The Cheapest Home Warranty Money Can Buy

By: House Method

House Method shopped around to find the cheapest home warranties available today. We took the best home warranties and found the top three providers with the least expensive plans that don’t compromise on coverage, so you can confidently sign up knowing that you’re getting a home protection plan for the best value.

Our reviews save you time, save you money, and they are always free. House Method is reader-supported. Affiliate disclosure.

The cheapest home warranty plans of 2019

Name

Choice Home Warranty

Description

Best home warranty for: Overall coverage
BBB Rating: B-
Availability: All states except CA and WA
Plans: 2 plans + optional add-ons
Premiums: $350–$500 annually—monthly plans also available
Service fee: $60–$7

Score
10 / 10
Name

American Home Shield

Description

Best home warranty for: Appliance coverage
BBB Rating: B
Availability: Nationwide
Plans: 4 plans + optional add-ons
Premiums: $249+ annually—monthly plans also available
Service fee: $75–$125

Score
9.5 / 10
Name

North American Home Warranty

Description

Best home warranty for: Cheapest home warranty
BBB Rating: N/A
Availability: Nationwide
Plans: 4 plans + optional add-ons
Premiums: $300+ annually—monthly plans also available
Service fee: $35–$75

Score
8 / 10

Even an affordable home warranty isn’t cheap per se but it is a valuable investment. Premiums will vary depending on where you live, the provider you pick, and the level of coverage you choose. Fortunately, customers have a lot of choices, so we can just about guarantee that there’s a home warranty plan out there for you and your budget. And although getting coverage as soon as possible is a good idea, a home warranty is not a requirement for those closing on a house, so you have the luxury of time to really research, shop around, and compare quotes to ensure you’ve found the cheapest home warranty for your home and location.

What is a home warranty?

A home warranty is an optional service agreement that homeowners—both sellers and buyers—rental property owners, and realtors can purchase through a home warranty provider of their choice. The provider covers the costs to repair and/or replace certain appliances—such as a clothes washer and dryer—or systems—like heating and cooling—in a house for a specific period of time, usually 12 months. When an item covered by your home warranty breaks from normal wear and tear, the provider will repair the item by dispatching a local service technician—usually a licensed contractor within the provider’s network—to assess and resolve the problem. Some companies will also offer to replace a covered item that is beyond repair. Home warranties protect homeowners from paying for costly repairs and they also lend peace of mind, which is why we, at House Method, think they’re well worth the cost.

 

How to find an affordable home warranty company

  • Generous coverage with caps above $500
  • Custom coverage—we rewarded a point to providers with a build-your-own plan or optional add-ons
  • Delivers the best value to customers—premiums and coverage are well-balanced and below $600 per year
  • Monthly payments available
  • A low service fee—we deducted a point if fees were above $100
  • Bonus points were given to providers with extra perk programs, like appliance discounts and referral bonuses

How much do home warranties usually cost?

The total price of your home warranty plan will depend on the level of coverage you chose plus fees for any optional add-ons you select. The age or size of your home will only affect the price of the plan if it’s a brand new house, which would be covered by a builder’s warranty, or a house that’s larger than 5,000 square feet.

Home warranty premiums cost $300–$800 per year. Some companies allow customers to pay the cost of their home warranty in monthly installments—some as low as $25 per month. However, you can usually get a better deal if you invest in an annual premium. We found that some providers even offer one to five months of additional coverage for free when customers enroll in one- to five-year plans. We know that’s a good chunk of change up front, but home warranties aren’t insurance policies. You can almost always cancel at any time. If you paid in full at the time of signing, many providers will refund you the prorated amount of the warranty you haven’t used yet.

The majority of companies also charge a non-negotiable, non-refundable service fee of $75–$125 per claim. The cheapest home warranty service fee we found was North American’s $35 fee. Carefully read your contract to find out whether you’ll be charged for repeat visits if the problem persists after the first appointment. Some providers, like Choice Home Warranty, will charge customers only once—the lesser of the service fee or the cost of repair or replacement.

Benefits of a home warranty

The bottom line is that the benefits of a home warranty definitely outweigh the cost of the plan. Customers will save time on research, money on repairs or replacements, and energy from worrying or anticipating if, when, and how badly an appliance or system will break.

Service network

When a major home appliance or system breaks—take a water heater for example—it’s as stressful as it is expensive. Finding and hiring a local professional that’s qualified and highly reviewed can be a total time suck if you don’t know someone already. You’ll spend time asking neighbors for recommendations and reading customer reviews online. If you’re in a hurry, you might have to completely bypass research and merely hope the contractor is someone you can trust to get the job done. After scheduling an appointment, you may have to wait as long as a week to get someone to evaluate the issue, all the while your family is taking cold showers. Then, if the technician can’t fix your water heater, you’ll have to order a new one. You’ll spend even more time shopping online for the best one and then hurry up to wait again until the technician can come back to install it.

With a home protection plan, you’ll gain access to a whole network of professionals in your area and the home warranty provider will do all the work for you. You simply have to submit a claim either online or over the phone, they’ll schedule the appointment within two to four days of approving your claim, and then the technician will order a new appliance for you if the water heater cannot be repaired.

How much do repairs and replacement really cost?

The potential cash savings of a home warranty is significant. Although most providers cap their coverage at a certain dollar amount, some limits are very generous. American Home Shield, for example, will pay up to $3,000 per appliance for a repair or replacement under its Appliance Plan. On the other hand, Choice Home Warranty will only charge customers the lesser of the two amounts between a $60–$75 service fee and the actual cost of the repair. Here are some commonly covered appliances and systems, how much it costs to repair and replace each one, and how much money customers save on average.

Water heater

  • Cost to repair—$546
  • Cost to replace—$1,065
  • Potential savings—$471–$1,037

Furnace

  • Cost to repair—$284
  • Cost to replace—$4,249
  • Potential savings—$209–$1,500

Air conditioner

  • Cost to repair—$347
  • Cost to replace—$5,413
  • Potential savings—$272–$1,500

Refrigerator

  • Cost to repair—$310
  • Cost to replace—$1,925
  • Potential savings—$235–$1,306

Clothes washer or dryer

  • Cost to repair—$250–$310
  • Cost to replace—$1,075–$1,250
  • Potential savings—$175–$1,466

Additional benefits and discounts

Many home warranty providers offer special perks to their customers. North American Home Warranty offers military discounts, American Home Shield offers discounts on new appliances and filters, and Choice Home Warranty offers cash rewards to customers who recommend the provider to a friend or family member. Other home protection plan perks include discounts at certain retailers and restaurants.

Home warranty reviews

Customer reviews carry considerable weight with House Method Reviews. We know the only way to really evaluate a brand or product is to lean into conversations between verified customers who have experienced a product firsthand. We tapped into customer feedback and highlighted some of the most insightful home warranty reviews we read.

Signing up for American Home Shield was a good decision and it saved me a lot of money upfront. I bought a new house and I had an issue with my electrical panel so I got service scheduled with their contractor, Absolute Electrical. It only took about a week for a turnaround of scheduling and then two weeks for completion of the service. The contractor performed the service in a timely manner and they were great. We were worried about a few cables, a couple of copper wires hanging out, and the guy was well aware of all the issues. He was very professional. He sent me a confirmation later in the day that it was all done and everything was good, and then I was able to go over with him in person the issues that I was concerned about. He addressed them all and said that he would have it taken care of. I’m very satisfied with my AHS experience. —Christopher of Denver, Colorado on ConsumerAffairs

For the latest claim, I called in for pre-approval. Originally, there was a short in an outdoor porch light. Unfortunately, it was much deeper than that so it had had to be replaced so he got a whole new fixture. There was another issue downstairs with the cable television. They arranged Dan’s Electric to come out and the contractor called and said he’d be here the next day. And off he came and things went fine. He was very professional, explained the $75 fee associated very well, which I understood and took care of our interest. And once he looked at the issue downstairs and dissected what was wrong, he was able to make a great recommendation. He was able to replace our fixture out front. Since then, everything has been fine and dandy. Overall, I’m very pleased with American Home Shield’s service but I would tell people to make sure they understood all the conditions. —James of Roanoke, Virginia on ConsumerAffairs

[Choice Home Warranty has] the best online communication. This helps tremendously for people who have a bad hearing like myself. The $125 discount also helps. On top of that, the free first month is really great. I hope that things will move smoothly when it comes time for repair. Thank you. —Hasjim of Chandler, Arizona on ConsumerAffairs

I am so glad that I contacted CHW. I was looking for a better call out fee. I went from maybe paying $75.00 to a $45.00 fee. Also, the yearly fee for the home warranty was less than I was paying. Thank you CHW for a great deal that I could not pass up. —Lashonda of Hallsville, Texas on ConsumerAffairs

You had me find my own guy to help me fix my furnace. Thanks. You said you would send me the money back. When it comes I will make sure everyone on my social media knows the good experience I have had. So far so good. —Dee C. of Ashburn, Virginia on Consumers Advocate

Our conclusion

Company Best home warranty for Plan options Premiums Service fees Additional perks
Choice Home Warranty Overall 2 + add-ons Starting at $350 $60–$75 Freon fully covered (most companies charge $10 per pound), first month free (offered on a promotional basis), referral reward, 90-day repair guarantee
American Home Shield  Appliance coverage 4 + add-ons  Starting at $249  $75–$125  Up to a $3,000 limit on appliances, covers cost to dispose of old appliances, discounts on appliances and plans for multiple properties, $25 referral reward
North American  Cheapest home warranty  4 + add-ons  Starting at $299 $35–$75 Lower service fees than most providers, military discounts available, 2 months free (offered on a promotional basis)

Other providers to consider

Fast coverage

Nationwide coverage

Customization

Limited exclusions

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest home warranty?

North American Home Warranty, American Home Shield, and Choice Home Warranty are the most affordable home warranty companies. Although it has higher service fees, American Home Shield offers the lowest premiums, starting at $249. They also offer a custom, build-your-own plan that could help offset prices. North American offers low premiums starting at $300 and the lowest service fees we’ve seen so far—some as low as $35.  Choice Home Warranty has been rewarded as an affordable home warranty company with some of the most competitive pricing and promotions.

How much is a one-year home warranty?

Most home warranties cost $300–$800 per year, but we consider premiums lower than $600 an affordable home warranty. We found that companies that over custom coverage or build-your-own plans are the cheapest home warranties.

We’ve heard several complaints about providers raising their prices year after year. Unfortunately, this is common as the demand for home warranties increase. You can always ask if you can lock in a price at the time of signing.

Sometimes home warranty companies will guarantee your rate if you pay for a three- or five-year plan. This is a large sum of money upfront, but you can usually cancel any time and receive a refund for the amount you don’t use. Ask the company about cancellation policies and fees. We’ve seen fees range from $50 to $75.

Who pays for a home warranty?

Home buyers and sellers, realtors, and rental property owners can all buy a home warranty and benefit from a home protection plan. Home buyers will pay for home warranty coverage if they purchase the plan after closing. However, it’s becoming more common for the seller to pay for a one-year home warranty if they offer it as part of the home sale. Real estate agents sometimes pay for a home warranty for the seller in order to cover potential repairs that crop up while the home is listed. Realtors may also offer a home warranty to the buyers they’re representing as a kind of thank-you gift and a way to ease anxious buyers’ minds. Rental property owners can bake the cost of a home warranty into the tenant’s monthly rent.

Should I offer a home warranty?

Offering a home warranty is a great marketing tool for sellers and realtors. Not only are your repairs covered while the house is on the market, but you’ll also offer buyers some peace of mind that potential problems will be handled. A home warranty can certainly expedite the closing process.

Is a home warranty part of closing costs?

Buyers have the option to purchase a home warranty when they close on a house, but—unlike homeowners insurance—a warranty is not required by mortgage lenders in order to complete a home sale. If the seller or realtor has offered a home warranty as part of the deal, they’ll typically pay the fee at closing.

Can you purchase a home warranty after closing?

Yes, homeowners can purchase a home warranty at any time after closing. If the sellers or realtor have already purchased a home warranty for the house, but you’d prefer a different provider, you could always purchase another home warranty plan separately.

How much will a plan pay out?

If the home warranty company will replace a covered item that can’t be repaired, ask if they’ll cover the total cost of the item. Home warranty providers limit how much they’ll pay out per covered appliance or system. Usually, the provider will pay between $1,500 and $2,000 for heating and cooling, up to $500 for plumbing and electrical, and anywhere from $500 to $3,000 for appliances depending on your coverage.

What’s a service fee?

Service fees usually cost $75–$100. These are non-negotiable and non-refundable and every home warranty provider charges one. However, you should always ask if you’ll be charged for repeat visits if the problem persists. You should also inquire about the scenario in which you’re unhappy with the service the provider’s contractor provides. Ask whether they’ll send a different technician on the next visit or if you can get a second opinion. Another perk you can ask about is if the provider will charge the lesser amount between the service fee and the actual cost of the repair or replacement.


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