Home Warranty Coverage - 2019 Plans and Pricing

By: Kealia Reynolds | Affiliate Disclosure

When a major system or appliance breaks down in your home, you could be stuck paying exorbitant repair costs—unless you have home warranty coverage. Below, we’ll discuss what’s commonly covered under a home warranty, how one works, and how to choose the best policy for you and your home.

What is covered under a home warranty?

A home warranty, also known as a home protection plan, typically covers major systems and appliances in your home, like your HVAC system or garbage disposal, that have broken down due to normal wear and tear.

Here are some common items covered under a home warranty:

  • Heating and cooling systems, including a water heater, central air conditioning, and ductwork
  • Plumbing systems, including faucets and toilets
  • Electrical systems, including plugs, switches, and circuit breakers
  • Kitchen appliances, such as a dishwasher or refrigerator
  • Other major appliances, like a clothes washer and dryer
  • Telephone wiring
  • Doorbells
  • Smoke detectors
  • Add-ons, including a pool or spa

Note: Certain appliances may not be covered depending on where you live and the coverage you have. However, some home warranty plans will allow you to purchase optional coverage for items like your swimming pool, spa, or home entertainment system at an additional price. Make sure you read your service contract thoroughly to know what is and isn’t covered under your policy.

Room-by-room coverage guide

Kitchen

  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Oven/stove/range
  • Built-in microwave

Bathroom

  • Plumbing
  • Toilets
  • Faucets
  • Showerheads
  • Water line leaks

Bedroom

  • Ceiling fan
  • Ductwork
  • Electrical system
Interior of modern luxury Living Room in North American private residence.

Living room

  • Air conditioning unit
  • Electrical system
  • Fire alarm system

Laundry room

  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Water heater
  • Plumbing system

Types of home warranty coverage

Most home warranty providers will offer three levels of coverage: basic, comprehensive, and a la carte. Compare the types of home warranty coverage below.

Basic plan

Under a basic home warranty plan, the following items are typically covered:

  • Heating (wall-mounted heaters, floor furnaces, heat pumps, room heaters, etc.)
  • Air conditioning (wall air conditioners, mini-splits, etc.)
  • Ductwork
  • Electrical systems (direct current wiring, lighting fixtures, etc.)
  • Plumbing systems (faucets, showerheads, toilets, water line leaks, etc.)
  • Clothes washer and dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Oven/range/cooktop
  • Built-in microwave
  • Refrigerator
Comprehensive plan

A comprehensive home warranty will include everything covered under a basic plan plus some additional items, such as:

  • Alarm wiring
  • Central vacuum unit
  • Smoke detectors
  • Doorbells
  • Trash compactor
  • Freestanding ice maker
  • Built-in food center
  • Water dispenser
Add-ons

The best home warranty providers allow customers to customize their plans. Some of the more popular add-ons are listed below:

  • Pool and spa equipment
  • Hot tub
  • Well pump
  • Septic pump
  • Standalone freezer
  • Additional appliances, like a second refrigerator

In addition to these three major types of plans, some home warranty companies will also provide an appliance-only and systems-only plan. An appliance-only plan covers all major appliances in the home and is the best home warranty plan for those who have old home appliances and relatively new systems already covered under an extended warranty. A systems-only plan covers all major systems in the home and is the best type of home warranty for those who have old home systems but fairly new appliances that are covered under a manufacturer’s warranty.

What’s not covered under a home warranty

Not all items are covered under a home warranty. Here are a few items that will need additional coverage separate from a home protection plan:

  • Items that are broken prior to closing
  • Exclusions noted in the home warranty policy
  • Theft
  • Natural disaster
  • Utility emergencies
  • Structural damage from severe weather

Home warranty coverage vs. homeowners insurance coverage

Unlike homeowners insurance, which covers property damage from natural disasters and burglaries, a home warranty will cover most major components of large home systems and appliances. Additionally, homeowners insurance is usually required by your mortgage lender whereas a home warranty is optional.

Home warranty Homeowners insurance
Major systems, like your HVAC, electrical, and plumbing Structural damage from severe weather and natural disasters
Major appliances, like your refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher Theft
Additional coverage for your swimming pool or hot tub Liability if someone gets injured on your property

Limits and exclusions on home warranty coverage

Sometimes, home warranties will have limits on systems set at a dollar amount. For example, a home warranty company may cover a repair on your dishwasher up to a certain dollar amount, leaving you to pay for the remaining repair expenses. Your contract will stipulate how much your warranty company will pay for repairs and replacements and if there is a cap on how much they will pay.

Additionally, your service contract could include exclusions for systems or appliances that fail due to improper maintenance. Home warranty companies will pay only for repairs and replacements that happen due to normal wear and tear. As long as the system or appliance in question has received continuous maintenance and was in working order when the house was bought, your home warranty should cover the repair or replacement.

Before signing a home warranty contract, make sure that you understand what is and isn’t covered. Some repairs may not be made or paid for if there is evidence of improper maintenance, code violations, unusual wear and tear, or improper installation.

Ask your real estate agent about getting a home inspection before purchasing a warranty to determine any pre-existing conditions that a system or appliance might have. These “known conditions” could be included as an exclusion in your contract, so it’s a good idea to address these issues before securing a home warranty.

Certain appliances may not be covered depending on where you live and the coverage you have. Make sure you read your service contract thoroughly to know what is and isn’t covered under your policy.

Is a home warranty worth it?

Yes. Not only can a home warranty give you peace of mind in the event that a major home system or appliance breaks down, it can save you the time and aggravation of finding a service provider on your own time and save you a lot of money in the long run. Additionally, the fees involved with a home warranty are relatively small compared to the full expense of having to make a major repair or replacement.

Who needs a home warranty?

A home warranty can benefit just about anyone, from first-time homeowners to real estate agents.

  • First-time homeowners—By spending just $30 a month on a home warranty, you can get peace of mind and protect your new home in the event of a system or appliance breakdown.
  • Home sellers—A home warranty will cover any repairs your house needs while on the market, so it is functioning and looking its best for potential buyers.
  • Rental property owners—If you manage multiple properties, you can expedite maintenance by investing in a home warranty and having service providers on hand whenever a repair or replacement is necessary. Plus, you can bake the cost of your home warranty into your tenant’s rent, ultimately saving you money in the long run.
  • Real estate agents—Home warranty coverage can be an incentive to home buyers who are anxious about potential repairs.

Who has the best home warranty coverage?

There are a variety of home warranty companies that provide different levels of coverage at different prices. Here are some of the best home warranty providers in the business.

Coverage plans
Home warranty cost/month
Best for

Coverage plans

2 plans + optional add-ons

Home warranty cost/month

$29–$42

Best for

Overall

Coverage plans

4 plans + optional add-ons

Home warranty cost/month

$20–$65

Best for

Appliance coverage

Coverage plans

3 plans + optional add-ons

Home warranty cost/month

$36–$42

Best for

Comprehensive coverage

Coverage plans

2 plans + optional add-ons

Home warranty cost/month

$33+

Best for

Fast coverage

Coverage plans

2 plans + optional add-ons

Home warranty cost/month

$28–$50

Best for

Limited exclusions

Coverage plans

4 plans + optional add-ons

Home warranty cost/month

$32+

Best for

Customizable plans

Coverage plans

2 plans + optional add-ons

Home warranty cost/month

$31–$38

Best for

Cheapest home warranty

How to choose the best home warranty

Before purchasing a home warranty, do your research and check out consumer reviews and third-party sites to compare plans and get a sense of customer satisfaction, pricing, limitations, exclusions, home warranty features, and more. Don’t be afraid to ask a home warranty company to speak to a client that’s filed a claim and get advice from friends and family who have warranties with the company.

Best overall

Choice Home Warranty offers some of the best home warranty coverage at competitive pricing.

Best comprehensive coverage

Select Home Warranty offers coverage for items that most home warranty companies don’t cover.

Best appliance coverage

American Home Shield covers the cost of repairing, replacing, removing, and disposing of broken items.


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