The Best Home Warranty Companies
Best for Personalized Plans
Best for Customer Satisfaction
Best for Liability Caps
Best for New Homebuyers
Best for Workmanship Guarantees
|American Home Shield||Choice Home Warranty||TotalProtect||The Home Service Club||AFC Home Club|
How We Found the Best Home Warranty Companies
65 companies evaluated
5 experts interviewed
8 top picks
A home warranty is an optional service that covers home systems and appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning for a specified amount of time, usually one year.
The best home warranties cover what your homeowners insurance doesn't. They have excellent, transparent policies and customer service, and allow for customization of your plan. In order to help you find the best home warranty companies, we scoured customer reviews, spoke with service contract experts, contacted providers’ customer service agents and dug into their service agreements. We compared the various home warranty plans and found eight companies that rose above the competition. See our beginner's guide to home warranties for more details on how they work.
The 8 Best Home Warranty Companies of 2020
- American Home Shield Home Warranty -
Best for Personalized Plans
- Choice Home Warranty -
Best for Customer Satisfaction
- TotalProtect Home Warranty -
Best for Liability Caps
- The Home Service Club -
Best for New Homebuyers
- AFC Home Club -
Best for Workmanship Guarantees
- Landmark Home Warranty -
Best for Western States
- Sears Home Warranty -
Best for Claims Cap
- First American Home Warranty -
Best for Low Fees
Data as of October 16, 2019
- Transparent reps and policies
- Customizable plans
- Generous coverage caps
- Online bill pay and claim filing tools
- Not available everywhere
American Home Shield had some of the most helpful and transparent representatives on staff. Even armed with a list of finely tuned questions about the contract, we were happy to find our representative remained composed and truthful. And, if there were any questions she couldn’t answer, they quickly transferred us to someone in the claims department who could. In addition to unprecedented transparency, AHS also offers a Build Your Own plan option we couldn’t find anywhere else on the market. It works like this: You pick the 10 items (appliances or systems) you want covered. If you don’t own a dishwasher, don’t pick it. If you just bought a brand-new hot water heater, slot another device in its place and maximize the value of your contract. This is, of course, in addition to three other plans including a systems-only plan, an appliance-only plan, and a plan combining the two.
We also liked that American Home Shield will pay up to $3,000 per item for most appliances and systems. Compare that to 365 Home Warranty, which is only liable for $3,000 during the entire life of the contract (and even that’s better than some). And, like all of our finalists, AHS has a few online benefits that make owning a home warranty much simpler. Customers can submit and track claims on the site, as well as pay their bills. No snail mail. No phone trees. Just a few clicks. The only problem we had with AHS was that it isn’t available everywhere. If you live in Alaska, you’re out of luck.
- High customer satisfaction ratings
- Clear and transparent contracts
- Free first month
- Low plumbing cap
We were pleased to discover that Choice Home Warranty was the recipient of thousands of glowing reviews from reputable sources like Consumer Affairs and TrustPilot. Many of the reviews cited the expediency of the repair job and the technician’s courtesy which is always a plus when you’re looking for any service, especially home warranties. On top of great service, Choice Home Warranty also makes it easy to see what you’re getting with actual sample contracts right in the main navigation menu: simply select Homeowners and open the “User Agreement.” That’s really convenient for customers and speaks to the company’s willingness to be upfront and transparent about coverage, caps, and fees. And, it was through looking at the sample contract we were able to find that Choice had one of the lowest plumbing caps of all the home warranty plans and companies we looked at. Choice’s cap on plumbing systems is $500 per contract term — not abnormally small by any means, but small compared to American Home Shield’s $1,000 plumbing cap. If you live in an older house or apartment building, that extra cap space could make a huge difference.
Generous Liability Caps
- No caps on most appliances and systems
- Thorough coverage
- Long workmanship guarantee
- No custom options
TotalProtect doesn’t have liability caps on any major appliances or systems. In fact, there’s no maximum aggregate liability for the contract term at all. That means you won’t have to worry about footing the bill if you run into a string of broken appliances. Of course, a few appliances and systems do have a cap, such as the $1,500 cap on geothermal and water source systems (underground heating systems or water supply plumbing systems), but even these are generous. We were also impressed with the Combo plan — the most comprehensive option. It includes the most expensive, break-prone systems and appliances, plus other uncommon or inexpensive items like central vacuum systems, doorbells and chimes, garage door openers, and smoke detectors. The plan also adds whirlpool tub coverage, which AHS doesn’t offer. You can always opt for the cheaper but less thorough appliance and system plans as well. About the only problem with all this coverage is that you might be paying the price for covered systems and appliances you don’t own, especially with the Combo plan. There, we would have liked a little more customization like what we found with AHS.
- Flexible coverage plans
- Tons of online resources
- Generous caps on major systems and appliances
- Potentially high service fees
If you're a new homebuyer, you’ll need flexible home warranty coverage for all the new appliances and systems you’ll be adding to your home over time. That’s where The Home Service Club (HSC) shines with its flexible coverage plans including: “Standard Coverage” for 18 of the most common systems and appliances, and “Comprehensive Coverage” which extends to 15 additional categories. And, that’s all before we get into the generous liability caps offered by HSC.
Almost all home warranty companies place “liability caps” on certain systems and appliances — a predetermined limit to how much money they’ll pay for a particular replacement or repair. Some warrantors put $500 caps on everything, but Home Service Club tailors its caps based on the average cost of repairs. Heating and air-conditioning systems, for instance, have a generous $2,500 cap per contract term, while refrigerators are capped at $750. Unfortunately, all of this comes at a price when it comes to service fees with Home Service Club’s fees being either $65, $95, or $125.
- Extended workmanship guarantee
- High consumer ratings
- Not available in three states
Whenever a home warranty company sends a service provider to your home to make a repair or replacement, it usually offers a “workmanship guarantee” — a period of time during which it’ll waive your service fee if anything goes wrong with your repairs. An earlier version of this review praised Sears Home Warranty for its 180-day workmanship guarantee, since most companies only offer 90 days for parts and 30 days for labor. But AFC Home Club goes further than any company we’ve ever come across: It guarantees workmanship through the life of your contract. However, you won’t get to appreciate this if you live in one of the three states where AFC Home Club is unavailable. As of October 2019, AFC Home Club doesn’t operate in California, Hawaii, or South Carolina. However, we spoke with a company representative over the phone who said that AFC Home Club is actively trying to expand into California and South Carolina. There are no current plans for Hawaii, he added, because of the difficulty of sourcing service providers there.
Other Home Warranty Companies to Consider
for Western States
As of October 2019, Landmark only operates in six states: Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah, though its website says it plans to expand nationally soon. But it offers great coverage options and generous liability caps, and it boasts a stellar A- rating with the Better Business Bureau — a rare feat in the home warranty industry, given that many customers submit complaints simply because they didn’t understand what their contract covered. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Landmark has also made Utah Business Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” list two years in a row, so you know it treats its employees well, which usually means it treats customers well, too.
While there’s a $1,000 limit for liability on your pool (and ultra-premium appliances — think high capacity or “professional series”), everything else under a Sears plan is covered by a generous $10,000 cap. Given that many home warranty providers cap their coverage at $500, the generous cap makes Sears one of the more reliable providers when it’s time to file a claim.
However, the future of the business is unclear. In August 2018, U.S. News reported that Sears Holdings (the parent company that oversees its home service agreements and retail stores) could be nearing bankruptcy, in which case there’s no guarantee it would be able to satisfy ongoing home warranties. In October, Sears had officially filed for bankruptcy. By January 2019, the company cleared the air on this topic by providing new information for Sears Home Warranty customers. According to a statement posted on its website at the time, all home warranty coverage provided through Sears Home Warranty will be honored and not affected by the “decision to restructure under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.” This reassuring promise is due to the independent underwriting company Sears uses – Cross Country Home Services. It’ll be able to provide warranty coverage and customer service even though the future of Sears Holdings is still unclear.
First American Home Warranty offers decent service fees from $75 to $100 service fee for all of its plans, which can lead to great savings. Pairing the fee with the $28-per-month Basic plan (prices will vary by location) would only cost $336 for the year if paid upfront, which is an excellent deal.
However, First American has a 30-day recall period, which is among the shortest of all the providers we reviewed. That means some people may miss out on service fee reimbursement for faulty replacement parts or repairs. Also, there are eight states, including New York and Illinois, that First American Home Warranty does not service. The other six are a mystery. None of the representatives we spoke with knew what they were (they can only check home warranty coverage for the property address you give) and there’s no information in the contract or on the site — which, to us, is a significant oversight.
How We Chose the Best Home Warranty Companies
When you’re looking for home warranty coverage, you must read the fine print before you sign. After all, it’s the small contractual specifics that determine what happens when something in your home breaks. Tim Meenan, executive director and general counsel for the Service Contract Industry Council (SCIC), told us that the SCIC recommends all home warranty companies make it easy to find and review their contracts. We agree, and we began our search by nixing any home warranty companies that didn’t feature this information upfront. After that, we compared the maximum coverage amount each warranty provider will pay, either for single repairs or for a year’s worth of maintenance. Since replacing refrigerators could cost up to $600, we focused on providers with generous caps (above $500 for major items) to ensure that they could see us through an expensive repair or new replacement. Finally, we called each company multiple times with questions about coverage and the claims process to see how we'd be treated as policyholders. We passed on companies whose sales reps consistently kept us on hold or ignored our questions and launched right into a sales pitch.
Guide to Home Warranties
If we had to give you only one piece of advice when shopping for a home warranty plan, it would be this: read the contract thoroughly. Home warranty contracts are often complex by design. Evan W. Walker, Esq. of the Law Office of Evan Walker, explained that a home warranty contract “is not written to be understood by the consumer.”
The opening paragraphs of a contract often lay out the items that the provider is responsible for. This can include both systems and appliances. Appliances are self-contained units like a washer, fridge, or microwave, while systems are a bit more intricate or costly — think an HVAC system, hot water heater, or the electrical wiring throughout your home.
Most companies then list exclusions — the things they won’t cover. These will vary depending on your contract, but some we ran into repeatedly include items with preexisting defects or improper installation, items under recall, commercial grade equipment, and repairs or replacements requested before your contract starts. Understanding the exclusions will help you ensure that your contract is giving you the protection you’re paying for.
When it comes to home warranty contracts, Jennifer Englert, attorney for The Orlando Law Group, told us to “carefully read any portions of the contract which discuss how quickly after you request a repair it will be completed. Read what happens if the repair does not work, or if the vendor who comes to make the repair cannot get the job done. Coverage is not usually an issue under these contracts, but how repairs get done — and when — vary from company to company.”
A little extra attention in these portions of your contract will ensure reliable repairs or replacements later on. It’s important to ask your home warranty provider any questions you have about its policies. The best will have friendly and knowledgeable representatives that provide thorough answers to your questions, no matter how many you have. We’re happy to report that the reps from each of our home warranty finalists were up to the task.
Do you need a home warranty?
Consider the following when asking yourself if a home warranty is right for you:
- Your home’s location
- Age of house
- Your income
- Your appliances
- Your systems
A home warranty can help cover the repair or replacement costs of common household appliances and systems such as water heaters, electrical systems, air conditioning (with ductwork), and refrigerators. Since homeowners insurance typically won’t cover these costs, having a home warranty it s a great way to make sure you aren’t paying out-of-pocket when a hurricane ravages your home and damages your appliances. However, knowing how much protection your appliances will need can be challenging, especially if you aren’t certain how much longer your appliances will last. Sure, you might have a pretty good idea of how long that brand-new dishwasher will last, but what about the oven that came with the house? How old is the range and stove and just how much money will you need out of your home warranty to cover that eventual cost?
With the help of our top pick, we put together this handy table of the average appliance life span and repair/replacement costs in order to help you find the right home warranty to protect your appliances: