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Published: Jun 28, 2024 31 min read

Money's Main Takeaways

  • Home warranty plans cover system and appliance malfunctions that are due to normal wear and tear, and exclude damage from pre-existing conditions.
  • Home warranty companies typically offer plans for home systems, appliances or a combination of both.
  • Home warranty companies charge a service call fee between $75 and $150.
  • Bear in mind that most home warranty companies have a waiting period before coverage starts. The companies on our list have a 30-day waiting period.
  • Our selection of home warranty companies offer prices ranging from $27 to $120 per month.
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Why trust us

Our editors and writers review home warranty companies independently, ensuring our content is accurate and guided by editorial integrity. Read the full methodology to learn more.

  • Based on 15+ data points, including coverage, policy exclusions and pricing
  • 23 home warranty companies evaluated
  • 50+ authoritative sources reviewed

Our Top Picks for Best Home Warranty Companies

The companies listed below are in alphabetical order.

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Best Home Warranty Company Reviews

Pros
  • Offers up to 65% off in Whirlpool and GE brand appliances
  • Color match for replaced appliances
  • $5 monthly discount with auto-renewal
Cons
  • No coverage for garage doors or roof leaks (available as add-on)
  • Not available in Hawaii and Alaska
HIGHLIGHTS
Monthly Premiums
$27 - $61
Available Plans
3
Service Fees
$65, $85, $100
State Availability
Nationwide, except AK and HI
Response Time
48 hours
BBB Rating
A

Why we chose this company: 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty’s premium plan covers a wide range of items that most home warranty companies don’t, such as turntable platforms, rotisseries, ceramic cooktops and concrete-encased plumbing.

2-10 HBW offers three home warranty plans: Simply Kitchen, Complete Home and Pinnacle Home plan. All three plans come with 2-10 HBW’s Appliance Discounts Program which gives you discounts of up to 65% on Whirlpool and GE brands. 2-10 HBW also offers to match your appliance color during replacements and a $100 reimbursement if you decide to replace a broken appliance instead of requesting service.

In addition, 2-10 HBW offers a Service Fee Guarantee. This means that if a request isn't eligible for service, 2-10 HBW will refund your service fee. It also means that you don’t have to pay another service fee if the same component fails after receiving service.

2-10 Home Buyers Warranty plans and pricing

  • Simply Kitchen ($27/mo.*): Built-in microwave, dishwasher, range, oven, cooktop, refrigerator with ice maker.
  • Complete Home ($47/mo.*): Built-in microwave, dishwasher, range, oven, cooktop, refrigerator with ice maker, heating system, air conditioning, heat pump, thermostats, plumbing system, pipe leaks or breaks, sump pump, water heater, line stoppages, toilet tank, toilet bowl, tank assembly parts, valves, pressure regulators, electrical system, switches, outlets, panels, doorbell.
  • Pinnacle Home ($61/mo*): Everything covered by Complete Home plus haul away, disposal fees, filters, attic and bathroom exhaust, washers, dryers, burglar and fire alarms.
  • Add-ons: Washer and dryer, garage door opener, HVAC tune-up.
*Prices may vary depending on your state. Current quoted prices are valid as of May 2024 for a home in California.

Read the full 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty review.


Pros
  • A variety of additional benefits, from discounts to credit monitoring
  • Clients can choose their own technicians
  • Platinum Plan covers microwave ovens, ice makers and plumbing stoppages
Cons
  • One-day period for reporting issues with a system or appliance
  • $75 plan cancellation fee
  • System plan not available in some areas
HIGHLIGHTS
Monthly Premiums
$48 - $77
Available Plans
4
Service Fees
$75, $100, $125
State Availability
Nationwide, except HI
Response Time
48 hours
BBB Rating
B

Why we chose this company: AFC Home Warranty lets you choose your own service contractors and offers affordable premiums, including two hybrid plans (that cover both systems and appliances).

AFC Home Warranty (America’s First Choice) first 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. In addition, AFC Home Warranty has one of the strongest service guarantees in the industry: both parts and labor are guaranteed for the life of the contract.

As with other home warranty companies, AFC pricing depends on the chosen service fee ($75, $100, $125). Monthly premiums for one-year contracts range from $40 for the Silver Plan up to $112 for the most comprehensive plan (depending on your location).

AFC Home Warranty plans and pricing

  • Silver Plan ($48.75 - $54.33/mo.*): Clothes dryer, clothes washer, kitchen refrigerator, oven, range, stove, cooktop, dishwasher, garbage disposal, garage door opener.
  • Gold Plan ($65.42 - $70.92/mo.*): Everything covered by Silver Plan plus air conditioning, heating system, water heater, electrical system, plumbing system, ductwork.
  • Platinum Plan ($70.92 - $76.50/mo.*): Everything covered by the Gold Plan plus plumbing stoppages, faucets, built-in microwave, ice maker, fans.
  • Diamond Plan ($105.50 - $112.75/mo.*): Everything covered by the Platinum Plan plus electronics, exterior sewer lines, exterior water lines.
  • Add-ons: Sump pump, well pump, septic system, central vacuum, in-ground pool and spa, stand alone freezer, roof leak repair, electronics, hot water dispenser, ice maker, double oven, built-in microwave.

*Prices may vary depending on your state. Current quoted prices are valid as of May 2024 for a home in New York.

Read the full AFC Home Warranty review.


Pros
  • Largest home warranty service provider in the country
  • Highly customizable service plans
  • Offers coverage for home electronics
Cons
  • Repairs are only guaranteed for 30 days
  • Plans unavailable in Alaska
  • Roof leak coverage unavailable in Hawaii
HIGHLIGHTS
Monthly Premiums
$30 - $90
Available Plans
3
Service Fees
$100, $125
State Availability
Nationwide, except Alaska and New York City
Response Time
48 hours
BBB Rating
B

Why we chose this company: We chose American Home Shield as the best home warranty for HVAC because it offers free HVAC tune-ups with its premium plan and fewer restrictions in coverage than most competitors.

With American Home Shield, clients can choose from three comprehensive plans and customize them by adding coverage for other systems and appliances, including home electronics and entertainment products.

Together, AHS’ comprehensive plans — ShieldSilver, ShieldGold and ShieldPlatinum — cover more than 23 home appliances and systems. In addition, its premium plan, ShieldPlatinum, covers up to $1,500 for roof leak repair, HVAC tune-ups, code violations and AC refrigerant.

American Home Shield plans and pricing

  • ShieldSilver ($29.99 - $39.99/mo.*): Air conditioner, heating units, ductwork, built-in exhaust, vents, attic fans, main breaker, fuse panel box, doorbells, chimes, interior electrical lines, ceiling fans, garage door openers, interior plumbing, toilet, faucets, valves, whirlpool tub motor and components, water heaters.
  • ShieldGold ($49.99 - $59.99/mo.*):  Everything covered by ShieldSilver plus kitchen refrigerator, ranges, cooktop, oven, dishwasher, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, instant hot/cold water dispensers, clothes washer, clothes dryer.
  • ShieldPlatinum ($79.99 - $89.99/mo.*): Everything covered by ShieldGold plus roof leak repairs, free HVAC tune-up, unlimited A/C refrigerant, coverage for code violations and permits.
  • Add-ons: Roof leak repair, electronics protection plan, pool, inground spa, guest unit, septic pump, well pump.

*Prices may vary depending on your state. Current quoted prices are valid as of May 2024 for a home in California.

Read the full American Home Shield review.


Pros
  • Available in 47 states
  • 180-day workmanship guarantee
  • Plans include rust and corrosion coverage
  • Covers unknown pre-existing conditions
Cons
  • Higher deductibles than some competitors, from $100 to $150
  • Additional coverage options only available while getting a quote
HIGHLIGHTS
Monthly Premiums
$30.99 - $93.99
Available Plans
3
Service Fees
$100, $125, $150
State Availability
48 states, not available in AK, HI
Response Time
48 hours
BBB Rating
B+

Why we chose this company: Cinch Home Services’ system plan includes coverage for items that other home warranty companies usually offer as an add-on.

What stands out about Cinch plans is that they include coverage for items that other companies charge extra for such as sump pumps, water dispensers and smoke detectors. Cinch’s appliance plan covers freestanding ice makers and built-in food centers, while its system plan covers sump pumps, doorbells, smoke detectors and tankless water heaters.

Cinch services are backed by a 180-day workmanship guarantee on the work performed. This is considerably longer than the 30- and 90-day guarantees offered by most companies (except for AFC Home Club, which offers a service guarantee for the life of the contract).

Cinch Home Services plans and pricing

  • Appliances ($72.99 - $82.99/mo.*): Refrigerator, ranges, cooktops, range exhaust hoods, clothes dryer, washer, dishwasher, built-in food centers, freestanding ice makers, built-in microwave, wall ovens, trash compactors, water sensor.
  • Built-in systems ($76.99 - $88.99/mo.*): Air conditioning, ductwork, attic fans, ceiling fans, central vacuums, doorbells, electrical system, garage door opener, built-in exhaust, lighting fixtures, garbage disposal, heating system, instant cold and hot water dispensers, plumbing system, smoke detectors, sump pump, toilets, faucets and valves, whirlpool or jetted tub, water heater (including tankless water heaters and circulating pumps), water sensor.
  • Complete Home ($93.99 - $105.99/mo.*): All systems and appliances covered by the previous plans, homeowners insurance deductible reimbursement of up to $500.
  • Add-ons: Pool and spa (including heater), septic tank, well pump, coverage for permits.
*Prices may vary depending on your state. Current quoted prices are valid as of May 2024 for a home in New York.

Read the full Cinch Home Warranty review.


Pros
  • Affordable basic plan options with competitive coverage
  • Essential and Premium plans cover improper installations and code violations
  • Premium plan covers all costs related to refrigerant recharging
Cons
  • No systems-only plan
  • Limited list of add-ons
  • Not available in AK, CT, DE, HI, IL, LA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NY, ND, RI, VI, WI
HIGHLIGHTS
Monthly Premiums
$42 - $82
Available Plans
3
Service Fees
$75, $100, $125
State Availability
35 states
Response Time
48 hours
BBB Rating
B

Why we chose this company: First American Home Warranty’s starter plan offers comprehensive basic coverage for major appliances and systems, at a competitive price.

With First American’s Starter Plan, you get extensive coverage for nine costly-to-repair appliances and systems starting at $42 a month. Customers who need more coverage can choose the company’s Essential or Premium Plans.

All plans cover damages caused by lack of maintenance, rust, corrosion and chemical or sedimentary build-up, which may be vital if you’re buying an older home. They also feature limited roof leak coverage, which includes leaks caused by normal wear and tear for tar and gravel, tile, shingle or composition roofs.

First American Home plans and pricing

  • Starter Plan ($42 - $57/mo.*): Dishwasher, refrigerator, kitchen range hood, built-in microwave oven, range, oven, cooktop, plumbing, plumbing stoppages, toilet tanks, electrical system, smoke detector, fuses, switches, doorbells, circuit breakers, ductwork, heating, thermostats, refrigerant.
  • Essential Plan ($52 - 67/mo.*): Everything covered by the Starter plan plus clothes washer, dryer, trash compactor, water heater, exhaust fans, attic fans, whole house fans, ceiling fans, garage door opener, air conditioning, mini-split ductless systems, concrete encasement, HVAC lifting equipment, refrigerant recapture or disposal.
  • Premium Plan ($67 - $82/mo.*): Everything covered by the Starter and Essential plan plus luxury appliance coverage, garbage disposal, full garage door system, hose bibbs, instant hot water dispenser, shower head, shower arm, ground level cleanout, central vacuum system, grills, filters, window AC units.
  • Add-ons: Pool, spa, additional refrigerators, wine refrigerator, standing freezer, free standing ice maker, water softener, septic tank pumping, well pump.

*Prices may vary depending on your state. Current quoted prices are valid as of May 2024 for a single-family home under 4,000 sq. ft. in California.

Read the full First American Home Warranty review.


Pros
  • Over 20 items of additional coverage options
  • 60-day workmanship guarantee on repairs
  • Overwhelmingly positive BBB reviews
Cons
  • Relatively low payout limits
HIGHLIGHTS
Monthly Premiums
$60 - $70
Available Plans
3
Service Fees
$90
State Availability
50 states
Response Time
48 hours
BBB Rating
NR

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 possible add-ons. Customers can choose from over 40 items to add to their coverage — one of the most extensive lists of add-ons in the home warranty market.

That list includes items commonly covered by other home warranty companies — pools, spas, well pumps, sump pumps, central vacuums — and other, more rarely covered items such as limited roof leaks, lock replacement, gutter cleaning, pest control and electronics protection.

Its per-claim service fee is $90, with a payout limit of $2,000 per covered item.

Liberty Home Guard plans and pricing

  • Appliance Guard ($59.99/mo.*): Clothes washer, clothes dryer, kitchen refrigerator, built-in microwave oven, dishwasher, garbage disposals, ranges, ovens, cooktops, ceiling and exhaust fans, garage door opener.
  • Systems Guard ($64.99/mo.*):  Air conditioning system, heating, ductwork, plumbing system, electrical system, water heater.
  • Total Home Guard ($69.99/mo.*): All systems and appliances covered by the previous plans.
  • Add-ons: Over 40 options, including generators, septic system pumping, second refrigerator, trash compactor, water filter system, pest control, carpet cleaning, gutter cleaning, lawn sprinkler system, guest unit

*Prices may vary depending on your state. Current quoted prices are valid as of May 2024 for a single-family home under 5,000 sq. ft. in California.

Read the full Liberty Home Guard review.


Pros
  • Covers roof leaks
  • 60-day repair guarantee
  • Discounts for multi-year plans
Cons
  • Unavailable in NY, NV, WA and WI
  • Low coverage caps for many home services
  • Homeowners must provide 3 years of maintenance records to guarantee coverage on some systems
HIGHLIGHTS
Monthly Premiums
$44 - $50
Available Plans
3
Service Fees
$75
State Availability
46 states
Response Time
2 days and up to 4 days during weekends
BBB Rating
B

Why we chose this company: Select Home Warranty plans include roof leak coverage and multiple discount promotions throughout the year.

Select Home Warranty offers some notable discounts, including two months of free service if you pay for a full year upfront, and special discounts when you sign up for more than one year. 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 $42 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 fee is set at $75. In addition, all three plans cover roof leak repairs.

Select Home Warranty plans and pricing

  • Bronze Care ($45.67/mo.*): garbage disposal, refrigerator, stove, oven, built-in microwave, cooktop, dishwasher, clothes washer, clothes dryer, roof coverage.
  • Gold Care ($45.67/mo.*): - A/C cooling, heating system, plumbing system, electrical system, water heater, ductwork, roof coverage.
  • Platinum Care ($50.25/mo.*): All systems and appliances covered by the previous plans.
  • Add-ons: Central vacuum, lawn sprinkler system, pool, septic system, spa, stand alone freezer, sump pump, well pump.

*Prices may vary depending on your state. Current quoted prices are valid as of May 2024 for a home in California.

Read the full Select Home Warranty review.


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Other home warranty companies we considered

We researched a wide array of companies in order to find the best home warranty. The following companies didn’t make the final cut.


American Residential Warranty

Pros
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Offers coverage for electronic devices
  • Lets you choose your own contractor
Cons
  • Limited information about coverage limits

American Residential Warranty is available nationwide and currently offers three home warranty plans.

ARW’s Appliance Max plan covers most common kitchen appliances — like cooktops, ranges, microwaves and dishwashers — along with clothes dryers and washers. Systems Max covers common home systems such as plumbing systems, central home heating and air conditioning. ARW’s Total Max bundled plan covers all systems and appliances, as well as garage door openers, humidifiers and ceiling fans.

You can also add electronics protection, which covers anything from laptops, gaming consoles and tablets to printers and plasma TVs. Other add-ons include water and sewer line plans.

Read the full American Residential Warranty review.


Choice Home Warranty

Pros
  • Affordable plans
  • Standard service call fee of $85
Cons
  • Lacks flexibility in its coverage options
  • The Arizona Attorney General sued CHW for allegedly making false promises to customers
  • Unavailable in California and Washington

Choice Home Warranty features two plans that cover most appliances and systems and charges a standard $85 service fee. Choice Home Warranty prices are affordable, with plans starting at around $46.

However, the company’s coverage caps are somewhat lower than the competition, and its coverage conditions lack flexibility. In addition, the company has a pending government action in Arizona for allegedly making false promises to customers and using bad-faith refusals to avoid paying for repairs.

Read the full Choice Home Warranty review


Elite Home Warranty

Pros
  • Lets you choose your own technician
  • Option to choose no service fee
  • High coverage caps
Cons
  • Limited coverage for the first 90 days
  • Not available in California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin
  • Few years in the industry

Elite Home Warranty is one of the few companies that lets you choose a $0 service call (although that will mean an increased annual premium). You can also increase the policy’s maximum coverage limits for an additional cost. However, aside from the regular 30-day waiting period, the company has a 90-day limited coverage period. During this time, the company will cover up to the amount in your agreement.

As of this writing, Elite is available in 46 states. It doesn’t service the following: California, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin.

Read the full Elite Home Warranty review


Landmark Home Warranty

Landmark Home Warranty used to offer two home warranty plans: a systems only plan and a comprehensive plan that covers both systems and appliances. However, Landmark has now partnered with American Home Shield, and offers other types of home warranties through that brand.


Old Republic Home Protection

Pros
  • In business for more than 45 years
  • Offers electronics and smart home equipment coverage plan
  • Standard service call fee of $75
Cons
  • Only available in 32 states
  • Covered systems and appliances varies by state
  • Kitchen refrigerator and washer/dryer coverage available for home buyers only
  • Does not offer quotes online

Old Republic Home Protection services 32 states, including Hawaii. It offers coverage for a wide range of systems and appliances, although covered components vary by state.

Some perks include electronics and smart home equipment plans and coverage for pest control treatments in some locations. Do note, however, that Old Republic Home Protection doesn't allow customers to request quotes or apply for a home warranty online.

Read the full Old Republic Home Protection review


ServicePlus Home Warranty

Pros
  • Plans cover a mix of both appliances and systems
  • Platinum plan covers two AC units and two heating systems
  • Standard service call fee of $75
Cons
  • Doesn't offer appliance or system only plans
  • Not accredited by the BBB
  • Must purchase ServicePlus premium plan (Platinum) to get coverage for AC and heating systems

ServicePlus Home Warranty offers two different plans: the basic plan covers a mix of systems and appliances such as plumbing, electrical and most kitchen appliances while the premium plan covers all that plus A/C and heating systems, washers, dryers and refrigerators. Customers can also choose over a dozen add-on options to round out their coverage.

A drawback, however, is that ServicePlus doesn’t offer an appliance or a systems-only plan, which other competitors on our list do.


Compare the Best Home Warranty Companies

Company

Best For

Monthly Cost
Service Fee
BBB Rating
Best Enhanced Coverage
$27 - $61
$65, $85 or $100
A
Best Premiums

$48 - $112

$75, $100 or $125
B
Best for HVAC
$30 - $90
$100 or $125
B
Best Systems Plan
$31 - $94
$100, $125 or $150
B+
Best Starter Plan
$42 - $82
$75, $100 or $125
B
Best for Optional Add-Ons
$60 - $70
$90

NR

Best for Roof Coverage
$45 - $50
$75
B

Best 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 keep in mind as you’re choosing a plan.

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.

Unlike homeowners insurance, which provides coverage for damages caused by natural disasters, theft or accidents, home warranties help cover the cost of repairing or replacing home systems or appliances when specific parts and components fail due to normal wear and tear.

How does a home warranty work?

Once a home warranty contract is in effect, you can contact your company and request a service for a covered system or appliance malfunction.

If the malfunction is listed in your policy, the company will, then, send a qualified contractor in your area to diagnose and repair the problem. Depending on the situation, some providers may opt to replace your item instead, up to the covered amount stated in your contract.

Prior to receiving the service, you're typically required to pay a service fee or deductible ranging from $50 to $150. The exact amount is decided when you choose a policy and should be listed in your contract.

Is a home warranty worth it?

The following list of factors may help you determine whether purchasing a home warranty is 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 weren't purchased recently

Your appliances are new — 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 don't have good DIY skills

You have established relationships with contractors or maintenance people, or are good at DIY-ing repairs

How much does a home warranty cost?

A home warranty costs anywhere from $300 to $700 annually, or between $30 to $80 a month, depending on the type of plan you choose. Typically, systems and appliances-only plans are lower priced than all-inclusive plans.

The service fee, which is the amount you agree to pay for each repair visit, also plays a key role in plan pricing. Plans with higher service fees will generally cost less per month than plans that charge a lower service fee.

The most cost-effective plans strike a balance between price, types of items covered, service fee and payout limits.

Factors that influence home warranty costs

Several factors can affect the cost of your policy, including:

  • Coverage: The type of coverage you choose is the factor that most influences your home warranty cost. Systems or appliance-only plans generally cost less than comprehensive plans that cover both major systems and appliances. As is to be expected, the more extensive the coverage, the higher the cost. Add-ons can also increase your premium.
  • Service call fee: Another factor that directly affects the cost of your home warranty policy is the service call fee, or deductibles. Lower service call fees generally imply higher monthly payments, whereas plans with higher service fees cost less per month.
  • Home size: Some home warranty companies consider the type of property and size of your home — that is, the square footage or number of rooms — in their pricing. Larger homes or homes with unique features generally require more extensive (or customized) coverage, which leads to higher premiums.
  • Location: Pricing can vary depending on where you live too, mainly due to differences in cost of living. Companies may also factor in specific environmental conditions that affect the typical wear and tear of home systems in your region. These variations often result in higher or lower premiums.

How to choose the best home warranty company

As you browse companies and plans, keep the following things in mind before signing on that dotted line.

1. Get different quotes and compare

Get at least three free quotes from different companies and compare the pricing and coverage. In addition to the monthly payment, compare each company’s service call fee. This is the amount you will pay whenever you request a repair from the company. Service fees can range anywhere from $50 to $150, though most home warranty companies typically charge between $75 to $125.

2. Read sample contracts

Identify the limitations and exclusions in the contract and check payout limits. Pay special attention to the appliances you already have and how the policies may treat claims on these in particular.

3. Understand coverage limits

Aside from limiting coverage to specific parts and components, home warranties have coverage limits or caps, which are the maximum amount the company will pay for a covered malfunction. Because coverage caps vary widely from company to company, it’s important you evaluate them and make sure you choose a plan that includes enough coverage for your needs.

4. Check differences in state licensing

Research and review the applicable 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.

5. Gauge a company's reputation

When evaluating a company’s reputation, it’s important to do a comprehensive search for its name online. Make sure to read customer reviews and, especially, be on the lookout for any record of recent legal action taken against it.

What does a home warranty cover?

Generally, home warranty companies offer coverage for the same array of home systems and appliances. Some companies also offer optional coverage options that you can include for an extra fee.

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.

Below is a list of common items covered by most policies:

Most Common Home Systems Covered:

Most Common Home Appliances Covered

Most Common Add-On Coverage

Heating and air conditioning (HVAC system)

Refrigerators

Pools and inground spas

Plumbing systems

Laundry machines (clothes washer, dryers)

Septic system / septic tanks pumping

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

Stand-alone freezer or second refrigerator

Ceiling fans and exhausts

Trash compactors

Lawn sprinkler system

What a home warranty won’t cover

Most home warranty companies exclude damage from pre-existing conditions (known or unknown) your system might have. They may also limit coverage to specific parts of your systems and appliances. These exclusions are typically listed in the fine print, which is why it’s important you read over any contracts carefully.

Companies are also not liable for malfunctions caused by acts of nature such as fire, flood, earthquakes or storms. (The latter are covered by homeowners insurance or flood insurance policies.)

Other items and events that may not be covered include:

  • Cosmetic issues, such as scratches or dents
  • Appliances with active manufacturer warranties
  • Components like light fixtures, knobs, handles or hinges
  • Structural parts of your home, such as doors, windows, chimneys or floors
  • Breakdowns caused by lack of maintenance or improper installation
  • Removal or replacement of damages caused by mildew, mold, rot or fungus
  • Malfunction resulting from rust, corrosion, toxic materials
  • Items with altered serial numbers
  • Damage caused by animals or insect infestation

Home warranty vs. home insurance

The main difference between a home warranty and homeowners insurance is what each one covers and under what circumstances. Below are some key differences:

Home warranty

Home insurance

A home warranty covers the cost of repairing or replacing systems and appliances after breakdowns, malfunctions and normal wear and tear.

Homeowners insurance covers expenses if your house or personal property are damaged by perils like fires and theft.

A home warranty is optional and is generally paid annually or monthly.

Homeowners insurance is required by lenders as part of the mortgage process and is paid annually.

A home warranty can supplement your homeowners insurance policy and help you find a qualified service contractor in your area to perform repairs and installations.

Home insurance may provide liability coverage for accidents that occur in the property.

How to understand home warranty contracts

Before signing up with a particular provider, take the time to understand the contract. Below are three main points to review:

  • Check what items are covered: Although most home warranty companies cover similar items, there can be significant variations on their plans. It’s important you read the fine print and confirm that the company provides coverage for the items you want to protect.
  • Understand coverage caps: Companies generally list coverage caps for particular systems and appliances. These caps are the maximum amount the company will pay to repair or replace a covered item per contract term.
  • Find what isn't covered: Keep an eye out on the components or events that are not covered. Most providers list specific limitations and exclusions on their contracts. For instance, some companies may cover roof repairs but exclude metal roofs and roof-mounted installations from their coverage.

Questions to ask your home warranty provider

If after reviewing the sample contract you have questions about coverage or the home warranty plan, make sure to ask the provider. These are some good questions to ask:

  • Is there a waiting period before coverage begins?
  • What is the service fee (or deductible)?
  • Can I choose my own service contractor to perform repairs?
  • Is there a limit on how many times I can request a service?
  • Are there any cancellation fees or penalties?
  • What are the coverage caps or maximum payouts per item or contract term?
  • Are pre-existing conditions covered?
  • Can I customize my coverage after purchasing a home warranty plan?
  • What is the policy on replacements versus repairs?

How to file a home warranty claim

The process of filing a home warranty claim can vary from company to company. However, it could generally include the following steps:

1. Request a service: Most warranty companies require that you notify a malfunction as soon as it happens. You can typically do this by calling their customer service number or submitting a claim online, if the company has an online portal.

2. Coordinate repairs: Once your claim is approved, the warranty provider will typically schedule an appointment with a service technician. If your contract states that you can choose your own, you may schedule a visit with an authorized contractor directly.

3. Pay the service call fee: Depending on your policy, you may have to pay a service call fee or deductible upon requesting a service. This fee should be already specified in your contract.

What to do if your home warranty claim is denied

A denied claim can be frustrating, but before you decide to pay for repairs out of pocket, take the time to understand the reasons for the denial. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Review the denial letter: Your home warranty company should send you a written notification with the reasons for the denial. Identify them and review your contract to confirm whether your claim is indeed covered or not. If you have enough information to believe that your claim should be covered, consider making an appeal.

2. Gather documentation: Maintenance records, photos and pre-inspection documentation may be helpful to address your denial. You may also request a copy of the company’s inspection report. This way you can know the specifics of the diagnosis and look for a second opinion with an independent contractor.

3. File an appeal: Once you collect all the relevant documentation, reach out to the company and discuss the denial. Ask for clarification on the reasons behind the decision and ask for the process for filing an appeal or new claim. During this process, keep a record of all communications with the company, including names, dates and details of the conversations.

If your efforts to resolve the issue with the company are unsuccessful and your denial appears to be in violation of the terms in your contract, consider filing a complaint with a consumer protection office in your state or consumer organizations like the Better Business Bureau.

What voids a home warranty?

Each provider has its own set of rules regarding the factors that could void your policy for a specific system or appliance. In some instances, a claim may be denied for the following reasons:

  • Unauthorized repairs or modifications, whether by using an unapproved contractor (licensed or not) or attempting to do the repairs yourself
  • Improper maintenance or installation
  • Home improvement projects
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Failing to keep your home up to building codes
  • Misplacing ownership documentation

The “proper maintenance” gray area

Sometimes home warranty coverage is contingent on the “proper maintenance” of systems and appliances. This means repairs won’t be covered if the malfunction was caused by a failure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance specifications. However, companies often don’t provide 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, coverage will ultimately depend on whether the service technicians decide there was proper maintenance.

TIP: If you buy a home warranty, take pictures and document the routine maintenance of the appliances.

How do I cancel my home warranty?

The cancellation process can vary from one company to another, however there are some general steps you can follow:

  • Review your contract: Check your contract's cancellation policy and any fees that may apply. Most companies charge a cancellation fee that can range from $25 to $75 — or 10% of the fees you have yet to pay. This means you may receive a prorated refund. However, companies typically provide a full refund if you cancel within the first 30 days of purchase.
  • Contact the home warranty company: Call or email your provider directly and let them know you intend to cancel your policy. A company representative may be able to guide you through the specifics. In some cases, 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.
  • Cancel your payment: If your payments are automatically charged to a credit card or bank account, make sure to cancel the automated payment with the corresponding institution.
  • Follow up: It may be a good idea to request a written confirmation of the cancellation directly from the company.

Keep in mind that even though most home warranty contracts are valid for one year (unless you enroll in a multi-year plan), your plan may auto-renew if you enroll in automated payments. If that’s your case, make sure to cancel the plan and automatic payment at least two weeks before the renewal date.

Home warranty alternatives

Home warranties have limitations and exclusions that cap payout amounts and/or limit coverage to specific parts, which can still leave some of your valuable appliances without coverage if they malfunction.

They also charge service fees whenever you submit a claim, in addition to charging a monthly or yearly amount.

There are, however, other alternatives to help you cover unforeseen repairs to your home appliances or equipment:

Existing warranties

Many appliances come with manufacturer's warranties that cover defects and malfunctions for a specific period of time. Before purchasing a home warranty plan, check if your appliances are still covered under the manufacturer (or the retailer if you purchased individual coverage) and whether it’s possible to extend its coverage.

Extended warranties

Many retailers let you purchase extended warranties for brand-new appliances directly from them. It may be worth considering adding this type of protection if you’re planning on buying appliances any time soon. Although not an exact substitute for home warranties, these extended warranties can help you cover unexpected malfunctions, in some cases for up to three years.

We’ve reviewed some options, such as:

Build an emergency fund

Instead of paying a monthly fee to a company, you could also set that money aside as an emergency fund to cover repair services, maintenance costs or other unexpected expenses as they arise.

Keep up with routine maintenance

Performing regular scheduled maintenance on your appliances, plumbing and HVAC systems can help you extend their usable life and prevent malfunctions that can arise from improper use or lack of maintenance.

More about home warranties

Best Home Warranty Companies FAQs

How long do home warranties last?

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Home warranties typically last one year, although you can often choose the term length. Many home warranty companies offer annual and multi-year plans as options.

How soon can you use a home warranty after purchase?

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In most cases, 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 the 30-day waiting period, it’s possible that you won’t be able to submit a service request or that only part of the repair would be covered. If you buy your home warranty as part of a real estate transaction, your coverage should start on the day of closing.

Do I need a home warranty if I have homeowners insurance?

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While not required, a home warranty can work in tandem with your homeowners insurance, since they cover distinct aspects of homeownership.

Homeowners insurance primarily covers structural damage caused by perils such as natural disasters, fire, theft or vandalism, whereas a home warranty covers the repair or replacement of your home’s major systems and appliances due to normal wear and tear.

Do home warranties protect brand-new systems and appliances?

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If you’ve just installed new appliances or bought a brand-new home, you’re probably already protected by a limited manufacturer’s warranty. However, 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 actually need to purchase a separate plan.

How much are home warranties?

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A home warranty can cost roughly between $300 and $900 a year. This does not include the service fee, which is established in your contract. Companies typically charge a service fee between $75 to $125 for every repair call.

Can you transfer a home warranty when selling a house?

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Yes, most home warranties are transferable when selling a home. However, make sure to check the terms and conditions with your provider to know more about the specific requirements.

How We Chose the Best Home Warranty Companies of 2024

Since we first started reviewing home warranty companies in 2020, we’ve spent over a thousand hours researching the top providers in the country, thoroughly vetting 22 different companies.

Our methodology focuses on four key factors: transparency in services offered, claims processing, cost and quality of customer service.

We carefully analyzed sample contracts from our top contenders and evaluated them on criteria such as contract terms, types of malfunctions or failures covered, payout limits, cost-efficiency and service fees. We also analyzed and compared their plans, coverage limitations and pricing.

We compared them using the following factors:

Services offered. We compared companies’ offerings and coverage caps to find the ones that offered the best value and covered the most systems and appliances.

Claims processing. We preferred companies that offered multiple ways to file a claim and quick response times. Each company we selected has typical response times of 48 hours or less and different channels to submit a claim, such as over the phone or online.

Cost. We contacted companies to obtain quotes whenever prices weren’t openly disclosed on their websites using New York and California addresses.

Availability: We focused on companies offering nationwide services or that were available in at least 30 states.

Legal actions: To assess their reputation and good standing, wee evaluated whether the companies on our list have pending or recent regulatory or legal actions.

Customer service. We checked every company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), including their accreditation (or lack thereof), rating and reviews. In our list, we only included companies who, if they were registered with the BBB, had a rating of B or higher.

Note that BBB ratings take into account factors such as number of complaints, time in business, transparent business practices, licensing and any government actions against a business to determine how a particular business is “likely to interact with its customers.” A business can receive a rating from A+ to F.

Summary of Money’s Best Home Warranty Companies of July 2024

The companies listed below are in alphabetical order.