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Best Home Warranty Companies for 2016

We review the best home warranty companies

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Home Warranty Reviews

Anyone who is in the market for a home or has purchased one in the past may have encountered offers for home warranties. Sometimes a seller might offer to buy one to alleviate the buyers' concerns of faulty or old fixtures and structures. A home warranty is not the same as home insurance; they typically cover different things and cannot replace one another.

While home insurance covers major home destruction events like fires, floods or natural disasters, the service provided by home warranty companies covers smaller day-to-day repairs of specific parts of a home. Home warranty companies tend to alleviate the cost of repairs on certain major home parts like plumbing, air conditioning units and electric. In some cases, you may find a plan that covers appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers.

Overall, the intention of these plans is to provide peace of mind from a financial standpoint because it can account for unexpected expenses that might arise without wrecking your budget. The average home warranty costs between $350 and $500. With this in mind, if you plan to buy a home warranty, we can help. We compiled a list of the top providers as well as factors to consider when buying this coverage option. We also have helpful guides that touch on various components of home warranties and an informative FAQ section to help you find the answers you need. Here's a closer look at these items.

Best Home Warranty: What to Consider

There are several home warranty companies that have deals with repair services of all types. If you have or are about to buy a home, you may be inundated with offers from different companies, so it is important to know what you should look for, if you are interested.

Inventory - When you purchase a home, it's vital that you identify the oldest appliances in your home. How old are essential items like your furnace? Are they in good working condition relative to their ages? What common problems arise from appliances over time? In some instances, particularly with your home's furnace and air conditioner, all they need are inspections and tune-ups, which can ensure they run optimally and could 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 in place if or when they fail.

Claims - Each company honors claims differently. This means it's important to pay attention to how they process claims and if they are any extenuating circumstances where they might deny coverage. By understanding these terms before committing, you are less likely to incur surprises down the road.

Trade Service Call Fees - Some home warranty providers might want to examine your property before approving a repair. If this occurs, you might have to pay for this service so it's important to check to see if your provider assesses any fees for in-home visits, and if there are any means to bypass this step and fee.

Fees - Along with the Trade Service Call Fee, your 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, but could also extend to other parts. This means it's important to find out how much your provider charges in fees, which is information you will find in your home warranty contract.

Separate properties - Say you buy a home with separate structures as part of your property like a guest house, if this occurs, some home warrant providers might charge you more to insure the additional property. A good way to check is to ask around to find which providers charge this fee. You could find one that doesn't charge for separate buildings on your property. And even if all the companies you consult with assess a charge, you can find the ones that offer the most affordable fees.

Reputation - A 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 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 companies that operate in your state.

Customer service - Dovetailing off the previous point, a provider's customer service is another window into how your experience might go with them. If you can, consult with friends and family who have had home warranty policies to see if they will share their experiences with you. In addition, you can research online to find customer reviews of specific companies, which often times can alert you to a pattern of good or bad experiences on specific topics such as billing, claims handling and response times for questions.

Support - If something happens in your home such as your air conditioner breaking and it's in the middle of the summer, it's vital you have the repair done quickly. With this example in mind, it's a good idea to ask the home warranty provider how long claims take to file and how fast it can fix covered issues under your policy. Along with this, you should also examine how available a company is to handle your needs. If the provider is only available Monday through Friday during normal business hours, it indicates the provider doesn't take your needs seriously. Since home repairs can pop up at any time, it's important to find a company that offers the flexibility you need in this regard.

Home warranty companies with some of the better offerings include Choice Home Warranty, American Home Shield and Select Home Warranty. More information is available in the guides about home warranty companies.

Meet the Best Home Warranty Companies

These providers make our list because they deliver exceptional service, have outstanding coverages and great reputations. When you go with one of these organizations, you can feel confident in knowing you have the protection you need in case significant home repairs arise.

Choice Home Warranty

  • Pros
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Comprehensive plans
  • Competitive prices
  • Large network of technicians
  • Free month if you purchase a full year
  • Cons
  • Some customers complain about a frustrating claims process

Choice Home Warranty covers and repairs all kinds of home appliances and systems for both home owners 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. The basic plan includes coverage for most essential appliances like your heating system, electrical system, plumbing system, water heater, whirlpool bathtub, oven/ stove, dishwasher, built-in microwave, and garbage disposal. The Total Plan includes all of those appliances covered in the Basic Plan plus your washer and dryer, refrigerator and air conditioning system.

American Home Shield

  • Pros
  • Competitive pricing
  • Comprehensive plans
  • Customizable plans
  • Large network of technicians
  • Long-standing company
  • Cons
  • No 24/7 service

American Home Shield was founded in 1971 and is one of the longest standing home warranty providers on the market. This well- established company 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 a customizable plan if you want 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.

Total Protect

  • Pros
  • Comprehensive plans
  • Customizable plans
  • 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 professional technicians and contractors across the U.S. Total Protect offers a variety of plans that are comparable to other providers. You can choose to protect appliances like washing machines, dish washers, and refrigerators. You can choose a plan that covers major home systems like plumbing, electric and air-conditioning. You also have the option to combine the two for complete coverage or add optional coverages like pools to any plan.

Select Home Warranty

  • Pros
  • Customizable plans
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Good customer service
  • Competitive pricing
  • Cons
  • No 24/7 support

Select Home Warranty is a new option in the home warranty market, starting in 2011. However, they have quickly made themselves a viable option for homeowners and renters covering all kinds of properties. Select Home Warranty has split their coverage into three different plans. The Bronze Plan covers house hold appliances like washer and dryer, refrigerator, oven and many others. Their Gold Care Plan covers major systems like heating, plumbing and electric. Platinum is the most comprehensive, covering both appliances and major systems.

Home Service Club

  • 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, 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.

Advice on the Best Home Warranty

If you plan to buy a home warranty or just want more information on it, our guides are wonderful resources to use. Here is a closer look at some of the advice offerings on home warranty we have available.

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 it 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. During that time, items will break, and your home may need evaluating and updating. 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.

Best Home Warranty Review Recap

When you buy a home, it's important 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, while not having to alter your daily expenses much to fix it. By using our reviews, you can find the best home warranty providers available. Many that make our list offer affordable pricing, excellent technicians and customizable plans to meet your needs. This can give you peace of mind in knowing you are financially protecting your arguably biggest investment. Moreover, if you are new to the process, you can use our guides to learn more about how home warranties work; that way, when you commit to a policy, you can feel confident you understand what you are buying. Ultimately, home warranties are excellent policies to consider because they can protect some of your home's most essential components affordably.

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Questions & Answers About Best Home Warranties

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.