The 7 Best Home Warranty Companies of 2020
A great home warranty plan can give you peace of mind at a low cost
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Your home is one of your most important assets and when it comes to protecting it, you want the very best options available. One thing you may not realize is that a homeowners insurance policy does not offer protection for many valuable items and systems in your home that may break down from normal wear and tear, including appliances such as a washers and dryers, HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems.
Even if you have a manufacturer’s warranty for your home appliances and mechanical systems, the warranty may only be effective for a limited time without purchasing extended coverage 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
- American Residential Warranty: Best Overall
- AFC Home Club (America's 1st Choice): Best for Flexibility
- American Home Shield: Best for Plan Selection
- Cinch: Best for Service Fee Options
- Landmark Home Warranty: Best Regional
- 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty: Best for Real Estate or Home Sellers
- Amazon Home Warranty: Best Reputation
American Residential Warranty has been in business for 10 years. It has nationwide coverage and offers 12-month plans with several different plans and bundle options. 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: $29.00 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 winner for best overall home warranty plan for 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).
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 out of a possible 5 in customer review ratings. 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 will depend 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, ductwork. Covers appliances such as: clothes dryer, clothes washer, kitchen refrigerator, oven, range, stove/cooktop, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and garage door opener.
- 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 cover to any plan for sump pump, septic system, hot water dispense, pool & spa, standalone freezer, and tankless water heater.
Why We Picked It
AFC Home Club has been in business for 10 years. It seems to have the most liberal policy for choosing your own repair technician of all the home warranty plans we reviewed, and no prior approval is needed. As long as a contractor is licensed, bonded and insured, you should be able to use the contractor of your choice for repairs.
American Home Shield has been in business for over 45 years. 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 2.75 out of 5 stars. You are assigned a contractor when making a claim, and any outside contractors used for repairs must first be approved by American Home Shield. The pricing of plans varies from $75-$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, door bells, 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, door bells, 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 to pool and/or in-ground spa equipment, well pump, and septic system plumbing & septic sewage ejector pump.
You can see a sample contract and a full list of plan options, limitations and exclusions here.
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.”
Cinch Home Services (formerly Cross Country Home Services and HMS Home Warranty) has been in business for 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 a B+ rating with the BBB with a 2 out of 5 star average rating 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, homeowners insurance deductible reimbursement, instant hot/cold water dispenser, plumbing system, smoke detectors, sump pump, toilets, water heater, and whirlpool/jetted tub (built-in).
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.
Landmark has made a name for itself as a leading provider of regional home warranties. The company was founded in 2005 and serves Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. The cost of Landmark home warranties varies from $34.17–$55.84 depending on the state and plan you choose.
While Landmark offers flexibility in that you can add on coverage for appliances to any available home warranty plan, the company requires pre-authorization for any services performed by your own contractor. Landmark has an A rating with the BBB with a 2.75 out of 5 star average customer rating.
- Total Protection Plan: Covers air conditioning system, heating, built-in microwave, central vacuum, dishwasher, garbage disposal, kitchen refrigerator, oven/range/cooktop, washer/dryer, electrical system, garage door opener, no-fault plumbing coverage, air conditioning tune-up, heating tune-up, pest control, re-key service and subterranean termite treatment.
- Home Systems Plan: Covers air conditioning system, heating, electrical system, no-fault plumbing coverage, air conditioning tune-up, heating tune-up, pest control, re-key service,
- Home Warranty Plan Add-Ons: You can add coverage for a booster and well pump, built-in microwave, dishwasher, exterior pipe leak repair, freestanding ice maker, freezer (stand-alone), garage door opener, garbage disposal, grinder pump, guest house, kitchen refrigerator, oven/range/cooktop, pool and hot tub (chlorine), pool and hot tub (salt water), roof leak repair, septic system, washer/dryer, water softener, well pump, and wet bar refrigerator.
Why We Picked It
Landmark has distinguished itself as a leading provider of regional home warranty plans. It allows users to pay month to month, which no other company that we researched offered. It also offers clear pricing details and has good customer service reviews.
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty offers home warranties to homeowners, builders, brokers/agents, and service contractors. The service fee for 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty is between $75 and $100. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty has an A rating with the BBB and an average 1 out of 5 star customer review rating, out of nearly 400 reviews. If you choose to use your own service contractor, you must obtain an authorization prior to that contractor performing any service. Coverage is available in all 50 states. There is no definitive pricing for plans given on the website, so you should call one of the contact numbers to get a quote.
Seller and Buyer Plan Options
- Structural Warranties: Home warranties for sellers include a 10-year insurance backed structural warranty coverage for new construction with systems and appliances home warranty coverage. This structural warranty coverage is backed by New Home Warranty Insurance Company, a Risk Retention Group and reinsured by SwissRE, the world’s largest reinsurer. Coverage is provided to the homeowner for some defects not covered by homeowner’s insurance.
- Seller Coverage: Protects the home’s major systems and appliances. Coverage is complimentary during the listing period with a premium due at closing. The seller may purchase air conditioning and heat pump coverage during the listing period in addition to the complimentary coverage provided. Seller coverage is complementary where allowed by law and requires a commitment to purchase a home warranty service agreement for the buyer. Protected systems include: air conditioner/freon split system, furnace, plumbing, water heater, and electrical panel/wiring. Protected appliances include: refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, disposal, and washer & dryer.
- Additional Coverage Options:You can add coverage for a pre-season HVAC tune-up, additional refrigerator/wine cooler/stand-alone freezer, extended pipe leak, roof leak, septic system, pool/spa equipment, water softener, and well pump.
Why We Picked It
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty has a wide variety of distinguishable plans for real estate agents, sellers, and builders. It has been in business for over 30 years.
Amazon Home Warranty has been in business for 10 years. Its plan costs vary between $349 and $549 with a service fee of $75. Amazon Home Warranty has a BBB rating of A+ with an average 4.5 out of 5 star rating, out of more than 300 reviews. Coverage begins 30 days after warranty plan purchase, and the company requires prior approval for any work performed by an outside contractor. Amazon Home Warranty is not affiliated with Amazon.com.
- Essential Appliances Plan: Covers refrigerator (with ice maker), dishwasher, clothes dryer, freezer (stand-alone), trash compactor, oven/range/stove/cooktop, clothes washer, and microwave ovens.
- Major 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 hot water heater (extra).
Why We Picked It
Amazon Home Warranty has an A+ rating with the BBB with 10+ years in service. Coverage is available nationwide.
How We Chose the Best Home Warranty Companies
We spent two weeks researching 20 of the top home warranty companies in the U.S., and we evaluated them in four key areas: cost, coverage, customer service, and transparency.
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 giving you the flexibility to choose a plan that best fits your budget.
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.
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, and they all receive at least a B- rating from the Better Business Bureau. The BBB determines ratings based on consumer complaints and how a company responds to them, the industry in which the business operates, how long the company has been in business, how transparent the company is about its practices, and whether or not the company is the subject of government regulatory action, among other things.
Shopping around for the best home warranty is difficult when you can’t find the information you’re looking for. That’s why we like companies that publish pricing lists, plan details, and sample contracts 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 and did so in a friendly manner.
What Is a Home Warranty?
To define a home warranty, you need to know what a home warranty is not. A home warranty is not homeowners insurance. 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. It covers the cost of many home appliances should they break down.
How Does a Home Warranty Work?
When you buy a home warranty and have a covered system or appliance breakdown, 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 can be limits on how much of the repair or replacement costs the warranty company will cover.
Home Insurance vs. Home Warranty: What’s the Difference?
Homeowners insurance pays for damage to your home’s structure and foundation against a covered loss and also offers liability protection should someone get injured on your property. Home warranty coverage does not offer any of those protections but pays for home appliance or home system repairs or replacement.
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. Your specific plan may cost more or less than that, depending on your location and level of coverage. Service fees also vary, typically ranging from $55 to $150 per visit.
At a minimum, you’ll have to pay for the cost of the plan. Each time you need a repair, you pay the service fee, so the more stuff breaks, the more you pay to the warranty company. But that service fee may 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 gives you might be the real reason to get it.
Who Regulates Home Warranty Companies?
Each state has its own regulations on the way it oversees home warranty companies. Some states require all service contract providers to register with the state’s Commissioner of Insurance. Other states do not have a clear regulating authority. Many states provide consumers with the ability to file a complaint the the insurance commissioner’s office.
Should I Get a Home Warranty?
You have to be the judge if a home warranty is worth the cost. A home warranty can give you peace of mind in knowing that you will have help in paying for expensive home repairs or replacements. And 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 home systems 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. It 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.