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First American Home Warranty Review

By: House Method | Affiliate Disclosure

Home warranties are optional protection plans that prevent homeowners from paying full price for costly repairs on major appliances—such as dishwashers and water heaters—and systems, like heating and cooling. One downside to most home warranties is that they only repair or replace covered items that are properly installed and maintained.

That’s the best part about First American Home Warranty. Its First Class Upgrade is indeed an upgrade from most home warranty plans, as it covers appliances and systems even if they were improperly installed, modified, or maintained. This means, if your 19-year-old water heater broke and show signs of rust or corrosion, the repair or replacement is still covered by First American.

First American offers a Basic Plan for both home buyers and sellers, an upgraded Eagle Premier Plan for homeowners, and First Class Upgrades, which is home warranty coverage for additional items on an à la carte basis.

Use our First American Home Warranty review as a guide to better understand the provider, its coverage and costs, and how it stacks up against other home warranty companies.

Data and rating accurate as of March 2019

Best home warranty for limited exclusions

Home warranty coverage of improperly installed or maintained appliances and systems is a perk unique to First American.

Covers improperly installed and maintained items
No cap on coverage for heating, cooling, and ductwork
Recommended by and for realtors

Why we chose it

Home warranty coverage of improperly installed or maintained appliances and systems is a perk unique to First American.

For this reason, we recommend First American to home buyers whose appliances or systems were included in their home sale. The previous owners may not have installed or maintained an appliance correctly.

Additionally, they may have modified it in some way that you’re unaware of. When that appliance breaks, you can rest assured that it’ll be covered by First American.

This is why we believe First American is the best home warranty for limited exclusions.

First American Home Warranty cost

First American does not publish its home warranty prices on its website. Instead, the company encourages customers to enter their information to get a personalized quote. This is understandable since home warranty costs vary by location. However, the House Method team went ahead and requested a quote to give our readers a better sense of pricing. Prices range from $28 to $50 per month.

Service fee

First American charges a $75 service call fee, which is an industry standard. For reference, most home warranty service fees range from $75–$125. First American Home Warranty customers are fortunate in that the company does not charge repeat service fees if the repair doesn’t hold and the service provider has to come back to address the same problem within 30 days.

First American Home Warranty coverage

Basic Plan
(seller’s coverage)
Basic Plan
(buyer’s coverage)
Eagle Premier
(buyer’s coverage)
First Class Upgrade (optional add-ons)
Heating (optional) Heating Heating Heating
Central air conditioning (optional) Central air conditioning Central air conditioning Central air conditioning
Ductwork (optional) Ductwork Ductwork Ductwork (must be correctly installed/maintained)
Electrical system Electrical system Electrical system Smoke detector
Garage door openers Garage door openers Garage door openers Garage door openers
Attic/ceiling/exhaust fans Attic/ceiling/exhaust fans Attic/ceiling/exhaust fans Pool/spa equipment
Central vacuum system Central vacuum system Central vacuum system Well pump
Plumbing system Plumbing system Plumbing system Plumbing
Plumbing stoppages Plumbing stoppages  Plumbing stoppages Septic tank pumping/system
Toilet tanks/bowls  Toilet tanks/bowls  Toilet tanks/bowls Trash compactor
Water heater  Water heater  Water heater Dishwasher
Circulating pump  Circulating pump  Circulating pump Built-in microwave
Sump pump  Sump pump  Sump pump Oven/range/cooktop
Pressure regulator  Pressure regulator  Pressure regulator Additional refrigeration
Garbage disposal  Garbage disposal  Garbage disposal Clothes washer/dryer
Trash compactor  Trash compactor  Trash compactor
Dishwasher  Dishwasher  Dishwasher
Water dispenser  Water dispenser  Water dispenser
Built-in microwave Built-in microwave  Built-in microwave
Oven/range/cooktop  Oven/range/cooktop  Oven/range/cooktop
 Refrigerator
Clothes washer/dryer

The First Class Upgrade not only covers appliances and systems that have been insufficiently installed, modified, or modified, but it also covers:

  • Fees associated with the use of lifting equipment (i.e. cranes) that are required to service roof-top HVAC
  • Up to $250 per local building permits if needed prior to replacing appliances, systems, or components
  • Costs to recapture, reclaim, and removal of refrigerant and the disposal of covered appliances, systems, or components that the company replaces

Coverage length

First American’s home warranty coverage lasts for a standard 12 months with the option to renew at the end of the year unless you’re a seller who has enrolled in basic coverage for your home while it’s listed.

A home warranty is helpful to sellers while their house is on the market since it covers the cost of potential repairs and replacements that crop up while the home is listed or under contract. Seller’s listing coverage lasts 180 days or until the close of sale or listing cancellation, whichever comes first.

As far as cancellation goes, the policy differs from state to state. The company encourages you to request a quote, apply for coverage, and then thoroughly read your service agreement before signing.

Coverage exclusions

Exclusions to the Basic Plan include systems or appliances that are malfunctioning due to improper maintenance or installation. You’ll have to choose the First Class Upgrade to get coverage for improperly installed or improperly maintained systems and appliances.

The sample contract reads, “[First American] will repair or replace a system or appliance (excluding roofs and ductwork) that was improperly installed, modified or repaired, or was not properly matched in size or efficiency at any time prior to or during the term of this contract.”

Unlike other home warranties, First American will also cover malfunctioning items due to an unknown defect or lack of maintenance.

Another clause in the contract reads, “This Contract provides coverage for unknown defects if the defect is not detectable through visual inspection or simple mechanical test (excluding renewal and non-real estate transaction customers). Items include malfunctioning systems and appliances due to lack of maintenance, rust, corrosion, and chemical or sedimentary build-up.”

First American Home Warranty claims

Customers can either file a claim online or call First American’s customer service to start a service request. Once you’ve filed a claim, a representative from First American will contact you to schedule an appointment with a local service provider. First American’s pre-approved service professional will then diagnose, repair, or replace the faulty equipment as long as it’s covered under the warranty. You will be responsible only for the service fee. There is no limit to the number of times you can request service after the 30-day waiting period between signing up and when coverage begins.

The sample contract includes that if First American cannot locate a contractor in your area, the company may request that the customer hires an independent licensed contractor. The contractor and First American will have to agree upon a rate for service and will either pay the contractor directly or reimburse the home warranty customer.

Summary of benefits

Starting cost per month $28
National availability Not available in AK, CT, DE, HI, IL, LA, MA, ME, MN, ND, NH, NY, RI, VT, or WI
Service fees $75
Coverage length 1 year for homeowners & buyers
or 180 days for seller’s listing coverage
Time in business 35 years
BBB rating B+
Review last updated: March 6, 2019

More about First American

Years in business

First American was founded in 1984 and has been in business for 35 years. The company was an early member of the 47-year-old home warranty industry. If you’re looking for a company that’s been around for a while, we recommend First American.

First American Home Warranty ratings

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives First American a B+ rating. Although many First American Home Warranty reviews on the BBB site are negative, it’s important to remember these complaints have been accruing for 35 years. The BBB even raised First American’s score to a B+ because the company made a significant effort to address and resolve customer complaints over the years.

Consumers Advocate gives First American a 9 out of 10, citing its 34 years of experience, “The company serves over 450,000 customers across the nation, offering year-round repair and replacement services, even on holidays.” Consumers Advocate also attributes the overall high score to First American’s lower-than-average service fees, easy-to-read contracts, and competitive coverage pricing.

House Method gives First American Home Warranty 4 out of 5 stars. It has generous coverage caps and limited exclusions that we’ve yet to find another home warranty provider offer. It’s been in the business long enough to know what customers want and need, and the company has made evident strides to show it cares.

First American Home Warranty reviews

One First American Home Warranty review from Boris E.reads

I’ve been very happy with First American for more than 15 years. In the middle of the summer, the air conditioner stopped working and in San Fernando Valley, you don’t want that at all. So, we [called] First American [and] they sent a gentleman. He fixed it, and it never acted bad again. If I didn’t have a First American Home Warranty plan, it would’ve cost a lot of money, a lot of aggravation, and I really wouldn’t know if the problem would be taken care of professionally.

Robert J.

I had two service requests recently. I had quick and excellent responses for both incidents. The air conditioning issues [were] particularly urgent because the temps are nearing 90 here and we have a medical patient in the house. First American dispatched a technician in a matter of hours and he was excellent and responded to our call after-hours, late in the evening. He took care of the problem right away and we had a very pleasant night thanks to the quick resolution of the issue. I’m genuinely impressed with the level of service and would recommend First American to any homeowner. I will always be a First American customer!

Bill C.

I do my homework before I buy something, and I checked this company out thoroughly. I know there [are] home warranty companies out there that don’t measure up—that they promise but they don’t deliver. First American promises, but more importantly, they deliver. [I] just can’t say enough about it..

Compare home warranties

First American Home Warranty is a good choice for you if …

  • you have an older home
  • your appliances/systems are showing signs of rust and corrosion
  • you’re unsure whether your appliances/systems have been properly installed
  • you’ve modified an appliance/system

Compare First American to the competition.

Company Best for Score Plan options Price Pros Cons
First American Limited exclusions 8/10 2 + add-ons $28-$50 per month Covers improperly installed/maintained items

No coverage cap on heating, cooling, or ductwork

Sample contracts can be difficult to find online

American Home Shield Appliance coverage 9.5/10 4 + add-ons $20–$65 per month Up to $3,000 limit on appliances

The cost to dispose of old appliances is covered

Higher service fees and longer wait times than average
America’s 1st Choice Customizable plans 8/10 4 + add-ons $32+ per month Choose your own service provider Customers are charged $60 per call even if the cost of maintenance is less than the service fee
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Frequently asked questions

How much does First American Home Warranty cost?

First American Home Warranty costs between $28 and $50 a month according to the quotes House Method received. Premium prices vary based on location and the level of home warranty coverage customers choose.

There is also a $75 service fee, which is paid to the pre-approved contractor upon appointment for service. These prices are average, as most home warranty plans range from $25 to $67 per month with service fees between $75 and $125.

Does First American cover plumbing?

Yes, plumbing systems and stoppages are covered by all of First American’s home warranty plans.  Plumbing coverage includes:

  • Pressure regulators
  • Circulating hot water pump
  • Bathtub motor, pump, and air switch assemblies
  • Permanently installed sump pumps (groundwater only)
  • Valves—shower, tub, diverter, riser, angle stop, and gate valves
  • Leaks and breaks of water, drain, gas, vent, or sewer lines (except caused by freezing)
  • Toilet tanks, bowls, and mechanisms (replaced with white builder’s standard as necessary)
  • Clearing of stoppages in sinks, tubs, shower drains, and toilets; sewer and mainline stoppages; and lateral drain lines up to 125 feet

Exclusions apply.

Can I cancel my First American Home Warranty policy?

First American Home Warranty asks potential customers to read their contract carefully before signing and they ask current customers to contact the company if they wish to cancel.

Cancellation policies vary from state to state, but home warranty customers can usually cancel their plan at any time, so we’d be surprised if this was not the case with First American.

Also, note that most home warranty companies charge an administration fee which is required by law. This fee is usually $50.

Which is the best home warranty company?

First American is one of the best home warranty companies, coming in at number four on House Method’s list of best home warranties. According to our criteria, the best home warranty has the following:

  • Accessible and clear sample contracts
  • Premiums below $600
  • Coverage caps above $500
  • Service fees below $100
  • An easy claims process with a quick turnaround of 48 hours
  • Responsive customer service
  • Positive customer reviews and high ratings from other review sites and organizations, like the BBB

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