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Maybe you're a landlord trying to mitigate your operating expenses. Or you're trying to sell your home in a tough market and want to set prospective buyers' minds at ease. Then again, you could be like the average homeowner who wants some protection against those unexpected expenses like a failing air conditioner or a leaky bathtub.
In all of these situations, a good home warranty is a wise choice that can make the difference between a quick, inexpensive fix and a huge repair bill. How do home warranty plans work? Most providers give you several plans to choose from, ranging from basic coverage of appliances or systems, to premium packages that cover just about every component of your home. There are usually add-on services for an extra fee, like coverage of your electronics, sump pumps, septic systems, pools/spas, and so on.
Wednesday, February 1st
American Residential Warranty earns our highest ranking year after year. It's the only provider in our evaluation with an "A+" from the BBB and thousands of five-star reviews from happy clients. You'll get better coverage: fewer exclusions, more protected items, and service that is on-time and doesn't make you haggle over price. For the best home warranty plans in the industry, our highest rating goes to American Residential Warranty.
Elite Home Warranty is one of the newest home warranty companies on the market, and they're off to an excellent start. Though their customer feedback is limited, what's out there is refreshingly positive. All clients seem to have a fantastic experience, getting repairs done quickly and without the back-and-forth drama you often find with home warranty providers. We'd like to see Elite offer more pricing details upfront without requiring a phone call, and this company isn't available in all 50 states yet. Still, with so many not-awesome home warranty companies out there, Elite is a breath of fresh air.
First American Home Warranty is a company you can trust to provide straightforward home protection. With two clearly-explained plans to choose from and transparent pricing, you'll know exactly what's covered - and what's not. All plans have an $85 service call fee, and your monthly or annual fees will be reasonable. Despite a few complaints about the service here, FAHW has still received thousands of five-star reviews from customers who say that their claims are handled promptly and with attention to detail. First American Home Warranty is a terrific choice.
Cinch Home Services is the newest branding for a home warranty company that has been around for more than 40 years. They've serviced over a million claims, offering three easy-to-understand protection plans with three options for deductibles, a 180-day workmanship guarantee, and affordable pricing. Not everyone has a fantastic claims experience here, so we can't give Cinch our highest recommendation. This is still a decent option among home warranty providers, though, if you don't find what you need somewhere else.
Select Home Warranty can protect your appliances, your home systems, or both. You can choose to pay monthly or annually, with discounts for the latter, and there may even be a promo in place to save you extra cash. SHW doesn't come out and tell you what you'll pay for each service call, and customer experiences here are hit-or-miss. We're glad that Select Home Warranty has made some improvements since our last review, but it's not quite enough to boost this company higher in our rankings.
Home Warranty of America offers two basic plans for home warranty coverage: one includes your AC unit and the other doesn't, and their more entry-level plan may not include every component of the covered appliances and systems. We're not impressed by the higher-than-average prices here or the less-than-stellar customer feedback. You could do worse than choosing HWA for your home protection, but why not look for a provider with a stronger customer service experience?
Choice Home Warranty has handled over three million service requests during their 15 years in business. You've got two warranty plans to choose from, along with extra coverage you can add as desired. Both plans have an $85 trade service call fee per claim - lower than average. Customer feedback here is inconsistent at best: some say they're 100% satisfied with how their claims are handled, while others say it's like pulling teeth to get covered items repaired or replaced. You may want to look at other options before committing to Choice Home Warranty.
American Home Shield is one of the biggest home warranty providers in the nation, with over two million clients and a history spanning 50+ years. You've got three plan levels to choose from, depending on how much coverage you need and your budget. Add-ons for electronics, pools/spas, septic/well pumps, and even guest buildings are available. Unfortunately, AHS has received over 10,000 complaints at the BBB alone, and customers say that the service here is disappointing at best. Consider a higher-ranked home warranty company before signing up with American Home Shield.
Unless you like sending your contact information out into the world and hoping that you'll be matched with a good warranty company, don't use Guaranteed Home Warranty. This site is for lead generation only, and when you give them your details they simply pass it along to an undisclosed list of providers who pay to get prospective clients. It makes much more sense to go directly to one of the top-rated services in our review. Don't bother visiting Guaranteed Home Warranty.
All home warranties have limits, exclusions, and caps on the amount your policy will pay over the life of the contract: this is one of those times where it's essential to read the fine print and understand what's covered and what's not.
You should also expect a 30-day waiting period before your coverage takes effect. In other words, don't think you can hurriedly throw a warranty plan on your broken fridge and expect it to get fixed - unless you want to wait a whole month. Many home warranty companies use this time as a money-back guarantee period, in case you change your mind or discover something in your policy that you weren't aware of when you signed up. One such "surprise" is often the trade call service fee: what you'll pay per service call, similar to a copay you'd have on a medical insurance plan or a deductible with your car insurance. Be aware that you could have multiple fees for a single repair, if the fix requires different tradespeople to get it taken care of (both a plumber and an electrician).
You've got a lot of companies to consider for your home warranty, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. How can you tell which ones will deliver what they promise? Here are the most useful criteria to guide your decision:
To help protect your home (and your savings), TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular home warranty providers. We're sure this information will help you choose the right plan for your property!
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