What to do when your home warranty claim is denied

Denial isn’t the end of your claim

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Home warranties help cover the cost of repairs and replacements for many appliances and systems. When something breaks down, you file a claim and the home warranty company typically pays a technician to repair it.

Sometimes your claim may be denied, but you’re not out of luck, though. Here are some things that can cause your home warranty company to deny your claim, as well as what you can do when your home warranty claim is denied.

Key insights

All home warranties differ in what is covered in each plan.

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Home warranty contracts have many exclusions that can lead to claim denial.

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If your claim is denied, there are other ways to receive coverage.

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How to handle a denied home warranty claim

Every home warranty company should have an appeal process if your claim is denied. However, it is important to note that the company may ask you to show proof of installation, maintenance records and purchase receipts.

Suppose your home warranty company denies your appeal. In that case, you can seek legal action by contacting your state’s attorney general or by filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

If you find there is no recourse with your home warranty company, there are some other ways you can receive coverage. Many systems and appliances come with a manufacturer's warranty, so if your system or appliance is newer, it might be worth double-checking your policy.

Homeowners and builders insurance may also be able to help. Builders insurance helps cover the systems and appliances installed during the house's construction. However, homeowners insurance only covers damages directly caused by a natural disaster.

What are some reasons your claim may be denied?

Home warranty plans usually have many limitations and exclusions that can lead to a claim denial. Most home warranties typically only cover total breakdowns due to normal wear and tear and exclude things such as weather damage or cosmetic damage.

Here are some exclusions that may lead to claim denial:

  • Damage is cosmetic only
  • Events outside of human control (such as natural disasters)
  • Preexisting conditions
  • Improper maintenance or installation
  • Uncommon or high-end appliances
  • Missing parts
  • Pet, pest or animal damage
  • Misuse or abuse
  • Consequential or secondary damages
  • Commercial products
  • Structural components
  • Rust-out or corrosion

What does a home warranty usually cover?

Home warranties usually cover repairs and replacements on major appliances and systems, such as refrigerators, ovens, built-in microwaves, plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling. However, most home warranty companies offer plans depending on the customer's needs.

For example, many companies have an appliance plan, a systems plan and a total systems and appliance plan that covers everything in the first two. Home warranties also typically have add-on options, so you can add an appliance or system to your plan for an additional fee if it isn’t offered.

Here are some items commonly included in a home warranty plan:

  • Electrical work
  • Plumbing systems
  • Heating, cooling and HVAC systems
  • Central vacuum systems
  • Sump pumps
  • Refrigerators
  • Ovens
  • Built-in microwaves
  • Dishwashers
  • Garbage disposals
  • Washers and dryers
  • Garage door openers
  • Ceiling fans
  • Dishwashers
  • Attic and exhaust fans

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    Is there a limit to how many claims I can make during my contract term?

    Home warranties typically don’t have a limit on how many claims you can file during the contract term. However, there are usually limits on repair costs per item and aggregate costs per year. For example, if the limit per term on your refrigerator was $2,500, and the repair costs $500, you would still have $2,000 to use on other claims for that item.

    How is homeowners insurance different from a home warranty?

    Home warranties cover breakdowns to systems and appliances due to normal wear and tear, while homeowners insurance only covers damage due to disasters or covered perils.

    What can I do if my claim is denied?

    If you feel your claim was wrongly denied, you can dispute the denial with your home warranty company by filing an appeal. You can also seek legal assistance or contact your state attorney general. Another option is to file a complaint against your home warranty company with the Better Business Bureau.

    Bottom line

    Home warranty plans typically cover a variety of systems and appliances. However, understanding the fine print of your contract is important to avoid claim denial. If your claim is denied, file an appeal or check to see if you are covered by a manufacturer's warranty, homeowners insurance or builders insurance.

    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. Progressive, “Home warranty vs. home insurance.” Accessed April 26, 2024.
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