 $65, $95, or $125 $85 $75 or $100 $60 $60 or $100 $75 or $100 $75 or $100
Customizable coverage
Recall period 30 days 90 days parts, 30 days labor 90 days parts, 30 days labor 180 days Life of contract 30 days 180 days 30 days
View plans View plans View plans View plans View plans View plans View plans View plans

Why Trust This Review?

Since 2015, Reviews.com has helped more than 650,000 people shop for home warranties. We’ve investigated 65 providers, read more than 150 home warranty plans, and updated this review every month over the past four years to ensure it stays accurate. The author of this review does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned, or in any other home warranty providers.

Best for Personalized Plans: American Home Shield

Best for
Personalized Plans

American Home Shield Home Warranty
American Home Shield
Generous coverage, a flexible plan, and honest customer service.
Pros
Transparent reps and policies
Customizable plans
Generous coverage caps
Online bill pay and claim filing tools
Cons
Not available everywhere

American Home Shield had some of the most helpful and transparent representatives on staff. Even armed with a list of finely tuned questions about the contract, we were happy to find our representative remained composed and truthful. And, if there were any questions she couldn’t answer, they quickly transferred us to someone in the claims department who could. In addition to unprecedented transparency, AHS also offers a Build Your Own plan option we couldn’t find anywhere else on the market. It works like this: You pick the 10 items (appliances or systems) you want covered. If you don’t own a dishwasher, don’t pick it. If you just bought a brand-new hot water heater, slot another device in its place and maximize the value of your contract. This is, of course, in addition to three other plans including a systems-only plan, an appliance-only plan, and a plan combining the two.

We also liked that American Home Shield will pay up to $3,000 per item for most appliances and systems. Compare that to 365 Home Warranty, which is only liable for $3,000 during the entire life of the contract (and even that’s better than some). And, like all of our finalists, AHS has a few online benefits that make owning a home warranty much simpler. Customers can submit and track claims on the site, as well as pay their bills. No snail mail. No phone trees. Just a few clicks. The only problem we had with AHS was that it isn’t available everywhere. If you live in Alaska, you’re out of luck.

Best for New Homebuyers: The Home Service Club

Best for
New Homebuyers

The Home Service Club
The Home Service Club
Flexible, customizable home warranty coverage options for new and growing homes.
Pros
Flexible coverage plans
Tons of online resources
Generous caps on major systems and appliances
Cons
Potentially high service fees

If you're a new homebuyer, you’ll need flexible home warranty coverage for all the new appliances and systems you’ll be adding to your home over time. That’s where The Home Service Club (HSC) shines with its flexible coverage plans including: “Standard Coverage” for 18 of the most common systems and appliances, and “Comprehensive Coverage” which extends to 15 additional categories. And, that’s all before we get into the generous liability caps offered by HSC.

Almost all home warranty companies place “liability caps” on certain systems and appliances — a predetermined limit to how much money they’ll pay for a particular replacement or repair. Some warrantors put $500 caps on everything, but Home Service Club tailors its caps based on the average cost of repairs. Heating and air-conditioning systems, for instance, have a generous $2,500 cap per contract term, while refrigerators are capped at $750. Unfortunately, all of this comes at a price when it comes to service fees with Home Service Club’s fees being either $65, $95, or $125.

Best for Customer Satisfaction: Choice Home Warranty

Best for
Customer Satisfaction

Choice Home Warranty
Choice Home Warranty
Stellar claims processing and transparent online contracts.
Pros
High customer satisfaction ratings
Clear and transparent contracts
Free first month
Cons
Low plumbing cap

We were pleased to discover that Choice Home Warranty was the recipient of thousands of glowing reviews from reputable sources like Consumer Affairs and TrustPilot. Many of the reviews cited the expediency of the repair job and the technician’s courtesy which is always a plus when you’re looking for any service, especially home warranties. On top of great service, Choice Home Warranty also makes it easy to see what you’re getting with actual sample contracts right in the main navigation menu: simply select Homeowners and open the “User Agreement.” That’s really convenient for customers and speaks to the company’s willingness to be upfront and transparent about coverage, caps, and fees. And, it was through looking at the sample contract we were able to find that Choice had one of the lowest plumbing caps of all the home warranty plans and companies we looked at. Choice’s cap on plumbing systems is $500 per contract term — not abnormally small by any means, but small compared to American Home Shield’s $1,000 plumbing cap. If you live in an older house or apartment building, that extra cap space could make a huge difference.

Best for Liability Caps: TotalProtect

Best for
Generous Liability Caps

TotalProtect Home Warranty
TotalProtect
Few liability caps, but less customizable coverage.
Pros
No caps on most appliances and systems
Thorough coverage
Long workmanship guarantee
Cons
No custom options

TotalProtect doesn’t have liability caps on any major appliances or systems. In fact, there’s no maximum aggregate liability for the contract term at all. That means you won’t have to worry about footing the bill if you run into a string of broken appliances. Of course, a few appliances and systems do have a cap, such as the $1,500 cap on geothermal and water source systems (underground heating systems or water supply plumbing systems), but even these are generous. We were also impressed with the Combo plan — the most comprehensive option. It includes the most expensive, break-prone systems and appliances, plus other uncommon or inexpensive items like central vacuum systems, doorbells and chimes, garage door openers, and smoke detectors. The plan also adds whirlpool tub coverage, which AHS doesn’t offer. You can always opt for the cheaper but less thorough appliance and system plans as well. About the only problem with all this coverage is that you might be paying the price for covered systems and appliances you don’t own, especially with the Combo plan. There, we would have liked a little more customization like what we found with AHS.

Best for Workmanship Guarantee: AFC Home Club

Best for
Workmanship Guarantees

AFC Home Club
AFC Home Club
The longest guarantee on repairs and replacements in the industry.
Pros
Extended workmanship guarantee
High consumer ratings
Cons
Not available in three states

Whenever a home warranty company sends a service provider to your home to make a repair or replacement, it usually offers a “workmanship guarantee” — a period of time during which it’ll waive your service fee if anything goes wrong with your repairs. An earlier version of this review praised Sears Home Warranty for its 180-day workmanship guarantee, since most companies only offer 90 days for parts and 30 days for labor. But AFC Home Club goes further than any company we’ve ever come across: It guarantees workmanship through the life of your contract. However, you won’t get to appreciate this if you live in one of the three states where AFC Home Club is unavailable. As of October 2019, AFC Home Club doesn’t operate in California, Hawaii, or South Carolina. However, we spoke with a company representative over the phone who said that AFC Home Club is actively trying to expand into California and South Carolina. There are no current plans for Hawaii, he added, because of the difficulty of sourcing service providers there.

Other Home Warranty Companies to Consider

Best for Western States: Landmark Home Warranty

Best Home Warranty Company
for Western States

Landmark Home Warranty
A great option for Western states

As of October 2019, Landmark only operates in six states: Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah, though its website says it plans to expand nationally soon. But it offers great coverage options and generous liability caps, and it boasts a stellar A- rating with the Better Business Bureau — a rare feat in the home warranty industry, given that many customers submit complaints simply because they didn’t understand what their contract covered. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Landmark has also made Utah Business Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” list two years in a row, so you know it treats its employees well, which usually means it treats customers well, too.

Best Claims Cap: Sears Home Warranty

Best for
Claims Caps

Sears Home Warranty
Sears
Generous coverage caps, but an uncertain future

While there’s a $1,000 limit for liability on your pool (and ultra-premium appliances — think high capacity or “professional series”), everything else under a Sears plan is covered by a generous $10,000 cap. Given that many home warranty providers cap their coverage at $500, the generous cap makes Sears one of the more reliable providers when it’s time to file a claim.

However, the future of the business is unclear. In August 2018, U.S. News reported that Sears Holdings (the parent company that oversees its home service agreements and retail stores) could be nearing bankruptcy, in which case there’s no guarantee it would be able to satisfy ongoing home warranties. In October, Sears had officially filed for bankruptcy. By January 2019, the company cleared the air on this topic by providing new information for Sears Home Warranty customers. According to a statement posted on its website at the time, all home warranty coverage provided through Sears Home Warranty will be honored and not affected by the “decision to restructure under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.” This reassuring promise is due to the independent underwriting company Sears uses – Cross Country Home Services. It’ll be able to provide warranty coverage and customer service even though the future of Sears Holdings is still unclear.

Best for Low Fees: First American Home Warranty

Best for
Low Fees

First American Home Warranty
First American
Good coverage and low fees, but shorter recall periods and limited availability

First American Home Warranty offers decent service fees from $75 to $100 service fee for all of its plans, which can lead to great savings. Pairing the fee with the $28-per-month Basic plan (prices will vary by location) would only cost $336 for the year if paid upfront, which is an excellent deal.

However, First American has a 30-day recall period, which is among the shortest of all the providers we reviewed. That means some people may miss out on service fee reimbursement for faulty replacement parts or repairs. Also, there are eight states, including New York and Illinois, that First American Home Warranty does not service. The other six are a mystery. None of the representatives we spoke with knew what they were (they can only check home warranty coverage for the property address you give) and there’s no information in the contract or on the site — which, to us, is a significant oversight.

Guide to Home Warranties

If we had to give you only one piece of advice when shopping for a home warranty plan, it would be this: read the contract thoroughly. Home warranty contracts are often complex by design. Evan W. Walker, Esq. of the Law Office of Evan Walker, explained that a home warranty contract “is not written to be understood by the consumer.”

The opening paragraphs of a contract often lay out the items that the provider is responsible for. This can include both systems and appliances. Appliances are self-contained units like a washer, fridge, or microwave, while systems are a bit more intricate or costly — think an HVAC system, hot water heater, or the electrical wiring throughout your home.

Most companies then list exclusions — the things they won’t cover. These will vary depending on your contract, but some we ran into repeatedly include items with preexisting defects or improper installation, items under recall, commercial grade equipment, and repairs or replacements requested before your contract starts. Understanding the exclusions will help you ensure that your contract is giving you the protection you’re paying for.

When it comes to home warranty contracts, Jennifer Englert, attorney for The Orlando Law Group, told us to “carefully read any portions of the contract which discuss how quickly after you request a repair it will be completed. Read what happens if the repair does not work, or if the vendor who comes to make the repair cannot get the job done. Coverage is not usually an issue under these contracts, but how repairs get done — and when — vary from company to company.”

A little extra attention in these portions of your contract will ensure reliable repairs or replacements later on. It’s important to ask your home warranty provider any questions you have about its policies. The best will have friendly and knowledgeable representatives that provide thorough answers to your questions, no matter how many you have. We’re happy to report that the reps from each of our home warranty finalists were up to the task.

Do you need a home warranty?

Consider the following when asking yourself if a home warranty is right for you:

  • Your home’s location
  • Age of house
  • Your income
  • Your appliances
  • Your systems

A home warranty can help cover the repair or replacement costs of common household appliances and systems such as water heaters, electrical systems, air conditioning (with ductwork), and refrigerators. Since homeowners insurance typically won’t cover these costs, having a home warranty it s a great way to make sure you aren’t paying out-of-pocket when a hurricane ravages your home and damages your appliances. However, knowing how much protection your appliances will need can be challenging, especially if you aren’t certain how much longer your appliances will last. Sure, you might have a pretty good idea of how long that brand-new dishwasher will last, but what about the oven that came with the house? How old is the range and stove and just how much money will you need out of your home warranty to cover that eventual cost?

With the help of our top pick, we put together this handy table of the average appliance life span and repair/replacement costs in order to help you find the right home warranty to protect your appliances:

Appliance/System
Average Life Span
Estimated Repair or Replacement Cost
Water Heater
10-11 years
$200-$1,200
Washing Machine
8-12 years
$200-$700
Range/Oven
10-15 years
$175-$997
Central AC/Heating
15 years
$172-$4,000
Refrigerator
6-15 years
$150-$1,300
Dishwasher
8-10 years
$100-$690
Microwave Oven
9 years
$100-$400
Dryer
8-12 years
$58-$645

Home Warranty FAQ

What is the best home warranty company?

The best home warranty company for you will depend on what you’re looking for in a home warranty, whether it’s higher claims caps (Sears) or an appliance-only plan (American Home Shield). We recommend starting with our top picks and following our guide to find the best home warranty for your home:

The 8 Best Home Warranty Companies of 2019

  • Best Customizable Plan: American Home Shield Home Warranty
  • Best for New Homebuyers: The Home Service Club
  • Best Customer Satisfaction: Choice Home Warranty
  • Best Liability Caps: TotalProtect Home Warranty
  • Best Workmanship Guarantee: AFC Home Club
  • Best for Western States: Landmark Home Warranty
  • Best Claim Cap: Sears Home Warranty
  • Best for Low Fees: First American Home Warranty

What is a home warranty?

While home insurance covers the structure(s) of your home, a home warranty covers the systems and appliances within it. In exchange for paying a monthly or annual premium, your home warranty provider will repair or replace appliances and systems when they fail — subject to specific limitations, as laid out in your contract. Learn more in our guide to home warranties.

Are home warranties worth the money?

The average cost of a home warranty can range from $540 to $840 a year and it might go even higher for a comprehensive plan. In some cases, a home warranty can help you save a substantial amount of money on home repairs and faulty appliances. However, unless your warranty covers what you need, you might feel like you’re wasting your money investing in a home warranty program. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, be sure to shop around for the best home warranty and gather as many quotes as possible. We also recommend looking for providers with customizable coverage options, like American Home Shield.

What is the average cost of a home warranty?

If we’re being thorough and looking to cover both appliances and systems, plans can range from $540 to $840 a year. Of course, you might not want a combo plan for your home warranty and, in that case, the prices can be lower. Bear in mind that prices can vary. For example, our top pick would have you paying $540 per year for either an Appliance Plan or a Systems Plan. In addition to this, however, you can also customize your plan with American Home Shield, and that can impact how much or how little you’ll end up paying each year.

It’s definitely worth contacting a representative and shopping around for a price on a home warranty to fit your needs at a cost you can afford.

What’s the difference between a home warranty and homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your home and most belongings inside. It typically doesn’t cover major systems or appliances unless the damage occurs in a covered type of “sudden and accidental” event (such as a fire) — so wear and tear would not be covered. A home warranty covers damage to specific systems and appliances regardless of the cause (but does not cover structure or other belongings). Learn more about why you need home insurance and a home warranty.

What does a home warranty cover?

For the most part, you can expect that the mechanical components of a unit or appliance — the parts necessary for function, like a drain pump in your clothes washer or the pilot burner in your water heater — are covered. But the inert plastic bits, like knobs and covers, usually aren’t.

If all that’s wrong with your appliance is a cracked knob or dial, this repair is usually deemed “cosmetic.” You’ll have to hit up Home Depot or call an independent handyman to replace these parts. In any case, reviewing your contract and checking with your warranty provider is the best way to determine the exact amount of coverage your warranty will provide for each appliance.

How do I make a home warranty claim?

Your contract should specify what steps you need to take to make a claim. Usually, you’ll be instructed to call a 24/7 customer service hotline, but keep an eye out for contracts that state the company is closed on holidays (a problem we ran into with America’s First Choice).

After you call the hotline, many contracts stipulate a 48-hour wait period as they get in touch with a service technician, who will then reach out to you to set up an appointment. But again, pay attention to the specifics: Weekends and holidays can combine to kick you up to four days of waiting with companies like First Choice.

What if an appliance repair or replacement doesn’t work?

Because not all problems are an easy fix, make sure a recall period or workmanship guarantee is present within your contract. If you discover that your unit is still not working properly within this timeframe, the service provider will schedule a second appointment at no charge. TotalProtect and Sears come with impressive 180-day recall periods, and American Home Shield offers a respectable 60 days. But many home warranty providers don’t offer them at all.

How does a home warranty company decide between repairs or a replacement?

Home warranty companies will replace a unit when they determine it’s “beyond economic repair.” If you qualify for a replacement, the company will either choose a base model for you (the standard unit, zero enhancements, and the color of the company’s choice) or give you the cash to purchase on your own. Fair warning: If the old unit needs to be carted away, you’re usually responsible for disposing of it.

Is a home warranty part of closing costs?

Yes. Since closing costs include all expenses associated with buying a home, the home warranty would also be part of those costs. In most cases, you (the buyer) would be responsible for covering this fee upon purchasing the house. However, in some circumstances, the seller or Realtor might pay as part of a contract.

Can I cancel my home warranty?

You should have 30 days after first signing up to cancel your contract without penalty. After that, you’re liable for a one-time termination fee. First American charges a $50 cancellation fee, for instance, while American Home Shield charges the same amount as your monthly payment.

Most contracts are good for one year, but companies like Home Warranty of America, TotalProtect, and Sears automatically renew your contract at the end of 12 months. We’d recommend always reading through the renewal information to make sure pricing hasn’t increased and that none of the terms or conditions has changed.

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