Home Warranty
Find out everything you need to know about home warranties and our top picks reviewed.

What Is a Home Warranty & How Does It Work? (2024 Guide)

Once you’ve decided to buy a home, you should do everything you can to protect it from devastating events covered under a home insurance policy and normal wear and tear on appliances and home systems that can lead to costly repairs. 

Although a homeowner’s insurance policy protects you in the case of damage to your home due to natural disasters, theft or fire, it doesn’t protect the components of your home that keep it functional and safe. For instance, insurance doesn’t cover items such as your dishwasher, refrigerator, electrical system, and water heater.

There are several home warranty plans available. However, many first-time homebuyers aren’t aware that they have the option of a home warranty plan’s added coverage.

Our Top Pick
Best for Customization
VISIT SITE
Limited Time:
$200 Off + 2 Months free + Free Roof Leak Coverage
Best Coverage Limits
AHS Logo
VISIT SITE
Limited Time:
40% Off Our Most Popular Plan
Best Customer Ratings
VISIT SITE
Limited Time:
$150 Off + 1 Month Free
Best Claims Acceptance
choice home warranty logo
VISIT SITE
Limited Time:
$50 Off + 1 month free!

What Is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty plan is typically a one-year contract between you and a home warranty provider. It will cover the repair or replacement of your home’s major appliances and systems due to normal wear and tear.

Once you’ve contracted with your home warranty company, you will typically be subject to a 30-day waiting period before being able to file a claim.

A home warranty plan can be automatically renewed every year. This allows you to have coverage for systems and appliances that have seen years of wear and tear.

Depending on the home warranty provider, you may be required to get a home inspection before finalizing a contract.

Home Warranties vs Home Insurance

Unlike homeowners insurance, which covers damage or loss of property, a home warranty covers your home’s systems and appliances due to failure or damage. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a real estate mogul, a home warranty plan can save you money and give you peace of mind when one of your home’s systems or appliances stops working.

Average Home Warranty Prices 

Although the cost of a home warranty will vary depending on where you live and what plan you choose, you can expect to pay around $40 to $60 a month for a home warranty. Add-on coverage can cost you an additional $5 to $20 per month

After you file a claim requesting a repair or replacement, your home warranty provider will send a technician to complete the job. You won’t need to pay for the repair or replacement, but you will typically need to pay a service fee between $65 and $125.


Top Home Warranties for Your Needs

CompanyRatingMonthly CostService FeeResponse TimeBBB RatingLink

$50-$60

$75

12-48 hrs.

NR

VISIT SITE
AHS Logo

$35–$75

$100–$125

24-72 hrs

B

VISIT SITE

$44.99-$58.99

$70

48 hours

A+

VISIT SITE
choice home warranty logo

$46–$55

$85

24-48 hrs.

B

VISIT SITE
select home warranty logo

$52–$58

$60

24-48 hrs.

B

VISIT SITE
AFC Home Warranty logo

$38–$62

$75–$125

48 hours

B

VISIT SITE
first american logo

$38–$48

$75–$125

48 hours

B

VISIT SITE

$17–$60+

$65–$100

2–24 hrs

A-

VISIT SITE

$28–$68

$100–$150

2–24 hrs

B

VISIT SITE

How Do Home Warranties Work?

As soon as you notice that one of your home systems or appliances is not working, you should file a claim. Many home warranty providers require that you do so immediately or you may not receive coverage.

Although the procedure for filing a claim may vary from provider to provider, the process is simple and generally follows these steps:

  1. Call your warranty provider or go online to its website
  2. If filing online, log in to your account to submit a claim
  3. Your representative will reach out to a local service provider and set up a time to fix your system or appliance
  4. The service provider will accept the request and confirm your appointment
  5. You will be sent the date and time for the service appointment and pay the service fee
  6. The service technician will come to your home and assess the broken system or appliance
  7. Once your warranty provider approves the claim, your system will be repaired or replaced

What Does a Home Warranty Plan Cover?

Most home warranty companies cover the same set of basic home systems and appliances. A good home warranty plan should include coverage for the following systems and appliances:

  • HVAC
  • Major appliances, such as a clothes washer and dryer
  • Kitchen appliances, such as stoves, dishwashers, garbage disposal and refrigerators
  • Plumbing systems, including water heaters and plumbing stoppages
  • Electrical systems, such as exhaust fans, ceiling fans and doorbells

Some companies, such as American Home Shield, include roof leak coverage in its premium plans. But with most companies, you will have to purchase add-on coverage to protect your roof and other items. The most common add-ons are:

  • Roof leak coverage
  • Pools and spas
  • Sprinkler system
  • Sump pump
  • Well pump
  • Septic systems
  • Stand-alone freezers
  • Additional refrigerator

You should always confirm what’s actually covered under your home warranty plan before finalizing the contract. You may be responsible for repairs of uncovered items added to your home.

The best home warranty companies provide a sample contract online for each plan. It’s important that you read the fine print regarding any limitations to coverage and coverage caps.

Appliance Coverage vs. System Coverage

Most companies offer two to four coverage options—an appliance plan, systems plan, combo plan, and build-your-own plan—for customers.

An appliance-only plan covers all major appliances in the home and is the best home warranty option 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 still covered under a manufacturer’s warranty.

Below is what coverage looks like under these different plans.

Appliance Plan

  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Built-in microwave
  • Clothes washer
  • Clothes dryer
  • Oven/Stove/Range
  • Garage door opener
  • Trash compactor
  • Freestanding ice maker
  • Built-in food center

Systems Plan

  • Air conditioning system
  • Heating system
  • Electrical system
  • Plumbing system
  • Ductwork
  • Water heater
  • Garbage disposal
  • Instant water dispenser
  • Smoke detectors
  • Telephone wiring
  • Central vacuum
  • Ceiling fans
  • Doorbell

In addition to these types of home warranty plans, some companies will also provide a basic plan or combination plan. A basic plan will cover general home items, like the refrigerator and electrical systems, while a combination plan will offer slightly more comprehensive coverage and protect all major systems and appliances, including your air conditioning systems, washer and dryer, and water heater.

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

Home Warranty Optional Add-ons

The best home warranty providers allow customers to customize their plans and add on protection for certain items at an additional cost. 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 or second microwave
  • Roof leaks
  • Pre-season HVAC tune-up
  • Pest control services
  • Guest unit
  • Electronics

Exclusions & Limitations of Home Warranties

Although comprehensive coverage plans can provide warranty coverage for all of your household systems and appliances, it still has limitations. While an exclusion usually refers to components and parts not covered by a warranty, coverage limits often refer to how much financial coverage you receive per home system or appliance.

If the cost of replacing your home system exceeds the coverage limit, you'll have to pay the difference out of pocket. Since a home warranty is designed to save you money in the event of a system failure, this scenario is not ideal.

Another limitation to be aware of is the warranty provider’s network of service technicians. Even if your home warranty company covers systems and equipment, it may not always have the large network needed to send a knowledgeable technician to your home to fix the problem.


Our Reviews of Top Home Warranty Companies


When Should You Get a Home Warranty?

Although a home warranty is not necessary for all homeowners, everyone can benefit from comprehensive coverage. If you are thinking about taking out a home warranty and can identify with one of the below groups, you should consider a home warranty.

1) You are a first-time home buyer: Buying your first home can be intimidating, and it’s even worse when one of your new home’s systems or appliances breaks. First-time home buyers can benefit from a home warranty because you will not have to pay a lot of money out of pocket if something breaks right after moving into your first home.

2) You don’t have extensive handyman experience: If you are not very knowledgeable about home repairs, you should purchase a home warranty that will send a technician to fix your home systems and appliances if something goes wrong.

3) You don’t want to set aside money for home systems: Instead of setting aside money to cover the cost of broken systems or appliances, invest in a complete home warranty plan that will cover those costs for you.

4) You have old systems and appliances: If you are worried about older systems and appliances breaking, you should purchase a home warranty that covers the inevitable breakdown of those items.

5) You own multiple properties: If you are a landlord and rent out multiple properties, you should take out a home warranty for each property so that you can easily call for service when needed.


Other Helpful Home Warranty Guides


Added Benefits of Having a Home Warranty

Your home warranty company can provide much more than monetary benefits. The number one perk with this kind of home protection is peace of mind in knowing you’re prepared for costly home repairs.

One of our biggest tools as a research team is legitimate reviews that provide customer feedback about their experience dealing with a specific home warranty company. This is one of the best ways to get to the essence of a company’s service and claims processing.


How Are Home Warranties Regulated?

Federal and state organizations govern home warranty companies in the U.S. to ensure each provider operates under a uniform protocol. While the federal government establishes the standard protocol that each state must follow, each state can regulate home warranties within its borders.

States are not allowed to violate federal protocol, but each state can establish its own rules for home warranty companies. Because of this, you may find that some home warranty companies have different contracts for each state. For example, you may notice that a home warranty company has a different contract for California residents than for Alaska or Hawaii residents.


So, Should You Get a 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. At Today's Homeowner, we pride ourselves on delivering the utmost trust and transparency to our readers. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each home warranty provider according to that methodology.

Whenever you read our home warranty reviews, you can rest assured that the information put forth is straight from customer service representatives at the home warranty company and that the overall home warranty rating is based on an unbiased weighted, 100-point scale that scores companies on plans offered, coverage, state availability, cost, trustworthiness, customer service, and unique benefits.

If you are a veteran or military personnel, you might want to check out some of the exclusive warranty plans for veterans that some companies offer. These specialized plans often come with additional benefits and discounts tailored to those who have served in the armed forces.

By taking advantage of these offerings, you can not only protect your home and its appliances but also enjoy cost-saving advantages as a token of appreciation for your service to the country.

Be sure to explore these veteran-specific options when considering a home warranty, as they can provide you with unique advantages and added value.


Compare Home Warranty Companies

[adinserter block="23"][adinserter block="24"]

Meet the Contributors

Danny Lipford

Founder

Joe Truini

Contributor

Jodi Marks

Jodi Marks

Contributor

alora bopray headshot

Alora Rands

Contributer

Elisabeth Beauchamp

Elisabeth Beauchamp

Staff Writer

Sam Wasson

Sam Wasson

Staff Writer

Alexis Curls

Alexis Curls

Staff Writer

Amy DeYoung

Amy DeYoung

Contributor

Sean Donnelly

Sean Donnelly

Contributor

Sarah Horvath

Staff Writer

Jonathon Jachura

Jonathon Jachura

Contributor

Sharon Lord

Staff Writer

dan simms headshot

Dan Simms

Contributor