The Best Home Warranties for Older Homes

Getting a good night’s sleep in an older home just got that much easier with the peace of mind provided by the best home warranties for older homes.

Best Overall

The Best Home Warranties for Older Homes Option American Home Shield

American Home Shield

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Runner-Up

The Best Home Warranties for Older Homes Option Cinch Home Services

Cinch Home Services

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Best Repair Guarantee

The Best Home Warranties for Older Homes Option AFC Home Club

AFC Home Club

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Home warranties can serve as a powerful tool for homeowners, allowing them to protect their home and the systems that keep it running without breaking the bank with potentially expensive repair costs. Even those in newly constructed homes may be drawn to the peace of mind this type of coverage can provide, but for homeowners with older homes, a home warranty may be particularly appealing due to the age and condition of their home’s systems and appliances.

But because every home is unique, every home protection plan is also unique, which means there is no one-size-fits-all approach to home warranties. Instead, homeowners will need to take the time to consider all of their options before choosing a plan. To help, this guide covers everything homeowners need to know to find the best home warranty for older homes.

  1. BEST OVERALL: American Home Shield
  2. RUNNER-UP: Cinch Home Services
  3. BEST REPAIR GUARANTEE: AFC Home Club
  4. BEST FOR LOW RATES: Choice Home Warranty
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: Liberty Home Guard
The Best Home Warranties for Older Homes Options
Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Home Warranty Companies for Older Homes

From where they operate to how they operate, home warranty companies often have more differences than they do similarities. With different definitions of standard coverage, different options for add-on coverage, and different approaches to the claims process, there are several factors homeowners will want to keep in mind when comparing home warranty companies.

Service Area

Before homeowners can choose a home warranty option, they need to know what their options are—so naturally, the first step will likely be identifying which home warranty companies service a homeowner’s location. Many providers exclude at least one state from their coverage, and this is not a detail homeowners will want to discover at that last minute. So to avoid getting their heart set on a plan only to find out it isn’t available in their area, potential policyholders will want to consider service areas early on.

Policies and Plans

Home warranty plans and policies can vary significantly among providers. While some companies may only offer basic coverage, others may provide homeowners with extensive opportunities to customize and expand the scope of their coverage with a portfolio of service add-on options.

Many home warranty companies offer several levels of coverage, presented in the form of multiple plans or policy tiers. These different plans and policies will dictate which items in the home are covered, so homeowners will want to pay close attention to the details of each plan before selecting one.

Maximum Coverage Limit

The coverage limit on a home warranty refers to the maximum amount the company is willing to pay to repair or replace covered items. Like many of the factors on this list, coverage limits will differ among home warranty providers, with some companies applying these caps per item, and others setting one overarching coverage limit for each policy term.

Coverage limits are important to consider because they can directly impact a homeowner’s out-of-pocket costs. If policyholders find themselves in need of repairs that cost more than their coverage limit, they will be on the hook to pay the difference in cost. For this reason, homeowners will want to make note of each company’s maximum coverage limit during their search.

Average Monthly Rate

A monthly rate is the price homeowners agree to pay in return for their home warranty coverage. When it comes to making cost considerations, average monthly rates are one of the biggest factors homeowners will want to examine.

A company’s average rates can give potential customers an idea of what a home warranty might cost them, but it’s important to note that the actual rate homeowners pay for their coverage will depend on several factors, including their home’s age, condition, and location as well as the coverage options they choose. Still, average monthly rates can help homeowners begin to approximate the up-front costs of coverage and how they might fit into their household budget.

Discounts

From promotional deals aimed at new customers to discounts meant to incentivize paying up front, many home warranty companies offer discount opportunities that can help homeowners reduce the total cost of their coverage.

These discounts may be long-standing or limited-time offers, and the specific options available to customers will ultimately depend on the provider, so deal-seeking homeowners will want to keep an eye out for any potential discounts they might be able to take advantage of.

Service Fee

Homeowners pay service fees when they schedule repairs on their covered home systems and appliances. Like average rates, service fees impact the total cost homeowners pay for their home warranty coverage. But also like average rates, service fees vary among providers. While some companies set one service fee across all policies, others may give customers a list of service fee options they can choose from.

However, homeowners who find themselves needing to choose between higher and lower service fees will want to be aware of how these fees can impact their monthly rates. In general, choosing a lower service fee will require homeowners to pay more in the form of their monthly rate, while agreeing to pay a higher service fee can allow customers to save on monthly costs. This means prospective policyholders will need to decide if they prefer to spend more money up front or at the time of service.

Waiting Period

It’s common for home warranties to begin with a waiting period. During the waiting period, homeowners will be unable to submit repair requests on their covered appliances and systems, so the length of this period is worth considering when comparing providers.

In general, waiting periods last around 30 days, but some companies may be willing to waive their standard waiting period under certain circumstances, such as for new customers switching from another provider. Having this waiting period waived can help homeowners avoid gaps in their home warranty coverage, so this factor will need to be on their list of things to consider.

Claims Process

The peace of mind that comes with a home warranty might begin on day one, but the true benefits of this type of coverage kick in when homeowners need to use it. When a major home system experiences issues or breaks down entirely, homeowners are understandably eager to schedule repairs, but they’re reliant on their home warranty company to do so.

In this situation, a smooth, efficient claims process can save the day, but not all claims processes are created equal. Some providers may process claims in as little as a few hours, while others may keep customers waiting for several days. The process for selecting contractors may also vary. To choose a company with a claims process that will meet their expectations during their time of need, homeowners will want to be sure to consider these customer experience factors ahead of time.

Workmanship Guarantee

Workmanship guarantees exist to protect homeowners. In the event that initial repairs fail to resolve the underlying issue with a home system or appliance, a workmanship guarantee allows the homeowner to schedule additional repairs without having to pay another service fee.

Some companies may offer extended home warranty workmanship guarantees lasting the entire length of the customer’s policy, while others may have workmanship guarantees lasting as little as 30 days. Because the length of this guarantee can directly impact out-of-pocket costs, homeowners will want to pay attention to this detail.

Our Top Picks

To find the best home warranties for older homes, we kept our search limited to companies whose coverage limits are not impacted by the age of the house, considering the costs and coverage of each provider.

Best Overall

American Home Shield

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Why It Made the Cut:

High coverage limits and free or discounted HVAC tune-ups, plus standard inclusions for rust, corrosion, sediment, and certain pre-existing conditions, are just a few of the reasons American Home Shield is worth considering.

Every policy through American Home Shield comes with some standard coverage for unknown pre-existing conditions—issues that are not identifiable through a visual inspection or simple mechanical test. This type of coverage isn’t commonly included in a home warranty, and it may be particularly valuable to customers with older homes who are concerned about the potential underlying issues that could be hiding in their home systems. Problems related to rust, corrosion, and sediment buildup, which commonly occur in aging homes, are also covered, adding to the overall value of an AHS policy.

The company’s workmanship guarantee is relatively short at only 30 days, which could lead to homeowners having to pay an additional service fee if further repair work is needed more than 30 days after the initial repair work is completed. Homeowners considering American Home Shield will also want to note that the company’s rates can vary among locations, so while customers in some areas may find the rates to be high, others may be quoted a more affordable rate with AHS. But AHS customers receive other impressive perks, such as free or discounted HVAC tune-ups, depending on the plan they choose. This service can be used to extend the life of the HVAC system, keeping it in good condition and preventing more serious issues from developing. In the event that this critical home system does break down, American Home Shield customers are protected by an impressively high coverage limit of $5,000. People with older homes may feel comforted by this higher HVAC repair cap, knowing aging HVAC systems can be expensive to fix or replace out of pocket.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 49 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Alaska)
  • Maximum coverage limit: $5,000
  • Average monthly rate: Varies
  • Service fee: $100 or $125
  • Claims process: Online, phone
  • Workmanship guarantee: 30 days

Pros

  • Relatively high $5,000 coverage limit on HVAC repairs
  • Coverage for unknown pre-existing conditions included
  • Rust, corrosion, and sediment coverage included
  • Free or discounted HVAC tune-ups

Cons

  • Rates vary significantly depending on location
  • Relatively short 30-day workmanship guarantee

Runner-Up

Cinch Home Services

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Why It Made the Cut:

Cinch Home Services’ most standout feature is its quick claims-response time, with the company vowing to begin contacting service professionals in as little as 2 hours after receiving a home warranty claim.

Within its standard coverage, Cinch Home Services includes several types of protection that may appeal to customers with older homes, from coverage for pre-existing conditions to issues related to rust, corrosion, and sediment. These standard coverage inclusions add value to a policy with Cinch Home Services, expanding the scope of coverage and allowing homeowners to better protect their aging systems and appliances. However, the price homeowners pay for this coverage will ultimately depend on where they live, with Cinch’s rates varying significantly among states.

The company’s service fees also range from around $100 to $150, which is somewhat high for a home warranty technician fee. As such, homeowners with policies through Cinch could find themselves paying higher out-of-pocket costs when requesting repairs. But that higher cost might be worth paying in return for the company’s quick claims-response time. Cinch Home Services promises to begin reaching out to contractors within 2 hours of receiving a repair request, as long as the claim was submitted during normal business hours. This is an expedited turnaround time, which could allow homeowners to schedule covered repairs as soon as possible. Customers who have policies in place for 9 months without making a claim will instead be eligible to receive a free HVAC tune-up, which can help people with older homes maintain their aging systems at no extra cost.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 48 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Alaska or Hawaii)
  • Maximum coverage limit: $3,000
  • Average monthly rate: Varies
  • Service fee: $100 to $150
  • Claims process: Online, phone
  • Workmanship guarantee: 180 days

Pros

  • Coverage for unknown pre-existing conditions included
  • Rust, corrosion, and sediment coverage included
  • Quick response within 2 hours of service request possible
  • Free HVAC tune-up offered

Cons

  • Rates vary significantly depending on location
  • Relatively high $100 to $150 service fee

Best Repair Guarantee

AFC Home Club

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Why It Made the Cut:

Homeowners with policies through AFC Home Club can feel protected for years to come due to the company’s locked-in monthly rates and extended workmanship guarantee.

Although the specific rate they pay will depend on where they live, customers considering a switch to AFC Home Club might be happy to learn that the company locks in new-customer rates for a period of 5 years. This means homeowners who get a good deal through AFC won’t need to worry about losing that deal due to rate increases, allowing them to renew their policy at their original rate for as many as 5 years and saving them money on their coverage over time.

If serious issues arise and covered items need replacing, homeowners will want to note that with AFC Home Club, systems and appliances that are 5 years and older may have their replacement value prorated based on their age, which could result in customers receiving a replacement with a product that has a lesser value than their original item. Before accepting HVAC requests, the company also requires homeowners to provide proof that their system has been serviced within the past 12 months. Although this could present an additional cost or result in a claim being denied, this requirement also encourages routine maintenance on this important home system, which can help homeowners with older homes keep their systems in good condition.

AFC Home Club also gives its customers the flexibility to choose their own technician for home repairs. This option might appeal to homeowners who have specific contractors in mind that they trust to handle their aging home systems, though homeowners without these personal connections will be able to find a reliable contractor through the company’s preferred network. Whichever option they choose, AFC customers can rest easy knowing the repair work is covered by a workmanship guarantee, which runs the entire length of the policy. With terms lasting either 1 or 3 years, this is a lengthy workmanship guarantee that can provide invaluable peace of mind to homeowners with older homes.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 49 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Hawaii)
  • Maximum coverage limit: $3,000
  • Average monthly rate: Varies
  • Service fee: $75 to $125
  • Claims process: Online, phone
  • Workmanship guarantee: 1 or 3 years

Pros

  • Customer-selected technician option
  • Extremely long 1- or 3-year workmanship guarantee
  • 5-year guarantee on monthly rate

Cons

  • Replacement values may be prorated based on age
  • Annual HVAC maintenance required

Best for Low Rates

Choice Home Warranty

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Why It Made the Cut:

With low average rates and hands-on claims support, Choice Home Warranty might be a good option for homeowners seeking basic, reliable coverage at an affordable price.

Customers looking to switch from another home warranty company may be able to avoid gaps in their coverage by going with Choice, with the company promising to waive its standard 30-day waiting period for new customers who can show proof of their previous provider. Unlike many home warranty companies, Choice Home Warranty’s rates are uniform across every market, making it easy for homeowners to anticipate what a policy through this provider might cost. But even better, these average rates indicate that homeowners may be able to find an affordable home warranty with Choice, though the exact costs they pay will depend on the base plan and service add-ons selected.

The company offers two plans for potential customers to choose from, which is somewhat limited when compared with companies offering multiple policy tiers. The list of service add-ons is also basic, limiting a homeowner’s ability to customize their policy to fit their needs. However, homeowners seeking basic coverage at an affordable price may find what they’re looking for with Choice. In addition to its uniform rates, Choice Home Warranty sets the same service fee across all its policies. While this service fee is reasonable at only $85, potential customers will want to be aware that because the fee is standardized, they won’t have the opportunity to choose from a list of service fee options like they might with another provider. But because choosing a lower service fee typically results in paying a higher monthly rate, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—especially when it’s put into perspective alongside the company’s claims process, which aims to create a better customer experience by assigning multiple representatives to each repair request.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 49 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in California)
  • Maximum coverage limit: $3,000
  • Average monthly rate: $51
  • Service fee: $85
  • Claims process: Online, phone
  • Workmanship guarantee: 60 days labor, 90 days parts

Pros

  • Relatively low $51 average monthly rate
  • Waiting period waived for customers with an existing home warranty
  • Hands-on claims support from multiple representatives

Cons

  • Limited policy options
  • No service fee flexibility

Also Consider

Liberty Home Guard

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Why It Made the Cut:

Homeowners looking to broaden the types of repairs covered by their home warranty policy may be drawn to Liberty Home Guard, which offers more than 40 service add-ons that can be used to customize their coverage.

Liberty Home Guard hands its customers a long list of service add-ons they can choose from to customize and expand the scope of their home warranty coverage. This collection of more than 40 service add-ons may allow homeowners with older homes to obtain coverage on a wider range of repairs, better protecting their home’s aging systems and appliances. Liberty customers are also given a list of service fees to choose from, with options as low as $60. This affordable service fee option can allow homeowners to reduce their out-of-pocket costs when scheduling repairs—which may be important considering the company’s relatively low coverage limit of $2,000 per item. And during the first 90 days of coverage, this limit may be even lower at just $500.

With a relatively low coverage limit of $2,000 per item, homeowners are at a greater risk of having to pay out of pocket for expensive repairs that exceed what the home warranty company is willing to cover, so this is an important factor for potential customers to be aware of. But with affordable rates and heavy potential for coverage customization, Liberty Home Guard is a company worth considering. Liberty’s service area now covers all 50 states and Washington, D.C., giving this company a nationwide footprint and allowing homeowners across the country to take advantage of its offerings.

 

Specs

  • Service area: 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Maximum coverage Limit: $2,000
  • Average monthly rate: $55
  • Service fee: $60 to $125
  • Claims process: Online, phone
  • Workmanship guarantee: 60 days

Pros

  • Nationwide availability
  • Wide variety of service add-ons
  • Low $60 minimum service fee

Cons

  • Relatively low $2,000 coverage limit per item
  • Some plans may restrict coverage limits until 90 days after purchase

Our Verdict

We gave the award for Best Overall to American Home Shield due to its high coverage limits, unique standard coverage inclusions, and free or discounted HVAC tune-ups. The Runner-Up award goes to Cinch Home Services because of its quick claims-response time and standard coverage on pre-existing conditions, rust, corrosion, and sediment, among other factors.

How We Chose the Best Home Warranty Companies for Older Homes

To determine the best home warranty companies for homeowners with older homes, we looked for companies providing reliable standard coverage and a portfolio of service add-ons, limiting our search to providers that do not set coverage limits based on the age of the home.

Cost considerations were another important factor, so we paid close attention to each company’s average monthly rates, service fees, and discount opportunities to get an idea of the total cost of coverage. Finally, to understand the potential customer experience, we also examined each provider’s claims process, from average response times to workmanship guarantees.

Before You Choose One of the Best Home Warranty Companies for Older Homes

To find and select the best home warranty companies to meet their needs, homeowners will want to begin by building a list of their home warranty priorities. Are they seeking coverage due to the overall age and condition of their home? Are they looking for protection on specific systems and appliances? Is the main priority finding the right coverage, keeping costs low, or some combination of the two?

By answering these types of questions in advance, homeowners can more confidently enter their home warranty search guided by their list of priorities. After all, every situation is unique, and the best home warranty for landlords may be different from the best home warranty for sellers, first-time home buyers, and so on. Once they’ve determined their home warranty needs, homeowners can start obtaining quotes from providers in their area, paying close attention to each company’s costs and coverage options.

Cost of Opting for One of the Best Home Warranty Companies for Older Homes

On average, home warranty costs total around $600 per year, though homeowners who opt for a more basic, cheap home warranty could pay less, and those who select a more comprehensive plan might end up paying more. The exact cost customers pay for their coverage will depend on the age, condition, and location of their home as well as the specific coverage terms selected.

When comparing home warranty costs among providers, homeowners will want to make note of three main factors—average monthly rates, service fee options, and potential discount opportunities—as each of these elements can directly impact the total cost of coverage. But to get the most accurate idea of what a home warranty might cost them, potential policyholders will want to be sure to obtain a home warranty quote from any companies they are seriously considering.

The Advantages of Opting for One of the Best Home Warranty Companies for Older Homes

Home warranty services can provide a number of benefits to the homeowners who opt for them. From peace of mind to more quantifiable benefits, such as saving money on expensive home repairs, there are many reasons homeowners might deem a home warranty worth it. For those with older homes, this list of potential advantages may be even longer, including:

  • Less stress over aging home systems and appliances knowing potentially expensive repairs or replacements are covered by their policy;
  • Easier financial planning due to predictable monthly rates and service fees when compared with unpredictable out-of-pocket repair costs; and
  • A simpler process for finding and selecting trusted, reliable contractors for repair work via the company’s preferred network.

FAQs

Homeowners with older homes may enter their search for a home warranty provider with an especially long list of priorities. To successfully navigate this process and find the coverage they need, prospective policyholders will want to familiarize themselves with answers to the following questions.

Q. Should I get a home warranty on my older home?

Although every situation is unique, a home warranty can be a particularly worthwhile investment for homeowners with older homes to help protect their aging systems and appliances.

Q. How long does a home warranty last on an old house?

Home warranty terms vary among providers, though the age of the home should not impact the length of the term. Home warranty policies are typically annual, but some companies may offer multiyear plans.

Q. What does a home warranty for older homes cover?

Home warranties typically protect the home’s major systems and appliances. These same items can be covered in older homes, though some companies may set coverage limits based on the home’s age.

Q. How much does home warranty coverage on an older home cost?

On average, home warranties cost around $600 per year, though the exact cost a homeowner pays will depend on their location and the scope of coverage they select.

Q. When can I purchase a home warranty for an older home?

While many homeowners choose to get a home warranty during the home-buying process, this type of coverage can be purchased at any time.

Q. Is a home warranty for an older home worth it?

Older home systems and appliances often run a higher risk of experiencing issues, so the protection provided by a home warranty may be particularly valuable to those with older homes.

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Katie Ziraldo

Contributing Writer

Katie Ziraldo is a freelance writer and data journalist with a background in personal finance and real estate. With more than a decade of professional experience, Katie specializes in simplifying complex topics to create equitable, educational content. Her portfolio of work also includes The Detroit Free Press and Huffington Post. In her free time, you can find Katie hunting for home decor or cuddled up on the couch with her furry, four-legged friends.

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