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When choosing a home warranty company you need to do one thing: READ THE FINE PRINT. That’s “read the fine print” in case that was a bit too fine 😉 Many customers find themselves frustrated with a company for not paying claims for appliance repairs or the replacement of systems. If the company refuses to pay for it, then there is most likely a written exclusion in your contract. So before we go any further, promise you’ll read every word of your contract!
What Is A Home Warranty?
So, what exactly is a home warranty anyway? Home warranty insurance protects you financially from certain defects or malfunctions that may occur after you have purchased your home. It does not cover things like roof, fire/flood damage and other things typically covered by homeowners insurance policies. Items typically covered are appliances, HVAC, plumbing system, electrical system and other appliances and systems. Items covered will vary depending on the company and plan you choose. Fortunately, with many options available, you can choose the right fit for you and your home. The idea, as with any insurance, is that through regular small payments, you’ll be protected from an unexpected, large, and potentially unmanageable financial bill. You hear all of those scary stories about a home warranty provider “fixing” your appliance or system and a couple of weeks later it’s broken again. Our reviews will help you find a provider who will fix it right the first time so it lasts.
What is the Average Cost of Appliances and Systems?
Here is a table of average repair and replacement costs across the nation for some common household items. A home warranty plan could help you to avoid these types of unexpected expenses.
|Household Item||Equipment Cost||Repair Cost||Total Replacement Cost|
|Heating and Ductwork||$2,900||$390||$3,290|
|Main Electrical Panel||$700||$210||$910|
Total Protect (the same company as HMS Home Warranty) takes 1st place due to its customer service. From our research, they appear to resolve negative experiences in a timely fashion. As you read further in this article, you’ll see that customer service seems to be an issue for home warranty providers. They also have a 180-day workmanship guarantee. TotalProtect is the only home warranty company that offers this guarantee.
TotalProtect is one product offered by Cross Country Home Services, Inc. (CCHS). Another well-known product in the CCHS family of brands is HMS Home Warranty.
Total Protect’s Deductible Options
Homeowners can choose from a $75, $100 or $125 deductible. Selecting a higher deductible lowers your monthly premium.
Total Protect offers three coverage plans.
|Appliances Plan||Systems Plan||Combo Plan|
|Refrigerator||Garbage Disposal||Covers everything from both the Appliances and Systems plans.|
|Range/Cooktop||Air Conditioning (2 units)||Also provides Homeowners Insurance Deductible Reimbursement up to $500 (one claim per 12 months)|
|Wall Oven||Heating (2 units)|
|Range Exhaust Hood||Water Heater|
|Trash Compactor (Built-in)||Plumbing Lines & Stoppages|
|Dishwasher (Built-in)||Sump Pump|
|Clothes Washer||Whirlpool Bath|
|Clothes Dryer||Attic/Whole House Exhaust Fan|
|Door Bells & Chimes|
|Garage Door Opener|
|Main Breaker/Fuse Panel Box|
|Interior Electrical Lines|
|Interior Gas Lines|
All plans also include:
- Unknown pre-existing condition coverage
- Rust and corrosion coverage
- No annual aggregate caps
- No inspections required
- Option to cover additional items like pools and septic tanks
TotalProtect is currently offering our readers many great incentives: $100 off new combo warranty plans; your first month free on any plan; $50 gift cards and more! Just use this link to get started. You can also visit our dedicated TotalProtect coupon page to discuss offers.
American Home Shield is a well-known home warranty company, which is partially why they were chosen for 2nd place. However, almost 8,000 complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau. We understand that with any company there will be customers who do not like the service and with about 8,000 complaints, that’s much higher than other companies in this article. A large portion of these complaints object to the company’s failure to cover the cost of the full appliance or system. This is why AHS didn’t get our #1 pick for best home warranty. However, if you read below, you will see that is not what AHS does. We think AHS could work on clearing up this misunderstanding with its customers.
Service Call Fees
American Home Shield offers three trade service call fee levels. Some things you’ll want to remember are that you don’t pay for the actual repair or replacement cost for the covered items. Your contract will cover the repairs and replacements regardless of age, make and model.
American Home Shield’s Service Call Fee Options
AHS offers four different home warranty plans to help protect your wallet. As with most of these companies, pricing is not available on the website in a generic format so you must input your information for a quote.
Appliance & Systems Plans
Both the Appliance Plan and System Plan cover the repair or replacement of the following items:
|Appliance Plan||Systems Plan|
|Refrigerator||Air conditioning (including ductwork)|
|Dishwasher||Heating (including ductwork)|
|Built-In Microwave Oven||Garbage Disposal|
|Free-Standing Ice Maker||Instant Hot/Cold Water Dispenser|
|Trash Compactor||Central Vacuum|
|Garage Door Opener||Smoke Detector|
|Built-In Food Processor||Doorbell|
Build Your Own Plan
Select 10 or more items from the Appliance and/or Systems Plans to have covered. This way you aren’t paying for items that aren’t as important to you or that you don’t have.
The Combo Plan includes everything in the Appliance and Systems Plans (a total of 21 items). On average, you will save $14/month with this plan instead of purchasing the Appliance and Systems Plans separately.
Optional Add Ons
Here are some additional add-ons available at an extra cost: pool/spa, well pump and septic plumbing.
American Home Shield occassionally has seasonal discounts, visit our dedicated AHS coupon page to discuss current offers.
New to our top three this year is America’s First Choice’s (AFC). Its website is well laid out and simple to digest. This company is also very clear about its offerings. With most companies you have to dig through pages of their website, place calls and request quotes to get the information you need. AFC however, has all of their information right on their website. All you have to pay is a $60 service call fee per claim. This brings us to ask, are they too good to be true?
There are three plans offered by America’s 1st Choice.
|Water Heater (Gas and Electric)||Clothes Dryer||Everything from Silver and Bronze Plans||Double Oven|
|Air Condition/Cooler (1 Unit)||Clothes Washer||Electrical System||Pool Equipment|
|Heating System or Built-In Wall Unit||Refrigerator||Plumbing System||Spa Equipment|
|Water Heater (Gas and Electric)||Ductwork||Well Pump|
|Oven||Telephone Wiring||Sump Pump|
|Stove/Cooktop||Stand Alone Freezer|
|Garbage Disposal||Septic System|
|Garage Door Opener||Duplex|
What Other Home Warranty Companies Did We Review?
Other home warranty companies we reviewed that did not make our top three list are below. To go directly to a company’s review, click on one of these links below.
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty | Buyers Protection Group (BPG) | Choice Home Warranty | Fidelity National Home Warranty | First American Home Buyers Protection | The Home Service Club | HSA Home Warranty | Home Warranty of America (HWA) | Landmark Home Warranty | Old Republic Home Protection | OneGuard Home Warranty | Select Home Warranty | Stanley Warranty
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty states, “It says we are in the business of promises kept… and promises kept make our customers happy.” Unfortunately, customers don’t feel like they are getting the service they are promised according to reviews we’ve read online.
Plumbing, Electrical Panel and Wiring, Refrigerator, Oven, Dishwasher, Furnace, Air Conditioner/Freon Split System, Hot Water Heater, Roof, Built-In Microwave, Disposal, Trash Compactor, Clothes Washer & Clothes Dryer
Buyers Protection Group (BPG) seems to consistently let their customers down according to some review sites. They don’t have the best reputation that we can see, but somehow they have an A+ rating from the BBB, so they must be doing something right.
Prices and items covered vary depending on which state you live in. See BPG’s website to see pricing and items covered for your state. It’s in the Warranty Brochure PDF.
Choice Home Warranty (CHW) is the least reputable home warranty company we have found in our research. They have a government write-up on the BBB stating that they “alleged that CHW induced consumers to buy the so-called “home warranties” – which were actually service contracts – by stating they offered “comprehensive” coverage. The Division alleged that CHW then used deceptive tactics to deny consumers’ claims, such as denying claims if the consumers were unable to submit multiple years’ worth of maintenance records. As a result, consumers who paid hundreds of dollars for CHW’s “warranties” were required to pay out-of-pocket for air conditioning, refrigerator, or other repairs that were purportedly covered.” This is a big claim to throw at a company and in our eyes Choice Home Warranty must have done some pretty awful things to their customers to deserve this type of accusation. Ask your neighbors as service can vary by location but you may want to consider other home warranty companies.
Fidelity National Home Warranty can be a hit or a miss for customers. Some have been loyal customers for years filing many claims and being happy with their services, while others haven’t been so lucky. Depending on what your coverage needs are, Fidelity National Home Warranty may be a good fit for you and your home.
Fidelity National Home Warranty doesn’t clearly spell out any plans they have. Below is a list of the standard coverage offered by them, however, it may vary by state: plumbing system and stoppages, toilets, sump pump (permanently installed), bathroom whirlpool motor pump, recirculating hot water pump, water heater, heating and ductwork, electrical system, telephone system, central vacuum system, garage door opener, ceiling fans, attic and exhaust fans, smoke detectors, doorbells, dishwasher, range/oven/cooktops, built-in microwave, instant hot water dispenser and trash compactor.
The add-ons are an extra cost:
- Kitchen Refrigerator
- Clothes Washer
- Clothes Dryer
- Air Conditioning
- Pool and Spa Equipment
- Limited Septic and Roof Leak Repair
First American Home Buyers Protection offers plans that become effective 30 days after enrollment. At the time of this writing, there are more than 2,600 complaints on the Better Business Bureau that have been resolved in the past three years. Reader feedback states they are displeased with their customer service from First American.
First American Home Buyers Warranty offers two different plans: Basic Plan and Premier Plan. The Premier Plan covers everything in the Basic Plan.
|Range/Oven/Cooktop||Central Vacuum System||Additional Refrigeration|
|Garbage Disposal||Garage Door Opener||Central Air Conditioner|
|Built-In Microwave||Electrical||Pool/Spa Equipment|
|Kitchen Refrigerator||Plumbing Stoppages|
|Instant Hot Water Dispenser||Water Heater|
The Home Service Club (HSC) was previously a close 2nd for Best Home Warranty Company, but this year Total Protect and other companies leapt farther ahead, removing HSC from the top three. HSC’s Better Business Bureau page raises some concerns for us in the customer service department. There have been a “pattern of complaints” regarding The Home Service Club’s response to customer concerns about repairs being covered or sometimes getting no response at all. HSC has told the BBB that it is trying to resolve these issues; however, until we hear better reviews from HSC customers we can’t recommend them.
Service Call Fees
HSC has three options for trade service call fee payments. Basically, these work like deductibles. This fee is the amount you will pay out of pocket for a service call (other deductibles may apply as well, so again, please read your contract). Choosing a higher call fee payment will lead to a lower monthly warranty cost. The actual monthly price of your plan will depend on your location and other factors.
Home Service Club’s Service Call Fee Options
Home Service Club offers two coverage plans, Standard and Comprehensive. With the Comprehensive Coverage homeowners get all the items in the Standard Coverage as well. HSC also offers additional add-ons that can be purchased individually.
|Standard Coverage||Comprehensive Coverage||Optional Add-Ons|
|Air Conditioning||Alarm Wiring||Additional Water Heater|
|Ceiling Fans||Doorbells||Clothes Dryers|
|Central Vacuums||Ductwork||Clothes Washers|
|Electrical Systems||Gas Leaks||Dishwashers|
|Garage Door Openers||Instant Hot and Cold Water Dispenser||Freestanding Additional Refrigerator|
|Garbage Disposal||Pest Control||Freestanding Freezers|
|Heating Systems||Plumbing Stoppage Coverage||Freestanding Icemakers|
|Plumbing Systems (Faucets)||Recirculating Hot Water Pump||Jetted Bathtubs|
|Water Heater||Smoke Detectors||Pool and/or Spa Equipment|
|Clothes Dryer||Sump Pump||Refrigerators - Built-In Units with Dual Compressors|
|Clothes Washer||Telephone Wiring||Roof Coverage|
|Dishwasher||Water Leaks||Sewage Ejector Pump|
|Food Centers Built-In||Whirlpool Motor and Pump Assemblies||Spa and Spa Heater|
|Freestanding Icemakers||Whole House Exhaust and Attic Fans||Water Softener|
|Microwave Oven Built-In||Well Pump|
So, you will need to pick a service call fee amount (the lower the service fee, the higher the monthly fee) and pick a plan (standard vs. comprehensive) to get started. The least expensive option will always be the most expensive service fee and standard coverage.
Home Service Club occassionally has seasonal discounts, visit our dedicated HSC coupon page to discuss current offers.
HSA Home Warranty is a hit or miss. Customers either have great service from HSA or horrible service. If you’re interested in HSA, we suggest calling and asking to speak with customers in your area. Seeing how they perform with customers near you will help you decide if they’re a good fit for you.
Pricing and coverage vary based on location. Go on HSA’s site to see what they cover for your zip code.
Home Warranty of America (HWA) is one of the largest sellers of home warranty services. HWA has received awards for its services and what we like best about them is that they are very transparent about their offerings. HWA was close to making it to our top three this year but what it came down to was Total Protect’s desire to please their customers and their 180 day workmanship guarantee and AFC’s transparency.
Plans and Pricing
Service Fees are $75 each or the actual cost of replacement/repair, whichever is less. (This fee can vary by state.)
Although plans vary by state, HWA typically offers two different plans, which we have in the table below. Coverage for the plan may vary depending on where you live, but here are the basics.
|Premier||Premier Plus||Optional Add Ons|
|Heating||Air Conditioning||Stand Alone Ice Maker|
|Ductwork||Increases Toilet Replacement up to $500||Freezer|
|Plumbing||Plumbing - Fixtures, faucets, shower heads, stopages/clogs||Pool/Spa|
|Stoppages/Clogs||Everything in the Premier plan||Well Pump|
|Toilet||Septic Tank Pumping|
|Permanent Sump Pump||Septic System|
|Water Heater||Roof Leak Repair|
|Instant Hot Water Dispenser|
|Whirlpool Bath Tub|
|Door Bells, Burglar & Fire Alarm Systems|
|Garage Door System|
|Kitchen Refrigerator w/ Ice Maker|
Landmark Home Warranty has plans to expand nationwide but for now it is only available in six states. If you live in one of the six states Landmark offers coverage in, we recommend giving them a serious look. We found many positive reviews online for them and if they were nationwide, we’d consider them for our top three. Perhaps in the future you’ll see them towards the top of our article.
Plans and Pricing
Below is an overview of the plans available. To see specifics, we recommend visiting Landmark’s website directly via the link above.
|Home Systems Plan: $35/month||Total Protection Plan: $56/month||Plan Add-Ons|
|Air Conditioning||Everything from Home Systems Plan||Booster Pump|
|Heating||Central Vacuum||Salt Water Equipment|
|Electrical||Garage Door Opener||Washer/Dryer|
|Ceiling & Exhaust Fans||Dishwasher||Septic System and Plumbing|
|Water Heater||Garbage Disposal||Exterior Pipe Leak Repair|
|Plumbing||Oven/Range-Cooktop||Garage Door Opener|
|Drain Line Stoppages||Built-In Microwave||Swimming Pool/Hot Tub/Spa|
|Toilets||Kitchen Exhaust Fan||Ice Maker|
|Roof Leak Repair|
Old Republic Home Warranty claims to be the third largest home warranty provider in the nation. We haven’t read the best customer service reviews and think they may need to focus more on their customers. After being in business for 40 years, we feel they should have a better reputation than what they have.
Here is a list of some of the basics that Old Republic Home Protection covers. Based on your location more items are covered, but you will have to go to their website directly and choose your state to see what they have to offer for you.
- Kitchen Refrigerator
- Enhanced Drain Line Stoppage Coverage
- Garage Door Opener
- Polybutylene Pipes
OneGuard Home Warranty is relatively small compared to the other companies listed in this article. Since they’re smaller they have fewer customers, which should mean that they are able to spend more time on those customers to make sure that they have a good experience. However, according to our research, their customer service reviews aren’t any better than the competition.
OneGuard Home Warranty claims to cover all major home systems and appliances in addition to the following:
- A/C & Heating System Tune-Ups
- Sprinkler System
- Termite & Pest Control
- Weed Control
You can learn more about what OneGuard Home Warranty covers by going to their website and getting a quote.
Select Home Warranty can get your appliance or system fixed quickly. However, getting in touch with them in the first place can be a difficult task. They don’t have the best reputation when it comes to responding to customers’ phone calls.
Plans, Coverage and Pricing
Select Home Warranty offers three different package to cover your home appliances and systems. Service fees are usually $60 but can vary based on your state. The Gold Care includes everything in the Bronze Care and the Platinum Care package includes everything from the Bronze and Gold Care packages.
|Bronze Care||Gold Care||Platinum Care||Optional Add-Ons|
|Clothes Washer||Central Vacuum|
|Heating System||Second Refrigerator|
|Water Heater||Sump Pump|
|Garbage Disposal||Well Pump|
|Plumbing system||Limited Roof Leak|
|Refrigerator||Stand Alone Freezer|
|Stove/Oven||Lawn Sprinkler System|
|Microwave Oven (Built In)||Septic System|
|Cooktop||Ice Maker (In Refrigerator)|
|Dishwasher||Plumbing Fixtures/Lighting Fixtures|
|Clothes Dryer||Additional AC Unit|
|Garage Door Opener||Additional Water Heater|
Stanley Warranty was previously in this comparison but has terminated its services.
Which Home Warranty Company Should I Pick?
Of utmost importance is to remember that your home has specific appliances and systems that you want to be sure are covered. So, when you’re talking to representatives from each company be sure to ask about your specific needs. The more questions you ask the better off you are and the fewer surprises you will have later down the road. Look at multiple companies, ask for quotes and most importantly, read the fine print!
Is a Home Warranty Worth It?
We believe that when a major (and expensive) appliance breaks down, any homeowner will be glad they have a home warranty in place. Does this mean it is a right fit for everyone? Of course not, but for a small monthly fee it may offer the peace of mind you are seeking. Learn more in this video from Angie’s List.
Who Is Your Home Warranty Company?
For those of you who currently have a home warranty, who are you with? And what has your experience been so far?