A home warranty can pay for the repair or replacement of home systems and appliances when they break down as a result of malfunction, or normal wear and tear.
It can be a real lifesaver when faced with stressful and expensive home repairs — or add to your frustrations if you later find out it excludes the appliances or systems that you need to repair.
We’ve compiled a list of top home warranty companies for September 2021 to help you find the best home protection plan and the most value for your money.
Our Top Picks for Best Home Warranties
- American Home Shield: Most Customizable
- First American Home Warranty: Most Comprehensive Basic Plan
- Liberty Home Guard: Most Add-Ons
- AFC Home Club: Best Premiums
- Select Home Warranty: Best for Discounts
Best Home Warranty Reviews
- Largest home warranty service provider in the country
- Highly customizable plans
- Lenient liability limitations
- Repairs are only guaranteed for 30 days
- Plans unavailable in Alaska
- Roof leak coverage unavailable
Why we chose this company: American Home Shield offers three customizable plans that cover more than 23 home appliances and systems.
With American Home Shield, clients can customize their home warranty plan and choose any 10 items from their systems and appliances options without paying for 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|
- 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
- Not available in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Illinois, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, or Hawaii
Why we chose this company: First American Home Warranty offers a very comprehensive basic plan, low service fees and affordable monthly payments.
With First American Home Warranty’s Basic Plan, you get comprehensive coverage for 10 costly-to-repair appliances for only $30 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 Premier Plan.
Both plans 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.
For $9 per month, you can upgrade any of their two plans to “First Class,” an optional service that includes coverage for malfunctions due to improper installations, modifications and previous repairs. It also covers expenses associated with building permits, hauling and the use of cranes or lifting equipment.
Service fees range from $50 up to $100, depending on your plan and region. Additionally, appliances have a payout limit of up to $3,500 for diagnosis, repairs and replacements.
|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
- Relatively low payout limits
Why we chose this company: Liberty Home Guard has the most extensive list of add-ons in the market, including rarely covered items such as gutter cleaning.
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.
Additionally, a realtor portal allows real estate agents to partner with Liberty Home Guard so that you can purchase a home warranty before the closing date. This is particularly useful if you want your protection plan to start immediately after closing your mortgage deal.
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|
- 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
Why we chose this company: AFC Home Club has four different plans, including two hybrid ones (that cover both systems and appliances), and lets you choose your own service contractors.
AFC Home Club (America’s First Choice) caught our attention for its affordable 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 depends on the chosen service fee ($75, $100, $125). Monthly premiums for one-year contracts range from $42 for the Silver Plan up to $67 for the most comprehensive Platinum Plan.
However, customers can choose between a one-year contract or a three-year contract term, saving up to 10% per month if they choose the three-year option.
For instance, for AFC Home Club’s System or Silver Plan, customers would pay less than $40 a month and $53 or less for their Gold and Platinum plan.
|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|
- 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
- Homeowners must provide 3 years of maintenance records to guarantee coverage on some systems
Why we chose this company: Select Home Warranty plans include free roof leak coverage, plus the company offers multiple discount promotions throughout the year.
Select Home Warranty offers some notable discounts, including two months' free service if the plan is paid annually, and special multi-year discounts when you sign up for more than one year beforehand. The company also has occasional promotions that knock off between $100 and $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.
Do note that the company may cap payouts per system or appliance at $150 if you can’t provide three years’ worth of maintenance records. 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|
|Dishwasher||Roof Coverage||Clothes Washer|
|Clothes Dryer||Garbage Disposal|
|Garage Door Openers|
Other Home Warranty Companies We Considered
- Standard service call fee of $75 for all plans.
- Optional add-ons include coverage for stand-alone freezers and wine refrigerators.
- Plans cover fewer items compared to competitors.
- Company's BBB accreditation is currently revoked.
- Does not service California, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Washington.
- Features affordable plans.
- Standard service call fee of $85.
- Lacks flexibility in its coverage options.
- Unavailable in California and Washington.
- The Arizona Attorney General filed a lawsuit against CHW for allegedly making false promises to customers.
- Monthly cost ranges from $35 up to $62 with service calls of $70 and $100
- Plans include coverage for pest control and subterranean termite treatments
- Roof leak repair available as an add-on
- Only available in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Utah
- Not accredited by the BBB
- Available in contiguous US
- Offers three plans — Appliances, Built-in Systems and Complete Home
- 180-day workmanship guarantee
- Plans include rust and corrosion coverage
- Unknown pre-existing conditions coverage
- Higher deductibles than other contenders, from $100 to $150
Home Warranty Guide
This guide covers the basics on what a home warranty is, the different types of coverage plans they offer and how to determine whether that monthly premium is actually worth it. It also includes important factors to consider before you choose the best plan for you.
What Is a Home Warranty?
A home warranty is a service contract that helps you pay for repairs if and when major household systems or appliances break down. It can be the perfect complement to your homeowners insurance policy, because while the latter pays for damages caused by unexpected events and perils (fire, theft and weather events), home warranties pay for the repair or replacement of appliances and systems that malfunction due to normal wear and tear.
A home warranty could save you money if your appliances and systems are reaching the end of their usable life. 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 unforeseen home repair costs if they buy your house.
Do note that if your home needs a major makeover, and you need to upgrade appliances that aren’t in need of repair yet, a home improvement loan is a better option. (Make sure to check out our How to Get a Home Improvement Loan guide to get you started.)
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 — also called add-ons or riders — that 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 system / Septic tank pumping system|
|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|
|Central vacuums||Dishwashers||Standalone freezer or second refrigerator|
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:
- evaluate the kinds of appliances you have in your house and determine if they're currently working (warranties do not pay to fix items that are already broken)
- read sample contracts paying 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 you find it difficult to budget for emergencies, 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.
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
- cleaning coils
However, it ultimately depends on whether service technicians decide there was proper maintenance.
TIP: If you buy a home warranty, we recommend you take pictures and document that maintenance of the appliances is being routinely 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 prefer that the manufacturer — Whirlpool, Samsung, GE, etc. — repair their own products if the appliances remain under a manufacturer’s warranty.
How to choose the best home warranty for you
As you browse home warranty companies and plans, keep the following things in mind before signing on that dotted line.
Get different quotes and compare - Get at least three free quotes. If you have questions about pricing and coverage, clear them with a representative.
Read sample contracts - Identify the limitations and exclusions in the contract and check payout limits.
When in doubt about budgeting maintenance and replacement costs, remember the 1% rule and the square foot rule — although 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: Budget about $1 a year for every square foot of livable space for the eventual replacement of a roof or major systems.
Differences in state licensing
Research and review home warranty regulations to ensure the company is licensed and legally allowed to do business in your state.
The insurance commissioner or Department of Consumer Protection oversees home warranty companies in many states. Check out this State Licensing Guide to find your local regulator.
Remember, appliances with active manufacturer warranties, malfunction resulting from rust, corrosion, toxic materials, improper installation, or pre-existing conditions (known or unknown) are typically not covered by a home warranty.
Companies are also not liable for repairs of cosmetic defects, routine maintenance, or malfunctions caused by acts of nature such as fire, flood, earthquakes or storms. (The latter are covered by homeowners insurance or flood insurance policies.)
The best home warranty companies are known for providing great customer service and are more flexible in paying claims. They’re also open to feedback, and encourage their customers to review or rate their technicians.
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 optional. 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 disposal, washing machine, or electrical system breaks down from normal wear and tear.
How soon can you use a home warranty after purchase?
Most home warranty companies mandate a 30-day waiting period before homeowners can file a claim.
In other words, your contract won’t be effective until 31 days after the date of purchase. If a system or appliance in your home were to break down during this period, it’s possible that you won’t be able to request service or that only part of the repair would be covered.
However, if you buy your home warranty as part of a real estate transaction, your coverage should start on the day of closing.
Does a home warranty require a home inspection?
Most home warranty companies will not require a home inspection when you purchase one of their comprehensive plans. However, we recommend that consumers perform an inspection anyway so they can document the condition of their systems and appliances before buying a warranty.
What voids a home warranty?
Each home warranty company has its own set of rules regarding what voids your home warranty insurance for a specific system or appliance. In some cases, this can include:
- unauthorized repairs, whether by using an unapproved contractor (licensed or not) or attempting to do the repairs yourself
- home improvement projects
- failing to keep your home up to building codes
- misplacing ownership documentation
How do I cancel my home warranty?
First, call the home warranty company and make sure to get the name of the representative you talk to — while it may seem like more of a hassle, this tends to get quick 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 We Chose the Best Home Warranty Companies
Our methodology focused on four key factors: transparency in services offered, claims processing, cost, and quality of customer service. We also considered criteria such as contract terms, the types of covered malfunctions or failures, payout limits, cost-efficiency, and service fees. Finally, we checked every company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), including their accreditation or lack thereof, rating and reviews.