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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 (and this review)?
A home warranty (also called home appliance insurance or appliance insurance) gives you financial protection against broken systems and/or appliances. Home warranty insurance is designed to provide coverage for appliances and systems that break due to normal wear and tear, whereas homeowners insurance would pay for them if they are damaged by fire, tornado, etc.
Homeowners insurance gives you financial protection against disasters (i.e., fires, tornadoes, etc.). It provides coverage for the house itself (the structure) as well as for the contents (appliances, electronics, clothes, etc.). However, not all disasters are covered.
For example, you must purchase separate policies if you are seeking earthquake and/or flood coverage. If there is a disaster due to poor maintenance on the homeowner’s end, it will not be covered.
Home insurance also covers damage caused by pets who reside there because they are technically your property from an insurance perspective. If a disaster like a fire occurs, the home itself and the items inside it are insured as well as any injuries to people within the home for which you are legally responsible.
Let’s look at an example to provide more clarity around these types of products. If you move into a new home and the dishwasher stops working 6 months later, your homeowners insurance policy won’t pay for it to be repaired or replaced. However, a home warranty may cover that repair/replacement if you have opted to gain this coverage. In most cases, you pay an initial deductible, and the rest of the cost is covered by the home warranty company.
Items covered will vary depending on the company and plan you choose. Common items include:
- Plumbing system
- Electrical system
- Other appliances and systems.
Fortunately, with many options available, you can choose the right fit for you and your home.
What’s Not Typically Covered In A Home Warranty?
- Fire damage
- Flood damage
- Other things typically covered by homeowners insurance policies
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|
Wondering if it it’s more cost effective to replace or repair an appliance? Use this graphic to see what you could be paying and how that compares to the cost of having a home warranty policy.
To share this infographic on your site, simply copy and paste the code below:
A home warranty works like most other insurance plans. You pay a monthly fee for coverage and if an appliance or system breaks that you have covered you only have to pay the deductible (or in this case, service call fee) and the rest is paid by the home warranty company.
What’s the catch? The company you choose for your home warranty has the option to either fix the broken appliance/system or buy a new one. Unfortunately, some companies choose to fix the appliance/system over and over instead of just replacing it with a new one. This can be very time consuming and headache inducing for you, the homeowner, who just wants a house with working pieces and parts.
The monthly premium is determined on your location, home criteria, personal information, etc. This cost typically ranges from around $30 to $60 per month depending on the level of home warranty plan you choose. Sometimes companies give discounts on the first year of service, so it may be even less.
The monthly premium is paid every month to keep your home warranty in service. You can also sometimes get a discount if you are willing to pay an annual premium upfront for the entire year instead of monthly installments, so be sure to ask if this may be a possibility for you.
The other primary cost is the service call fee or deductible. This is what you pay when a service professional comes to your home and inspects your appliance/system in consideration for repair or replacement. The service fee will generally be one set fee and the higher the service call fee or deductible, the lower the price you should expect to pay for your monthly premium.
Service call fees average in the $60-$125 range, but can be more or less. The service call fee is only paid when you file a claim, and a repair person visits your home to consider the repair or replacement. At that time, you pay the service call fee, and the rest of the repair/replacement is covered – whichever they deem necessary.
Each company is different, and there could be other fees associated with your home warranty plan. Please read your contract carefully.
You might hear 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. Keep in mind that this category is difficult to rank because the reviews are less than outstanding for most national and regional companies. But, that may also be because everyone wants what is broken in their homes to be fixed asap and effectively the first time and it is not always so black and white when it comes to appliance repairs. Read our reviews, ask your neighbors for recommendations, and rest assured that should something break, you will have a solution that is better than dealing with it (and paying for it) on your own.
American Home Shield is a well-known home warranty company and was chosen as our 1st place winner. We like that you can customize your plan to best serve which appliances you have/would like covered and fit your budget.
While viewing its BBB page, we noticed it has more than 10,000 complaints. However, we are also keeping in mind that this company is widely used and has a larger customer base than the majority of the companies reviewed 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 isn’t an uncommon practice in the home warranty field, and companies often repair an appliance or system over and over instead of replacing it. AHS has responded and resolved the majority of these complaints.
With more than 45 years in business and 1.7 million homeowners covered, there’s a reason people choose AHS for their home warranty. There are multiple plans to choose from, and your appliances and systems will be included regardless of their age, make and model.
Plans & Pricing
American Home Shield offers three 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 that.
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.
Both the Appliance Plan and System Plan cover the repair or replacement of the following items:
|Appliance Plan||Systems Plan|
|Refrigerators||Air Conditioning w/ Ductwork|
|Dishwashers||Heating w/ Ductwork|
|Built-In Food Centers||Doorbells|
|Garage Door Openers||Smoke Detectors|
|Clothes Dryers||Plumbing (Including Stoppages)|
|Built-In Microwave Ovens||Garbage Disposals|
|Trash Compactors||Central Vacuums|
|Free-Standing Ice Makers||Instant Hot/Cold Water Dispensers|
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. AHS also offers a Build Your Own Plan.
- well pump
- septic plumbing
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from American Home Shield.
Total Protect (the same company as HMS Home Warranty) takes 2nd place. We don’t like that they operate under many different names, making it difficult to get a true picture of their reputation. We have concerns that this might make it easy for them to hide negative reviews by changing the company name in geographic areas where they have gotten bad ratings. However, from our research, they appear to respond to negative reviews in a timely fashion (as you read further in this article, you’ll notice a trend that customer service seems to be an issue for home warranty providers). TotalProtect also doesn’t offer any custom plans.
They also have a 180-day service quality guarantee. TotalProtect is the only home warranty company that offers this.
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.
Plans & Pricing
All plans come with a $125 deductible. 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.
New to our top three 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, $75 or $100 service call fee per claim. This brings us to ask, are they too good to be true?
Plans & Pricing
There are 4 plans offered by America’s 1st Choice.
|Water Heater (Gas and/or Electric)||Clothes Dryer||Clothes Dryer||Clothes Dryer||Double Oven|
|Air Conditioning/Cooler (1 Unit)||Clothes Washer||Clothes Washer||Clothes Washer||Pool Equipment|
|Heating System or Built-in Wall Unit||Kitchen Refrigerator||Kitchen Refrigerator||Kitchen Refrigerator with Ice Maker||Spa Equipment|
|Electrical System||Water Heater (Gas and Electric)||Water Heater (Gas and Electric)||Water Heater (Gas and Electric)||Well Pump|
|Plumbing System||Oven||Oven||Oven||Sump Pump|
|Stove/Cooktop||Stove/Cooktop||Stove/Cooktop||Stand Alone Freezer|
|Garbage Disposal||Garbage Disposal||Garbage Disposal||Septic System|
|Garage Door Opener||Garage Door Opener||Garage Door Opener||Duplex|
|Air Conditioning/Cooler||Air Conditioning/Cooler||Triplex|
|Heating Systems or Built-in Wall Unit||Heating Systems or Built-in Wall Unit||Quadplex|
|Electrical System||Electrical System|
|Plumbing System||Plumbing System|
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 let their customers down consistently 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.
Plans & Pricing
Prices and items covered vary depending on the state in which you reside. 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.
Plans & Pricing
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.
Plans & Pricing
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||Everything in the Basic plan||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|
|Clothes Washer||Central Vacuum System|
The Home Service Club (HBC)’s Better Business Bureau page raises some concerns for us in the customer service department. There has 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.
Plans & Pricing
HSC has three options for service call fee payments. 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 offers 3 coverage plans, Basic, Standard and Comprehensive.
|Basic Coverage||Standard Coverage||Comprehensive Coverage|
|Garage Door Opener|
|Plumbing Stoppage Coverage|
|Sprinkler System/Home Irrigation System Line Coverage|
|Whirlpool Motor & Pump Assemblies|
|Whole House, Exhaust & Attic Fans|
|Recirculating Hot Water Pump|
|Instant Hot and Cold Water Dispenser|
|Ovens, Ranges, Cooktops|
|Microwave Oven Built-In|
|Food Centers Built-In|
|Spa and Spa Heater||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Sprinkler System/Home Irrigation System Line Coverage||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Refrigerators Built-In Units with Dual Compressors||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Freestanding Additional Refrigerator||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Sewage Ejector Pump||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Utility & Home Service Line Coverage Package*||Optional||Optional||Optional|
*Utility & Home Service Line Coverage includes:
- Outside Water Line Coverage
- Outside Gas Line Coverage
- Outside Power/Electric Line
- Outside Sewer Line Coverage
- Grinder Pump System
- Sprinkler System/Home Irrigation System Line Coverage
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 (Basic vs. Standard vs. Comprehensive) to get started. The least expensive option will always be the most expensive service fee and Basic coverage.
Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Home Service Club.
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.
Plans & Pricing
Pricing and coverage vary based on location. Go to 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 service quality guarantee and AFC’s transparency.
Plans & 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 & 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 OneGuard is a smaller company, it has fewer customers. This should mean that they can spend more time with 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 & Pricing
Select Home Warranty offers three different packages to cover your home appliances and systems. Service fees are usually $60 but can vary based on your state. The Gold Care package includes everything in the Bronze Care option. 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.
Below is an alphabetical listing of other home warranty companies you can consider that aren’t included in our reviews.
- Advanced Home Warranty – Available in all 50 states
- Allied Home Warranty – Available in all 50 states
- American Home Guard – Out of business
- American Home Guardian – Available in Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Texas
- American Residential Warranty – Available in all 50 states
- Assurant Solutions – Available in Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas
- Delta Home Protect – Available in all 50 states
- Federal Home Assurance – Available in 48 states (not California or Florida)
- HomeServe USA – Available in all 50 states
- InHome Warranty – This company is actually Choice Home Warranty operating under a different name
- Nationwide Home Warranty – Available in all 50 states
- Secure Home Warranty – Available in all 50 states
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.
Check out these individual comparison articles, so you can see how some of the most popular home warranty companies stand up side by side.
- American Home Shield vs Choice Home Warranty
- American Home Shield vs First American
- American Home Shield vs Old Republic
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!
Have a home warranty? What’s your experience been so far?
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