A home warranty offers protection when an important home item fails, saving you from paying expensive out-of-pocket costs. With so many home warranty companies claiming to offer the most comprehensive coverage, it may be challenging to find the best option for your needs.

You may be asking yourself, “What does a home warranty cover?” In this guide, we’ll help you learn what to expect when purchasing a service contract, including typical coverage, pricing, and limitations.

Want to know the best part?

We highlight our top-recommended provider at the bottom of the article to help you choose the right company for you.

What’s Covered by a Home Warranty?

Typically, home warranty coverage includes, at least in some aspects, all of the essential systems and appliances you rely on throughout the home. While the extent of coverage may vary significantly between home warranty providers, a policy will generally protect components necessary for operation.

In case you didn’t know:

Home warranties cover more than just systems and appliances. Many cover other common home items such as lawn sprinkler systems, pools, roofs, and much more.

It’s common for providers to break up their home warranty plans by systems and appliances. For instance, a systems-only plan may be sufficient when protecting your air conditioning and electrical system. On the contrary, an appliance plan provides financial assistance when your refrigerator or dishwasher breaks down. Most home warranty companies will also include a combo plan where both systems and appliances are under warranty.

Here are just a few of the systems and appliances that are covered under a home warranty

Covered Systems and Appliances




Air conditioning system


Heating system

Built-in microwave

Electrical system

Clothes washer

Plumbing system

Clothes dryer

Water heater

Oven, stove, and range

Garbage disposal

Garage door opener

Instant water dispenser

Trash compactor

Smoke detectors

Freestanding ice maker

Central vacuum

Built-in food center

Ceiling fans


It gets better:

Home warranty providers include the option to purchase optional add-ons to a service contract.

Here are a few common add-ons provided by home warranty companies: 

  • Extended electronic warranty
  • Food spoilage due to broken refrigerator
  • Guest units
  • Limited roof leaks
  • Pest control services
  • Pre-season HVAC maintenance
  • Re-key service for doors
  • Secondary appliances or HVAC systems
  • Septic tank and pumping
  • Swimming pool and spa equipment
  • Well pump

We recommend analyzing a sample service contract before signing up for coverage to understand how extensive the coverage is for both the bundled packages, as well as add-ons.

What Does a Home Warranty Not Cover?

Home warranties don’t cover all types of repairs. Here are some common equipment malfunctions that providers almost always disqualify under home warranty coverage:

  • Cosmetic issues
  • Damage caused by improper installation or maintenance
  • Misuse of an appliance or system (using it for purposes other than residential use)
  • Pre-existing conditions at the time a home warranty begins

Find out the specific exclusions from a provider by asking a representative or looking for coverage limitations in a sample contract. In addition to excluded repair causes, you should also check the maximum payouts for both appliances and systems. Sometimes, a home warranty company will set limits on systems and appliances. Once the repair reaches the coverage limit, you’re required to pay any extra costs.

What Is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty is designed to do two things:

  • Cover the repair or replacement of your system or appliance when a breakdown is caused by normal wear and tear.
  • Send a vetted service provider to your home to diagnose and fix your issue.

This type of home appliance insurance protects homeowners from paying too much out of pocket and gives them peace of mind if something unexpected happens.

Though similar to homeowners insurance, a home warranty is different because it’s an optional policy that helps cover the costs of unavoidable breakdowns to your home’s systems or appliances. Homeowners insurance, on the other hand, is a mandatory policy that protects your belongings from unexpected events like storm damage, theft, or fire.

Compare what’s covered by home warranties and homeowners insurance in the chart below.

Home Warranties vs. Homeowners Insurance


Home Warranty

Homeowners Insurance

A lightning surge damages your appliances

An air conditioning system begins blowing warm air during operation.

A fire breaks out, leaving a few appliances inoperable.

The washer and dryer malfunctions due to age and normal wear and tear.

When Does Home Warranty Coverage Begin?

Most home warranty providers require a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins. Some companies, such as The Home Service Club, have only a 10-day waiting period before coverage kicks in. Some companies may allow a seamless transition with proof of uninterrupted service if there’s no lapse in coverage.

How Long Does Home Warranty Coverage Last?

In most cases, a home warranty lasts 12 months. Home warranties tend to renew after expiring. You may find discounted options available by purchasing a home warranty in 3- or 5-year intervals.

How Much Do Home Warranties Cost?

You might be thinking:

“Home warranties seem expensive. Wouldn’t I be better off saving the money for a repair?”

According to a survey of 1,000 homeowners we conducted in 2021, 76% said they paid $400 or more for a system or appliance repair.

On average, purchasing a basic home warranty plan costs around $300 a year, which is typically lower than the cost of many system or appliance repairs. For more comprehensive care, expect to pay around $600 a year. A comprehensive plan may include up to $20,000 worth of protection. A home warranty can level your budget since it pays for itself when a system or appliance breaks down.

How Much Do Service Fees Cost?

Policyholders are also responsible for a service fee, or a deductible, which is paid to a technician once they arrive on the scene to diagnose the malfunctioning system or appliance. Throughout the industry, these fees generally range between $75–$125 per issue.

If you’re still not sure which home warranty company is right for you, compare some of the best home warranty companies.


Liberty Home Guard

American Home Shield

Select Home Warranty

Get a free quote

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Plan options

3 + optional add-ons

3 + optional add-ons

3 + optional add-ons

Max covered items

19 items

23 items

18 items

Monthly premium








Additional benefits

Up to $200 off when you sign up for an annual plan

ShieldPlatinum™ includes coverage boosts and free roof leak coverage

Gives customers two free months of coverage when you sign up for an annual plan

Because plan pricing will vary based on where you live, the square footage of your home, and the plan you choose, we recommend getting a quote from all three companies so you can compare coverage options and pick a plan that provides you with the best coverage within your budget.

Read the following company reviews to learn more about the home warranty companies we recommend:

Our Top Home Warranty Provider

Liberty Home Guard (LHG) is our top recommended home warranty provider due to its solid coverage limits, customer service, and customizable coverage. It holds an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews. Additionally, LHG provides a 60-day workmanship guarantee on all completed repairs, giving you peace of mind that your home is fully protected.

Liberty Home Guard Plans

Systems and appliancesAppliance GuardSystems GuardTotal Home Guard
Air conditioning
Built-in microwave ovens
Ceiling and exhaust fans
Clothes dryer
Clothes washer
Garage-door openers
Garbage disposals
Refrigerator with ice maker and display
Water heaters

Liberty Home Guard offers up to 38 unique add-on coverage options, allowing you to fully customize your protection plan.

  • Additional spa
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Casita guest unit
  • Central Vacuum
  • Ejector pump
  • Electronics protection
  • Freestanding ice maker
  • Generator
  • Grinder pump
  • Gutter cleaning
  • In-fridge ice maker
  • Instant hot water dispenser
  • Lawn sprinkler system
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Limited roof-leak
  • Pest control
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Pool and spa
  • Pro-series clothes dryer
  • Pro-series dishwasher 
  • Pro-series microwave
  • Pro-series range/oven/cooktop 
  • Pro-series refrigerator 
  • Pro-series washing machines
  • Re-key services
  • Reverse osmosis water filter system
  • Saltwater pool
  • Second refrigerator 
  • Septic system pumping
  • Stand-alone freezer
  • Sump pump
  • Swamp cooler
  • Trash compactor
  • Water dispenser water line
  • Water softener
  • Well pump
  • Window washing/cleaning
  • Wine cooler/fridge

To pull a personalized quote from Liberty Home Guard, fill out the Liberty Home Guard quote form or call 866-452-9107.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 out of 100.  

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.