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Our Home Warranty Review Methodology

Learn how we identified the best home warranty providers for every homeowner’s needs.

Author Image Written by Dana Getz + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Jacquelyn Kfoury Updated 07/09/2024

Our team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. We aim to be transparent about our review standards and research process. Our research team conducted a focus group and multiple surveys, interviewed experts, and connected with home warranty providers for insights. We also analyzed thousands of customer reviews and gathered coverage data. Our team then applied this research to our review standards and compared home warranty companies to help you decide which provider is right for your home.

Home Warranty Research Process

Our research focused on understanding each provider’s service, coverage, and customer experience.

Customer Insights

Customers share their experiences and perspectives by leaving reviews across various platforms. We’ve read more than 5,700 reviews for home warranty providers and compiled themes to help you better understand the companies you’re considering. 

Our team read customer reviews and Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports, noting common pain points, complaint patterns, and how the company responded to customer concerns. These are the third-party review aggregators we primarily referenced for customer reviews: 

  • BBB
  • Best Company
  • Trustpilot

We also surveyed 2,000 homeowners across the United States about their experiences with home warranty providers. Our team developed questions for each survey to uncover why homeowners purchased their home warranties and how they viewed their experiences. The survey questions centered around their experiences filing claims and interacting with customer service and their overall satisfaction levels.

Finally, our team hosted a focus group with homeowners who purchased various home warranty plans. Our team gathered firsthand information about common pain points and areas of confusion.

Through these sources, we’ve gained insight into the customer experience with each provider we review. These insights also allow us to clarify misconceptions within the industry.

Secret Shopping and Testing

In addition to listening to customers’ stories, we interacted with companies’ websites and customer service teams as a homeowner would. This included taking the following actions:

  • Browsing through providers’ websites
  • Requesting quotes online
  • Calling customer service with questions and for quotes
  • Reading sample contracts

We requested quotes from all 50 states for every home warranty provider we researched. Our team then compared average monthly plan prices to determine which providers offer the best value for homeowners. 

Our team also signed up for service with 11 national providers to test their claims process and online portals. 

Industry Interviews

We interviewed 15 real estate agents and other home industry professionals to give us further insight into real-life applications and trends in the home warranty business.

Factors Evaluated To Compare Home Warranty Companies

To rate companies, we applied the data we gathered to our review standards. First, we evaluated each provider in six key categories: coverage, value, trustworthiness, plan transparency, customer support, and flexibility.  

We rated each provider across 23 factors within these categories. Each factor was assigned a point value in our review standards based on its importance to a homeowner. These standards are on a 100-point scoring system. We then divide each provider’s final score by 20 to determine a star rating out of 5 stars. The categories are outlined in detail below:


Coverage carries the most weight in our provider ratings. If you’re looking for financial protection for your home systems and major appliances, a plan’s coverage will be a driving factor in which home warranty you choose. This category rates companies based on available coverage and how coverage caps apply.

Specific Item Coverage Caps 

A coverage cap is the maximum amount a provider will cover for a given repair, a category of repairs, or all repairs for the plan year. In evaluating coverage caps, we prioritize scoring for larger, more essential appliances and systems. Their breakdown is more likely to significantly impact your daily life, and replacing or repairing them is generally more costly than replacing smaller appliances like garbage disposals or microwaves.

Our team focused on the following major systems and appliances:

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Refrigerator
  • Oven
  • Clothes washer
  • Clothes dryer

Built-in system repairs are among the most costly, and many homes aren’t comfortable or fully functional without a working plumbing, electrical, and HVAC system. We rated companies highest if they had a $2,000 or more coverage cap for each essential system. 

Our 2024 survey of 1,000 homeowners revealed that clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators were the top three appliances for which homeowners purchased home warranty protection. We scored providers higher if they had a coverage cap of $2,000 or more for each of these major appliances.

Our team also considered the coverage caps of add-ons in our evaluations. With an add-on, you can extend your home warranty coverage to include secondary appliances, home maintenance services, or other home items such as pools, guest houses, and sump pumps. We awarded higher points if a provider included a $400 coverage cap or higher for add-ons. 

Annual Coverage Limits 

While the coverage cap for a given plan is not always apparent, we dug into sample contracts to determine whether each company we reviewed sets an annual coverage cap for the plan. In general, most providers break down individual coverage caps per item, but a few providers stipulate a total dollar amount that claims will be limited to during a plan term.

While most home warranty providers don’t limit the number of claims you can file during your plan, all companies impose a dollar limit to protect their liability. Some companies have a “no lemon policy” that limits the number of claims you must make on an item before it can be replaced. Companies without a pre-set annual coverage limit were awarded more points in this category because they offer more flexibility to make multiple claims yearly.

Waiting Period

Most home warranty providers require a 30-day waiting period before you can start using their services. This period begins when you sign up for service. Claims submitted before the waiting period’s conclusion are typically denied. 

The industry standard waiting period is 30 days. However, some providers impose waiting periods on individual system and appliance protections. For example, a provider may have a 30-day waiting period for its coverage plan but impose a 90-day waiting period for plumbing systems. We deducted points if a provider had such clauses in its warranty coverage. 

Unique Coverage Options

Home warranties can include various coverage items beyond the obvious major kitchen and laundry appliances and HVAC and plumbing systems. If you’re looking for robust coverage, additional coverage items factor into how well a provider will serve your needs. 

Our unique coverage section recognizes companies for offering specific additional coverage, such as protection against roof leaks, extended appliance coverage, preexisting condition protection, coverage upgrades, and membership perks.


The value of a plan reflects how much coverage you get for what you pay. Our team considered multiple factors, including average monthly cost, service call fees, surcharges, and payment option flexibility, to evaluate how a plan fits into a homeowner’s budget. 

Average Monthly Cost

We requested quotes for each company using the same address to ensure a fair comparison. While we requested quotes for each type of home (single-family, mobile, and condominium) for our reviews, this rating specifically compares providers across an average single-family home smaller than 3,000 square feet. 

After requesting quotes from 13 providers, we found that the typical home warranty plan costs between $43 and $72 per month. The lower end of this range accounts for basic plans that cover appliances or systems, and the higher end accounts for combination plans that generally cost more. We set the monthly comparison threshold at $50. Companies with an average cost of less than $50 per month scored higher than those with a higher average cost.

Average Service Call Fee

A service call fee is the amount a provider charges you for item repairs. Based on our research and the quotes we gathered, the typical range of service fees is $65–$125. We compared service call fees across home warranty providers. Those with lower-cost options scored higher.

Annual and Monthly Plan Options

Most home warranty companies let you choose between monthly payments or an annual lump sum. Paying annually often gets you a discount or a few months of free coverage. This payment flexibility lets you match your plan costs with your budget and financial situation. Some companies encourage annual payments with big savings, which can give you several months of coverage at no extra cost. In our assessment, companies that offer both monthly and annual payment options scored higher.  

Surcharges, Extra Fees, and Other Policies

We deducted points for some additional fees that can raise plan costs, including surcharges for choosing a monthly payment option and higher service call fees for certain types of repairs and repair timeframes. 

Our team also considered depreciation policies, which can diminish a plan’s value. A depreciation policy can result in reduced claims payments based on the item’s age or current market value. We deducted points from providers who have a depreciation policy in their plans.


Providers that are clear and reliable in their communication and service earn more trust from homeowners. To evaluate this concept, we considered each brand’s reputation across the BBB and various customer review aggregators, the length of the provider’s workmanship guarantee, and any ongoing legal issues that could impact the consumer’s experience. 

Brand Reputation and Customer Reviews

Brand reputation includes how customers and third parties view the company. We calculated a brand reputation score based on BBB ratings and customers’ reviews and ratings on the BBB, Best Company, and Trustpilot.

Workmanship Guarantee

A workmanship guarantee provides homeowners with coverage in the event of workmanship errors. It guarantees that if a repair is made by the provider and the item breaks down again for the same issue, the provider will return and do the repair free of charge without a service fee. The length of these guarantees can vary widely in the home warranty industry, but the standard is coverage for at least 30 days after the original repair. We rated companies with a 90-day or longer workmanship guarantee higher than those that offer the 30-day minimum standard.

Ongoing legal issues faced by a home warranty company can significantly impact a homeowner’s experience and the quality of service they receive. Lawsuits or regulatory actions may show serious problems within the company, such as unfair claim denials, delayed repairs, or poor customer service, which could directly impact homeowners seeking help. Also, legal troubles can strain a company’s resources and lead to longer wait times, reduced coverage, or financial instability that could put the company’s ability to help policyholders at risk. We deducted points if a provider had any ongoing legal or state coverage issues. 

Trade Organizations Memberships

Home warranty companies that are members of industry trade organizations often demonstrate a higher commitment to service quality and ethical business practices. Membership in organizations like the National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) typically requires adherence to specific standards and best practices in customer service, claims handling, and overall business operations. Although these memberships are optional, having a provider commit to these standards shows their dedication to transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement in serving homeowners. Providers received extra points for these memberships.

Plan Transparency

It’s important to fully understand the specific coverage details to maximize your home warranty protection. However, some companies provide vague or insufficient information on their websites and sample contracts. Not understanding your contract terms and policies may lead to unexpected claim denials and extra out-of-pocket costs. We based each provider’s transparency scores on the clarity of its contract terms and disclosures in sample contracts and its website.

Website Details

Many consumers start by visiting a company’s website when initially shopping for a home warranty plan. However, if a home warranty website doesn’t provide clear details about its plans, exclusions, or fees, homeowners can become confused about whether they are choosing the right plan based on their needs. Our team evaluated each company’s website and awarded points based on its full disclosures on service call fees, exclusions, coverage caps, and coverage. We deducted points if these disclosures were vague or missing.

Sample Contract Details

Sample contracts give you details on coverage caps, limitations, exclusions, and other important factors in your coverage. Some providers have confusing terms and conditions that don’t clearly communicate what is and is not. Due to the importance of understanding the fine print of your contract before signing up for a plan, we rated companies based on their full disclosures of these key policies and deducted points for vague or unclear terms. 

Customer Support

You need accessible and dependable customer support to assist you with emergency repairs. We assessed factors that influence the ease of working with a company as a homeowner. Additionally, our team assessed each company’s accessibility by examining the availability of online claim tools and verifying their coverage throughout the United States.

24/7 Claims Line Availability

Ideally, homeowners should be able to report issues and request service at any time, day or night, ensuring that urgent problems are addressed promptly. We gave higher points if a home warranty provider offered a dedicated 24/7 claims line.

Claims Filing Channels

Ease of filing a claim can make a difference when you’re dealing with a home system or appliance breakdown. Companies typically allow homeowners to file a claim through one or more of these channels: by phone call, online, and by smartphone app. Those with more options for filing a claim scored higher.

Claims Response Time

We rated companies that guarantee a response time of fewer than 24 hours higher compared to those that take longer, especially 48 hours or more. 

Customer Support Channels

Phone support is the typical way to contact a home warranty company. Though we did award points for this option, we also awarded points if multiple support channels were offered, including email or chat, which is a rare feature. 

Online Quote Tool Available

Most providers offer an online quote tool to simplify the shopping experience and avoid having customers call in to get quote details. We awarded points to providers that provided a convenient online tool. 

State Availability

We confirmed that each company was available throughout the United States. We awarded more points if providers serviced 45 states or more. 


Greater flexibility lets you customize the plan to match your home needs and budget. We reviewed each company’s plans and add-on options. Flexibility options also include being able to choose your service technicians and service call fees and cancel your plan without penalty.

Number of Add-Ons Available

Having a larger selection of add-ons makes it easier to expand your coverage plan. Providers that offer eight or more options scored higher.

Number of Plans Offered

Providers typically offer at least two coverage plan options to give homeowners more choices. We gave more points for three or more plan options.

Service Flexibility

Flexible service makes home warranties more convenient for homeowners. Though many providers limit service technician selection to their pre-vetted networks, some let you choose your own technicians. These providers received more points than companies that don’t offer this technician flexibility. 

Choosing your own service call fee isn’t yet an industry standard, but some companies allow homeowners to customize their monthly cost and service call fees to better fit their budget. We awarded more points if a provider offers flexible service call fees. 

Most home warranty companies allow you to cancel your policy for a full refund within the first 30 days of signing up. A company that doesn’t offer free cancellation doesn’t receive points in this category. 

Factor Weights for Rating Home Warranty Companies

CategoryPercentage of Total Score
Customer Support15%
Plan Transparency10%

How To Interpret Company Ratings

Home warranty providers that receive 90 to 100 points offer excellent coverage, claim response times, and policy and cost flexibility. Providers that score 80 to 89 are very good; typically, these providers don’t earn as many coverage points due to lower coverage caps, shorter workmanship guarantees, higher monthly fees, or longer claim response times. However, they still offer excellent value if their coverage plans meet your home’s needs. 

Providers that score 70 to 79 may have scored lower across several categories and don’t often make it into our top recommendations. Comparing these policies to find the best fit for your home and budget may still be worthwhile.

How To Choose the Best Home Warranty Company for You

Use these tips to find the best home warranty for your coverage needs:

  • Check reputation: Read consumer reviews from third-party sites such as Best Company and Trustpilot to understand the customer experience a provider offers. Trade organizations such as the National Home Service Contract Association and the Service Contract Industry Council also provide lists of recommended providers that follow fair business practices.
  • Determine your coverage needs: Before deciding on a plan, determine which items in your home you want to protect. Many companies offer plans that cover appliances only, systems only, and both systems and appliances.
  • Request multiple quotes: Request quotes from at least three providers before making your final decision. Timothy Meenan, JD, who serves as executive director and general counsel for the Service Contract Industry Council (SCIC), recommends homeowners shop around because there may be another provider with similar coverage at a lower price. He noted that providers are competitive and “trying to do things better, faster, cheaper, and give more consumer choice.”
  • Read sample contracts: Comparing contract details for several home warranty providers is a great way to determine which one is best for your needs. All home warranty companies provide a sample contract detailing coverage limits, exclusions, and the provider’s claims process.

About the This Old House Reviews Team

We are an independent editorial team of subject matter experts who champion the categories and home services we recommend. From the beginning stages of research to the published review articles, our team works diligently to center your interests by identifying common pain points, connecting with people with firsthand knowledge and experience, and crafting content that meets the needs of our audience. We aim to help first-time homebuyers, potential sellers, budget-conscious homeowners, and others from all walks of life streamline their decision-making process for selecting their home services.

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