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Our team aims to provide accurate, helpful, and transparent information for new and existing homeowners who are interested in purchasing a home warranty. We researched dozens of home warranty companies to collect data. With this data, we created in-depth review standards to rate providers based on various key factors.
How We Research Home Warranty Companies
We spend hundreds of hours reading company service contracts and provider websites to gather data on coverage costs, features, exclusions, limitations, and benefits and drawbacks. To understand how providers handle customer service, we compared thousands of customer reviews from the following third-party review sites:
- The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Best Company
- Google Reviews
Below is a more detailed overview of our research process.
We called many provider customer service lines and noted how helpful their representatives were in answering our questions. We secret-shopped to gather information on the customer experience of pulling a quote online or over the phone.
Expert Interviews and Surveys
We conducted several surveys and a focus group to gather data on the experiences homeowners have owning a home warranty. To supplement our research, we interviewed various industry experts who confirmed our recommendations and provided additional insight for homeowners interested in purchasing a home warranty.
Our team tested American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty, two companies we feature in our content. We tested their claims processes to see how the companies handled service requests, from initial claim filing to final repair or replacement. We also tested the efficiency of their online claim tools, the estimated time it took for the companies to respond to the claims, and whether the technicians resolved the issues in one visit.
Our team aims to test additional home warranty companies we feature in the foreseeable future.
Key Factors We Considered to Review Providers
We rate each provider against the following factors to obtain a score out of 100. We then convert each provider’s score to a star rating out of 5. To calculate the star rating, we divide a provider’s total score by 20. For example, if a provider scores 91 points, its star rating is 4.6.
We assigned more value to factors we determined to be more important for homeowners. We considered the following:
- Available plans (15 points): Available plans allow homeowners to pick and choose the coverage they need. We considered add-on coverage and combination plan availability, as this allows homeowners to customize their home protection. We gave more points to providers offering three or more coverage plans than those offering two or fewer plans. Providers that offer more than 20 add-on coverage options received more points. We included an extra point for those that offer a bundled major systems and appliances plan.
- Plan coverage (25 points): We scored providers on the total coverage they offer in their plans. We gave more points to providers that offer coverage limits higher than $3,000 per covered item. Companies that provide coverage for essential systems and appliances, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, scored higher than those that don’t. In addition, companies that offer higher add-on coverage limits scored more points.
- Price range (10 points): We considered price to be the least important factor when rating providers. Plan coverage and customer support better indicate that a home warranty company fulfills its promises. That said, providers offering combination plans for less than or equal to $60 per month and service call fees of $75 or less received more points.
- Industry reputation (15 points): A company’s reputation plays a vital role in our scoring system. Companies that have been in business for more than 20 years scored the highest. We granted more points to providers that have an A- rating or higher from the BBB, display their sample contracts online, and offer coverage in more than 46 states. We deducted points from providers that are facing class-action lawsuits.
- Customer support (20 points): Since home warranties are a service, we assigned more value to customer support. We gave providers that offer an extended workmanship guarantee on completed repairs more points, as this gives homeowners peace of mind that repair work is guaranteed. Providers that offer multiple ways to contact customer service, such as via phone or an online portal, scored additional points. We also rated providers higher if they process claims within 24 hours and charge $50 or less in cancellation fees.
- Additional features (15 points): Additional features help distinguish providers from one another. Providers that allow you to choose your own service provider, offer coverage upgrade packages, and protect high-end appliances scored the highest. We also granted points to providers that offer transferable policies and coverage for preexisting conditions, roof leaks, and damage caused by things other than normal wear and tear.
This methodology guides our rating process. We aim to compare every aspect of a home warranty company based on the factors our readers find most important, such as plan coverage, customer service, and more. We consider these factors while reviewing providers and recommend companies that best meet them. We supplement our research with proprietary data collected through our surveys, expert interviews, testing procedures, and focus groups.
Your home’s coverage needs and budget determine the best home warranty company for you. Our team recommends pulling three quotes from different providers and reading their sample contracts to understand exact coverage terms and exclusions. Check out our list of the best home warranty companies nationwide to start protecting your home.