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Home warranties, also known as home appliance insurance policies, protect appliances and home systems when they break down due to wear and tear. While there are other home protection plans, you can’t renew these policies after they expire. With a home warranty, you can continuously protect your home’s essential components and access high-quality service technicians without the hassle of vetting contractors.
Our team has researched the best home warranty companies and compiled essential information for homeowners interested in appliance coverage.
The Top 7 Home Warranty Companies
- American Home Shield : Best for Comprehensive Coverage
- Liberty Home Guard : Best Add-on Variety
- Select Home Warranty : Best for Cost-Effective Plans
- First American Home Warranty : Best for Home Systems Coverage
- America’s 1st Choice Home Club : Best Membership Perks
- Cinch Home Services : Best Coverage Variety
- HomeServe : Best for Specific Needs
How Does Home Appliance Insurance Work?
Home appliance insurance is a phrase to describe a home warranty service contract. Companies offer home appliance insurance plans in addition to major systems coverage. These plans cover item wear and tear that occurs with regular use.
The service model is simple. First, choose a monthly or annual plan to give you peace of mind. Then, if a covered item breaks, notify your home warranty company. Your home warranty provider will connect you with a licensed contractor. After you pay the service call fee, the contractor will diagnose and repair your item. If the provider covers your issue, it will pay the repair cost up to its coverage cap.
Is Home Appliance Insurance Worth It?
With regular use, appliances can break down unexpectedly. Imagine the inconvenience of your dishwasher breaking during a dinner party. A home warranty is a practical way to access high-quality and prompt home repairs when needed most, making it worth the cost for many homeowners.
We recently surveyed 1,000 homeowners. Nearly 50% of respondents found a contractor to work on their homes through online research. If you’re busy, travel often, or would rather spend your time elsewhere, a home warranty can streamline this research process for you. With a home warranty, you have an on-call claims center to quickly place a service request over the phone or through a convenient online portal.
What Does Home Appliance Insurance Cover?
Home appliance insurance covers your home’s major appliances when they break down due to everyday use. Home warranties don’t typically cover appliance repairs caused by accidental damage, preexisting conditions, improper modification and installation, or mismatched systems. They also don’t cover items that break down due to insufficient maintenance.
The most commonly covered appliances include:
- Built-in microwaves
- Built-in trash compactors
- Clothes washer and dryer
Types of Home Protection Plans
The three main home protection plans all offer some degree of appliance coverage. These plans include home warranties, also known as home appliance insurance, homeowners insurance, and manufacturer’s warranties.
Home Appliance Insurance vs. Manufacturer’s Warranty
As the name suggests, an item’s manufacturer provides a manufacturer’s warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty can be valid for anywhere from one year to 10 years after the original purchase date. Unlike home warranties that can cover multiple systems and appliances, a manufacturer’s warranty applies only to a single appliance.
Unlike a home warranty, you can’t renew your manufacturer’s warranty without purchasing a separate extended warranty. All necessary repairs outside the warranty period will be the homeowner’s sole responsibility.
Home Appliance Insurance Versus Homeowners Insurance
Though a homeowners insurance policy is not legally required, many mortgage lenders mandate it. Homeowners insurance is a prudent investment for any homeowner who wants to protect themselves against liability for injuries on their property, structural and property damage, and theft.
However, homeowners insurance only covers incidents considered perilous events—a tree crashing through your window during a windstorm, for example. Unlike a home warranty, it won’t cover essential items that break down due to normal wear and tear.
Are Home Warranty Companies Trustworthy?
While there are dozens of trustworthy home warranty companies to choose from, it’s important to know the red flags to look for when vetting a company for yourself. A reputable home warranty provider will typically have an accessible service contract for you to read before you enroll in a plan to give you peace of mind and clarity on what to expect.
If this agreement is difficult to find or the terms within the agreement are unclear, this could be a red flag. Similarly, if you have difficulty reaching a customer service representative or the claims process isn’t explicit, you may want to consider another provider.
With that said, the home warranty industry isn’t regulated like the insurance industry, and every state has its own rules. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for cease-and-desist orders and other legal matters to arise. While we agree that consumers should be aware of all negative legal matters, we don’t believe that a cease-and-desist order or lawsuit is inherently troubling or indicative of a provider’s trustworthiness.
How to Choose a Home Warranty
Because every homeowner will have their own unique needs, it’s important to do your research into what each provider offers. In addition, providers’ offerings will vary depending on the size of your home and your home’s location, so it’s important to confirm that a provider can meet your needs before moving ahead.
Here are some helpful tips for choosing a home warranty:
- See what plans are available to you. If you’ve made it to the end of this roundup, you already have a good idea of the leaders in the home warranty industry. You can review each company’s offerings from here and see if anything specific appeals to your home’s needs.
- Request a quote from as many providers as possible. You can confirm pricing, plan options, and additional coverage options by requesting a quote. It’s a good idea to request several different quotes to see how each company compares to its competitors.
- Read the service contract thoroughly and ask questions. After you’ve narrowed down your options, the most important step is reading each provider’s service contract, or terms and conditions. This document will explain the policy’s coverage limits and exclusions, which will help you avoid future misunderstandings and denied claims. If anything is unclear to you, it’s a good idea to call the company directly to ask for clarification before making your final decision.
Do Home Warranties Cover Old Appliances?
Home warranties typically cover older appliances. However, providers factor an appliance’s age into the replacement value. For example, a 20-year-old refrigerator may be eligible for a minor repair and parts replacement, but you may not be eligible for the full replacement cost if a repair isn’t possible.
In these cases, the home warranty provider will consider the depreciated value of the appliance and issue you a check for that amount to apply to the cost of your new appliance.
After extensively researching the home warranty industry, we have determined that all the providers on this list are worthy considerations for home appliance insurance.
American Home Shield is a top choice due to its broad appliance coverage and service fee flexibility. Similarly, Liberty Home Guard is one of the only providers in the industry to offer add-on upgrades for pro-series appliances, which other providers often exclude. Finally, First American Home Warranty is a solid choice for those who own pro-series or high-end appliances due to its generous appliance limits.
How We Chose the Top Home Warranty Providers
Our team reviewed and researched dozens of home warranty providers, thoroughly analyzed sample agreements, and identified customer pain points based on our analysis of customer reviews and interviews with industry experts. Our in-depth methodology outlines our review process to provide transparent information about the companies we review.
We determined that the following factors are the most important when comparing home warranty companies: available plans, plan coverage, price range, industry reputation, customer support, and additional features. Our research supported that plan coverage, customer service, and industry reputation should carry the most weight. While important, the other factors should not have as much influence when choosing a home warranty provider.
Appliance Warranty Reviews
We based all price information on a single-family home smaller than 5,000 square feet in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Prices can vary—from a few cents to dollars—even for homes in the same zip code. We recommend requesting a personalized quote from any provider that interests you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a service call fee?
A service call fee is similar to a deductible charged by an insurance company. Providers charge a service call fee each time you file a new claim. Typical service call fees range from $65 to $125, depending on your provider and plan selection.
What systems do home warranties cover?
Home warranties cover your home’s most essential systems, such as air conditioning, ductwork, electrical, heating, and plumbing systems, to name a few. Covered systems and coverage caps vary by provider.
What is a home warranty coverage cap?
A home warranty coverage cap is the dollar amount a provider is willing to cover for a home item breakdown. For example, if your provider covers clothes washers up to $3,000 per claim, that is the total amount it will cover when you request service. Some providers collectively cap coverage, meaning every item breakdown is subject to a set coverage cap (e.g., $10,000 per year) for the policy period.
Why is there a waiting period for my home warranty?
Most home warranty companies have a waiting period of 30 days before coverage begins because they want to ensure your system and appliance breakdowns result from normal wear and tear rather than preexisting conditions. Home warranty providers won’t cover an already broken item.
How are home warranties regulated?
State government bodies and industry associations regulate home warranties. Both entities work together to create laws that oversee providers and provide consumers with resources to improve their home warranty experience.