Best Home Warranty Companies in Washington

By: Karen Ridder

Uncertain about your water heater? Concerned your garage door opener is on its last legs? A home warranty plan can help protect you from high repair costs on these and other home systems and appliances. In the state of Washington, homeowners have experienced a high rate of growth in real estate costs. Home warranty companies can help make sure your primary investment stays in good condition without unexpected expense.

In order to find the most comprehensive coverage for your home, read on for the top home warranty companies in Washington and a comprehensive home warranty buying guide.

Washington’s best home warranty companies

  • Standard coverage provides a combination of systems and appliances
  • Offers extensive add on options including roofs, sprinkler systems, and utility lines
  • Comprehensive coverage plan includes pest control

  • Allows you to customize your plan to the appliances and systems you have in your home
  • Systems plan covers 11 systems including doorbells, smoke detectors, and central vacuums
  • Includes an add-on to cover a guest unit on your property

  • Industry leader for over 35 years
  • Has best claim acceptance
  • Offers flexible payment options

The State of Washington has experienced tremendous housing cost growth in the last 15 years. The price of the average home has out-paced income growth in many high population areas. In fact, income growth in Washington lags behind the rest of the country by about 3%. At the same time, the cost of the average house has gone up over 50%.

Most of the state’s population lives in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Outside this region, which has a population of nearly four million, the state is sparsely populated and more affordable. However, a large portion of Washington’s land is forested and publicly owned, making the demand for housing particularly high and more expensive in less populated areas.

Top home maintenance problems in Washington

The “Evergreen State,” which many associate with the wet and relatively mild conditions in the state’s northwest quadrant, is quite different than the dry desert-like conditions homeowners in Washington experience east of the Cascade Mountain range.

If you don’t already live in the state, consider these geographic differences which can make your needs for a home warranty vary greatly based on where you plan to buy. There are three major climate areas to consider when it comes to finding the right comprehensive coverage for your home systems and appliances. These areas are generally the wet and mild northwest, the arid desert areas of the central portion of the state, and the extreme temperature and weather swings in the east.

Northwest

Northwest Washington is the home of a wet climate surrounding the Puget Sound. Uncontrolled humidity in a home can cause mold, rot, and structural damage. You may also experience condensation within the home, which could decrease the life of electrical systems. Dehumidifiers, clean air ducts, and exhaust fans will be important items to cover in this part of the state.

Central

Central and southern portions of Washington State are desert areas. If you live in this region, you’ll likely need a whole house humidifier, which may be hard to find coverage for under a home warranty. Dry air can be hard on the wood structures in your home, causing floors to shrink and cracks around your windows, which can let in cold air and increase your heating bills.

You’ll want to make sure your humidifier is covered in any home warranty service contract you consider. If you don’t have a humidifier, make sure that any systems that could be affected by the kind of adjustments a dry house experiences, like plumbing systems, are covered.   

Eastern

Homeowners in Washington’s eastern areas experience more seasonal temperature fluxuations than the northwest. These fluxuations put more strain on the heating and air conditioning systems in a home. Constant heat pumping through a furnace during the cold winter can potentially dry out your home even more than a desert environment.

Ensure proper maintenance is conducted on a seasonal basis for your HVAC system. Check the requirements of your home warranty service contract to make sure your home appliances will be covered.

Who is eligible for a home warranty in Washington?

Real estate agents are often the front line professionals in recommending the original purchase of a home warranty plan. Sometimes a home warranty plan has already been purchased by the seller as an enticement for potential buyers. Getting home warranty coverage is a great idea for someone who is purchasing a home—particularly a home which is not new.

A broken water heater, heating system, or other home appliance can quickly cause repairs or replacements to cost more than a thousand dollars. After what can often be the high expense of moving, those added costs are particularly unwanted.

What is covered under a Washington home warranty?

Before purchasing a home warranty plan in Washington, consider whether or not you want home appliances or home systems covered—perhaps you want both.

Among appliances covered on warranty plans you’ll find items standard in most households:

  • Refrigerator
  • Built-in microwave oven
  • Cooktop
  • Oven range
  • Trash compactor
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Clothes washer
  • Clothes dryer

On the plans we selected as the best choice for Washington residents, you’ll find all of your basic home systems covered, including:

  • Water heaters
  • Plumbing systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Air conditioning systems
  • Heating systems

Most homeowners choose a combination of systems and appliance coverage. For homes with upgraded systems, you may want to consider getting specialized coverage. This coverage will include things like plumbing stoppages, central vacuum systems, ceiling fans, ductwork, and garage door openers.

American Home Shield lets you customize your own home warranty plan. It’s a good choice for Washington residents interested in coverage for a few home systems or appliances. Home Service Club is another top choice for those in the damp northwest of Washington. They include pest coverage, which can be more of a problem in moist climates.

When we took a close look at First American Home Warranty, we found the company has a generous repair or replacement policy which doesn’t require you to prove you have properly maintained your covered household items. You also have no limit on the number of service calls you can make in a year. 

Whichever home warranty plan you choose, make sure you first itemize a list of the home systems and appliances unique to your home. After you make the list, take a look at the terms of service on the plans to make sure the important systems in your home will be covered.

How much does a home warranty cost in Washington?

While the home warranty cost in Washington is similar to other areas of the country, an added expense in the State of Washington is sales tax. Since 2005, Washington has collected sales tax on repairs, also known as retail sales, to buildings.

The actual cost of your home warranty premiums or service calls may or may not include sales tax—this will all depend on how specific the product is covered. Systems are considered real property and not taxed. Repairs on tangible personal property, however, are taxed. Here are some examples of when sales tax will apply:

  • Coverage for an electrical system—No sales tax will apply
  • Added coverage for a pool—Sales tax may apply
  • When you pay a portion of the actual repair costs—Sales tax will apply

Overall annual costs for home warranties in Washington are similar to other states. They can range from around $300–$700. When you purchase a home new, that cost was likely covered in the original closing costs as a lump sum.

If you decide you want to continue that contract after the first year of owning a home, you can usually break that down into monthly payments. There are some extra costs you will incur on top of the initial fee for service, such as:

  • Service requests—Each home service call will cost you a fee. Those fees usually run between $50 to $150.
  • Extra weekend costs—While you can make service requests 365 days a year with most home warranty plans, check the bottom line in the contract to see if you may have to pay a premium for weekend repairs.
  • Repairs not covered—Occasionally, the service technician may discover your repair is not included under the covered items in your home warranty plan. If you would like that technician to still make the repair, you will have to pay at least a portion out of pocket to cover the entire expense.
  • Maximum coverage limits—Each system or appliance has a maximum allowable amount for repairs or replacements. If your home appliance, for instance, cannot be replaced within those allowable amounts, you’ll have to pay extra costs, or may simply get a check from the company to help you choose your own replacement.

How does a home warranty work?

Home warranties can be activated in Washington State with just a couple of easy steps. 

  1. Check your service plan—Make sure the system or appliance not working in your home is covered.
  2. Call the toll free number the company offers—Most home warranty companies allow you to call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Note: call outs for weekend service may cost you more.
  3. Wait for the service technician—One of the conveniences of a home warranty plan is not having to sift through service technician listings. Most plans already have screened technicians for you and will send a qualified person to your doorstep. It may take up to 48 hours for a technician to come out and address the problem (this will depend on the specifications in your contract).
  4. Pay the contracted service fee—When the technician arrives, you’ll be expected to pay a service fee. This fee should be easy to understand within the terms of your contract. If you’re uncertain how much the service fee is, you can ask the customer service person at the time of requesting service. 
  5. Get up and running again—If the repair or replacement is covered in your contract, you won’t have to pay any additional money (not including the service fee). The technician will get your system or appliance up and running again or may even replace the appliance at no extra charge to you.

Why is a home warranty in Washington necessary?

Home warranties may be more necessary in Washington than other states simply because of the high cost of  housing. This ongoing problem—along with a lack of supply in housing—leaves some people priced out of the market altogether.

In highly populated areas, like Seattle, city leaders are trying to figure out ways to ensure the availability of middle-income housing that’s affordable for families. Any fix will likely still have homeowners stretching their resources to buy a home. A home warranty plan provides a needed safeguard for families once they get into their desired home.

Buying a home warranty in Washington

As you review service contracts for home warranty plans in Washington, make sure the company is licensed in the state. The state has a series of laws related to the industry that are in place to protect Washington residents from potential risks related to the industry. Here are a few risks you’re protected against:

  • The potential of warranty plan providers closing
  • The risk that warranters might be otherwise unable to fulfill the obligations of your contract
  • That the contractors won’t have the funds to cover your needed services

These are added protections in Washington State that other state law structures don’t provide. The laws cover all similar types of service contracts, including those you might purchase on a specific system in your home or in an automobile.

Washington home warranty reviews

Below is a review from Mariana G., a customer with a Home Service Club contract:

“So far, I’ve had no difficulties with them in claims. In fact, I even had one service company go and sign up with them to get on their list to provide services in the Seattle area. I have a refrigerator-freezer by LG, side-by-side and the control on the front of the door had stopped working which made us not make ice and control the temp for my fresh produce. I submitted my claim over the phone and didn’t have any difficulty with explanations. A contractor was sent within the day and fixed my unit.”

Frequently asked questions

If I’m not worried about the cost or home repairs, is there still an advantage to having a home warranty?

Yes. One of the best parts of a home warranty plan is the confidence you can have in the technician sent to your home. Instead of having to screen plumbers, electricians, or other workers yourself, the company will identify and send the appropriate person to your home to handle the repair. This saves you time and money.

How do I know if a home warranty will be necessary in my new home?

A home inspection can give you an idea of the age and condition of the home systems and appliances in your home. If you know your appliances are older, it’s a good option to invest in a home warranty plan.

If the technician doesn’t fix the problem, will I have to pay for another technician to come out?

If your home warranty company sends out a technician to fix a problem in your home, there’s usually a guarantee. If you have to call out again for the same problem within a designated time frame, you should not have to pay a second service fee. Don’t accept a home warranty without this kind of guarantee.

Our conclusion

Washington State has many beautiful public places to enjoy. It’s a great state for outdoor enthusiasts but can be expensive for homeowners. Get a home warranty to help keep your house maintenance costs low. You’ll thank yourself when you choose good, standard coverage, like that offered by The Home Service Club. If you want to customize your plan to cover only the most expensive items in your home, consider American Home Shield. Both companies have a reliable service record and will be a good bet for homeowners in Washington State.

Still not sure which Washington home warranty is right for you?

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