Home repair insurance is meant to provide peace of mind when important items malfunction and cover the cost of expensive repairs and replacements. Unlike homeowners insurance, home repair insurance—also called a home warranty or home protection plan—covers major systems and appliances that break down from everyday wear and tear.
Below, we’ll give an overview of the best home warranty companies in the industry, break down the benefits of home repair insurance, and provide details on typical costs and coverage.
Top Home Repair Insurance Companies
Here are three of the best home warranty companies in the industry for their comprehensive coverage, affordable pricing, and excellent customer service. We recommend getting a quote from all three providers to help you find the best plan at the most affordable cost to you.
What Is Home Repair Insurance?
Home repair insurance is an annual service contract that includes coverage for major systems and appliances in the home when they break down due to normal wear and tear. It’s an additional form of protection for important home items if they unexpectedly stop working, and you don’t have an emergency budget to cover costs.
When you work with a home warranty provider, you also get the benefit of a built-in network of contractors who are pre-screened and trained to provide the necessary repairs and replacements to fix your broken items. This is a huge time-saver, preventing you from having to call multiple contractors in your area on your own and trying to weed out the best one for the job.
Types of Home Repair Insurance Plans
There are three common types of home warranty plans: an appliances plan, a systems plan, and a combination plan. In addition to these plans, home warranty companies will typically provide optional add-on coverage for items like a swimming pool, septic system, well pump, and roof leaks.
An appliances plan usually covers basic home appliances, such as your refrigerator, range, cooktop, oven, garage door openers, and your clothes washer and dryer. A systems plan will cover most major systems in your home, from your electrical system to your heating system. A combo plan protects systems and appliances, making it a good choice for homeowners who want comprehensive coverage of all major home items.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the appliances and systems you can expect to find covered under each plan:
Home Warranty Coverage
|Garage door opener||Built-in microwave||Refrigerator|
|Trash compactor||Garbage disposal||Garbage disposals|
|Freestanding ice maker||Clothes washer||Ceiling fans|
|Built-in food center||Clothes dryer||Built-in microwave|
In general, a home warranty doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions or breakdowns that occur from improper maintenance or improper installation. This type of insurance also doesn’t cover the following:
- Rust and corrosion
- Unusual wear and tear
- Damage caused by natural disasters or environmental harm, including fires, floods, etc.
- Improper installation or maintenance
- Code violations
- Commercial-grade appliances
If you’re looking for comprehensive coverage, American Home Shield offers ShieldPlatinum™, ShieldGold™, and ShieldSilver™. Its ShieldPlatinum plan is the most comprehensive, covering 23 essential systems and appliances.
How Much Does Home Repair Insurance Cost?
On average, home repair insurance costs between $300 and $600 per year. On top of this amount, customers will have to pay a service fee whenever a contractor comes to fix a broken system or appliance. Service fees typically range between $60 and $125. In some cases, like with American Home Shield, you can choose your service fee (between $75 and $125) and opt for a higher one to lower your monthly home warranty cost.
When shopping for home repair insurance, these are the cost factors to pay attention to:
- Monthly or annual fee (that this may increase with optional add-ons to your plan)
- Service call fee, which varies depending on the provider
- Coverage caps on certain systems and appliances
Our team has noticed that home warranty companies will adjust their plan pricing depending on the size of your home, the plan you choose, and where you live, so use our general cost estimates as a guide, but confirm them with each provider based on your zip code.
We recommend getting at least three quotes from different home warranty providers, then asking your favorite company to match the best offer you received—by doing this, you may shave some money off of your monthly premium and may even get one to two months off your overall payment.
How Does a Home Warranty Work?
Once you sign a basic service contract that outlines the terms and conditions, coverage options, and fees, and your coverage kicks in (typically 30 days after an agreement is signed), this is how a home warranty would work if a covered item in your home broke down:
- File a claim online or over the phone. Companies like American Home Shield have customer service teams that field service requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Once the claim is processed, the company will send a certified, pre-screened technician to your home within 48 hours to evaluate the problem and determine if a repair or replacement is needed. Companies like America’s First Choice Home Club allow customers to choose a service technician to complete the repair work for them.
- Every time a claim is fulfilled and a technician comes to your house, you’ll pay the set service call fee determined by your home warranty provider.
How to Choose the Best Home Warranty
Before buying a home warranty, there are a few factors to consider, such as coverage, price, and how the claims process works. We recommend reading a sample contract before signing up for coverage so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered. All covered items should be listed in the sample agreement, outlining coverage caps, total costs, and the process for claims requests.
American Home Shield: Our Recommended Provider
The best home warranty plan will cover systems and appliances and give you unlimited service calls, time-saving access to quality contractors, and protection against costly repairs and replacements, guaranteeing peace of mind. American Home Shield checks all of those boxes.
With over 50 years of experience, AHS is one of the most trusted home warranty veterans in the industry and provides coverage to every state except Alaska. It offers three plans at an average cost of $40–$58 per month. The company also allows homeowners to choose their service fee—$75, $100, or $125—with the option to lower their monthly cost by opting for a higher deductible.
Additionally, American Home Shield is known for its speedy, professional customer service and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), claiming to answer customer service requests within 24 hours 98% of the time.
If you want to compare your options, we think any of the three companies in this article merit attention and encourage you to get quotes from all of them.
If you want to learn more about the home warranty companies we recommend, read our in-depth company reviews:
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers, and we aim to provide transparency in our review standards and research process.
Our research process includes speaking with representatives from more than 40 home warranty providers, requesting quotes, and asking clarifying questions to gain insight into each provider’s benefits and downsides. We also analyze sample contracts from each company to understand specific coverage terms.
To rate companies, we apply the data we have gathered to our review standards. These standards are on a 100-point scoring system, which is detailed below:
- Coverage (35 points): Providers are scored based on breadth and depth of coverage. We focused on key home systems (HVAC, plumbing, and electrical), essential appliances (refrigerator, ovens, and laundry machines), and unique coverage items (such as roof-leak coverage and code violation allowances). Coverage scores are weighted by taking into account coverage caps and other limiting factors, meaning providers with greater range of coverage and higher coverage caps score the highest.
- Value (30 points): A company’s plan value is a reflection of how well it serves the customer in comparison to what the customer pays for the policy. We accounted for monthly costs, service call fees, and cost flexibility (such as customizable service call fees, discounts, and multi-year policies).
- Trustworthiness and Transparency (21 points): Trustworthiness and transparency are a reflection of how well the provider considers the customer’s interests. We scored items such as the length of workmanship guarantees, online availability of a sample contract, policy change flexibility, and ease of cancellation. Additionally, we scored items that reflect industry reputation and customer satisfaction, including analyzing brand reputation across the Better Business Bureau and third-party customer review aggregators.
- Availability and Service (14 points): Quality of customer service is key to customer satisfaction. We dug into each provider’s guaranteed response times, claims processes, service flexibility, emergency availability, and more.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at email@example.com.