If you don’t have the time, or money, to take care of your own home repairs, a whole home warranty can be a great way to protect yourself, and your home, when a major appliance or system eventually breaks. Not all home warranty plans are created a like, however, and there are pros and cons to each, depending on your specific coverage needs.
To make it easier for our readers to find the plan that’s the best for them, we’ve compared the services and prices of three of the country’s top providers of whole home warranty plans.
American Home Shield
With over 40 years of experience, this company is considered by many to be the industry leader. It offers nationwide service and has 3 standard service plans to choose from. The best feature of this warranty provider is that they allow homeowners to opt for a fully customizable plan.
Service plans are available that cover major appliances, systems, and combo plans to cover up to 21 of the major appliances and systems in the home. Consumers can add extra items to their plan that would normally not be covered, such as a swimming pool, septic tanks and well pumps. Regardless of make, model or age, covered items will be repaired or replaced.
Premiums, Deductibles and Service Calls
Annual premiums typically start around $249, and may range over $500. Deductibles range between $75 and $125 per occurrence, depending on the coverage level that homeowners select.
Another key feature of this company’s plans is that you can choose how much you will pay for service calls: $75, $100 or $125. This feature can lower your premium, as well as save you over the life of the plan.
Access, Speed of Service
Speed of service is where this home warranty provider really stands out. Homeowners can call the repair hotline 24 hours a day, any day of the year, to report problems with appliances and systems. A separate customer service line is also available around the clock and each day of the year.
Complete Appliance Protection Home Warranty
This home warranty provider is best for the budget conscious, as there is only an annual premium that can be paid yearly, or in monthly installments.
Plans and Premiums
There are five basic coverage plans, beginning with the kitchen and laundry plan that’s just $32 a month/$384 a year. This plan covers the major appliances in your kitchen and laundry room such as your range, refrigerator, washer, dryer and dishwasher.
The company also offers protection plans for heating and cooling systems, basic built-ins, full house and full house plus. This last plan provides coverage of both major appliances and home systems for $60 a month/$720 a year.
The company also has a long list of potential add-ons to coverage, such as the trash compactor, pool heater and pump. The septic pump, tank and lateral lines can also be covered, along with deep freezers, wine coolers and much more.
Access, Special Features of the Plan, Disadvantages
Customer service is available by telephone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to not charging service fees or deductibles, the company will also cover repairs even when the homeowner has been less than vigilant about performing routine maintenance. Some plans even include an annual “checkup” along with providing some routine maintenance for the homeowner.
The company has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Plans do not exclude items based on age, pre-existing conditions or damage due to rust. Homeowners typically have a choice of service provider to make the repairs.
Potential drawbacks include an additional $5 monthly fee for warranty plans sold to renters rather than homeowners. The company currently only offers protection plans in 35 of the 50 states and only pays 100% of the repair/service costs. Its plans do not come with a full replacement feature.
Total Protect Home Warranty
Of all the warranty plans that we compared, Total Protect was one of the most transparent when it comes to fully disclosing its terms. This company has been in business since 1980 and offers three levels of coverage.
Homeowners can choose from plans that offer warranty service, repair and replacement coverage for appliances, home systems and a hybrid plans that offers coverage for both.
Unlike some warranties, some pre-existing conditions are covered if they were “unknown,” at the time of purchase of the plan. Plans also offer protection against damage due to rust and corrosion.
Deductibles, Guaranteed Workmanship
Homeowners can lower their cost by choosing their deductible amounts per incident. At 40,000 licensed contractors, this provider also has one of the largest networks of pre-screened technicians and service providers. When work is performed under the plan, it’s 100% guaranteed for 180 days.
This provider is also one of the easiest to contact and begin the claims process. Customer service is available around the clock for all 365 days of the year, including all major holidays!
This provider’s main disadvantage is that it’s not available nationwide. Homes in Hawaii are excluded.