The 5 Best Home Warranty Companies of 2020

A home warranty can save you money and give you peace of mind

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If you're like most people, your home is the single largest investment you'll ever make. One way to protect that investment is through a home warranty, which provides discounted repair and replacement services for household appliances and systems.

With so many home warranty companies on the market, it can be hard—and time-consuming—to find the plan that's right for you and your home. To get you started, we analyzed more than two dozen home warranty companies. We looked at a variety of factors, including Better Business Bureau ratings (we only considered companies with A or B ratings), coverage options, pricing, and how easy it is to find pricing and contract details online. Here are five of the best home warranty companies in the business for 2020.

The 5 Best Home Warranty Companies of 2020

  • : Best Overall
  • : Best Pricing
  • : Best Ratings and Reputation
  • : Best for Guaranteed Service
  • : Best for Coverage Options

Best Overall: AFC Home Club

AFC Home Club

AFC Home Club

Pros
  • 365体育下注网站Low cost and low service fees

  • Pick your own technician

  • Good selection of plans and add-ons

Cons
  • 365体育下注网站Turnaround time on claims is two to four days

  • 365体育下注网站Must enter personal details to view pricing

  • BBB Rating: B
  • BBB Accreditation: Since Feb. 20, 2015
  • Year Founded: 1999
  • Coverage Area: Nationwide (except Calif., Hawaii, and S.C.)
  • Service Fees: $75/$100/$125
  • Annual Cost: $350 to $600

365体育下注网站With AFC Home Club, you can choose from four plans and a list of additional coverage options. If you need service, you can call customer service 24/7/365 or file a claim online. In general, the company will dispatch a technician within 24 to 48 hours.

We chose AFC Home Club as our best overall because it's one of the most flexible home warranty companies for getting fast, reliable service. For example, while several competitors allow you to choose your own technician, AFC Home Club doesn't require prior approval—the company will connect directly with the repair person you select.

365体育下注网站If you have an AFC Home Club policy, you're entitled to several extra "member benefits," including:

  • Moneytips: Free credit monitoring and identity protection alerts
  • DealCash: Savings at thousands of participating restaurants and retailers
  • Emergency Alert Network: Alerts to notify friends and family in an emergency

365体育下注网站AFC Home Club offers four (prices depend on the plan and service fee you choose):

  • System Plan: Air conditioning, heating system, water heater, electric system, plumbing system, and ductwork.
  • Silver Plan: Washer/Dryer, refrigerator, range/oven/cooktop, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and garage door opener.
  • Gold Plan: Everything covered by the System and Silver Plans.
  • Platinum Plan: Everything covered by the Gold Plan plus ice maker and built-in microwave.

You can also for a:

  • Sump pump
  • Septic system
  • Pool and spa
  • Hot water dispenser
  • Stand-alone freezer
  • Tankless water heater
  • Central vacuum
  • Well pump

Best Pricing: American Residential Warranty

American Residential Warranty

American Residential Warranty

Pros
  • A+ BBB rating

  • Low costs

  • 365体育下注网站Pick your own technician

Cons
  • 365体育下注网站Low annual limits on some appliances and systems

  • Not BBB accredited

  • BBB Rating: A+
  • BBB Accreditation: N/A
  • Year Founded: 1946
  • Coverage Area: Nationwide
  • Service Fees: $55
  • Annual Cost: $300 to $720

American Residential Warranty is our top pick for pricing because the company is very transparent about its rates, has plans starting at low price points, and charges low service fees ($55). Plans are also customizable and coverage is available nationwide, and the company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

You'll get immediate service for emergencies; other requests for service are taken care of within 24-48 hours. You can speak with a live, U.S.-based customer service representative 24/7/365. What's more, you can choose your own service provider or use the company's network of licensed, pre-screened technicians.

American Residential Warranty offers four basic plans:

  • Kitchen Plus ($34.99/month): Built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, interior electric system, kitchen exhaust fan, range/oven/cooktop, refrigerator (excluding ice maker), and water heater.
  • Heating & Cooling ($39.99/month): Central air conditioning, central home heating, humidifier, and interior electrical system.
  • Platinum ($49.99/month): Everything the Kitchen Plus and Heating & Cooling plans cover.
  • Platinum Premier ($59.99/month): Everything the Platinum plan covers plus ceiling fans, ductwork, garage door opener, plumbing stoppages (fixtures not included), plumbing system (fixtures not included), range hood, and refrigerator ice maker.

365体育下注网站You can further customize your plan with bundles or by including coverage for any of the following :

  • Enhanced air conditioning coverage
  • Extended coverage on multiple appliances and systems ("Deluxe Advantage")
  • Well pump
  • Pool and spa
  • Additional range/oven/cooktop
  • Additional refrigerator or freezer
  • Additional air conditioner
  • Plumbing system (included with Platinum Premier)
  • Ceiling Fans (included with Platinum Premier)
  • Enhanced plumbing coverage that includes faucets and fixtures ("Plumbing Advantage")
  • Food loss
  • External water or sewer lines
  • Water heater (included with Platinum Premier, Platinum, and Kitchen Plus)
  • Clothes washer and dryer (included with Platinum Premier)
  • Ice maker (included with Platinum Premier)
  • Built-in microwave (included with Platinum Premier, Platinum, and Kitchen Plus)

Best Ratings and Reputation: Amazon Home Warranty

Amazon Home Warranty

365体育下注网站Amazon Home Warranty

Pros
  • B+ BBB rating and positive customer reviews

  • 365体育下注网站Appliance plan covers more than just appliances

  • Great selection of coverage add-ons

Cons
  • Only one service fee option

  • Must enter personal details to view pricing

  • BBB Rating: B+
  • BBB Accreditation: Since Dec. 11, 2018
  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Coverage Area: Nationwide
  • Service Fees: $75
  • Annual Cost: $349 to $549

Amazon Home Warranty (not affiliated with amazon.com) has only been around for 10 years, but it has already earned a solid reputation. The company has a solid A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and an impressive 4.5/5-star rating from over 700 customer reviews.

Amazon Home Warranty offers three plans and more add-on coverage options than most other home warranty companies. This can be a plus if you have a higher-end home with multiple systems or custom features.

365体育下注网站Amazon Home Warranty offers three (price varies by region and plan):

  • Appliance Plan: Dishwasher, refrigerator (including ice maker), washer/dryer, trash compactor, oven/range/stove/cooktop, microwave oven, instant hot water dispenser, garbage disposal, attic fan, ceiling fan, bathroom exhaust fan, doorbell, and kitchen fan/exhaust hood.
  • System Plan: Central A/C system, central heating system, plumbing (including stoppages), electrical system, hot water heater, ductwork, jetted bathtub, and garage door openers.
  • Combo Plan: Everything included in the Appliance and System plans.

365体育下注网站You can also add coverage for your:

  • Pool and spa
  • Additional central A/C
  • Additional central heating
  • Additional refrigerator
  • Additional hot water heater
  • Stand-alone freezer
  • Lawn sprinkler system
  • Septic system
  • Whole-house humidifier
  • Sump pump
  • Central vacuum
  • Well pump
  • Wine refrigerator
  • Septic tank pump
  • Water softener

Best for Guaranteed Service: Cinch Home Services

Cinch Home Services

365体育下注网站Cinch Home Services

Pros
  • Protection for unknown preexisting conditions

  • 365体育下注网站Rust and corrosion coverage

  • 180-day workmanship guarantee

Cons
  • 365体育下注网站No coverage in Alaska and Hawaii

  • No option to pick your own technician

  • BBB Rating: A-
  • BBB Accreditation: Since June 27, 2019
  • Year Founded: 1979
  • Coverage Area: Nationwide (except Alaska and Hawaii)
  • Service Fees: $100/$125/$150
  • Annual Cost: $385 to $1,000+

No matter which Cinch Home Services plan you choose, you won't be denied coverage for unknown preexisting conditions, rust, or corrosion. What's more, there's a 180-day "workmanship guarantee." If the problem persists, Cinch will fix it at no additional cost to you. If you need to make a claim, you can open a service request online, ask Alexa, or call customer service 24/7/365.

365体育下注网站Many home warranty companies have one or two service fees to choose from, but Cinch Home Services offers three. This can make it easier to find a plan that meets your budget—pay more each month for a plan with a lower service fee, or vice versa.

The amount you pay each month depends on the plan and service fee you choose and where you live. The Cinch website has an : Enter your zip code and choose a deductible to see prices for the various plans (you don't have to enter any personal details).

Cinch offers three plans (price varies by region and plan):

  • Appliances: Washer/dryer, range/oven/cooktop, dishwasher, built-in food center, freestanding ice maker, built-in microwave, range exhaust hood, refrigerator, built-in trash compactor, and wall oven.
  • Built-in Systems: Air conditioning (including ductwork), attic fans, ceiling fans, central vacuum, doorbells, electrical system, garage door opener, garbage disposal, heating system (including ductwork), instant hot/cold water dispenser, plumbing system, smoke detectors, sump pump, toilets, water heater, built-in whirlpool/jetted tub.
  • Complete Home: Everything covered by the Appliances and Built-in Systems plans.

You can also for a:

  • Swimming pool and spa
  • Septic system
  • Well pump

Related: Read our full review of Cinch Home Services.

Best for Coverage Options: American Home Shield

American Home Shield

365体育下注网站American Home Shield

Pros
  • 365体育下注网站Build your own plan

  • Low-cost options

  • 365体育下注网站Coverage add-ons

Cons
  • Low annual limits on some applications and systems

  • 365体育下注网站Need prior authorization to use your own technician

  • BBB Rating: B
  • BBB Accreditation: Since May 1, 1997
  • Year Founded: 1971
  • Coverage Area: Nationwide (except Alaska, Hawaii and parts of New York)
  • Service Fees: $75/$100/$125
  • Annual Cost: $480 to $1,000+

American Home Shield has been in business for nearly 50 years. It's the largest, most-chosen home warranty provider, and it pays out more service requests than any other home warranty company.

The company offers several plans. However, something that sets American Home Shield apart is its "Build Your Own Plan" coverage. This option covers only the appliances and systems you choose. Think of it as an à la carte home warranty plan. When a covered appliance or system breaks down, you can request service online or by calling customer service.

365体育下注网站American Home Shield offers four plans (price varies by region and plan):

  • Appliances Plan: refrigerator, range/oven/cooktop, washer/dryer, dishwasher, built-in microwave, trash compactor, freestanding ice maker, garage door opener, and built-in food center.
  • Systems Plan: Air conditioning (including ductwork), heating (including ductwork), electrical, doorbells, smoke detectors, ceiling fans, plumbing (including stoppages), water heater, garbage disposal, instant hot/cold water dispenser, and central vacuum.
  • Combo Plan: Everything covered by the Appliances and Systems plans.
  • Build Your Own Plan: Covers only the appliances and systems you choose.  

You can also add coverage for:

  • Electronics (extended warranty; no receipts required)
  • Pools and spas
  • Well pump
  • Septic system (first-year customers only; not renewable)
  • Guesthouse (under 750 square feet)

Related: Read our full review of American Home Shield.

What Is a Home Warranty?

Most people are very familiar with homeowners' insurance, which protects against any accidental damage to your home and belongings due to theft, fire, storms, and natural disasters. A home warranty protects your home, too, but it works differently.

A home warranty is a service contract that helps pay for repairs and replacements for covered appliances and major home systems. In exchange for a monthly or annual fee, you pay a set service fee each time an appliance or system fails.

In general, you don't need a home inspection or maintenance records to buy coverage. And it doesn't matter if your home is brand new or 50 years old.

How Does a Home Warranty Work?

After you choose a plan, service fee, and any add-on coverage, you pay upfront for the entire year or set up monthly payments. Most companies have a "waiting period" of 15 to 30 days after you buy the plan before coverage takes effect.

365体育下注网站Once that waiting period is over, you're free to start using the home warranty. If you bought or were given a home warranty as part of a real estate transaction, your coverage typically starts when you close on your new home.

365体育下注网站While the specifics depend on the company, here's a general rundown of how a home warranty works:

  1. If a covered appliance or system breaks down, you submit a claim with your home warranty company either online or by phone. Most companies have 24/7/365 customer service representatives ready to help you.
  2. Your home warranty company chooses a service provider.
  3. The service provider contacts you to set up an appointment.
  4. The technician comes to your home to diagnose the problem. If it's covered, the technician repairs or replaces the item.
  5. You pay the service fee to your home warranty company or directly to the technician (depending on your plan). The home warranty company covers the rest.

What Does a Home Warranty Cover?

A home warranty covers eligible appliances and systems in new and pre-owned homes. Many home warranty companies offer three types of plans, including:

  • Appliance plans (e.g., washer/dryer, dishwasher, and refrigerator)
  • Systems plans (e.g., air conditioning, heating, plumbing, and electrical)
  • Combo plans that cover everything included in the appliance and systems plans

365体育下注网站Most companies allow you to add coverage for specific items not covered under the appliance or system plan. Add-ons include pools, spas, lawn sprinkler systems, additional appliances (such as a second air conditioner or refrigerator), wells, and septic systems.

What Doesn't a Home Warranty Cover?

A home warranty can provide homeowners with important coverage in case appliances or systems in their homes break down or fail due to normal wear and tear. However, warranties are not designed to replace existing homeowners insurance policies and they do not cover homeowners against many of the perils that are covered by homeowner policies. For example, warranties are not meant to cover repairs to a home's foundation or its structure due to accidents, nor do they cover homeowners against liability if someone gets hurt on their property.

365体育下注网站Additionally, home warranty plans have coverage limits, or caps. For example, you may be covered for up to $2,000 per year per appliance, with an annual claim limit of $15,000. Be sure to take a close look at the fine print to be sure you understand what's covered by the plan and the limits that apply. This may be especially important if you have higher-end appliances and systems. 

365体育下注网站Many (but not all) home warranty companies will also deny claims if an appliance or system:

  • Was not installed correctly or maintained properly
  • Was not used properly
  • Does not meet local building codes
  • Had a known or unknown preexisting condition when you bought the warranty

What Does a Home Warranty Cost?

There are two costs to look at when you compare home warranty plans:

  1. The service fee
  2. The monthly (or annual) cost

365体育下注网站The service fee is the amount you pay each time you request service. These fees typically range between $55 and $150. Depending on the company, you can choose from one, two, or three service fees. In general, the lower the service fee, the more expensive the plan.

If you need more than one type of technician for the same issue—for example, you need a plumber and an electrician to work on a water heater—you may owe two service fees.

The monthly or annual cost is the amount you pay to have access to the "discounted" service calls. These costs range from about $350 to more than $1,100 a year, depending on the plan, service fee, house size, and where you live.

Are Home Warranties Worth It?

365体育下注网站Whether a home warranty is right for you depends on a number of factors, including the age of your home, the quality of your appliances, and your own repair skills.

Every appliance and home system eventually breaks down. If you're handy, you might be able to do repairs yourself and save money. Many homeowners, however, don't have the skills, tools, time, and patience to do their own repairs. In these situations, a home warranty can make financial sense.

365体育下注网站Here's why. According to the "1% rule," you should set aside at least one percent of your home's value each year to cover maintenance and repairs. For example, if your home cost $200,000, you should budget $2,000 a year for maintenance. Another rule—the "square foot rule"—advises you to budget $1 per square foot. So, if your home is 2,000 square feet, you should set aside $2,000 a year.

365体育下注网站The annual cost of a home warranty could be well under those guidelines, even if you use the service several times a year. Say you have a $200,000 home and want to set aside the recommended $2,000 a year for maintenance. Now, assume you buy a home warranty instead. If the plan costs $500 a year and you have a $100 service fee, you could make 15 claims before reaching that $2,000 threshold.

Of course, there's no way to tell if you would use the $2,000 you set aside—and if not, you can save it for the next year. Likewise, you can't predict if you'll use a home warranty if you buy one. Still, a home warranty often ends up saving money in the long run. And it can certainly help you budget and provide peace of mind.