Your home is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make. So, when it comes to protecting it, you want the very best options available. When it comes to appliances and other home systems, a lot of people think they're protected by homeowners insurance. But, what they may not realize, is that a homeowners insurance policy actually doesn't protect many of the valuable items and systems in your home that can break down from normal wear and tear, including appliances such as washers and dryers, HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems.
Even if you have a manufacturer’s warranty for your home appliances and mechanical systems, that protection may only be effective for a limited time and may not cover all parts and labor. With so many of your most valuable items left unprotected, you may want to consider purchasing a home warranty to protect against costly repairs or replacements. One advantage of having all your home warranty items with one company is that there is only one plan and one company to call for service.
If you think a home warranty plan may be the right option for you, here are some of the best home warranty companies on the market.
Best Home Warranty Companies of 2020
- AFC Home Club (America's 1st Choice): Best Overall
- American Residential Warranty: Runner-Up, Best Overall
- First American Home Warranty: Best for Reliable Coverage
- Amazon Home Warranty: Best Reputation
- OneGuard Home Warranties: Best Regional Service
- Cinch: Best for Service Fee Options
- American Home Shield: Best for Plan Selection
Best Overall: AFC Home Club (America's 1st Choice)
AFC Home Club offers home warranty coverage in all states except California, South Carolina, and Hawaii. Coverage begins 30 days after purchase and is available through a variety of plans in one- and three-year policies.
AFC Home Club has a B rating with the BBB with an average 3 stars with more than 100 independent customer reviews. AFC allows you to use your own repair service as long as it is licensed, bonded, and insured. AFC also offers a guarantee on parts and labor for the life of your warranty membership.
Pricing for plan options depends on the type of plan and service fee amount you choose. You can check pricing plans online or call 1-866-242-0629 to request a quote. AFC offers service fee options including $75, $100, and $125. Plan costs vary from $350 to $600 yearly.
- Platinum Plan: The platinum plan offers the most comprehensive coverage for systems and appliances, covering air conditioning/cooler, heating systems, water heater, electrical system, plumbing system, plumbing stoppages, ductwork, clothes dryer, kitchen refrigerator, ice maker, oven, range, stove/cooktop, dishwasher, garbage disposal, garage door opener, and built-in microwave.
- Gold Plan: Includes coverage for air conditioning/cooler, heating systems, water heater, electrical system, and ductwork, as well as appliances, including washers and dryers, kitchen refrigerators, ovens, ranges, stoves/cooktops, dishwashers, garbage disposals, and garage door openers.
- Silver Plan: Covers appliances such as the clothes dryer, clothes washer, kitchen refrigerator, oven, range, stove/cooktop, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and garage door opener.
- System Plan: Covers systems such as the air conditioning/cooler, heating systems, water heater, electrical system, plumbing system, and ductwork.
You can add additional coverage to any plan for a sump pump, septic system, hot water dispenser, pool & spa, standalone freezer, or tankless water heater.
Why We Picked It
AFC Home Club has been in business since 1999 and has the most liberal policy we could find for choosing your own repair technician with no prior approval necessary. As long as a contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured, you should be able to use the contractor of your choice for repairs.
Related: Read our full review of AFC Home Club.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: American Residential Warranty
American Residential Warranty has been in business since 1946. It has nationwide coverage and offers 12-month plans with several different coverage combinations and bundle options available. Coverage begins 30 days after purchase, as is typical with home warranty plans.
- Platinum Premier: $59.99 per month. This is the most comprehensive plan covering central air conditioning, central home heating, humidifier, interior electrical system, refrigerator, refrigerator ice maker, range/oven/cooktop, range hood, dishwasher, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, kitchen exhaust fan, plumbing system (excluding fixtures), plumbing stoppages, ductwork, garage door opener, water heater, and ceiling fans. You can add coverage for your washer and dryer for $9.99 per month.
- Platinum: $49.99 per month. Covers central air conditioning, central home heating, humidifier, interior electrical system, refrigerator, range/oven/cooktop, dishwasher, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, kitchen exhaust fan, and water heater. You can add coverage for your washer and dryer for $9.99 per month.
- Heating & Cooling: $39.99 per month. Covers central air conditioning, central home heating, humidifier, and interior electrical system.
- Kitchen Plus: $34.99 per month. Covers refrigerator, range/oven/cooktop, dishwasher, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, kitchen exhaust fan, and water heater.
- 4-in-1 Bundle: $124.99 per month. Covers major appliances, electrical, central heating, and cooling, extended coverage on multiple appliances and systems, sewer/water lines coverage (repairs, unblocking lines, excavation costs, re-seeding grass, re-paving driveway), electronics coverage for all new and used electronics.
- 3-in-1 Bundle: $109.99 per month. Covers major appliances, electrical, central heating & cooling, extended coverage on multiple appliances and system, electronics coverage for new and used electronics.
Why We Picked It
We chose American Residential Warranty as the runner-up for best overall because of its clear pricing, the transparency provided in sample contracts, and the lowest deductibles and service fees. There are a variety of plans to choose from and you can pick your own technician with prior repair approval. American Residential Warranty also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Related: Read our full review of American Residential Warranty.
Best Reliable Coverage: First American Home Warranty
First American Home Warranty has been in helping Americans protect their homes and property since 1984. The company is owned by First American Corporation, which is a large financial services company that provides title insurance and settlement services.
Home warranties from First American range from $28 to $42.50 per month. If you have to file a claim, you'll be responsible for a $75 to $100 service fee, depending on your specific plan and location.
- Basic Plans: Covers home buyers and sellers against failure of critical systems such as heating, electrical, ductwork, plumbing, water heater, sump pump, and appliances, including dishwasher, oven/range/cooktop, garbage disposal, and trash compactor.
- Value Plus: Includes all coverages provided in Basic Plans as well as coverage for air conditioning and a first-class upgrade, which includes coverage for building permits when necessary (up to $250), improper installation and modification, and limited code upgrades. The company will also cover refrigerant recapture, reclaim, and disposal.
- Eagle Premier: Includes all coverage in the Basic Plan as well as air conditioning, a first-class upgrade, kitchen refrigerator, and clothes washer/dryer.
Why We Picked It
With more than 30 years in business, First American has distinguished itself as a source of reliable coverage for homeowners who want to protect their homes' systems and appliances. The company enjoys a B+ rating from BBB and a 3-star rating with more than 1600 reviews. The company has multiple plans available and offers coverage nationwide so it can meet any coverage needs.
Related: Read our full review of First American Home Warranty.
Best Reputation: Amazon Home Warranty
Though not affiliated with Amazon.com, Amazon Home Warranty has been in business since 2009. Its annual plan costs vary between $349 and $549 with a service fee of $75. Amazon Home Warranty has a BBB rating of B+ with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, after more than 700 customer reviews. Coverage begins 30 days after warranty plan purchase, and the company requires prior approval for any work performed by an outside contractor.
- Appliances Plan: Covers refrigerator (with ice maker), dishwasher, clothes dryer, freezer (stand-alone), trash compactor, oven/range/stove/cooktop, clothes washer, and microwave ovens.
- Systems Plan: Covers central AC system, central heating system, plumbing (including stoppages), electrical system, hot water heater, ductwork, jetted bathtub,, and garage door openers.
- Combo Plan: Appliance coverage for refrigerator (with ice maker), dishwasher, clothes dryer, freezer (stand-alone), trash compactor, oven/range/stove/cooktop, clothes washer, microwave ovens, instant hot water dispenser, garbage disposal, attic fan, ceiling fan, bathroom exhaust fan, doorbell, and kitchen fan/exhaust hood. System coverage for central AC system, central heating system, plumbing (including stoppages), electrical system, hot water heater, ductwork, jetted bathtub, and garage door openers.
- Additional Coverage Options: You can add coverage for a pool & spa, additional central heating, lawn sprinkler system, septic system, whole house humidifier, freezer (stand-alone), sump pump, limited roof leak, additional central AC, central vac, well pump, wine refrigerator, septic tank pumping, additional fridge, water softener, and extra hot water heater.
Why We Picked It
Amazon Home Warranty has very transparent pricing and a solid reputation, as demonstrated by positive customer reviews through the BBB. Coverage is available nationwide.
Related: Read our full review of Amazon Home Warranty.
Best Regional Service: OneGuard Home Warranties
OneGuard was founded in 1990 and is a regional home warranty provider that's owned by American Home Shield. Home warranties from OneGuard are available for home buyers, sellers, and existing homeowners, but are only available in Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. Nevertheless, the company receives outstanding reviews and numerous accolades for outstanding service. The company offers three different home warranty plans ranging from $29 to $59 per month, depending on location and coverages, and customers who file claims pay low services of just $69.
Seller and Buyer Plan Options
- ApplianceGuard: Covers core appliances including built-in microwave, refrigerator with ice maker, range/oven/cooktop, garbage disposal, and washer dryer, as well as numerous services, such as re-keying locks and reprogramming garage remotes, carpet cleaning, pest control, and termite treatment.
- SystemGuard: Protects the home’s major systems, including heating and air conditioning, plumbing stoppages, water heater, doorbells, smoke detector, central vacuum, and electrical. This option also includes coverage for all services available in ApplianceGuard plus A/C and heating system tune-ups and garage door tune-up.
- HomeGuard: Covers all appliances covered by ApplianceGuard, all systems protected by SystemGuard, all extra service, plus a full range of optional coverage, including undetectable pre-existing conditions, built-in pool/spa, additional freestanding refrigerators, a second washer/dryer, extended main line plumbing, and sprinkler system and timer.
Why We Picked It
We chose OneGuard as the best option for regional coverage because, while the company is a owned by a large national provider, it has an outstanding reputation for providing high-quality coverage for eligible homeowners in the few states that it services. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau averages more than 4 stars out of 5 with over 300 customer reviews.
Best for Service Fee Options: Cinch
Cinch Home Services (formerly Cross Country Home Services and HMS Home Warranty) has been in business for over 40 years. There are three warranty plan options available, with service fee options of $150, $125, and $100. With the $150 service fee, the basic plan costs $65.99 per month and the combo plan costs $84.99 per month, but the monthly cost varies by plan type and service fee option.
Coverage is available in all states except Alaska and Hawaii, and like most home warranties, coverage begins 30 days after plan purchase. Cinch has an A- rating with the BBB and 2 out of 5 stars based on more than 300 customer reviews. Cinch home warranty repairs have a 180-day guarantee.
- Complete Home: This is the most comprehensive plan from Cinch and it covers both appliances and built-in systems.
- Appliances: Covers clothes dryers, clothes washers, cooktops, dishwashers, food centers (built-in), freestanding ice makers, microwaves (built-in), ranges, range exhaust hoods, refrigerators, trash compactors (built-in), and wall ovens.
- Built-in Systems: Covers air conditioning (including ductwork), attic fans, ceiling fans, central vacuums, doorbells, electrical system, garage door openers, garbage disposals, heating system including ductwork, instant hot/cold water dispenser, plumbing system, smoke detectors, sump pump, toilets, water heater, and built-in whirlpool/jetted tubs.
Why We Picked It
We picked Cinch as the best home warranty company for deductible options. Cinch offers three service fee options, while the other companies we evaluated only offered one or two.
Related: Read our full review of Cinch Home Services.
Best for Plan Selection: American Home Shield
American Home Shield has been in business since 1971. It offers 12-month customizable home warranty plans in all states except Alaska. Coverage begins 30 days after purchase.
American Home Shield has a B rating with the BBB with an average rating of 3 stars out of 5 after over 6,000 reviews. When filing a claim through American Home Shield, you're assigned a contractor, and you must get prior approval before using any outside contractors. The pricing of plans varies from $75 to $125 depending on the plan you choose.
- Combo Plan: Appliances covered: refrigerators, clothes washers, clothes dryers, ranges/ovens/cooktops, dishwashers, built-in microwave ovens, trash compactors, garage door openers, free-standing ice makers, and built-in food centers. Systems covered: air conditioning including ductwork, heating including ductwork, electrical, plumbing, water heaters, garbage disposals, instant hot/cold water dispensers, doorbells, smoke detectors, ceiling fans, and central vacuums.
- Appliances Plan: Covers refrigerators, clothes washers, clothes dryers, ranges/ovens/cooktops, dishwashers, built-in microwave ovens, trash compactors, garage door openers, free-standing ice makers, and built-in food centers.
- Systems Plan: Covers air conditioning (including ductwork), heating (including ductwork), electrical, plumbing, water heaters, garbage disposals, instant hot/cold water dispensers, doorbells, smoke detectors, ceiling fans, and central vacuums.
- Build Your Own Plan: You select the coverage you want of up to 21 systems and appliances, plus optional coverages of pool and/or in-ground spa equipment, well pump, and septic system plumbing & septic sewage ejector pump.
- Optional coverages: In addition to the preset plans, you also have the option to add coverage for pool and/or in-ground spa equipment, well pumps, and septic system plumbing & septic sewage ejector pump.
AHS also makes it easy to view a sample contract and a full list of plan options, limitations, and exclusions by visiting their website.
Why We Picked It
We picked American Home Shield as the best home warranty company for plan selection because it's the only one we reviewed that allows you to build your own plan based on your individual needs.
Related: Read our full review of American Home Shield.
|Company Name||Best For||Pricing||Service Fee||BBB Rating||Plan Options||Phone Number||Website|
|AFC Home Club (America's 1st Choice)||Overall||$29.00 to $109.99 per month||$55||A+||6||(800) 588-9008|
|American Residential Warranty||Runner-Up||$350 to $600 per year||$75 to $125||B||4||(866) 242-0629||www.afchomeclub.com
|First American Home Warranty||Flexibility||$28 to $42.50||$75 to $100||B+||3||1 (800) 992-3400|
|Amazon Home Warranty||Reputation||$349 to $549 per year||$75||A+||3||(877) 800-1080||www.amazonhomewarranty.com|
|One Guard Home Warranties||Regional Service||$29 to $59 per month||$69||A+||3||(888) 896-0014||https://www.oneguardhomewarranty.com/|
|Cinch||Service Fee Options||$65.99 to $84.99 per month||$100 to $150||A-||3||(844) 627-6003|
|American Home Shield||Plan Selection||$75 to $125 per month||$75 to $125||B||4||(888) 682-1043||www.ahs.com|
What Is a Home Warranty?
To understand home warranties, you first need to know what a home warranty isn't. A home warranty is not homeowners insurance. Rather, it is a contract between a homeowner and a home warranty company to provide repairs and replacement services on major home systems, appliances, and other major components. Warranties cover the cost of many home systems and appliances if they break down.
How Does a Home Warranty Work?
When you buy a home warranty and have a covered system or appliance break down, you can file a claim with your home warranty company to schedule repairs with an approved service provider. You will typically pay a service fee, depending on your warranty plan, and the warranty company covers the rest of the repair costs. There are usually limits on how much warranty companies will cover in repair or replacement costs, which are outlined in your agreement.
Home Insurance vs. Home Warranty: What’s the Difference?
Homeowners insurance pays for damage to your home’s structure and foundation from a covered loss and also offers liability protection if someone gets injured on your property. Home warranty coverage does not protect against any of these but pays for home appliance or home system repairs or replacement if something breaks down during your coverage period.
How Much Does a Home Warranty Cost?
Home warranty plans typically cost anywhere from $300 to $600 yearly, which you may pay in monthly installments of $25 to $50. Individual plans may cost more or less than that, depending on where you live, the items you choose to cover, and your level of coverage. Service fees also vary, typically ranging from $55 to $150 per visit.
When you purchase a home warranty, at a minimum, you’ll have to pay for the cost of the plan. Then, each time you need a repair, you pay the service fee; so the more stuff breaks, the more you pay. But, that service fee may still be far less than what it would cost to pay for the entire repair out of pocket.
For example, the average refrigerator repair cost falls between $200 and $400, according to HomeAdvisor. The same data shows that a washing machine repair can cost between $120 and $500. A $75 service fee isn’t so bad in comparison. At the same time, a higher service fee might not be worth it—and you might not need to use the warranty at all. As with many insurance and warranty products, the peace of mind it provides is a primary factor for purchasing or not purchasing a warranty.
Who Regulates Home Warranty Companies?
Each state has its own regulations to oversee home warranty companies. Some states require all service contract providers to register with the state’s Commissioner of Insurance, while other states do not have clear regulating authorities. Some states offer consumers the ability to file a complaint through their insurance commissioner’s office.
Should I Get a Home Warranty?
A home warranty can give you peace of mind in knowing that you will have help in paying for expensive home repairs or replacements. If those repairs become necessary, you could save money on service costs. The home warranty company can also provide assistance in locating a contractor to complete home repairs.
On the other hand, you might end up never needing the service, or it might not save you much (or anything) in the end. It also might not be necessary in all instances. If you are buying a new home, some coverage may already be in place for any system or structural defects. If you buy new appliances, those may also have their own warranties.
Tip: If you bought an appliance with a credit card, check the card benefits. Your card may offer extended warranty coverage for items you purchase with it.
As an alternative to buying a home warranty, you can “self-insure”: Add up what you would pay each month for the warranty, and set up an automatic transfer of that amount to a high-yield savings account. If appliances do break, you can use that money to cover repair or replacement costs. If they don’t, you can use the money for something else. The risk here is that you may not have enough set aside when you need it.
There’s no way to know for sure if you’ll need the extra coverage, but the peace of mind home warranties offer may be worth the cost.
How We Chose the Best Home Warranty Companies
To find the best home warranty companies available, we gathered data on more than 20 of the top home warranty companies in the U.S. We evaluated providers on them in four key areas: cost, coverage, customer service, and transparency.
Shopping around for the best home warranty is difficult, even moreso when you can’t find the information you’re looking need. We tried to find companies that publish pricing lists, plan details, and sample contracts right on their websites. For information we couldn’t find online, we called customer service—the best home warranty companies provided clear answers to our questions quickly and in a friendly manner.
Home warranty plan pricing varies significantly by region and coverage type, even within the same company, but the service fees are fairly consistent. Companies that offer a variety of service fee options give you the flexibility to choose a plan that best fits your budget, so we gave preference to companies that offer options.
Home warranty companies with the best coverage not only offer services nationwide (or at least in a majority of states), but they also give you multiple plans to choose from. Home warranties with the best coverage give you the option of customizing your plan for your individual needs.
Dealing with broken home systems or appliances is enough of a hassle, so we recommend home warranty companies with great customer service features. All companies on this list have 24/7 customer service hotlines or online service-request portals. We also looked at BBB ratings and customer reviews and complaints, as well as how company responses. We also considered how long companies have been in business, how transparent it is about its practices, the ease of filing complaints, and whether or not the company is the subject of government regulatory action.
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