Does a home warranty cover a water heater?

In most cases, your water heater is covered

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There’s nothing worse than waiting for your shower to heat up first thing in the morning and nothing happening. And the culprit is usually a broken water heater. Since most water heaters are hidden away in closets, garages and other out-of-the-way places, most people don’t think about them much — until something goes wrong.

A home warranty can protect you from expensive, unexpected repairs to your water heater and other home systems and appliances. A home warranty company can even find someone to repair your water heater, saving you the hassle.


Key insights

  • Home warranties cover repairs due to wear and tear on various home systems and appliances, including water heaters.
  • Both conventional and tankless water heaters are usually covered in standard warranty plans.
  • There are limitations and exclusions to coverage, such as preexisting issues and damages caused by improper use.
  • Compare plans from reputable home warranty companies and consider additional coverage to find the right plan.

What does a home warranty typically cover?

While your home insurance covers your home if your home is damaged by something like a fire or high winds, a home warranty covers repairs caused by wear and tear. Some items typically covered by a home warranty:

  • Water heaters
  • Built-in microwaves
  • Air conditioners
  • Furnaces
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Ductwork
  • Washers and dryers
  • Garbage disposals
  • Refrigerators
  • Stoves and ovens

» MORE: Best home warranty for plumbing

Home warranty water heater coverage

Both conventional and tankless water heaters are commonly covered in standard warranty plans because they’re considered essential home systems. This means you probably don't need to purchase supplemental coverage to cover your water heater.

A home warranty may include repairs or replacements for various water heater components, such as:

  • Heating elements
  • Tanks
  • Igniters
  • Circulating pumps
  • Expansion tanks

Water heater coverage exclusions

As with any insurance or warranty policy, there may be certain limitations and exclusions. Preexisting issues and damages caused by improper use may not be covered, for example.

Home warranties usually only cover repairs to your home systems and appliances if they’ve been properly maintained, explained Angel Conlin, chief insurance officer at Kin Insurance. This means your warranty may not cover your water heater if you’ve let it sit in a puddle of water and it’s become rusty.

Certain components, like energy conservation units, fuel storage tanks, or auxiliary holding or storage tanks, also may not be covered. G. of Washington, D.C., ran into this issue: “Because the warranty only covered part of the cost of the water heater, there was a process to go through of agreeing to pay a certain amount of it.”

Still, the rest of the cost was covered, and the warranty company took care of the problem quickly: “Immediately after that, they had it installed. There was a problem with the water heater but that was corrected right away by the people, so that was good.”

To fully understand the extent of coverage and any potential exclusions, you should review the terms and conditions of your home warranty policy. This helps ensure you clearly understand what to expect when it comes to your water heater's protection and potential repair or replacement costs.

» COMPARE: Home warranty vs. home insurance

Signs of water heater problems

You may need to call in a professional to check out your water heater if you’re having any of these problems:

  • Low water pressure
  • Rusty or odd-colored water
  • Water that doesn’t get very hot or doesn’t heat at all
  • Strange noises coming from your water heater
  • Water leaking from your water heater
  • Hot water runs out more quickly than it used to
  • Hot water smells odd

How to maintain your water heater

One in 10 home heating equipment fires are caused by water heaters, so good maintenance is important beyond just keeping your home warranty current. A little yearly maintenance is all you need to keep your water heater in good shape.

“Most homeowners don't even know that this is a thing, but you should plan to drain and flush your water heater yearly to remove the sediment that accumulates at the bottom, as this buildup can force your heater to work harder and shorten its life span,” Andrew Miles, a licensed master plumber with 30 years of experience, told us. “This is the biggest issue I encounter with water heater trouble calls.”

While you’re at it, you should also check the anode rod. This component inside your water heater is easily accessed and attracts corrosive particles to protect your tank. “If there is buildup on the rod then you should swap it out for a new one, which isn't very expensive,” Miles said.

Plan to drain and flush your water heater yearly to remove the sediment that accumulates at the bottom, as this buildup can force your heater to work harder and shorten its life span. ”
— Andrew Miles, licensed master plumber

According to Miles, to get the longest life out of a water heater, you should get it inspected annually by a licensed plumber so they can point out any potential issues early, which will prevent costly repairs down the road.

Choosing a home warranty for water heater coverage

Begin your search for a good home warranty by researching well-rated providers. Look for reputable home warranty companies with positive reviews, transparent terms and a history of prompt claim processing.

According to Tom Nolan, founder of home improvement company All Star Home in Raleigh, North Carolina, quality customer service and promptness are the most important aspects to look for. “You’ll [probably] have to use their approved vendors, which can make it difficult to find help promptly,” he said. “These companies can be backed up with the amount of work they have to do, so they may offer poor customer service if you need extra work done on a particular fix.”

Once you've identified home warranty companies you’re interested in, compare their plans and water heater coverage. While basic plans typically cover water heaters, you may want to consider additional coverage options to enhance protection on other items in your home, like the roof.

» MORE: Does a home warranty cover a roof?

Quick and easy. Find a home warranty partner now.

    FAQ

    What voids a water heater warranty?

    Lack of maintenance or intentional damage can void home warranty coverage for your water heater.

    How long does a home warranty last?

    Most home warranties renew each year. At renewal time, you can choose whether or not you want to keep the policy.

    Are water heaters usually under warranty?

    Manufacturers often offer a warranty for water heaters. These can last anywhere from one to several years, though there are a few companies that offer lifetime warranties.

    How much can a home warranty save you?

    According to Angel Conlin of Kin Insurance, “The average cost of an appliance repair is $175, but costs can often range from $50 to $500. Luckily, these are costs a home warranty can cover. If you don’t have a home warranty or yours has expired, it could be a worthy investment. Many are less than $100 a month.”


    Article sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. National Fire Protection Association, “Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires between December and February with one fifth of all home heating fires occurring in January.” Accessed Aug. 4, 2023.
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