Home Warranty Reviews

A home warranty is a contract entered into by a homeowner and a warranty provider that covers the cost of repair and replacement to items inside the home. Home warranties can give you the peace of mind you need in the event of an unexpected repair or an emergency. To get the best home warranty, you have to start by checking out some home warranty reviews.

We’ve reviewed some of the top home warranty providers in the business to give you a better sense of your options and how you can choose the right home warranty for you.

Check out our FAQs below for more information on how to read a House Method home warranty review.

Data and rating accurate as of November 2017

Our home warranty reviews at a glance

First things first—what is a home warranty?

A home warranty is a service agreement that a homeowner signs with a warranty company. Under a home warranty, the company will cover the repair or replacement of specific appliances or systems in a house for a preset period of time, typically 12 months. When something goes wrong in your home—and is covered by the warranty—the warranty company will repair or replace the item by dispatching a local service technician to evaluate and resolve the issue.

What does a home warranty cover?

Your home warranty will cover only what is explicitly written into the policy for problems resulting from normal wear and tear. Most warranty providers will require the following for fulfill a claim:

  1. Normal use—The appliance or system is not malfunctioning because you’ve broken it. If your washer isn’t working because a bottle of laundry detergent fell off a shelf and dented it, your warranty likely will not cover repairs or replacement.
  2. Regular maintenance—The appliance or system receives maintenance on its recommended schedule. When purchasing a house with appliances as a part of the deal, ask your realtor to help secure any repair or maintenance documentation. The written report from your home inspection also provides documentation of the age and functionality of the appliances and systems within your house. Both records can help you should you need to make a claim.

Some companies will provide warranties that offer unlimited coverage on certain appliances and systems yet set spending limits on other appliances. Your warranty may offer unlimited coverage for your refrigerator but a maximum spending limit of $1,500 on your heating system. Under this warranty, the provider would repair or replace your refrigerator regardless of cost yet only cover the repair or replacement cost of a new HVAC system up to $1,500. You’d be responsible for the rest of the bill.

Home warranty providers typically offer three coverage levels:

  1. Basic coverage plans—Though exact coverage will differ based on where you live, home warranties typically cover basic appliances and systems in your home. This includes the major systems and appliances that you use every day, such as your heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing system, electric system, refrigerator, dishwasher, range and oven, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, and water heater. Some basic plans will also cover doorbells, ceiling fans, and smoke detectors. Plans will only cover what is written into the contract.
  2. Enhanced coverage plans—Many home warranty companies offer enhanced coverage plans to cover additional appliances in your home. These plans may include coverage for your washer and dryer, garage door and garage door opener, whirlpool-style bathtubs, septic tank, and wet bar refrigerator.
  3. Add-ons—Depending on your home, you may have additional appliances or features that could be covered by a home warranty but wouldn’t be in most standard houses. Many warranty companies will allow you to add these items for an additional premium. These may include a pool, spa, hot tub, or outdoor water feature, septic system, well pump, a second HVAC system in a garage, studio, or other detached structure, or a stand alone freezer outside of the kitchen.

How much does a home warranty cost?

Home warranties typically  cost $300–$800 for each year of coverage. Some companies allow purchasers to split the cost of their home warranty into installment payments, though many still require payment in full when the contract is signed. Many home warranties automatically renew each year.

The total price of your home warranty will depend on the type of house and the specific details in the contract. The price will not vary due to the age or size of the home unless it’s brand new or larger than 5,000 square feet. Your home warranty may have a set deductible and may also have service or repair limits. Most warranty companies will also charge a non-negotiable and non-refundable service fee of $75–$125 per technician visit each time a claim is made.

How long does a home warranty last?

The length of home warranty coverage depends on the type of home warranty.

  1. Pre-owned homes—Home warranties for pre-owned homes typically last 12 months and can be renewed with the warranty company prior to the expiration of the initial term. Warranty holders can opt for continuous coverage, which renews each year.
  2. New construction—Homebuilders warranties are often provided as an incentive to attract buyers. Length of coverage varies by part:
    • Typically, coverage for structural defects are covered for up to 10 years, while drywall, paint, siding, or stucco are covered for just 12 months.
    • Appliances are typically covered under a new construction warranty for 6 months, and some may be covered by their own manufacturer’s warranty.
    • The HVAC, plumbing, and electric systems are typically covered for 2 years.

Homebuilder warranties are sometimes transferable should the original purchaser decides to sell the house—but not always. If you’re considering purchasing a home less than 10 years old, speak to your realtor about whether the property is covered by a home warranty.

What’s the difference between a home warranty and homeowners insurance?

A home warranty is a service contract that covers certain core elements of your house—like HVAC, some appliances, plumbing, water heater, ceiling fans, disposals, etc.—if they malfunction due to age or regular wear and tear from normal use. You’ll likely have the option to buy a home warranty when you purchase a house, but a warranty will never be required by your mortgage lender in order to complete the deal.

Homeowners insurance will cover property and structural damage as a result of fire, natural disaster, and some other situations outside your control, but does not typically cover flood or earthquake damage, as separate insurance is required for some property based on risk. Homeowners insurance is required by most mortgage lenders and premium payments are usually bundled with your monthly mortgage payment. Beyond structural and property damage, homeowners insurance will cover:

  • Liability—Coverage provided to the homeowner if someone is injured on the property
  • Property loss—Insurance typically covers any personal property loss through theft or damage
  • Short-term housing costs—Many policies will help cover your temporary housing costs in the event that your home becomes uninhabitable due to damage or disaster

Homeowners insurance is sold through insurance companies and brokers. If an emergency or theft occurs in your home, you’re responsible for filing a claim. There will be a set deductible, or the amount you’re responsible for paying prior to the insurance company, before they start footing the bill.

How is a home warranty different than a manufacturer’s warranty?

Manufacturer’s warranties cover only individual appliances or systems and are issued and administered by the manufacturer of the appliance or system. Here are three common characteristics of manufacturer’s warranties:

  1. Coverage for only one item—A manufacturer’s warranty provides protection for one specific item, covering  repairs, service, or replacement of that item and only that item.For example, if your washer is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty and your dryer breaks the warranty will not cover it—even if they are made by the same company.
  2. Non-transferable—Manufacturer’s warranties are rarely transfer when ownership of the house changes. If you recently purchased a home that contains new appliances or a new HVAC or alarm system, it is unlikely that the warranty—if the previous owner held a policy—would transfer to you. If you do purchase a home with appliances already installed, you may wish to work with your agent and the seller’s agent to identify whether a warranty will transfer. Additionally you may wish to invest your own time in calling each manufacturer to see whether the warranty is transferable—if is it, put the warranty in your name.
  3. Additional cost—By purchasing only manufacturer’s warranties, it is likely that you will spend more money in the long run than you would had you purchased a home warranty. Manufacturer’s warranties must be purchased—and maintained—on an annual ad hoc basis.

How do I choose a home warranty?

Home warranties provide additional peace of mind to home buyers. But sellers may wish to consider purchasing a home warranty prior to listing their property for sale—particularly if listing the property as for sale by owner. Real estate agents in some states are allowed to purchase home warranties for their clients as an added assurance to both buyer and seller throughout the transaction though there are restrictions.

To select the best home warranty—regardless if you are the buyer, seller, or agent—here are the six steps you should take:

  1. Research age of appliances—Gather all documentation for every major system and appliance in your home. If you are the potential buyer, ask your realtor for assistance in gathering this information from the seller and selling agent. Make a simple chart or spreadsheet that lists the appliance or system, its age, and when it was last serviced for maintenance or repairs. This will help when securing home warranty quotes and give you the information you need to determine what type of warranty coverage is best for you.
  2. Determine coverage needs—Some appliances are covered under nearly every home warranty policy, and some are rarely covered. Determine what appliances or systems in your home would be covered by a basic home warranty or if you need to add on coverage or buy an extended home warranty package.
  3. Shop around—To identify the best warranty, you’ll need to shop around. Don’t feel pressured to accept the first home warranty offer placed in front of you.
  4. Compare quotes—Pricing is not the only factor to consider in shopping for a home warranty. Request specific information about the policy during your research including the claims process and timeline, the deductible and service visit costs, the length and duration of coverage, what systems and appliances are and are not covered by the warranty, and what may exclude you from coverage.
  5. Check references—Ask the home warranty company to speak to a client that has filed a claim. Seek advice from friends and family that have warranties with the company or with others. Consider searching for reviews or media stories about the original builder of the house, the warranty company, or the neighborhood.
  6. Read home warranty reviews—Check out consumer reviews and third-party sites to get a sense of customer satisfaction, BBB rating, notable features, popularity, and more. Consumer home warranty reviews tend to be subjective, and third-party reviews tend to be objective.

How do I read a House Method home warranty review?

The House Method editorial team provides objective ratings on the products and services our readers care about. We want to offer quick, digestible facts about home warranty providers to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a home warranty.

When you come across one of our home warranty reviews, you will be provided with a summary of the home warranty provider, a home warranty comparison chart, and details about pricing, BBB rating, national availability, coverage, and service fees.

1. Summary

Within the summary, we explain the types of warranty plans provided by the company and what is typically included within a plan.

2. Home warranty provider comparison chart

The home warranty comparison chart comprises a House Method home warranty rating, a House Method price rating, specific details about the home warranty (for example, the BBB rating and whether the provider is available nationwide), and a link to the home warranty company’s complete House Method review.

3. House Method home warranty rating

House Method home warranty review ratings are awarded based on a weighted 10-point scale that scores home warranty providers on BBB rating, length of coverage, service fees, national availability, workmanship guarantee, coverage exclusions, and whether warranty holders can choose their own repair technicians.

We score home warranty companies on these items because we believe these are most valuable to the consumer and give a clear and objective review of the overall quality of a home warranty brand.

4. House Method price rating

A House Method price rating is a relative score that compares the price of a brand’s products or services to its peers that we’ve reviewed. The prices of products and services are based on our independent research. Each dollar sign represents an objective tiered amount of money, depending on the category of the product or service being reviewed.

5. BBB rating, national availability, and service fees

In our home warranty reviews, we provide details on BBB rating, national availability, and service fees to give the consumer a more complete review of what each home warranty offers.

BBB ratings represent the BBB’s opinion of how a company is likely to interact with its customers. This rating is based on the business’ complaint history with the BBB, the type of business, the length of time the business has been operating, and the transparency of the business, among other factors. BBB assigns ratings from A+ (highest rating possible) to F (lowest rating possible). In some cases, the BBB will not rate the business due to insufficient information. Lack of BBB rating is not the same as a poor BBB rating, but is simply reflective of too little data.

National availability information is provided to inform the consumer about where he or she can purchase a home warranty plan. Some home warranty providers are available nationwide, while some are available only in certain states.

Service fee information is provided so the consumer knows about additional costs and deductible amounts when services need to be performed.

6. Home warranty coverage

Home warranty coverage information provides details on each home warranty’s coverage length, coverage exclusions, and claims process.

7. Consumers Advocate opinion and customer reviews

We include Consumers Advocate opinions in our reviews because we believe in the power of third-party review and opinion in informing a purchase decision. These are independent editorial reviews that include a score on a scale of 1 to 10, in addition to pros and cons of the business. Customer reviews are also provided to objectively inform the reader about personal experience with the specific home warranty plan and provider.

House Method rating methodology

Because we endeavor to provide the very best home warranty reviews, we based our ratings on information found through our independent research, including information found on the website of the company being reviewed as of the date of most recent review or through contacting the subject company as an anonymous prospective customer. We aim to update our ratings on a systematic and periodic basis and to disclose the date of most recent review on pages where the rating appears. Please see our rating methodology for additional information.

Providers

Advanced Home Warranty

$ $ $ $ $

Features
Add-Ons Available
Nationally Available
Highlights

Advanced Home Warranty national coverage at two levels with a number of add ons available.

See Our Review

America’s 1st Choice Home Club

$ $ $ $ $

Features
BBB Accredited
Nationally Available
Highlights

America's 1st Choice Home Club does allow warranty holders to choose their own repair techs with pre-approval.

See Our Review

American Home Guard

$ $ $ $ $

Features
Add-Ons Available
After Hours Service
Nationally Available
Highlights

American Home Guard offers three levels of coverage with a number of add ons available.

See Our Review

American Home Shield

$ $ $ $ $

Features
Add-Ons Available
After Hours Service
BBB Accredited
Nationally Available
Highlights

Unlike most home warranty providers, American Home Shield does provides coverage for appliances that had been improperly installed or repaired.

See Our Review

Blue Ribbon

$ $ $ $ $

Features
Workmanship Quality Guarantee
Highlights

Blue Ribbon provides home warranties only in the state of Colorado. Its contracts last 14 months and includes a workmanship guarantee on repairs for 30 days.

See Our Review

First American

$ $ $ $ $

Features
Add-Ons Available
Nationally Available
Highlights

Unlike most home warranty plants, First American’s First Class upgrade provides warranty coverage for improperly installed or improperly maintained systems and appliances.

See Our Review

Home Warranty of America

$ $ $ $ $

Features
Add-Ons Available
Nationally Available
Highlights

Home Warranty of America offers national coverage. And unlike most home warranty providers, Home Warranty of America allows you to choose your own repair technicians with pre-approval.

See Our Review

HomeGuard HomeWarranty

$ $ $ $ $

Features
Add-Ons Available
BBB Accredited
Highlights

HomeGuard HomeWarranty offers home warranty coverage only in Arizona and California. They offer two levels of coverage with a number of add ons available.

See Our Review

Landmark Home Warranty

$ $ $ $ $

Features
Add-Ons Available
Good Customer Service
Highlights

Landmark Home Warranty offers warranty coverage in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. Two coverage levels with a la carte additions available.

See Our Review

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