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    by Michele Lerner Mortgage & Real Estate Contributing Editor

    With the right home warranty plan, you don’t have to worry so much about budgeting for unexpected home repairs. Our research team vetted 23 home warranty companies that are rated by more than 138,280 customers. Read our guide to choose the best provider for you by comparing coverage options, contract lengths, service fees, reviews and complaints.

    Our 7 top home warranty picks

    To select our top picks, we started with the companies on this guide, then eliminated those with a star rating below 3.5. To stay on the list, companies also had to have at least a 2:1 ratio of 5-star to 1-star reviews, based on verified review data collected between April 21, 2020, and April 20, 2021. We also eliminated companies that service fewer than 30 states.

    All prices are correct as of the time of publishing.

    Our top pick overallAmerican Home ShieldAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Number of plans: Three
    • Contract length: One year
    • Service fee: $75, $100 or $125

    American Home Shield is our top pick because it has excellent reviews and some of the most comprehensive coverage on the market. Most plans are available in most states. AHS does not require a pre-inspection, and you can get a plan at any time, regardless of the age of your home’s systems and appliances.

    Several positive reviewers highlight the company’s prompt services. “AHS did exactly what I thought they should. … They get through any issues and solve a problem fairly quickly,” said one verified customer earlier this year. Another reviewer called it a “one-stop plan” for homeowners.

    Plans and pricing
    On average, expect to pay $500 to $700 per year. Depending on your plan, service fees are $75, $100 or $125.

    You can add additional coverage for electronics, pools and spas, septic systems and well pumps to any plan. For the most accurate pricing and availability in your area, it’s best to contact the company directly for a quote.

    • SilverShield: Protects 14 major systems, including heating and cooling, electrical and plumbing.
    • ShieldGold: Protects parts of 23 appliances and systems, including kitchen and laundry equipment, heating and cooling, electrical and plumbing.
    • ShieldPlatinum: Protects everything covered under ShieldGold, plus roof leaks and more.
    Coverages and exclusions
    The following coverages and exclusions are listed in American Home Shield’s sample contract. They have been shortened and condensed to provide basic information about plans. Keep in mind that contract terms vary based on the level of coverage you select and what state you live in.

    According to the sample contract, AHS will pay up to $1,500, $3,000 or $6,000 per covered item to assess and repair or replace covered items.

    • Major appliances: Includes refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, ranges, ovens and cooktops, dishwashers, built-in microwaves, garbage disposals and instant water dispensers. Not covered: Free-standing freezers, multimedia centers and wine chillers.
    • Electrical systems: All components and parts, including direct-current wiring and built-in exhausts, vents and attic fans. Not covered: Some types of wiring and cable, circuit overload, faceplates and lighting fixtures.
    • Heating systems: Components and parts for most types of heating systems, including forced air (gas, electric, oil), geothermal, wall-mounted heaters, floor furnaces, heat pumps, package units and mini-splits; hot water or steam-circulating heaters, electric baseboards, room heaters and cable heat (if it’s the room’s main heat source); and many types of ductwork. Not covered: Outside or underground piping, well pump and well pump components, fuel storage tanks, portable units, fireplace or wood heating units (even if it’s the only source of heat) and diagnostic testing.
    • Plumbing systems: Water, drain, gas, waste or vent line leaks or breaks; certain components of toilets, showers and tubs, plus hose bibs, basket strainers and permanently installed sump pumps (groundwater only); built-in bathtub whirlpool motor; pump and air switch assemblies; pressure regulators; expansion tanks; and sewage ejector pumps. Not covered: Stoppages caused by collapsed, damaged or broken drain, vent or sewer lines outside the main foundation; lines damaged by roots or foreign objects; bathtubs, sinks, showers and shower enclosures or base pans; toilet lids and seats; jets; caulking or grouting; septic tanks; water filtration or purification systems; holding or storage tanks; and saunas or steam rooms.
    • Roof leak repair: Covers roof leaks. Not covered: Metal roofs and partial or full green roofs (“eco-roofs”); damage caused by items penetrating the roof, including skylights, chimneys and vents; leaks associated with roof-mounted installations (such as solar panels); and gutters and downspouts.
    Our pick for professional techniciansChoice Home WarrantyAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Number of plans: Two
    • Contract length: One year
    • Service fee: $85

    Choice Home Warranty is known for its network of professional technicians and customer support. The company works with more than 15,000 contractors across the country, and it claims to have covered more than a million homes and processed more than 4 million service requests.

    One verified customer, who filed two claims in Kentucky, said both repairs were “outstanding, professional and expeditiously accomplished.” The reviewer added that reps were “cordial and meticulous” when they spoke over the phone. You can also file a claim online.

    Plans and pricing
    Choice Home Warranty plans start between $30 and $50 per month. All plans come with a flat-rate $85 service fee. Coverage lasts for one year — expect to pay a $50 cancellation fee if you cancel early. However, you can transfer the contract for free.
    • Basic Plan: Protects 14 systems and appliances, including heating, electrical, plumbing (plus dishwasher), microwave (if built-in), garbage disposal, cooktop and oven and range/stove.
    • Total Plan: Covers everything in the Basic Plan, plus washers and dryers, refrigerators and air conditioning systems.
    • Add-on coverage: For an additional fee, you can get coverage for pool and spa equipment, pumps, central vacuums, limited roof leaks, stand-alone freezers and septic tank pumping and systems.
    Coverages and exclusions
    Choice Home Warranty will pay up to $500 or $3,000 (depending on the item) to access, diagnose and repair or replace a covered item. The following coverages and exclusions are listed in the sample service agreement terms. Actual contract terms could vary. Generally, the terms do not cover any known or unknown preexisting conditions.
    • Appliances: All components and parts on your washer and dryer, built-in microwave, oven/range/cooktop, dishwasher, garbage disposal, refrigerator and ceiling/exhaust fans. Not covered: Audio/visual equipment, internet connection components and door or door track assemblies.
    • Heating and cooling systems: All components and parts of ducted central electric split and package units, forced air (gas, electric, oil), geothermal and wall-mounted units, mini-splits, heat pumps, floor furnaces, hot water or steam-circulating heat systems and electric baseboards. Not covered: Certain types of piping, well pumps, water towers, chillers, water lines, portable units, fuel storage tanks, chimneys, wood stoves and damper motors; diagnostic testing and some modifications; and damage caused by collapsed ductwork.
    • Electrical systems: All components and parts, including direct-current wiring, lighting fixtures and built-in exhausts, vents and attic fans. Not covered: Certain types of wiring and cables (computer, alarm and intercom, for example), telephone wiring, circuit overload and faceplates.
    • Plumbing systems: Water, drain, gas, waste and vent line leaks or breaks; toilets, showers, tubs and related mechanisms; hose bibs and basket strainers; built-in bathtub whirlpool motor, pump and air switch assemblies, pressure regulators, expansion tanks and sewage ejector pumps; and some sink, tub, shower, toilet, drain and sewer stoppages. Not covered: Stoppages caused by collapsed, damaged or broken drains; line damage caused by roots or foreign objects; bathtubs, sinks and showers; shower enclosures and base pans; toilet lids and seats; septic tanks; water filtration and purification systems; holding or storage tanks; saunas or steam rooms; costs of locating and accessing cleanouts; and access through roof vents.
    • Water heater: All gas and electric components, including tankless heaters and circulating pumps. Not covered: Holding or storage tanks, vents and flues, thermal expansion tanks and energy management systems.
    Our pick for valueSelect Home WarrantyAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Number of plans: Three
    • Contract length: One year
    • Service fee: Typically $60 to $75

    Happy and satisfied customers frequently talk about Select Home Warranty’s value for the coverage it provides. For an even better deal, the company offers discounts for those who purchase multiple-year coverage.

    Positive reviews come from both new homeowners and those with older homes. Select Home Warranty has a network of local professionals who perform all repairs and replacements. Customers can submit claims online or by sending a direct email. Select Home Warranty is available in 46 states (not currently available in Nevada, New York, Washington and Wisconsin).

    Plans and pricing
    Select Home Warranty offers three different home warranty plans, with the cheapest starting at $36 a month. Each plan is customizable, and the company offers free quotes. Roof coverage is available as an add-on to all its plans. If you cancel before the term is up, expect to pay a $75 cancellation fee.
    • Platinum Care: Select’s most popular warranty plan protects 17 major items, including ductwork, plumbing stoppages, kitchen appliances, garage door openers, ceiling fans and more.
    • Gold Care: This plan includes air conditioning and cooling, heating, plumbing and electrical systems, water heaters and ductwork.
    • Bronze Care: The most basic tier covers your washer and dryer, garbage disposal, refrigerator, stove and oven, cooktop, built-in microwave and dishwasher.
    • Additional coverage: Limited roof leak protection plans are available. More coverage options include plans for plumbing and lighting, pool and spa equipment, well pump, sump pump, central vacuum, stand-alone freezer, lawn sprinkler system and septic system.
    Coverages and exclusions
    Select Home Warranty pays up to $2,000 to repair or replace heating and cooling equipment. For appliances, plumbing and electrical, the allowance is $500. Additional coverage limits are $400.

    Keep in mind that Select reserves the right to request three years of maintenance records. Without proper documentation, the maximum payout for any system or appliance is $150.

    • Appliances: All modules, components and parts necessary to the functionality of your refrigerator, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, washer and dryer, water heater and oven and range or stovetop. Not covered: Portable, combo or countertop microwaves; solar or tankless water heating systems, leaks and pumps.
    • Systems: Plumbing system (including some stoppages); heating (all necessary modules, components and parts); listed electrical components; primary floor air conditioning units; garage door openers; ceiling fans. Not covered: Septic tanks, water softeners, slab leaks and polybutylene pipes. Stoppages caused by collapsed, damaged or broken drain, vent or sewer lines outside the confines of the home’s main foundation; solar heating systems, zone systems and wall units; crushed ductwork and improperly sized ductwork or duct systems; window, wall and portable air conditioning units; garage doors; and lights.
    Our pick for easy claims processCinch Home ServicesAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Number of plans: Three
    • Contract length: One year
    • Service fee: $100 to $150

    “Cinch works with you,” according to one reviewer who recommends Cinch Home Services. “They understand everything that you are going through and they're very willing to help.”

    Another verified customer said that submitting claims “is the easiest thing ever. It was so easy because I don't have to call anybody. I just go online. I submitted a claim on a Sunday night and at 7 AM the following day, I got a call.”

    After you submit a claim, Cinch sends a professional technician to your house to complete repairs. Cinch repairs have a 180-day workmanship guarantee, which is longer than the industry average.

    Plans and pricing
    Cinch Home Services has three straightforward options: an appliances plan, a systems plan and the Cinch Complete Home Plan, which covers both. Options for deductibles, which are paid at the time of service, are $100, $125 and $150.
    • Appliances: Starting at $27.99 per month, this plan covers standard kitchen appliances, trash compactors, food centers, free-standing ice makers and washers and dryers.
    • Built-in Systems: Starting at $32.99 per month, the Built-in Systems plan covers air conditioning, plumbing, electrical and heating (including ductwork), ceiling and attic fans, central vacuums, doorbells, garage door openers, garbage disposals, water dispensers, sump pumps, toilets, water heaters, tubs and more.
    • Complete Home: Starting at $39.99 per month, this top-tier coverage covers everything in the appliance and systems plans and comes with a homeowners insurance deductible reimbursement.
    Coverages and exclusions
    Some, but not all, standard coverages and exclusions are listed below, according to Cinch Home Warranty’s sample home service agreement. Most components and parts are covered up to $2,000 per term. The maximum liability is $10,000 per term.
    • Air conditioning: All components, including ducted central electric split and package units, geothermal, wall air conditioners and mini-splits. Not covered: Outside or underground piping; well pump and components, interconnecting refrigerant lines; window units; water towers, chillers, chiller components and water lines; and diagnostic testing to replace heating or cooling equipment.
    • Heating systems: All components and parts of forced air (gas, electric, oil) systems, geothermal and wall-mounted heaters, floor furnaces, package units, heat pumps, mini-splits, hot water or steam-circulating heat, electric baseboard and cable heat (if it’s the main source of heat in the home or room). Not covered: Outside or underground piping, well pump and well pump components for geothermal and water source heat pumps; interconnecting refrigerant lines; fuel storage tanks and portable units; fireplace, grain, pellet or wood heating units; and diagnostic testing when replacing equipment.
    • Electrical: All components and parts, including direct-current wiring, light fixtures and built-in exhausts, vents or attic fans. Not covered: Some wiring and cables, telephone system circuit overload and faceplates.
    • Plumbing: Water, drain, gas, waste or vent line leaks or breaks; toilets, showers and related mechanisms; faucets and diverters; angle stops, risers and gate valves; hose bibs, basket strainers and permanently installed sump pumps (groundwater only); built-in bathtub whirlpool motors, pumps and air switch assemblies. Not covered: Stoppages caused by lines outside the home’s main foundation; lines damaged by roots or foreign objects; costs to locate, access or install cleanouts; any fees for photo or video equipment; hydro-jetting equipment and chemicals; and jet or steam cleaning.
    Our pick for service guaranteeAmerica's 1st Choice Home ClubAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Number of plans: Four
    • Contract length: One year
    • Service fee: $75, $100 or $125

    Of the companies we analyzed, America's 1st Choice Home Club has the longest service guarantee period. The company provides lifetime guarantees that back any repair it's made under a customer's plan, no matter how long ago the repair was.

    America's 1st Choice Home Club is available in 46 states (not available in California, Hawaii, Nevada and South Carolina).

    Plans and pricing
    The company has four plans, including one just for major systems. On the high end, AFC’s comprehensive Platinum Plan costs about $625 a year. Service fees are $75, $100 or $125. You can also choose to make monthly or yearly payments. A $75 fee may apply if you cancel before your term ends.
    • Gold Plan: Covers 14 systems and appliances.
    • Silver Plan: Covers eight major appliances, including standard kitchen and laundry items.
    • Platinum Plan: Covers 17 systems and appliances, including everything covered by the Gold and Silver plans.
    • Systems Plan: Covers six major systems, including electrical and plumbing.
    • Additional coverage: Add-on protection for your sump pump, septic system, hot water dispenser, pool or spa, stand-alone freezer and tankless water heater are also available for an additional fee.
      .
    Coverages and exclusions
    Sample contracts vary by package. With appliance coverage, the company will pay up to $2,000 per item per membership term. Allowances for systems vary by plan. For the most accurate and thorough information related to coverages and exclusions, it’s best to ask an AFC representative directly.
    • Systems: Air conditioner, cooling and heating systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems, water heaters and ductwork. Not covered: Window units; alternative heating systems; valves; ductwork exposed to outside elements; rust, corrosion and sediment; slab leaks; modifications or code upgrades; showers, tubs and sinks; nonmechanical parts; vent registers; maintenance-related items; leak detection; pipe collapse, freezing, or root damage; faceplates, switches and fixtures.
    • Appliances: Washer and dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, garage door opener, oven, range, stove and cooktop. Not covered: Soap dispensers; fans; clocks; garage door parts; nonmechanical parts; door hinges, valves, filters and vents; seals and gaskets; auxiliary items; touch panels or displays; leaks and water lines; failures from misuse; and diagnosis.
    Our pick for customer supportAmerican Residential WarrantyAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Number of plans: Three
    • Contract length: Quarterly and annual terms
    • Service fee: Varies

    American Residential Warranty has overall positive reviews. What stood out to us was the high frequency of happy customers who say customer service representatives go above and beyond.

    “Working with customer support was easy and they got what I needed to get done,” according to a verified customer in Colorado. Several reviewers indicated that customer service representatives work hard to quickly solve issues when they do arise.

    For example, when a customer in North Carolina had a billing issue last year, their ARW rep “took the time to explain why my credit card had failed and once I [provided] her with the correct information, the problem was resolved.”

    Plans and pricing
    American Residential Warranty offers three plans that include heating, cooling and electrical systems. Keep in mind that applicable state taxes could apply to overall costs. Plans are available in all 50 states.
    • Heating and Cooling Plan: For $39.99 per month, this plan covers heating, cooling and electrical systems. Covered devices include central air conditioning and heating, humidifier and interior electrical systems.
    • Platinum Plan: For $49.99 per month, Platinum covers your major kitchen appliances, garbage disposal, water heater, interior electrical system, whole-home humidifier and central heating and cooling systems.
    • Platinum Premier Plan: For $59.99 per month, this plan covers everything in the Platinum Plan, plus interior plumbing and electrical systems, ductwork, ceiling fans and garage door openers.
    • Additional coverage: For additional fees, you can add coverage for your washer and dryer, well pump, water or sewer line, pool or spa and electronics.
    Coverages and exclusions
    Exclusions vary based on the package and add-on coverage you select. Maximum payout limits also vary by plan and location. For the most thorough information about what’s covered, it’s best to contact an American Residential Warranty representative. See more below for some general contract information.
    • Central air conditioning: Condenser, defrost heating element, standard thermostat, fuse, relay, transformer, motors, compressor, pulleys, timer, fan control, bearings, fluid pump, switches, electrodes, semiconductors, rectifiers and electronic circuits. Not covered: Gas air conditioning systems, baseboard casings, coils, line driers, portable units, registers, grilles, clocks, timers, flues and vents, condenser casings, portable electric air cleaners, filters, humidifiers, service valves, driers, refrigerant, refrigerant line sets, refrigerant reclamation, belts, wiring, wiring harness and circuit breakers and drains.
    • Central home heating: Gas valve, main burner, limit control, pilot burner, thermocouple, flame spreader, regulator, standard thermostat, manifold, fuse, transformer, relay, igniter, sensor, motor, power pack, bearings, pulleys, fan control, pressure control, pressure gauge, low water cut-off, sight glass, coupler, power pile, fluid pump, blower and heat coil. Not covered: Solar heating systems, fireplaces, chimneys, heat lamps, fuel storage tanks, liners, registers, grilles, timers, flues and vents, filters, improperly sized heating systems, expansion tanks, free-standing or portable heat units. All components and parts relating to geothermal, water source heat pumps and pellet stoves.
    • Electrical systems: Interior electrical coverage includes wiring, receptacles, switches, fuses and single- or two-pole breakers. Not covered: Fixtures, attic or exhaust fans, doorbells, intercom or alarm systems, central vacuum systems, some types of wiring and cable, load control devices, electrical generation systems, solar electrical systems, timers, touchpad assemblies, remote controls and damage caused by circuit overload.
    • Plumbing systems: All interior plumbing, including angle stops, risers, waste vents, P-Trap assemblies and interior hose bibs. Covers cost to clear mainline drains, sewer and lateral drain line stoppages, certain types of existing ground level cleanout and overflow access points. Not covered: Piping and plumbing outside of the perimeter of the foundation; stoppages caused by roots; collapsed, broken or damaged lines outside the confines of the main foundation; tubs; gas lines; caulking or grouting; toilets and parts; holding and pressure tanks; jet pumps; and lawn sprinkler systems. Additional exclusions apply.
    Our pick for flexible coverageLiberty Home GuardAUTHORIZED PARTNER
    • Number of plans: Three
    • Contract length: One year
    • Service fee: $69 to $75

    Liberty Home Guard’s standard packages come with a wide selection of add-ons to cover less common items such as pest control, cleaning and re-key services.

    When you submit a claim, the company sends a technician out within 24 hours. “Liberty Home Guard has met and even exceeded my expectations every time I have had to contact them,” according to a recent reviewer in New York. “Customer service has been great, and I have had no disputes over coverage.”

    Plans are available in 45 states (not currently available in California, Illinois, Washington, Wyoming and Wisconsin).

    Plans and pricing
    The Total Home Guard plan covers household appliances and home systems. Appliance Guard and Systems Guard plans start around $30 per month. Total Home Guard Plans start around $45.
    • Systems Guard: This plan covers air conditioning, heating, ductwork, plumbing, electrical and water heaters.
    • Appliance Guard: This option covers your clothes washer and dryer, kitchen refrigerator, ranges, ovens and cooktops, built-in microwave ovens, dishwashers, ceiling and exhaust fans, garbage disposals and garage door openers.
    • Total Home Guard: The company’s most comprehensive plan, Total Home Guard covers everything listed in the systems and appliances plans.
    • Optional coverage: Any of the above plans can be customized with additional coverage. Upgrades include service plans for your pool or spa, sump pump, well pump, central vacuum, septic system pumping, lighting fixtures, gutter cleaning, water softener, lawn sprinkler system, swamp cooler, ejector pump, second refrigerator, trash compactor, generator, grinder pump and water dispenser. Limited roof leak and electronics protection are also available.
    Coverages and exclusions
    The coverages and exclusions listed below are for general information and may not be reflected in each plan. Limits and allowances vary by package. Be sure to review your contract to know exactly what is and is not covered by your plan.
    • Heating: Includes refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, ranges, ovens and cooktops, dishwashers, built-in microwaves, garbage disposals and instant water dispensers. Not covered: All parts related to geothermal or water source heat pumps and outside piping. Other exclusions apply.
    • Ductwork: Covers leaks and breaks in ductwork on heating systems, air conditioning, registers and grilles. Not covered: Insulation, breeching, separation due to poor support, damper motors and air cleaner cabinets.
    • Plumbing: All necessary mechanical components and parts, up to a five-ton capacity, including circulating pumps and reversing valves. Not covered: Stoppages and clogs that can't be cleared with a cable or snake, gas lines, water closets, slab leaks, certain pipes and fixtures, drum traps, flange and baskets. Additional exclusions, including some showers, tubs and drain mechanisms, apply.
    • Electrical: All mechanical components and parts, including built-in bathroom exhaust fans. Not covered: Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors; intercoms, doorbells and similar systems; attic exhaust fans, auxiliary panels, wire tracing and circuit overload; direct-current wiring or components.
    • Air conditioning: Central and wall air conditioning with up to five tons of capacity. SEER restrictions apply. Not covered: Leaks, gas systems, condenser cases, registers, grilles, electronic air cleaners; window units, some wall units, water towers, humidifiers and chillers; all coils, exterior pads, roof mounts, condensate pumps and drain line stoppages, as well as geothermal piping and wells, electrical supplies and zoned systems.
    • Water heaters: All mechanical components and parts, including circulating pumps, up to 75 gallons. Not covered: Access, insulation blankets, drain pans and lines, squat units, storage tanks and similar items.

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      Home Warranty FAQ

      What is a home warranty?
      A home warranty is a service contract that covers the cost to repair or replace certain systems and appliances in your home that break down from wear and tear.
      How does a home warranty work?
      A home warranty covers the cost to repair or replace specific systems and appliances that break down from wear and tear.

      For example, imagine you have a busted pipe that requires extensive plumbing repairs. If you have a home warranty, you file a claim and pay a service call fee for the company to send a licensed contractor and diagnose the problem. As long as the issue is covered, the home warranty company pays for the proper repair or replacement. For more, read about how home warranties work.

      What does a home warranty cover?
      Your contract may cover major household systems, appliances or both. Home warranties cover most major home systems, including heating, air conditioning, plumbing, ductwork and electrical systems. Home warranty contracts typically also cover appliances such as kitchen refrigerators, washers, dryers, built-in microwaves, dishwashers, ovens, garbage disposals and water heaters.

      Home warranty policies only cover breakdowns due to normal wear and tear. Proper systems and appliance maintenance is typically required to keep coverage. A home warranty claim will likely be denied if the problem resulted from a known issue or lack of maintenance. For instance, most home warranty plans cover HVAC repair, but it can be difficult to get a company to replace the entire system for you. For more information, read about home warranty plans and coverage.

      How long do home warranties last?
      Most home warranty contracts last 12 months. Each year, you have the option to renew coverage. If you decide to buy a new home warranty, be sure to read the contract and know the terms and exclusions.
      What’s the difference between a home warranty and homeowners insurance?
      A home warranty is a service contract that covers repairs or replacements of household systems and appliances that break down from routine use. People occasionally refer to a home warranty as “home appliance insurance,” but this is somewhat of a misnomer; even the best home insurance policies won’t pay to repair or replace appliances if the damage is caused by wear and tear — that’s what a warranty is for.

      Homeowners insurance covers structural damage to your home and loss of your property due to lightning, fire, smoke, hail, vandalism, theft and other perils. It also covers the policyholder’s liability in case they are responsible for an injury on the property. Unlike homeowners insurance, a warranty does not cover damages caused by these events; it only covers breakdowns resulting from normal use.

      If you have a mortgage, homeowners insurance is likely required. A home warranty is not mandatory for homeowners, but it helps pay for expensive home repairs. For more information, read about the differences between home warranties and home insurance.

      Does homeowner insurance cover appliances?
      Yes, homeowners insurance usually covers appliances if they are damaged in an event covered by your policy. For example, if a lightning strike causes your dryer to stop working, homeowners insurance typically protects you from a financial loss. On the other hand, homeowners insurance won’t pay for the repair or replacement of your dryer if it stops working because it’s old. For more information, learn about how to find the best home insurance company.
      What do the worst home warranty companies have in common?
      Unfortunately, not all home warranty companies are created equal. After analyzing 1-star reviews from multiple providers, we noticed some commonalities between many of the poorly rated companies:
      • Bad customer service
      • Pattern of denying claims
      • Misleading or aggressive marketing tactics
      • Confusing contracts
      • Hidden fees
      • Delays in service calls
      • Disputes of reimbursements or replacement amounts
      Is a home warranty required at closing?
      It isn't always required to include a home warranty in the sale or purchase of a home. This will vary depending on your state requirements and your local customs. If a home warranty is wrapped into the purchase of your home, this will be included in closing costs. However, whether it's a part of the buyer’s or the seller's costs depends on your purchase contract and your local regulations.
      Which is better, Choice Home Warranty or American Home Shield?
      Choice Home Warranty and American Home Shield are both legitimate companies. The right home warranty for you is one that provides the coverage you want at a price you can afford. We suggest comparing different home warranty providers on coverages, costs and contract policies. For more information, see how Choice Home Warranty compares with American Home Shield. Next, read about TotalProtect vs. American Home Shield.
      Who regulates home warranty companies?
      Every state in which a home warranty company operates has some state-level regulations and requirements that they must follow. In some states, the insurance commissioner is the regulating authority, while in other states, the real estate commission or another agency governs home warranty regulations.

      These types of regulating authorities help to protect consumers from fraud and mistreatment by investigating companies and giving residents a way to file complaints when necessary.

      Should I get a home warranty?
      While a home warranty isn’t required by law, it’s often a smart idea to have one. It’s a good rule of thumb to identify the systems and appliances that matter most to you and ask if the home warranty company you are considering covers those particular items. You can save money if you only get a warranty that covers the items you really care about or couldn’t live without if they broke down.

      A home warranty is especially helpful in the following situations:

      • You own an older home: Older homes often have older appliances and systems. A warranty offers extra assurance that your vintage charmer stays in working order.
      • You’re buying or selling a home: Buyers, sellers, real estate agents and current homeowners are all eligible to buy a home warranty. In many areas, it’s customary for the seller or real estate agent to package a home warranty in the purchase price as an added benefit to the buyer. This can be particularly attractive for first-time homebuyers or people purchasing older homes that are more likely to need repairs.
      • You don’t have a large savings account: If you don’t have a rainy day fund set aside for unexpected expenses — like when your air conditioner goes out or your dishwasher calls it quits — a home warranty protects you for a relatively affordable monthly premium.
      • You’re not handy: Those who have not owned a home before or are unfamiliar with the maintenance of major systems and home appliances should consider how much a plan covers and how much work they are willing and able to take on themselves. Many industry professionals recommend that new homeowners choose a more comprehensive plan that helps them acclimate to the responsibilities of owning a home.
      Are home warranties worth the money?
      A home warranty can pay for itself with one major repair. Even if you don’t end up having a huge problem, the peace of mind that comes with financial protection in case of a household breakdown is worth it to many people.

      The cost of a home warranty is likely worth it if you have an older home and older appliances that are no longer covered under manufacturer warranties. It could also be worth it if you have limited credit access and don’t have a savings account.

      Keep in mind that when you make a claim, you normally have to pay a service call fee, which is specified in your contract. Depending on your contract, your policy will cover a replacement or repair. However, you will be financially responsible for fixing anything that’s excluded from your warranty plan. Providers typically have payout limits or per-item caps, so be sure to read the terms of a contract carefully.

      How much do home warranties cost?

      Home warranties cost between $40 and $60 a month on average, or around $600 annually. Depending on the coverage you choose, you may pay a little more or a little less. You might also get a discount if you opt for a multiyear plan. In addition to your premium, you pay a service call fee any time the company sends a service technician to your home to diagnose or make a repair. Service call fees average $75 per visit.

      While a home warranty comes with a cost, it is important to note the monthly premium could be much less expensive than paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a system or appliance repair or replacement. Be sure to get quotes from multiple companies — some home warranty providers may offer price-matching.

      How to choose a home warranty

      Home warranties help homeowners pay for expensive home repairs related to the breakdown of major home systems, such as heating or plumbing, and major appliances, including kitchen refrigerators or water heaters. Home warranty providers charge customers a monthly premium in exchange for providing repairs at a set service call fee. This can save homeowners thousands of dollars over the length of the contract.

      To choose a home warranty, find a company you trust and select a plan that covers the systems and appliances essential to your home. You can choose a home warranty by following these steps:

      1. Decide on the type of home warranty plan you need

      The majority of home warranty companies offer three primary types of home warranty plans: appliances, home systems and combination plans. A combination plan will cover your home appliances and your systems. An appliance plan covers home items like your dishwasher and refrigerator. A systems plan covers a home’s plumbing, electric and other systems.

      Some companies have add-on options for other home items that don’t typically fall under these three categories, such as outside spas or hot tubs and swimming pools. Most customers opt for a combination plan, but some do prefer coverage for appliances or systems. If most of your home appliances are new and still covered under a manufacturer’s warranty, you may want to opt for a systems-only plan.

      2. Know what you can afford

      Companies that provide home warranties charge a monthly premium for their services — this is generally around $50 a month. If cost is a significant factor for you, shop around for the best deal or consider opting for less coverage to reduce the price. Also, keep in mind that home warranties often require regular maintenance on your covered appliances and systems to keep the contract valid.

      3. Research and compare providers

      Researching home warranty providers is the most critical step when choosing a plan. As you research, we recommend comparing:

      • Monthly or yearly cost
      • Service call fee
      • Plan options
      • Number of covered systems and appliances
      • Available add-on coverage
      • Service recall period (the length of time a warranty company guarantees a repair)
      • Any caps, maximum payout limits or exclusions the company sets in its contract terms

      Once you select a provider and are ready to make a purchase, the company will likely have a 30-day waiting period before your service contract goes into effect. Once this period has passed, you can typically use your home warranty as often as needed.

      Compare companies side by side

      Types of home warranties

      The right plan for you varies based on whether you own a home, are buying a home or are planning to sell a home. Optimal coverage also differs based on the type of home that needs protection. Some of the most common types of home warranties:

      Homeowner warranty

      A homeowner may purchase a home warranty at any time. Providers offer home warranties that fit different needs, whether you're planning to sell your home or stay in it for the foreseeable future.

      Homebuyer warranty

      People often purchase home warranties immediately after buying a home. A homebuyer warranty becomes effective on the day of closing. The buyer or the buyer’s real estate agent may purchase the home warranty.

      Seller home warranty

      Purchasing a home warranty while your house is on the market is a smart move. You can quickly fix any issues that come up while your home is on the market and help close the deal by providing potential buyers a home warranty that transfers into their name after the sale. It’s especially useful to purchase home warranties when selling an older home.

      Home warranties for rental properties

      Landlords benefit greatly from the security of a home warranty. You’re protected against unexpected costs when major systems or appliances malfunction, and you can budget the warranty price into your overall expenses and adjust your rental fees to cover the cost.

      New construction home warranty

      New construction warranties offer extra protection for new properties. These warranties are available in different terms, ranging from a one-year warranty to ensure the overall quality of the construction to 10- or even 20-year warranties for critical items, such as the home’s foundation.

      Condo home warranty

      A condo home warranty is similar to a traditional house warranty. One unique issue condo owners encounter is finding coverage for shared home systems. For example, most condo home warranties don’t cover an air conditioning system used by two condos.

      Mobile home warranty

      Mobile home warranties are like traditional house warranties, but they focus more on the systems and appliances most common in mobile homes.

      Guide Sources

      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page.

      1. American Home Shield, “Consumer Home Warranty Sample Contract.” Accessed April 27, 2021.
      2. Choice Home Warranty, “Terms of Service Agreement.” Accessed April 27, 2021.
      3. Select Home Warranty, “Terms and Conditions: Service Contract Agreement.” Accessed April 27, 2021.
      4. Cinch Home Warranty, “Home Service Agreement.” Accessed April 27, 2021.
      5. America’s 1st Choice Home Club (AFC), “Systems Coverage.” Accessed April 27, 2021.
      6. American Residential Warranty, “Agreement.” Accessed April 27, 2021.
      7. Liberty Home Guard, “Home Warranty Agreement.” Accessed April 27, 2021.

      Not sure how to choose?

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        by Michele Lerner Mortgage & Real Estate Contributing Editor

        Michele Lerner, author of “HOMEBUYING: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time”, has been writing about personal finance and real estate for more than two decades. Michele writes for regional, national and international publications in print and online for a variety of audiences including consumers, real estate investors, business owners and real estate professionals.

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