Home Warranties I’d Choose Today, Knowing What I Know Now

I learned the hard way that home warranty coverage isn’t the same as insurance — here are the companies I’d go with if I chose another home warranty.
Profile photo of Whitney Vandiver
Written by Whitney Vandiver
Writer
Profile photo of Tina Orem
Edited by Tina Orem
Assistant Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

Some or all of the mortgage lenders featured on our site are advertising partners of NerdWallet, but this does not influence our evaluations, lender star ratings or the order in which lenders are listed on the page. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners.

When we bought our first house several years ago, we were pumped that it came with a home warranty plan. So when we discovered a small leak in the laundry room right after moving in, we decided to give our shiny new home warranty a spin.

A plumber showed up a few days later, declared the leak to be in the wall and swiftly removed a piece of wallboard the size of a dinner plate. An hour and a phone call to his supervisor later, he’d changed his mind. The leak was only a loose connection outside the wall — but I was staring at pipes inside the wall before even making our second month’s mortgage payment.

I spent two weeks talking with the home warranty provider and trying to get them to retexture my wall. To this day, it still has a square of untextured plaster behind the washer, but this misadventure taught me something about how home warranty coverage works.

While evaluating home warranties for NerdWallet, I’ve combed through over a hundred pages of service agreements, read countless customer reviews, compared hundreds of quotes and chatted with home warranty companies directly. My hope is to pass along the insight I’ve gained into how home warranties work and save readers from the same headache I experienced.

Home warranties can be worthwhile if you go into them with a clear understanding of what they do and don’t offer. Doing your research to find the right plan for your home is an important step in avoiding disappointment as well.

I look for repair coverage for walls, floors and ceilings if a technician has to cut into them. I also pay attention to coverage limits (especially on items that are important to me) and good customer satisfaction ratings — and I read exclusions carefully.

To be clear, I know everybody’s life and financial situation is different. These picks below are just the ones I think would work best for me and my particular house, budget, location and suspicions I have about what might break next (looking at you, water heater).

NerdWallet's best-in-class home warranties
These home warranty companies offer good coverage at affordable prices.

If I signed up for a plan today: First American Home Warranty

First American Home Warranty
First American Home Warranty

3.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Read review

on NerdWallet

View details

3.5

NerdWallet rating

 
Monthly premiums 
$42 and up

Service fees
$75, $100 or $125
per claim

States available 
36
states, and Washington, D.C.
View details

Of all the home warranties I’ve reviewed, First American Home Warranty offers the most features that appeal to me as a homeowner. Specifically, I love the fact that it doesn’t impose caps on certain high-cost categories.

  • It doesn’t limit coverage for HVAC, electrical or plumbing services. In a world where most home warranty companies limit how much they’ll pay toward a repair or replacement, First American takes more of a “Nah, you’re good” approach to how much it’ll pay for claims. Your claims will need to qualify for coverage before the “unlimited” cap applies, and the company could refuse to pay anything if your issue is excluded from the service agreement terms. But I like the idea of potentially getting more for my money.

  • It pays up to $3,500 for appliances. I was uncomfortable paying $800 for a new dishwasher a few years ago, so the thought of paying $3,500 for any appliance makes me break out in a sweat. But I’m less nervous about the idea if a company is covering the bill. First American also bumps its $3,500 cap up to $7,000 with its more expensive plan. I’m not sure what kind of microwave goes for that much, but I hope it comes with Alexa.

  • I can get a little coverage or a lot of coverage. First American has three plans. The Starter Plan has a little coverage, the equivalent of the fundamental dash of salt in a recipe for coverage. It covers the most common kitchen appliances, basic plumbing and electrical issues, heating systems and ductwork. But if I’m in the mood for more flavor, I can add some herbs and go with the Essential Plan, which includes my washer and dryer, water heater, fans, garage door opener and air conditioning system. And if I’m feeling fancy and want to go all in for the truffle-oil seasoning, I can go with the company’s Premium Plan, which has higher coverage limits and adds coverage for shower heads, certain garage door parts, filters and window A/C units.

If I were looking for the best customer reviews: Liberty Home Guard

Liberty Home Guard
Liberty Home Guard

5.0

NerdWallet rating

 
Get started

on Liberty Home Guard's website

View details

5.0

NerdWallet rating

 
Monthly premiums 
$50 and up

Service fees
$70–$125
per claim

States available
50
states, and Washington, D.C.
View details

In theory, a home warranty might offer great coverage — but in practice, the company might be slow to schedule repairs and quick to deny claims. Customer reviews, while fallible, can give you an idea of what to expect, especially in the claims process. So if I wanted to pick a home warranty based on customer reviews, I’d go with Liberty Home Guard.

  • It has some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings. Earning positive reviews across multiple sites isn’t an easy thing to accomplish. A read through consumer websites such as Trustpilot, ConsumerAffairs and even Google’s business reviews shows that home warranty companies often frustrate homeowners with long wait times, denied claims and poor customer service. But Liberty has a relatively impressive set of customer ratings, hitting four or more stars out of five in a few places.

  • It has coverage-specific plans. If I wanted to just cover my appliances or systems, Liberty has plans for that. But it also has a comprehensive plan to cover all of my qualifying appliances and systems.

If I planned on dying in Houston: Old Republic Home Protection

Old Republic Home Protection
Old Republic Home Protection

4.0

NerdWallet rating

 
Read review

on NerdWallet

View details

4.0

NerdWallet rating

 
Monthly premiums 
$45 and up

Service fees
$100 to $125
per claim

States available 
25
states, and Washington, D.C.
View details

Houston might as well be on the surface of the sun during the summer. It gets hot and steamy and gross. And our air conditioner runs nonstop because we’ve never truly adjusted to the climate. If we planned on staying in Houston for the long haul and knew HVAC maintenance would be the top priority of homeownership for the next four decades, I’d go with Old Republic Home Protection.

  • It covers up to $6,500 for air conditioning systems. That might not seem like a lot if you’re looking at fully replacing your AC system, but it’s more than the $2,000 to $5,000 limit that other companies provide for their HVAC coverage. And if my AC is going to go out and need a repair, you’d better bet it’s going to be in mid-August when prices are higher.

  • It has a preseason tune-up option. I feel fancy when I get things tuned up, like it makes me a better homeowner. In reality, it probably saves us some money in the long run by identifying issues before they become actual problems. Old Republic has an option to add two pre-season HVAC tune-ups for an extra monthly fee. I’d still have to do regular maintenance on my own, but there’s something about getting a thumbs up from a professional to make me feel like I’m doing something right in my life.

  • It covers smart and Wi-Fi thermostats. Most home warranties don’t cover these, and if we planned on living in Houston permanently, we’d be upgrading to a smart thermostat to keep our electricity bill down. And if I’m going to cover my HVAC system, I want my expensive thermostat included. To be clear, Old Republic isn’t going to repair the thermostat if it suddenly can’t connect to my Wi-Fi, but it will help repair it if the issue is causing the HVAC system to malfunction.

  • It also pays up to $3,500 to $7,000 for appliances. Again, I’m not sure where these companies are shopping, but Old Republic matches First American’s appliance coverage limits. So I’d feel less anxious if my yogurt felt a little too warm the next time I pulled it out of the fridge.

Methodology