5 Best Home Warranty Companies of 2021

·19 min read

A home warranty plan can be the perfect complement to your homeowners insurance policy. It can be a lifesaver when faced with stressful and expensive home repairs — or it can add to your frustrations by excluding the appliance or system that needs repairing. If you want to get the most value for your money, here are the best home warranty companies of 2021, according to Money.

Money’s Reviews of the Best Home Warranty Companies

  • American Home Shield: Most Customizable Plan

  • First American Home Warranty: Most Comprehensive Basic Plan

  • Liberty Home Guard: Most Add-Ons

  • AFC Home Club: Lowest Premiums

  • Select Home Warranty: Best for Discounts

Best Home Warranty Company Reviews

American Home Shield – Most Customizable Plan

Pros

Cons

Largest home warranty service provider in the country

Repairs are only guaranteed for 30 days

Highly personalizable plans

Plans unavailable in Alaska

Lenient liability limitations

Roof leak coverage unavailable

With American Home Shield, clients can customize their home warranty plan and choose any 10 items from their systems and appliances options without collecting additional expenses.

AHS is also more lenient than most when it comes to liability limitations. According to its sample contract, coverage includes repairs due to insufficient maintenance, rust, corrosion, sediment, improper installations, and undetected pre-existing conditions.

Monthly payments vary depending on the state, but clients can customize repair service fees, choosing from $75, $100, or $125 per service call. The lower the service fee, the more you’ll have to pay for your contract each month.

With AHS, heating systems and air conditioner units with a capacity of up to five tons have a payout limit of $1,500, while appliances have a $3,000 limit per covered item.

ShieldSilver

ShieldGold

ShieldPlatinum

Air Conditioners

Air Conditioners

Air Conditioners

Heating Units

Heating Units

Heating Units

Ductwork

Ductwork

Ductwork

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

Ranges/Cooktops/Ovens

Ranges/Cooktops/Ovens

Dishwashers

Dishwashers

Built-in Microwaves

Built-in Microwaves

Garbage Disposals

Garbage Disposals

Clothes Washers

Clothes Washers

Clothes Dryers

Clothes Dryers

Roof Leak Repairs

FREE HVAC Tune-up

Unlimited A/C Refrigerant

Coverage for code violations and permits

First American Home Warranty – Most Comprehensive Basic Plan

Pros

Cons

Covers improperly installed or maintained systems and appliances

Only two plans available, no systems-only plan

Affordable basic plan options with competitive coverage

Limited list of add-on coverage

Unlimited service calls

Only available in 35 states

With First American Home Warranty’s Basic Plan, you get comprehensive coverage for 10 costly-to-repair appliances for only $28 a month.

Bear in mind that this plan offers coverage for appliances only including washers, dryers, refrigerators, garbage disposals, and trash compactors. Clients who need coverage for both appliances and systems will have to opt for the company’s Premiere Plan.

Alternatively, customers have the option to add a “First Class Upgrade” to their basic plan for $9 per month, which includes coverage for specific systems such as HVAC, dishwashers, plumbing, and covers malfunctions due to improper installations, modifications, and previous repairs.

The service fee is standard for all plans: $75 for each contractor visit and appliances have a limit of up to $3,500 for diagnosis, repairs, and replacements. All plans also cover damages caused by lack of maintenance, rust, corrosion, and chemical or sedimentary build-up, which is vital if you’re buying an older home.

Basic

Premier

Attic and Exhaust Fans

Attic and Exhaust Fans

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling Fans

Clothes Washer and Dryer

Clothes Washer and Dryer

Dishwasher

Dishwasher

Garbage Disposal

Garbage Disposal

Instant Hot Water Dispenser

Instant Hot Water Dispenser

Kitchen Refrigerator

Kitchen Refrigerator

Built-in Microwave Oven

Built-in Microwave Oven

Oven/Range/Cooktop

Oven/Range/Cooktop

Trash Compactor

Trash Compactor

Central Vacuum System

Ductwork

Electrical

Garage Door Dispenser

Heating

Plumbing

Plumbing Stoppages

Water Heater

Liberty Home Guard

Pros

Cons

Over 20 items of additional coverage options

Does not service California, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

60-day workmanship guarantee on repairs

Only two years of industry experience

Overwhelmingly positive BBB reviews

Relatively low payout limits

Liberty Home Guard stands out for its list of optional add-ons. Customers can choose from around 20 items to add to their coverage — the most extensive list of add-ons in the home warranty market.

The list includes items commonly found in other providers — pools, spas, well pumps, sump pumps, central vacuums — and other, more rarely covered items such as limited roof leaks, replacing locks, gutter cleaning, pest control, and electronics protection.

Liberty Home Guard offers three types of plans: one for appliances, one for systems, and one that covers both. Liberty covers popular systems and appliances such as air conditioning, heating, plumbing, electrical, washers, dryers, and refrigerators.

Their service fee ranges from $65 to $125, with a payout limit of $1,600 per covered item.

Appliance Guard

Systems Guard

Total Home Guard

Clothes Washer

Air Conditioning

Clothes Washer

Clothes Dryer

Heating

Clothes Dryer

Kitchen Refrigerator

Ductwork

Kitchen Refrigerator

Built-in Microwave Ovens

Plumbing

Built-in Microwave Ovens

Dishwashers

Electrical

Dishwashers

Garbage Disposals

Water Heaters

Garbage Disposals

Ranges/Ovens/Cooktops

Ranges/Ovens/Cooktops

Ceiling and Exhaust Fans

Ceiling and Exhaust Fans

Garage Door Openers

Garage Door Openers

Air Conditioning

Heating

Ductwork

Plumbing

Electrical

Water Heaters

AFC Home Club – Lowest Premiums

Pros

Cons

A variety of additional benefits, from discounts to credit monitoring

One-day period for reporting issues with a system or appliance

Some of the lowest premiums in the market

Not available in California, Hawaii, Nevada, and South Carolina

Clients can choose their own technicians

$75 plan cancellation fee

Platinum Plan covers microwave ovens, ice makers, and plumbing stoppages

AFC Home Club (America’s 1st Choice) caught our attention for its low premiums. AFC’s plans include a systems plan, an appliances plan, and two hybrid plans covering both systems and appliances.

As with other providers, AFC pricing changes depending on the chosen service fee ($75, $100, $125). Nonetheless, the company’s prices are still low compared to other companies.

For example, for AFC Home Club’s System or Silver Plan, customers would pay less than $40 a month and $50 or less for their Gold and Platinum plan. Customers can also choose between a one-year contract or a three-year contract term, saving even more per month if they choose the three-year option.

Silver Plans

Gold Plan

Platinum Plan

Systems

Clothes Dryer

Clothes Dryer

Clothes Dryer

Air Conditioning/Cooler

Clothes Washer

Clothes Washer

Clothes Washer

Heating Systems

Kitchen Refrigerator

Kitchen Refrigerator

Kitchen Refrigerator

Water Heater

Oven

Oven

Oven

Electrical System

Range

Range

Range

Plumbing System

Dishwasher

Dishwasher

Ice Maker

Ductwork

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

Ductwork

Electrical System

Plumbing Stoppages

Plumbing System

Ductwork

Select Home Warranty – Best for Discounts

Pros

Cons

Free roof leak coverage

Unavailable in New York, Nevada, Washington, and Wisconsin

90-day repair guarantee

Low coverage caps for many home services

Discounts for multi-year plans

To guarantee coverage on some systems, homeowners must provide 3 years of maintenance records

Select Home Warranty offers some notable discounts, including two months’ free service if the plan is paid annually, special multiple-year discounts — and the company also has occasional promotions that knock off between $100-$200 for new sign-ups.

Select has three plans: Bronze Care, Gold Care, and Platinum Care, which cost between $52 and $55 per month. Bronze Care covers appliances, while Gold Care focuses on systems. The most expensive plan, Platinum Care, combines both for more comprehensive coverage. Service fees range between $60 and $75.

Potential customers should be aware that the company may cap payouts per system or appliance at $150, if there aren’t three years of recorded maintenance. Other than that, HVAC systems are capped at $2,000, and appliances at $500. Extra coverage options are capped at $400 for repair or replacement.

Bronze Care

Gold Care

Platinum Care

Clothes Washer

A/C, Cooling

A/C, Cooling

Garbage Disposal

Heating System

Heating System

Refrigerator

Plumbing System

Plumbing System

Stove/Oven

Electrical System

Electrical System

Built-in Microwave

Water Heater

Water Heater

Cooktop

Ductwork

Ductwork

Dishwasher

Clothes Washer

Clothes Dryer

Garbage Disposal

Refrigerator

Stove/Oven

Built-in Microwave

Cooktop

Dishwasher

Clothes Dryer

Garage Door Openers

Ceiling Fan

Other Popular Home Warranty Companies

The following companies didn’t make our top home warranty companies list. However, they are well known in the market and are worth considering.

Choice Home Warranty

This industry leader features affordable plans and reliable customer service. Choice Home Warranty didn’t make our list because it lacks flexibility in its coverage options.

CHW is unavailable in California and Washington.

Amazon Home Warranty

Amazon Home Warranty — unrelated to Amazon the online marketplace — has reasonable rates and a variety of additional coverage options. Additional options are expensive, though, and its plans cover fewer items than other competitors. Moreover, the company’s BBB accreditation is currently revoked.

AHW does not service the states of California, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Washington.

Home Warranty Guide

What Is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty is a service contract. Customers pay the warranty premiums in exchange for getting help when they need to repair their home’s major appliances.

A home warranty could save you money if your appliances and systems are reaching their life expectancy. What’s more, real estate agents often recommend buying a home warranty if you’re selling your home for two reasons:

  • it can cover a system or appliance in case it breaks during or after the listing process, and

  • it adds value and attracts homebuyers who worry about unknown home repair costs if they buy your house.

What Does a Home Warranty Cover?

Companies use a wide range of names for their different plans — Gold, Platinum, Bronze, Basic, Premier, etc. — but most plans fall into three basic categories: a systems plan, an appliances plan, and a hybrid or combo plan, which covers both.

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

Most Common Home Systems Covered:

Most Common Home Appliances Covered

Covered Add-Ons

Heating and air conditioning (HVAC system)

Refrigerators

Pools and inground spas

Plumbing systems

Laundry machines (clothes washer, dryers)

Septic systems

Electrical systems

Ranges, stoves, ovens & cooktops

Well pumps

Water heaters

Built-in microwave ovens

Sump pumps

Ductwork

Garbage disposals

Ceiling fans

Doorbells

Garage door opener

Smoke detectors

Central vacuums

Dishwashers

Home Warranty Quick Facts

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

Differences in State Licensing

Each state has its regulations for overseeing the home warranty industry. Research and review home warranty regulations to ensure a company is licensed and legally allowed to do business in your state.

In many states, the insurance commissioner or Department of Consumer Protection oversees home warranty companies. To locate the regulator of your particular state, consult this State Licensing Guide.

30-Day Waiting Period

Most home warranty companies require a 30-day waiting period before homeowners can file a claim. If any system or appliance malfunctions during this waiting period, you won’t be able to request service, and repairs or replacement costs won’t be covered.

In other words, your contract won’t be effective until 31 days after you make the first payment. If something in your home were to malfunction during your waiting period, the warranty would cover only part of the repair.

Limitations of Liability

Usually, appliances with existing manufacturer warranties, malfunction resulting from rust, corrosion, toxic materials, improper installation, or pre-existing conditions (known or unknown) are not covered by a home warranty.

Companies are also not liable for repairs of cosmetic defects, maintenance routine, or malfunctions caused by acts of nature (fire, flood, earthquake, storms, etc.). That’s why you have homeowners insurance.

Some home warranty companies require a home inspection that reveals your systems and appliances’ condition before the contract begins.

Dissatisfied Customers

Home warranties are a controversial product because they cover a specific list of appliances and systems. Although home warranty companies advertise peace of mind by helping homeowners save money on home repairs, many customers consider their experience with selected home warranty companies a headache.

Complaints usually relate to denied claims, repairs taking days or weeks to schedule or incorrectly performed, and consumers who wait over an hour on hold when trying to reach a customer service representative.

The best home warranty companies have better customer service reputations and more lenient policies around paying claims. Home warranty companies tend to rely on a network of service people who actually come out to your house to fix the broken item. Usually, these are not full-time employees of the home warranty company, they’re a local repair person. The best home warranty companies have a feedback loop to collect reviews from these technicians.

Are Home Warranties Worth It?

Here’s one way to decide: Do you have an appliance that is currently working, but is more than 5 years old? If you said yes, you might consider buying a home warranty now. The reason is pretty simple: many appliances have a working life of 5-10 years and home warranties do not cover items that are already broken. So if you are playing the odds, you’ll probably have a better chance of the home warranty investment paying off and also making you happy.

Home warranty plans can be worth the investment. You’re more likely to be happy with your home warranty plan if you:

  • consider what kinds of appliances you have in your house and if they are currently working (warranties do not pay to fix items that are already broken)

  • read sample contracts – search for the appliances you have in your house and read about how the policies may treat claims on those appliances in particular

  • find and choose a reputable company

So, how do you measure the value of a home warranty? If you end up paying less for the warranty than what you’d pay for in-home repairs without it, you know you’ve got a good deal. If budgeting for emergencies is something that’s hard for you, a home warranty might also be a good idea (forcing you to pay for something monthly rather than all at once)

  • Best-case scenario: You pay a service fee that only ranges from $75 to $150 (along with your annual premiums) and 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, pay a service fee for a home service call, and then learn your warranty’s limitations prevent the plan from helping when you need it.

Customer experience with home warranty companies usually reflects one of these two extremes. Consider that happy home warranty customers have higher payout caps and fewer liability limitations.

Important Things To Know About Home Warranties

The Proper Maintenance Gray Area

Sometimes home warranty coverage is contingent on the “proper maintenance” of systems and appliances, meaning repairs won’t be covered if the malfunction was caused by a failure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance specifications. However, there are no clear guidelines as to what constitutes proper routine maintenance.

Some contracts give concrete examples such as changing filters, flushing the water heater, keeping proper refrigerant levels, or cleaning coils, but it ultimately depends on technicians’ inspections.

TIP: We would recommend that if you buy a home warranty, you take pictures with your phone and document that maintenance of the appliances is being performed.

Brand-new systems and appliances

If you’ve just installed new appliances or bought a brand new home, your appliances will probably already be protected by a manufacturer’s warranty. Since a home warranty won’t cover anything that’s already covered under another type of warranty, you might want to consult with a professional as to whether you need one.

Most homeowners would rather the manufacturer — Whirlpool, Samsung, GE, etc. — repair their own products anyway if the appliances remain under a manufacturer’s warranty.

How to Choose The Best Home Warranty For You

Get Quotes and Compare

Make sure to get at least three different quotes and compare them. Ask company representatives questions such as:

  • What is the cost?

  • Which systems and appliances are covered?

  • How much is their service call fee?

  • Is there an item that’s included in one plan but not in another?

  • What are their coverage add-ons and how much are they?

  • Can plans be customized?

Read Sample Contracts

Once you’ve chosen at least three companies, the next step is to go over their sample contracts

Identify the limitations and exclusions in the contract, specifically the types of repairs it will or will not cover. It’s also useful to know what would happen if an item were deemed irreparable and how their claim submission process works.

Another essential thing to check is payout limits. Your contract should disclose the exact amount of money a home warranty provider will disburse for the repair of each type of system and appliance per each contract term. The established cap will be the amount you’ll have available throughout the contract.

Best Home Warranty FAQ

How much does a home warranty cost?

A home warranty costs between $300 and $600 a year. This does not include the service fee, which is established in your contract. Companies charge a $75 to $125 fee for every repair call.

How soon can you use a home warranty after purchase?

Most home warranty companies have a 30-day waiting period after the date of purchase. However, if you bought your home warranty as part of a real estate transaction, your coverage starts on the day of closing.

When should you use a home warranty?

You should file a claim with your home warranty company as soon as your appliances or systems show signs of a potential issue. Some companies have shorter periods for filing an eligible claim, which means that, generally, the sooner you file a claim, the better.

[money-faqs-item question="Will the home warranty cover old systems and appliances?"]

A home warranty plan may indeed cover “pre-existing conditions,” meaning when a system and appliances are failing or have failed before home warranty coverage begins. However, they will usually only do so if the system or appliance passed both a visual and mechanical inspection.

What voids a home warranty?

Performing unauthorized repairs, be it by using an unapproved contractor — licensed or not — or attempting to do the repairs yourself, can void your home warranty. Several types of home improvement projects, failing to keep your home up to building codes, and misplacing ownership documentation, could also void your home warranty coverage.

Does a home warranty require an inspection?

Most home warranty companies will not require an inspection when you purchase one of their comprehensive plans. We recommend that consumers consider making an inspection anyway to have a documented representation of the condition of their systems and appliances before buying a warranty.

Is a home warranty tax-deductible?

Paying for a home warranty generally does not make you eligible for any sort of tax exemption. However, if you pay for a home warranty plan on an income-producing building — such as a home office or rental property — your premium will be considered a deductible expense.

What is the difference between a home warranty and home insurance?

Unlike home insurance, which lenders usually require before issuing your mortgage, home warranties are an optional product. A home insurance policy will cover damage to your house or personal property from fires, theft, flooding, and other disasters or “perils.” In contrast, a home warranty offers a way to protect your budget from unexpected expenses after your HVAC, garbage disposals, washing machines, or electrical system breaks down from normal wear.

How Money Found the Best Overall Home Warranty Plans

Most home warranty companies cover the same variety of systems and appliances. Because of this, our methodology focused on four key factors: transparency of service, claims processing, cost, and quality of customer service.

More specifically, we considered criteria such as contract terms, the types of covered malfunctions or failures, payout limits, cost-efficiency, and service fees.

Transparency of Service

We find that the best home warranty companies are transparent when disclosing their terms, prices, exclusions, and coverage limits.

Claims Processing

We chose to feature home warranty providers that offer a clear explanation of their claims process and customers’ responsibilities. We also favored companies with clauses in their contracts that allowed for quicker claims in case of an emergency and for customers to choose their own technician.

Cost

We looked at the cost and service fee compared to the number of items covered, exclusions, and payout limits to determine the value of coverage plans.

Customer Service

We looked for companies that offered 24/7 customer support and provided alternative channels for communications, such as live chat or an app. We also checked every company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), including their accreditation or lack thereof, rating, and reviews.

Summary of The Best Home Warranty Companies

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