In the state of California, having one of the best home warranties saves homeowners time and money when everyday home items fail. For residents living on the beaches of Southern California or in the cooler climates in the Bay Area, a home warranty shields you from costly repairs and helps ensure your peace of mind regardless of the weather.
Our team reviewed the home warranty companies available in California and highlighted the top providers as well as some home warranty companies we wouldn’t recommend to California homeowners.
Summary of the Best California Home Warranty Companies
The table below rates the top home warranty companies available to California homeowners. We evaluated service fees, plan specifics, customer satisfaction, and industry reputation. Among these providers, Liberty Home Guard boasts the highest Better Business Bureau (BBB) score and customer ratings, as evidenced by hundreds of consumer reviews.
*BBB ratings are accurate as of September 2023.
A Note on Choice Home Warranty in California
It’s worth noting we did not include Choice Home Warranty on this list of top California home warranty companies because we found it had a high volume of unresolved BBB claims and a history of poor service. Therefore, we do not recommend Choice Home Warranty as a home warranty provider. Further, we did not include Cinch Home Services in this review because it does not operate in California. Credibility is important to us, and we re-evaluate our rankings as new information arises.
Top 5 Home Warranty Companies for California Homeowners
To rate the best California home warranty companies, we evaluated their comprehensive coverage options, the cost effectiveness of their plans, and whether they offer 24/7 customer service. We investigated each home warranty provider by using their quote tools or directly reaching out to their representatives. Our research led to this list of the highest-rated warranty companies:
We pulled all pricing information in this article using a 2,282-square-foot, single-family household in Santa Cruz, California. Your monthly premium for your home warranty may vary based on your home’s location, size, and type, as well as your plan and add-on choices.
How Much Does a Home Warranty Cost in California?
In California, finding the best home warranty means considering the average cost, which stands at $64 per month, or $768 per year, according to quotes we received from various companies. Your final price might vary based on your plan, service call fees, location, and additional coverage options. Below are tips to get the most out of a home warranty within your budget:
- Choose the right service call fee: Some home warranty providers allow you to choose a higher or lower service fee to adjust your monthly premium. Choose a higher service call fee if you want to save money each month on your plan. Choose a lower service fee if you’d rather save on technician visits. Note that a lower service fee raises your monthly premium.
- Only pay for what you need: Most home warranty providers offer appliance-only and systems-only plans that cost less than bundled plans. If you only need appliance coverage, purchasing an appliance-only plan allows you to save on unnecessary item coverage.
- Think twice about add-ons: Add-ons can significantly raise your monthly premium if you’re not careful. Purchase the add-ons that provide the most value to your situation. Some home warranty providers include certain add-ons for free, which can help you save on your monthly premium.
Are Home Warranties Worth the Cost in California?
For California homeowners, home warranties can be worth the cost because they cover different circumstances than homeowners insurance plans. A home warranty fills your home insurance gaps, covering necessary repairs and replacements after an appliance or home system breaks down from normal wear and tear.
In our most recent survey of 1,000 homeowners, more than 76% of respondents said they were likely to renew their home warranty policies because a home warranty could save them from paying full-costs out-of-pocket. For instance, a typical air conditioner replacement costs between $2,500 and $8,000, much more than the cost of a home warranty plan.
How To Choose a Home Warranty in the State of California
Due to California’s varied geographical and climatic conditions, you may need coverage that residents of other states don’t. According to the Western Regional Climate Center, California’s topography can significantly change the ambient temperature of an area. This means California homeowners who live in the San Francisco Bay Area may not need certain major systems, such as air conditioners, due to the cooler climate. Here are some tips to consider when choosing the best home warranty:
- Determine the type of plan you need: Consider the home systems and appliances you use most and purchase coverage for them.
- Gather quotes: Avoid purchasing a home warranty from the first provider you encounter—request quotes from different companies to compare costs and coverage options.
- Look at coverage caps: Ensure your chosen home warranty provider offers enough coverage for your items. For example, consider a company that offers high appliance caps if you own high-end appliances.
Can You Cancel a California Home Warranty?
You can cancel your California home warranty plan at any time. However, even the best home providers charge a cancellation fee if you cancel after the first 30 days of signing up. If you wish to cancel, we recommend canceling within the first 30 days since most home warranty providers give a full refund.
How Are Home Warranties Regulated in California?
The Department of Insurance (DOI) regulates home warranty companies in California. The regulatory body grants state licenses, handles consumer complaints, and enforces regulatory action. For example, Insurance Code §§ 12750-12752 states that providers must complete a 20-step checklist before obtaining a license to sell service contracts in the state.
You can turn to the state’s Attorney General’s Office if your provider neglects its contractual obligations. You can also file a complaint with the DOI.
Additionally, the nonprofit California Home Service Contract Association provides information and guidelines to protect consumer interests.
How To Read Home Service Contracts in California
To ensure you purchase the right home warranty plan and use it to its full potential, you must read a company’s sample service contract. Companies list their exact terms of coverage, plus exclusions and limitations, in their contracts. However, service contracts aren’t the easiest to understand. Below are the sections you should focus on when you read a sample contract:
- Coverage: This section lists all covered items and components. Most companies also include the components they exclude under each item. Review this section carefully to ensure the company covers the item and the components you need protection for.
- Limitations and exclusions: This section provides a more detailed overview of which items and situations a company excludes from coverage. For instance, many companies won’t cover items with preexisting conditions or tampered items. We suggest asking your provider questions if you don’t understand a section.
- Cancellation: This section highlights how a company handles policy cancellations. Generally, companies have a 30-day free cancellation period when you first sign up. You generally must pay a cancellation fee if you cancel a plan after the 30-day window.
A home warranty can protect your California home from appliance or home system breakdowns caused by everyday use. We recommend American Home Shield as the best California home warranty due to its comprehensive coverage for systems and appliances. Additionally, Liberty Home Guard offers extensive add-on options list, and Select Home Warranty provides roof-leak coverage in every plan.
Again, it’s worth noting that we do not recommend the popular home warranty company Choice Home Warranty, as we’ve found their service to be low quality resulting in many customer complaints.
We recommend requesting quotes from multiple providers in our list to compare costs and coverage options, plus reading their service contracts to be aware of coverage exclusions. In addition, we suggest reading customer reviews to know how they handle claims and customer service.
How Do I Find the Best Home Warranty Company in My Area?
Find in-depth reviews on the best home warranty companies for each state and major U.S. city below.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our home warranty ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each provider. We conduct research by speaking with company representatives, requesting quotes, analyzing sample contracts from each company, and conducting focus groups and consumer surveys. We then score each provider against our review standards for coverage, value, trustworthiness and transparency, availability, and customer service to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at email@example.com.