What is home repair insurance and what does it cover?

Jene J. Long

MarketWatch has highlighted these products and services because we think readers will find them useful. This content is independent of the MarketWatch newsroom and we may receive a commission if you buy products through links in this article.

If you own a home, you know that homeownership can feel like a full-time job. Keeping dozens of appliances and home systems in working order is not only time-consuming, it can also be expensive. To help offset these costs and time commitments, some homeowners turn to home repair insurance, commonly known as a home warranty, to protect their systems and appliances when they break down due to normal wear and tear.

To help you understand home repair insurance better, we will discuss which items are typically covered in a policy, how much a home warranty typically costs and which companies offer the best home repair insurance policies. All prices in this article reflect sample quotes received for a single-family home below 5,000 square feet. Your location and home may affect your quoted price, so we recommend getting quotes from a few different providers.

Best home repair insurance companies

Because there are dozens of home repair insurance companies available, we recommend getting free quotes from several reputable providers and comparing price information. Based on our independent review, American Home Shield, Choice Home Warranty and Amazon Home Warranty are three of our top choices for homeowners looking for a home repair insurance provider.

What is home repair insurance?

Home repair insurance is a service contract between a homeowner and a provider to protect important household items from breakdowns due to everyday wear and tear. Homeowners pay a monthly insurance premium for financial protection against a costly, though often routine, potential breakdown of an appliance or home system. If items need to be repaired or replaced, the provider covers the cost.

In addition to possibly saving you money, home repair insurance companies can save you time. Each provider has a network of licensed service technicians they contract to make repairs. Instead of spending hours searching for a reputable contractor on your own, your home warranty provider will appoint a repair person from within its network.

What does home repair insurance cover?

Each home warranty plan will feature different coverage. Many providers offer three plans, with one plan to cover systems, including your electrical and plumbing, one plan for appliances and one plan to cover both. Still, other providers will cover a combination of appliances and systems with their base plans and include extra items or deeper coverage with their premium plans.

Below, we’ll include a coverage breakdown from two top providers, American Home Shield and Choice Home Warranty.

American Home Shield offers three plans with varying levels of coverage. The ShieldPlatinum™ plan covers many of the same items as the ShieldGold™ plan, but all coverage limits are increased, roof leak coverage is included and it includes a free HVAC tune-up.

American Home Shield coverage

Coverage

ShieldSilver

ShieldGold

ShieldPlatinum

Roof leak repairs

Air conditioners

Heating units

Ductwork

Built-in exhaust, vent and attic fans

Main breaker and fuse panel box

Doorbells and chimes

Interior electrical lines

Ceiling fans

Garage door openers

Interior plumbing lines

Toilets

Faucets and valves

Whirlpool tub motor and components

Water heaters

Refrigerators

Ranges/cooktops

Ovens

Dishwashers

Built-in microwave ovens

Get a free quote from American Home Shield by calling 844-529-9298 or by filling out this online form.

Choice Home Warranty has just two plans. The Basic Plan covers appliances and systems and the Total Plan adds coverage for air conditioning, laundry machines and refrigerators.

Choice Home Warranty coverage

Coverage

Basic Plan

Total Plan

Heating system

Electrical system

Plumbing system

Plumbing stoppages

Air conditioning

Water heater

Whirlpool bathtub

Refrigerator

Oven/range/stove

Cooktop

Dishwasher

Built-in microwave

Garbage disposal

Clothes washer

Clothes dryer

Ductwork

Garage door opener

Ceiling and exhaust fans

Get a free quote from Choice Home Warranty by calling 929-400-6165 or by filling out this online form.

Add-on coverage

Most home warranty companies offer between two and four plans for coverage, but if you want to customize your protection plan, you can add on coverage at the time of checkout. Most items that are available for add-on coverage are not included in the base plans because they aren’t present in every home. Home warranty providers don’t typically include pool coverage in any of their main plans, since most homes don’t have a pool.

For example, Amazon Home Warranty offers an impressive list of additional coverage options, earning it our mark for best add-ons. Here’s a full list of Amazon Home Warranty’s add-ons:

  • Pool and spa

  • Additional central heating

  • Additional central air conditioning

  • Central vacuum

  • Lawn sprinkler system

  • Well pump

  • Septic system

  • Wine refrigerator

  • Whole-house humidifier

  • Septic tank pumping

  • Standalone freezer

  • Additional refrigerator

  • Sump pump

  • Water softener

  • Limited roof leak

  • Water heater

  • Ice maker

  • Extra oven

  • Additional washer and dryer

  • Additional dishwasher

  • Additional microwave

  • Duplex 

Get a free quote from Amazon Home Warranty by calling 866-605-8194 or by filling out this online form.

How expensive is home repair insurance?

Typically, a home repair insurance policy will cost between $30 and $70 per month. However, your monthly premium may be higher or lower, based on certain factors. Here are some factors to consider when searching for the best value:

  • Location and size of home: Your home’s location will affect your rate. Home warranty providers typically cover many states, so tax laws and regulations may drive your price higher or lower. Additionally, a larger home or a home with a guest house may come with a higher monthly premium.

  • Service fee: A service fee acts as a deductible for your home warranty. It’s a predetermined fee that you pay to your technician at the time of repairs. The average service fee in the home repair insurance industry is between $75 and $125, although there are some exceptions. Many providers allow you to choose from among several options and choosing a higher service fee will typically lower your monthly premium.

  • Coverage caps: A coverage cap is the maximum dollar amount your provider will pay toward covered items during your home warranty term. For example, if the coverage cap on your electrical system is $2,000 per warranty period, any repairs exceeding $2,000 in the aggregate will be your responsibility. Your home warranty company is only liable to pay $2,000 in repairs.

  • Exclusions: Home warranty plans will also feature coverage exclusions, as determined by the provider, which are elements of a system or appliance that aren’t covered. Many of these exclusions are common to most home warranty companies. For example, home warranty plans don’t typically cover damage from weather-related incidents. (These are often covered by your home insurance provider.) Many also won’t cover known pre-existing conditions.

However, many exclusions are more specific and depend on the company. For instance, Select Home Warranty does not cover damage due to rust and corrosion, but Cinch Home Services does. We recommend reading sample contracts from several providers and comparing exclusions.

How to submit a home repair insurance claim

Most reputable home warranty companies offer 24/7 service for filing claims. Your provider will likely have an online portal for claim submissions in addition to a customer service hotline.

When you discover a broken item, file a claim immediately and your home warranty provider will appoint a licensed in-network contractor. Your contractor will diagnose the problem, determine if the repair is covered by your policy and make repairs. Your service fee is due at the time of repairs. You won’t be able to submit future claims if you don’t pay your service fee.

Our recommendation

If you’re considering home repair insurance, get free quotes from several reputable providers to find comprehensive coverage at an affordable rate. Home warranties aren’t always worth the cost, so read the fine print for a potential policy to see what it covers, coverage limits, fees and more.  

In our independent review, we determined that American Home Shield is the top overall home warranty provider. Choice Home Warranty offers speedy service and covers the essentials, featuring a Basic Plan that protects 14 appliances and systems. Amazon Home Warranty offers more add-ons, allowing customers to tailor their coverage to fit their needs. Getting a free quote from each of these three providers is an excellent way to start your search for the best value in the home repair insurance industry.

Frequently asked questions

Does home repair insurance cover theft?

No, home repair insurance only protects against damage due to routine wear and tear. Theft and vandalism are two instances where homeowners insurance or renters insurance can provide coverage.

Can I use my own contractor?

Certain companies, such as American Home Shield, allow customers to hire their own service technician for repairs, as long as the technician is approved by the company prior to making repairs. However, your home warranty company will have a network of licensed contractors for repairs, so allowing your provider to appoint your technician will save you time.

Is Choice Home Warranty available in California?

Choice Home Warranty is not yet available in California, but there are several reputable providers for home warranties in California, including American Home Shield, our top overall pick.

Next Post

Institute Of Business & Finance

In addition, rising utilization of information and market analysis in order to understand customers and product demand, and to evaluate marketing methods, will result in growing demand for market research analysts. Prior to joining BFG, Angela held management positions with two massive banks in the Midwest the place she elevated […]