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Home warranty companies can protect your home’s most important systems and appliances. Unfortunately, some companies don’t have your best interest in mind. These companies make false promises, provide poor customer service, and avoid fulfilling service requests.
We used our experience reviewing the best home warranty companies to compile this guide on the worst home warranty providers in the industry. We also advise you on how to vet shady companies, how to pick the best provider, and which home warranties to consider.
How to Tell If a Home Warranty Company Is Bad
It can be challenging to tell if a home warranty company is untrustworthy. On the surface, virtually all home warranty companies offer the same things: home protection plans for your major appliances and systems, quick service, and repair cost savings. When you dig deeper, however, you’ll find some providers lack the integrity of others. Here is how to tell if a home warranty company is bad:
Deceptive Marketing and Sales Tactics
Be aware of lofty claims on provider websites or aggressive sales techniques used by representatives. Reputable home warranty companies will always display a sample service contract on their website that explicitly states its coverage terms. Find the company’s service contract and read it before pulling a quote or speaking with a representative.
Reading the fine print helps you confirm if the company’s website information is true. Additionally, you can verify a representative’s information and ask questions if you notice a contradiction. Scam home warranty companies don’t display their fine print anywhere or ignore your request for it.
During your research, read through customer reviews on several third-party review sites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Best Company, Consumer Affairs, Google Reviews, Trustpilot, and Yelp. Check a company’s most recent customer reviews. If a company has consistently negative reviews on every third-party website you check, you should avoid it.
While reading a provider’s customer reviews, see if there are complaints about the company’s communication. Reputable companies list the average response time for claims in their sample contracts. They also proactively contact you during and after the claims process. Poor home warranty companies give you unclear answers when you file a claim or purposely ignore your service requests.
Predatory Business Practices
Another way to tell if a company is untrustworthy is by observing its general business practices. Companies that use pushy sales and marketing tactics, confusing and unclear contract language, and unreasonable cancellation policies tend to only care about making money off of you. These companies usually aren’t licensed to do business in your state, so we recommend checking your state’s consumer protection offices and verifying if the company is legally registered.
Also, be wary of companies that offer extremely low prices compared to most providers. Unusually low prices typically mean the provider’s coverage is mediocre at best. Companies offset the cost of repairing or replacing your home systems and appliances with their monthly fees. If a provider promises to cover your entire home for less than $20, chances are it’s too good to be true.
3 Home Warranty Companies to Avoid
Our research shows the companies below have had unethical business practices in the past. State attorney generals or the BBB have identified these providers for malpractice.
- Home Warranty Direct
- Secure Home Warranty
- Total Home Protection
Home Warranty Direct
Home Warranty Direct is a brand-new provider in the home warranty industry. It opened its doors in October 2022 in Saint Peters, Missouri. Since then, its customers have sent numerous complaints to the BBB alleging that the company sent misleading advertisements. According to the BBB, Home Warranty Direct customers reported the advertisements established a false sense of urgency to sign up for a coverage plan. When the BBB reached out to Home Warranty Direct for a comment, the company didn’t respond.
Here are other issues we found with Home Warranty Direct:
- It has a 1-out-of-5-star customer rating on its BBB page.
- Its company phone number redirects to an unrelated party.
- It has an F rating from the BBB.
- It doesn’t have an active website.
Secure Home Warranty
Secure Home Warranty began selling home service contracts in April 2016 in Philadelphia. Within months of opening, customers complained about Secure Home’s lack of communication, claim denials, and refusal to issue refunds according to its contract terms. In April 2019, the Philadelphia Attorney General’s Office filed a class-action lawsuit against Secure Home Warranty for the alleged issues above. The attorney general found Secure Home Warranty guilty of unlawful conduct the following year. It also determined that Secure Home could no longer sell service contracts in Pennsylvania.
Here are other issues we found with Secure Home Warranty:
- The company uses a virtual office address instead of a physical location.
- It’s not rated by the BBB.
- Its website redirects to unrelated product and service pages.
Total Home Protection
Total Home Protection, now rebranded as ServicePlus Home Warranty, is another questionable home warranty company to avoid. The company incorporated itself in Pennsylvania in January 2016. Our team read dozens of customer reviews on its BBB page and found that many customers experienced misleading service and unexplained claim and refund denials. In March 2020, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office initiated a class-action lawsuit against Total Home. In December 2021, the company agreed to pay a settlement of $400,000 in restitution fees. It also agreed to revise its deceptive business practices.
Here are other issues we found with Total Home Protection:
- It holds a 1.14-out-of-5-star customer rating on its BBB webpage.
- The company is not rated by the BBB.
How to Pick the Right Home Warranty
Now that you know which companies to avoid, here are some tips for finding the right home warranty plan:
- Assess your needs: Identify the systems and appliances you use the most. Purchase a plan from a provider that offers comprehensive coverage for these items.
- Check provider reputation: Read a provider’s customer reviews from at least three third-party review sites to get a general idea of how the provider handles claims, customer inquiries, and more.
- Compare providers: Don’t sign up with the first provider you find. Request quotes from at least three companies to compare coverage limits, plan costs, and add-on coverage options.
- Review the fine print: Arthur Chartrand, who counsels the National Home Service Contract Association, suggests reading your sample contract before signing up and after purchasing a plan to ensure it covers your needs.
- Seek recommendations: Ask your friends, family, or neighbors if they own the home warranty you’re considering. Your real estate agent is another source to ask about the reputability of a home warranty company.
- Understand the claims process: While reviewing a provider’s sample contract, ensure you understand the company’s response time to service requests. Call the provider to confirm how it sources its service providers.
Our Top Home Warranty Picks
Below is a detailed list of the five best home warranty companies nationwide. We compared each provider’s costs, claims process, coverage options, customer service, and reputation.
We pulled all pricing information from a 2,200-square-foot, single-family home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Your monthly premium may differ based on your home’s type, size, and location, plus your coverage and add-on selections.
American Home Shield : Best for Comprehensive Coverage
- State availability: 48 (all but Alaska and Hawaii)
- Service fee: $100–$125
- Get a quick quote: Visit American Home Shield’s site
American Home Shield (AHS) is a reputable home warranty provider that has served homeowners since 1971. The company offers pricing flexibility via three coverage plans and two service call fees. It stands out due to its unique coverage of preexisting conditions and rust, corrosion, or sediment damage. AHS provides a $5,000 coverage limit per built-in system. It limits appliances to $2,000 per covered item in the ShieldGold plan. It doubles its appliance limit to $4,000 per covered appliance in the ShieldPlatinum plan.
AHS allows you to choose from a $100 or $125 service fee. The higher the service fee, the lower your monthly premium.
American Home Shield offers three home warranty coverage plans:
ShieldSilver ($29.99–$49.99): The ShieldSilver plan includes coverage for major systems such as doorbells and chimes, garage-door openers, ceiling fans, ductwork, built-in exhaust and attic fans, heating units, air conditioning systems, and HVAC systems. It covers electrical system components, including interior electrical lines, main breakers, and fuse panel boxes. It also covers faucets, valves, interior plumbing lines, toilets, whirlpool tub motor components, and water heaters.
ShieldGold ($39.99–$59.99): The ShieldGold plan covers everything in the ShieldSilver plan plus major appliances. Covered appliances include built-in microwaves, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, garbage disposals, instant cold and hot water dispensers, ovens, cooktops, ranges, and refrigerators.
ShieldPlatinum ($69.99–$89.99): The ShieldPlatinum covers everything in the ShieldGold plan and adds roof-leak repair coverage, a $1,000 cap for plumbing system modifications, discounted HVAC system tune-ups, and an increased coverage cap of $4,000 per covered appliance.
Read more: American Home Shield Review
Liberty Home Guard : Best Add-on Variety
- State availability: 50
- Service call fee: $65–$125
- Get a quick quote: Visit Liberty Home Guard’s site
Liberty Home Guard (LHG) is another great choice for total home protection. Like AHS, it provides three coverage plans. Where it differs from American Home Shield is in its expansive list of additional coverage options, offering up to 38 add-ons. It provides a $2,000 coverage cap for most covered systems and appliances but limits electrical systems and plumbing to $500 per claim.
Our team spoke to a Liberty Home Guard representative and discovered it selects your service call fee based on your home’s type, size, and location and your coverage and add-on selections. The representative told us your service call fee will fall between $65 and $125 per claim.
Liberty Home Guard offers three home warranty plans. We listed each plan’s coverage details below:
Appliance Guard ($49.99): Appliance Guard covers home appliances, including built-in microwave ovens, ceiling and exhaust fans, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, garage-door openers, garbage disposals, ranges, ovens, cooktops, and refrigerators with built-in ice makers.
Systems Guard ($54.99): Systems Guard covers home systems, such as your air conditioner, plumbing, heating and electrical systems, ductwork, and water heaters.
Total Home Guard ($59.99): Total Home Guard is LHG’s most comprehensive plan. It covers everything listed in the Appliance Guard and Systems Guard plans.
Read more: Liberty Home Guard Review
Select Home Warranty : Best for Cost-Effective Plans
- State availability: 47 (all but Nevada, Washington, and Wisconsin)
- Service call fee: $60–$75
- Get a quick quote: Visit Select Home Warranty’s site
Select Home Warranty provides home appliance and system plans at a competitive price. It pairs HVAC systems with a $3,000 coverage cap. However, Select provides a much lower $500 cap for home appliances and other covered systems. It’s worth considering if you only need basic heating or cooling system coverage.
Select charges a low $75 service call fee per claim. According to a Select representative, the company offers a lower $60 service fee when you purchase a plan over the phone.
Select Home Warranty offers three coverage plans. We listed each plan’s details below:
Bronze Care ($44.42): Bronze Care covers built-in microwaves, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, garbage disposals, ovens, refrigerators, and stovetops.
Gold Care ($44.42): Gold Care protects home systems, such as ductwork, water heaters, cooling and heating systems, and plumbing and electrical systems.
Platinum Care ($47.75): Platinum Care bundles all items listed in the Bronze Care and Gold Care plans.
Read more: Select Home Warranty Review
First American Home Warranty : Best for Home Systems Coverage
- State availability: 30 (not available in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, or Wisconsin)
- Service call fee: $75–$125
- Get a quick quote: Visit First American’s site
First American Home Warranty is best for those who own older appliances and systems due to its comprehensive coverage limits. The company provides a $3,500 coverage limit per appliance in its Starter and Essential plans. It doubles its appliance limit to $7,000 in the Premium Plan. First American pairs most built-in systems with an unlimited coverage cap. It limits water heaters, however, to $1,000 per claim.
First American offers a $75, $100, or $125 service call fee. You can choose from any of the three. Picking a higher service call fee lowers your monthly premium and vice versa.
First American provides three coverage plans. We listed each plan’s details below:
Starter Plan ($47–$62 per month): The Starter Plan covers various major appliances and systems such as built-in microwaves, dishwashers, ductwork, electrical, heating, plumbing, kitchen range hoods, ovens, cooktops, plumbing stoppages, refrigerators, and toilet tanks.
Essential Plan ($57–$72 per month): The Essential Plan covers Starter Plan items, air conditioning, ceiling fans, attic fans, exhaust fans, clothes washers and dryers, the First American Advantage upgrade, garage-door openers, trash compactors, and water heaters.
Premium Plan ($72–$87 per month): The Premium Plan includes all items listed in the Essential Plan, including central vacuum and full garage-door systems, faucets, garbage disposals, instant hot water dispensers, luxury appliances, shower heads and arms, and window air conditioning units.
Read more: First American Home Warranty Review
America’s 1st Choice Home Club : Best Membership Perks
- State availability: 49 (all but Hawaii)
- Service call fee: $75–$125
- Get a quick quote: Visit America’s 1st Choice Home Club site
America’s 1st Choice Home Club (AFC Home Club) provides solid value and perks other home warranty companies don’t. For example, AFC Home Club allows you to choose your service provider. Most home warranty companies require you to use an in-network technician. AFC Home Club also provides membership perks, such as free credit monitoring.
The company provides different coverage caps depending on the covered item. It pairs home appliances with a $3,000 coverage cap, while major systems coverage caps vary.
AFC Home Club provides four protection plans. We listed each plan’s coverage details below:
Silver Plan ($37.17–$41.83): The Silver Plan covers clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, garage-door openers, garbage disposals, ovens, ranges, stovetops, and refrigerators.
Systems Plan ($40.00–$44.75): The Systems Plan covers ductwork, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, heating, and water heaters.
Gold Plan ($51.25–$56.00): The Gold Plan covers every item listed in the Silver and Systems plans.
Platinum Plan ($56.00–$60.67): The Platinum Plan covers Gold Plan items, plus additional coverage for built-in microwaves, faucets, ice makers, and plumbing stoppages.
Read more: America’s 1st Choice Home Club Review
Although it’s difficult to tell, you can avoid a terrible home warranty company by knowing the characteristics of a shady business. Follow the tips in this article to steer clear of the worst home warranty companies. We recommend pulling quotes from three of our top providers to compare coverage options, costs, and perks. In addition, we suggest reading their sample contracts to know plan terms, exclusions, and limitations.
Home Warranty FAQ
What actions should I take if my home warranty denies my claim?
First, read your service contract to confirm if your plan covers your issue. If your contract specifies that it covers your issue, attempt to resolve it with your provider again. If your home warranty company continues ignoring your request, contact your state’s consumer protection office.
What questions should I ask when signing up for a home warranty?
Here is the list of the seven questions you should ask before signing up with a home warranty company:What does a home warranty cover?What doesn’t a home warranty cover?What are the coverage limits?Who do you select for your in-network service providers?Can I choose my own service provider?What does the claims process look like?What is a workmanship guarantee?
How do I get the most out of my home warranty?
You can get the most out of your home warranty by doing the following steps:Choosing the right coverageChoosing a reputable home warranty providerActing fast when problems ariseDocumenting everythingKeeping your expectations realistic
How long does it take for a home warranty to fix my issue?
Your home warranty provider‘s response time may vary, but providers typically address a claim within 48 business hours.
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.