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Best Home Warranty Companies for 2016

Who offers the best home warranty? We review the top rated home warranty companies

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Top Rated Home Warranty Companies

When you're in the process of buying a home, it probably crosses your mind whether or not the buyer is disclosing everything that you need to know before you complete the purchase.

If you're buying an older home or one that appears to have some structural or electrical challenges, using one the best home warranty companies can add to your peace of mind.

Best Home Warranty Companies - Coverage

The best home warranty will cover things that your home insurance does not - events such as fires, floods, and natural disasters. The best home warranty plans can cover the smaller items, such as repairs for major systems such as your heating and air conditioning, plumbing problems and even high-cost appliances such as your washer and dryer and refrigerator. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the best home warranty companies.

What is a Home Warranty Plan?

Home warranties aren't the same thing as home insurance and they aren't exactly warranties in the traditional sense either. Home insurance protects your home, as a whole, from catastrophic events like fire and flood. Warranties protect a particular product that you purchase when it is damaged or fails.

A home warranty is a plan where you pay a monthly or yearly cost and they will cover a portion of the cost of select parts of your home when they are in need of repairs or replacement.

A home warranty is a plan where you pay a monthly or yearly cost and they will cover a portion of the cost of select parts of your home when they are in need of repairs or replacement. Most home warranty providers allow you the choice to cover appliances (like refrigerators and washing machines) or home systems (like electrical and plumbing) or both. With many companies you can also choose to pay for an entire year upfront, usually for a discount, or you can pay month by month.

Home warranty companies will not always cover all, or any, of the cost of your repaired and replacements. If they think a system or appliance has been neglected in any way they many not cover the repair.

Best Home Warranty Companies: What to Consider

When you're purchasing your home, there will be all kinds of vendors that will send you information or call you in the attempt to get your business. Don't be fooled -- while some of these businesses are reputable, others can be quite nefarious in their dealings. Home warranty claims have been rising every year since 2012, as more home warranty programs become available.

It never hurts to do a quick inventory when you're purchasing a home. How old are essential items like your furnace and air conditioning system?

You can trust that the top rated home warranty companies that I share with you have been researched and vetted, with all of the information you need to be gathered together for your convenience.

Here are some of the key factors to consider before you purchase home warranty coverage for your home:

1. Inventory

It never hurts to do a quick inventory when you're purchasing a home. How old are essential items like your furnace and air conditioning system? Are they in good working condition relative to their ages? Ask the homeowner if they've kept detailed notes on when the last inspection and tune-up were for major home systems such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems.

Regular attention by licensed professionals can ensure that home systems run optimally and could even reduce your home's energy bills. However, if you notice appliances that are well past their age of operation, then it's a good idea to have a home warranty just in case the appliances begin to fail. Appliance repair can run from $50 up to $350 per Home Advisor, so keeping a home warranty to cover these costs is crucial.

2. Claims

It's incredibly important that you understand the claims process for individual home warranty plans. Even the best home warranty companies may have a challenging claims process if you don't fully understand how it works. Pay attention to how they process claims, and make a note of whether there are any extenuating circumstances where the homeowner's warranty plan might deny coverage. By understanding these terms before committing, you are less likely to incur expensive surprises down the road.

3. Trade Service Call Fees

Service fees are a painful fact of life when it comes to home ownership. Always be sure to contact your home warranty company before you decide to call a service and accept a call fee as it may not be reimbursed under your particular plan. It is also important to be sure that the particular service professional that you call is covered under your home warranty plan for the service that you are requiring.

It's not unusual for home warranty plans to cover a professional for one service but not for another, so read carefully to keep from getting hit with additional fees that you did not expect.

4. Fees

Along with the Trade Service Call Fee, even the best home warranty provider might assess a fee based on the type of service done or the equipment needed. Typically, this applies to essential components like your home's air conditioner or furnace that are expensive and rack up additional fees according to the U.S.

Energy Information Administration (EIA), but could also extend to other parts. Check your home warranty contract to determine which fees are included in the specific services that you need for your home. It's important to be careful and make sure that you fully understand the fees before you sign up - the last thing you want is to be hit with a lot of additional charges you were not expecting!

5. Separate Properties

Check the reviews and details for the top rated home warranty companies to ensure that they will cover additional structures that are part of your property, such as a guest house or large barn. Some home warranty providers could charge you more to insure the additional property.

Find the best home warranty company that doesn't charge for separate buildings on your property. Even if all the companies you consult with charge, you can find the ones that offer the most affordable fees. Have more than one property that you need to cover? Many home warranties can cover more than one property for a discount as long as they are owned by the same individual. This is a great option for landlords or families who own several buildings on the same property.

6. Reputation

A home warranty plan provider's reputation is an essential element to consider because it tells you everything you need to know about how the company treats its customers and how it honors its claims. The Better Business Bureau is an excellent place to start searching for the best home warranty companies because it assigns grades to companies from A to F.

You can also contact your state's Attorney General's office to conduct a check on the best-rated home warranty companies that operate in your state. It does not hurt to check with friends and family members, or even look at social media for more information about your chosen home warranty professional. You can often get an idea of their delivery times and rates from posts on Yelp! or Google reviews, as well as by looking at their Facebook page.

7. Customer service

If you have ever waited for hours on hold for someone to answer the phone (who hasn't?!?), then you know that a provider's customer service is another window into how your experience might go with them. I always consult with friends and family who have had home warranty policies to see if they will share their experiences with me.

You can also research online to find customer reviews for the best rated home warranty companies and look for a pattern of good or bad experiences on specific topics such as billing, claims handling and response times. Try calling several different home warranty providers to see how quickly they are able to answer basic questions. While not a perfect indicator, it can give you a good idea about how they will answer you in the future.

8. Support

Whew, it's getting hot in here! When your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of summer, you need to know that someone you can trust will be there to handle the problem for you -- and pronto! When you're looking at the best home warranty companies, check their response times for support requests (especially emergency requests!).

A great way to check support levels is to ask friends and family if they have used them in the past. While the past is not a guarantee that you will receive solid support in the future, at least you can enter the arrangement knowing that others have had a good experience.

What Do the Best Home Warranty Companies Cover?

Home warranties can cover any number of different items from HVAC units (central heating and air conditioning units), kitchen appliances, plumbing systems, clothes washer and dryer, roof leaks or damage and even the electrical systems in your home. In my research, I found that many of the home warranty offerings included a variety of levels from covering the basics like central heating and air conditioning, while all-inclusive home warranty options included flooring and more. Check each program carefully to determine which will best fit your needs (and your budget!).

Typical Costs of the Best Home Warranty Companies

You will easily make back your home warranty cost if you have a major problem such as a water pipe that bursts or an expensive refrigerator repair, as even the best home warranty plans are relatively inexpensive at between $350 - $500. However, how can you be sure that the home warranty company that you've chosen is well-trusted and will help you in your time of need?

I've searched the web, and here are the best home warranty companies in the marketplace today -- along with everything that you need to make a decision such as helpful guides, an informative FAQ section and all the factors you should keep in mind before you make a decision.

The Stats Best Home Warranty Companies Want You to Know

Did you know that homeowners spend between one to four percent of their home value on annual repairs? This significant dollar amount isn't the only scary statistic that should convince you that you need a home warranty. Keep reading:

  • HVAC repair can run anywhere from $200 to several thousand dollars
  • Appliances cost upwards of $250 to replace
  • You can save up to 10-15% on your annual energy bill by optimizing your HVAC unit
  • Home maintenance can cost 2-5% of your annual house payments

The Top Home Warranty Companies

I only wanted to provide you with the best home warranty companies to review based on their exceptional service, outstanding coverage options, and great reputations. Choosing from this curated list of best-rated home warranty companies provides you with the confidence that you need in making this outstanding selection to protect your family in the event of significant home repairs.

What could happen if the home warranty company that you select isn't well-respected? You could potentially end up with a lot of charges that you didn't expect, or gaps in coverage that would mean you are not going to receive the value that you thought you deserved from your home warranty company. Careful research helps ensure that you will receive the value that you deserve and that you are paying for with your home warranty.

American Home Shield Review

  • Pros
  • Competitive pricing
  • Comprehensive plans
  • Customizable plans
  • Large network of technicians
  • Long history and well-respected organization
  • Cons
  • No 24/7/365 service

American Home Shield was founded in 1971 and is one of the longest- standing home warranty providers on the market. This well-established organization not only has 40 years of experience but also has a wide coverage range across the U.S. AHS has three plans to choose from -- and even offers a and a customizable plan if you want like to build your own.

  • The Systems Plan covers your major home systems like your air conditioner, heating system, electrical, plumbing, water heaters, garbage disposals, smoke detectors, doorbells and ceiling fans.
  • The Appliance Plan covers your basic household appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, ovens, stoves, built-in microwave ovens, trash compactors and more.

You can also combine the two into their combo plan to cover both appliances and household systems.

Home Service Club Review

  • Pros
  • 24/7 support
  • Comprehensive plans with optional coverage add-ons
  • No home inspection required before purchase
  • Flexible cancellation terms
  • Excellent website loaded with helpful resources
  • Cons
  • No money back guarantees or trial periods offered

Home Service Club has been proud to be an industry leader in offering home warranties for over 49 years. What makes it such a great option to consider is its careful vetting process of its technicians. Not only does it screen prospective technicians thoroughly, but it also monitors their performance through the use of customer satisfaction surveys to ensure the technician visiting your home is a professional who will treat you with the same courtesy. Home Service Club offers customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This support feature, coupled with its monitoring of its technicians, exemplify the high level of focus Home Service Club places in ensuring you receive the service you deserve.

America's 1st Choice Home Club Review

  • Pros
  • 24/7 claims center
  • Three different plan options
  • Excellent customer service
  • 30-day no questions-asked cancellation policy
  • Cons
  • Lowest level service offers very minimal coverage
  • Relatively low annual cap on expenses

When you need cost-effective, extended warranty home plans to keep you safe from the unexpected expenses that can plague even the most careful of home buyers, America's 1st Choice Home Club is a great option. Need to cover everything in your home? Their Gold plan ensures that you're getting the best coverage for your needs, and the low per-visit costs will certainly be within your budget. Their excellent nationwide contractor network means you'll always have a high-quality technician available for your convenience.

Total Protect Review

  • Pros
  • Comprehensive plans
  • Customizable plans
  • Flexible, understandable pricing options
  • 180- day workman guarantee
  • Cons
  • Does not cover initial repairs or replacements

Total Protect is a home warranty service offered by Cross Country Home Services, which is a well-established home warranty company. They have a large network of professionals, with over 40,000 technicians and contractors across the U.S. One of the key benefits that Total Protect offers is their transparency: they guarantee not to change your coverage without providing you with notification and options so you can make the most of the change. Total Protect offers a variety of plans that are comparable to those from other providers.

  • First level coverage allows you to choose which appliances to protect like washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
  • The next level of coverage adds coverage for major home systems like plumbing, electric and air-conditioning.
  • Finally, you can also have the option to combine the two for complete coverage or add optional coverages like pools to any plan.

Choice Home Warranty Review

  • Pros
  • 24/7/365 Customer service
  • Comprehensive plans
  • Competitive prices
  • Large network of technicians
  • Receive one month free if you purchase a full year
  • Cons
  • Some customers complain that the claims process can be frustrating

Choice Home Warranty covers and repairs all kinds of home appliances and systems for both homeowners and real estate professionals. Their goal is to offer comprehensive, flexible plans as well as personal and convenient customer service. Choice Home Warranty offers two service plans which can both be customized by adding on new coverages.

Basic Plan includes coverage for most essential appliances like your heating system, electrical system, plumbing system, water heater, whirlpool bathtub, oven or stove, dishwasher, built-in microwave, and garbage disposal.

Total Plan includes all of those appliances covered in the Basic Plan plus your washer and dryer, refrigerator and air conditioning system.

Questions to Ask to the Best Home Warranty Companies

  • Do you have to pay the service provider and then get reimbursed?
  • How long it generally takes to settle a claim?
  • Which products and services are not covered under your plan?
  • What happens if you need after-hours support?
  • How quickly after your policy is signed and returned will the coverage start?
  • Are there specific restrictions on your use of the policy?
  • Are you required to use only certain providers, or can you use anyone in the area that you trust to make the repairs to your home?
  • How quickly are you able to get repair service for average claims?

Advice on the Best Home Warranty Companies

Sometimes, it can be really confusing trying to decide if you truly need home warranty plans or just need to focus on getting the right insurance. Fortunately, our editors work tirelessly to ensure that you have the information that you need to make an informed decision about your future. The research that goes into determining the very best options to help you reach your financial goals and stay safe in the marketplace takes time, and it can be difficult to sort through all of the poor reviews to find someone that you can trust.

How to make the Best Home Warranty Companies Work for You

When an appliance or a home system unexpectedly breaks down, it can be a pretty big financial burden to face. Home warranties are one way to alleviate that potential issue. However, is a home warranty plan ultimately worth the expense? Our guide on whether it's necessary to have a home warranty tackles this question comprehensively, so you can determine if this coverage is the best option for you and your loved ones.

Owning a home is a long-term investment. It's sometimes surprising to new homeowners exactly how often items large and small will break, and how often you need to perform maintenance tasks to keep your home up-to-date. A home warranty can protect you and save your budget from common expenses that could drain your finances. Our helpful guide on how a home warranty can save your budget addresses three ways how this coverage can assist you in keeping your finances in order.

When you buy a home, it's important that you financially protect it in the event repairs arise. Since these can occur at any time, having the right protection can ensure you address the problems quickly without altering your daily expenses a great deal to fix it. By using our reviews, you can find the best home warranty providers available that will offer you peace of mind and a helping hand should you encounter an emergency.

Top Home Warranty Companies Recap

Many of the best home warranty companies that make our list offer affordable pricing, excellent technicians and customizable plans to meet your needs. Protect one of the largest investments you will ever make through ensuring that you have an adequate home warranty plan to support your needs.

Use our guides to learn more about how home warranties work so you can feel confident that you understand what you are buying. Considering a home warranty policy may often be your best option because they can protect some of your home's most essential components affordably.

Home warranties are not the only way to keep your home safe and sound, our reviews of the best best home insurance companies will ensure that you are getting the best value for your hard-earned dollar and keeping your property and your family safe at the same time. Once you've settled into your new home, you will likely need a home security system too, read our reviews on the best home security systems to get you started.

Best Home Warranty Companies FAQs

What is the difference between buyer/seller home warranties and ongoing home warranties?

Most home warranty companies give you the option of choosing to pay for their service monthly or you can pay for the full year. You can choose to pay for coverage indefinitely or you can purchase a plan for a few months after a new home. However, home warranties are only available to home owners; there are also plans that are tailored for real estate sales. There is a subtle difference between real estate and typical plans.

When you buy a house you may be offered a specific buyer/seller or real estate home warranty. These are typically used to add an extra incentive to a home purchase, especially in a brand new home with untested systems. Real estate home warranties typically last for a few months after the home is purchased and covers items like air conditioners, water heaters, plumping and refrigerators.

Who do I pay for a home warranty?

Depending on how you would like to pay for a home warranty service, you can pay in monthly increments or you can opt to pay in full for the entire year, up front. Home warranties are not necessary but are highly recommended. If you have just moved into a new house, it can take time to settle in so a home warranty can be purchased anytime after you move in.

If rent a home can I get a home warranty?

Unfortunately, home warranties are available only to homeowners. Those who rent a home cannot opt into a home warranty. On the other hand, the landlord may purchase a home warranty for the house that tenants will be living in.

What is a real estate home warranty?

A real estate home warranty is offered to the purchaser of a real estate home at the time of sale. When brand new homes go on the market, often the agent will want to sell the buyer a Real Estate Home Warranty, as systems have not yet been tested in brand new homes. It also gives extra incentive to purchase a home because you get that warranty with the house – it encourages people to buy.

What does a real estate home warranty cover?

A real estate home warranty typically covers water heaters, refrigerators, air conditioners, and plumping. The warranty on these systems in new homes last a few months. Some warranty companies will cover the cost of repair while others will only cover the second repair if the initial one is flawed.

Do I really need a home warranty?

The answer is no, but you will definitely want to opt in to purchasing a home warranty because when an appliance breaks down unexpectedly or your water heater stops working, you will be happy you had a home warranty.

What is the difference between a home warranty and home insurance?

Home insurance covers your house from disastrous occurrences such as floods and fires – things that are out of your control and unforeseen. Home insurance will not cover everyday repairs and breakdowns of home systems. Home warranties will cover the cost of parts of your house as opposed to covering the entire thing, as home insurance would.

Why should I get a home warranty?

There are inherent advantages in purchase a home warranty. It gives you peace of mind knowing that major systems in your home are covered in the event that something were to happen to them and they stopped working. Often times the cost of one single repair in your home is most than a whole years cost of a home warranty.

Are there disadvantages to a home warranty?

If you lack in maintaining your appliances and major systems in your home and neglect their upkeep, a home warranty will do you no good. You must maintain the condition of your appliances and systems – that is the only way a home warranty will be worth it for you.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.