Home warranties can provide valuable peace of mind to any homeowner, but for landlords, the property isn’t just a home—it’s also a source of income. Because of this, having an added layer of protection in addition to their landlord insurance may be appealing. While there isn’t such a thing as an appliance warranty for renters, landlords who have a home warranty for home systems and appliances may be at an advantage when it comes to marketing their properties, as the presence of such coverage may make their properties more appealing to potential renters.
But especially for those who are less familiar with this type of coverage, finding the best home warranty for landlords can seem daunting. And even experienced landlords who are familiar with home warranties will find that each company offers different plans and policies, which can complicate the search. To help, this guide covers everything landlords need to understand and consider so when the time comes to repair or replace an appliance or home system, their tenants won’t be inconvenienced any more than necessary.
- BEST OVERALL: Cinch Home Services
- RUNNER-UP: American Home Shield
- BEST ADD-ON COVERAGE: Liberty Home Guard
- BEST DISCOUNTS: Select Home Warranty
- ALSO CONSIDER: Choice Home Warranty
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Home Warranty Companies for Landlords
When exploring home warranty plans for a rental property, landlords have a lot to consider. From costs to coverage options, choosing the right plan and provider can feel overwhelming—but understanding the individual factors to consider can make this process significantly easier.
First and foremost, property owners will want to consider the service area of each home warranty provider they’re considering to determine if it aligns with their needs—especially if they have multiple rental properties located across multiple states.
Though this may seem like an obvious consideration, it can often get lost in between more prevalent concerns like the home warranty’s cost or scope of coverage. However, understanding the service area is crucial—especially for landlords who want the flexibility to be able to purchase coverage from the same provider for properties located in different states.
Policies and Plans
No two home warranty companies are exactly the same, as each company operates with its own definition of what constitutes standard coverage, its own selection of service add-ons to customize that coverage, and of course, its own costs that customers will need to consider.
Because these plans and policies can vary so drastically among home warranty providers, prospective customers will want to take the time to identify the types of coverage they need before beginning their search. This will help property owners understand the scope of coverage they need and how much it might cost them through each company.
Average Monthly Rate
The average monthly rate on a home warranty is the up-front cost paid by the policyholder in return for coverage on a rental home’s systems and appliances. Though customers can sometimes choose to pay for an annual or multiyear policy with one single payment, home warranty rates are typically paid monthly.
These rates can vary dramatically among companies, so this is an important factor for landlords to consider when selecting a home warranty provider—especially if they plan to obtain multiple policies for multiple properties, as these costs can add up quickly.
Although the average monthly rate can be an indication of what a home warranty might cost, discount opportunities have the potential to dramatically decrease the cost of coverage when used correctly. For example, landlords who have multiple properties may benefit from finding a home warranty company that offers additional policies at a discounted rate, which will ultimately allow a landlord to save on the cost of their home warranty coverage.
Other discounts may be available as promotions for new customers or as a thank-you to customers who pay for a full year of coverage in advance. Landlords will want to ask about any available discounts and explore them carfully before committing to a home warranty plan to ensure they’re getting the best price possible.
Along with the average monthly rate, the service fee makes up the other part of the overall cost of a home warranty. Customers will be required to pay a service fee before a repair or replacement is made on a home system or appliance. Similar to monthly rates, service fees vary among providers, so prospective policyholders will want to examine each company’s options.
Some companies may even offer multiple service fee options that customers can choose from. When these options are provided, customers might be compelled to automatically choose the cheapest service fee available. However, paying a lower service fee at the time of repairs typically means paying more up front in the monthly rate to offset those costs, so property owners will need to determine where they want to spend their money.
The waiting period on a home warranty is the length of time between when the policy begins and when the policyholder can first submit a claim. Typically, home warranties begin with a 30-day waiting period. However, some companies will waive this waiting period for new customers who are switching from another provider to help them avoid gaps in their coverage. So landlords aren’t caught off guard with a waiting period requirement, they’ll want to check the terms and conditions of each company to determine their best option.
When a home system or appliance breaks down, the tenant first reaches out to their landlord and the landlord reaches out to their home warranty company. To impress new renters or maintain the relationship with existing renters, landlords typically want to get the necessary repairs completed quickly, which means the claims process needs to be a crucial consideration when choosing a home warranty company. Though most home warranty companies accept claims online or over the phone, some may be limited to only one of these two options. Plus, the amount of time it will take to process the claim and complete the repairs can vary significantly from one company to another.
In the event that the initial repairs fail to resolve the underlying home system or appliance issue, a workmanship guarantee protects the landlord because it means they won’t have to pay an additional service fee to have additional work done. However, this only applies within the workmanship guarantee window, which could be as little as 30 days to up to 6 months depending on the provider. Because the workmanship guarantee could mean the difference between paying one service fee or several, this is an important factor property owners will not want to overlook.
Our Top Picks
To identify the best home warranties for landlords, we looked for companies with a wide service area that offer basic home warranty plans with optional coverage add-ons that could appeal to landlords. Average rates and fees, discount opportunities, and claims processes were also considered.
Why It Made the Cut: Low monthly rates, a speedy claims response time, and a respectable workmanship guarantee make Cinch Home Services an excellent option for landlords.
Cinch Home Services offers relatively low average monthly rates, which may help landlords get a good deal on a home warranty for their rental property. This level of affordability may be particularly valuable to landlords who own multiple properties and therefore need to purchase multiple home warranties.
Prospective customers will want to note, however, that while average monthly rates are low, Cinch’s service fees are fairly high. Although this could lead to landlords paying more out of pocket when repairs are needed, the company’s speedy claims response time and extended workmanship guarantee may make up for some of that cost. Cinch’s user agreement states that the company will try to connect customers with a contractor within 2 hours of receiving service requests during normal business hours.
The company also provides a relatively lengthy workmanship guarantee of 180 days, so when repairs are completed, landlords will be able to relax knowing those repairs are guaranteed for 6 months and that if further repairs are required during this time, no additional service fee will be charged. Meanwhile, Cinch customers who do not file a claim within the first 9 months of their home warranty may be eligible to receive a free HVAC tune-up. The inclusion of this offer adds more value to the policy and can help customers keep their HVAC systems running at peak performance to prevent issues that could require expensive repairs.
- Service area: 48 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Alaska or Hawaii)
- Average monthly rate: $46
- Service fee: $100 to $150
- Waiting period: 30 days
- Claims process: Online, phone
- Workmanship guarantee: 180 days
- Relatively low $46 average monthly rate
- Quick claim response within 2 hours of service request
- Relatively long 180-day workmanship guarantee
- Free HVAC tune-up possible
- Relatively high $100 to $150 service fee
Why It Made the Cut: Guest-unit coverage, discounts for purchasing additional policies, and free or discounted HVAC services are just a few of the offerings that make American Home Shield an option worth considering.
Typically, guest units aren’t covered under a home warranty since they are structures separate from the main property. However, although American Home Shield does not offer guest-unit coverage within its standard offerings, the company does offer it as an extra service add-on. Customers who rent out a guest unit may find this option appealing, as they can get coverage for both their own home and their rental unit.
Prospective customers will want to note that rates for AHS can vary dramatically from one state to another. However, even in states where the company’s coverage is more expensive, discount opportunities may be available to potentially lower that cost. One discount that may be particularly appealing to landlords allows customers to purchase additional policies at discounted rates, which may help landlords save money on their home warranty needs and reduce the total cost of coverage across multiple rental properties. And unlike some providers, AHS does not enforce a hard cap on repair costs for covered home systems. While this doesn’t guarantee the company will cover all repair work, it does mean that covered home repairs will never be denied solely because of their projected costs. This could mean savings for the policyholder, as they will never have to worry about paying more than the service fee for their covered repairs.
The company’s workmanship guarantee only lasts 30 days, which is a relatively short length of time for a home warranty. This may mean landlords could end up paying a second service fee for repeat repairs after 30 days if the initial repairs failed to resolve the underlying issue. However, AHS offers some tools that could help customers minimize service visits in the first place. Depending on the plan they choose, AHS customers may be eligible to receive free or discounted HVAC services; customers with the highest-tiered plan can receive one free HVAC tune-up per year, and those who have other plans can receive discounted tune-ups. Both of these offers can help landlords keep the home systems in their rentals running properly and potentially prevent larger issues from occurring.
- Service area: 49 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Alaska)
- Average monthly rate: Varies
- Service fee: $75 to $125
- Waiting period: 30 days
- Claims process: Online, phone
- Workmanship guarantee: 30 days
- Unlimited home system repair work
- Guest-unit coverage available
- Generous discount for multiple properties
- Free or discounted HVAC tune-ups
- Rates vary significantly depending on location
- Relatively short 30-day workmanship guarantee
Why It Made the Cut: Liberty Home Guard’s extensive portfolio of service add-ons and flexible service fee options make the company stand out among its competitors.
Liberty Home Guard offers a total of 42 extra service add-ons that customers can purchase to expand the scope of their home warranty coverage. These extra add-ons include coverage for pools and spas, lawn sprinkler systems, roof leaks, electronics, and more. Another add-on option is for guest-unit coverage, which isn’t always available with home warranties and may be particularly appealing for homeowners who rent out a guest unit on their property. This add-on provides them with the opportunity to expand their own home warranty coverage to include this separate structure.
Liberty caps covered repairs at $2,000 per appliance or home system, although the exact limit may depend on the specific type of repair. Either way, this limit is somewhat low for a home warranty, which could mean that customers may need to cover the difference in cost themselves. But some landlords may be willing to take this risk if it means paying less in other areas. When it comes to cost considerations, average monthly rates with Liberty Home Guard are relatively affordable, but what stands out is the company’s multiple service fee options, including one as low as $60. Customers who select this option could end up paying less out of pocket when the time comes to file a claim and request a repair.
- Service area: 48 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Washington or Wisconsin)
- Average monthly rate: $55
- Service fee: $60 to $125
- Waiting period: 30 days
- Claims process: Online, phone
- Workmanship guarantee: 60 days
- Guest-unit coverage available
- Wide variety of service add-ons
- Low $60 service fee option
- Relatively low $2,000 coverage limit
Why It Made the Cut: In addition to multiple discount opportunities that could help customers lower the overall cost of their coverage, Select Home Warranty offers limited roof coverage at no additional cost, increasing the overall value of its policies.
With Select Home Warranty, every policy comes with limited roof coverage included within the company’s standard offerings. Typically, this type of coverage is only available as an add-on at an extra cost, so including some level of roof coverage adds value to a Select Home Warranty policy. This roof coverage will help cover the cost of repairing and patching certain roof leaks, which could help prevent more expensive repairs down the road.
Select customers who choose to pay for a full year’s worth of coverage up front are eligible to receive a large discount on their policy. This discount is equivalent to 2 months of free coverage, so landlords who can afford to pay up front for their home warranty can significantly lower their cost of coverage. But those who cannot afford to pay for an annual policy in full may still be able to take advantage of other discounts to save money. Select routinely runs promotions offering discounts to new customers just for signing up for a policy. Prospective customers will want to note that though these promotions may be presented as limited-time offers, the company runs them frequently.
Select’s user agreement states that the company may need up to 4 days to respond to repair requests that are sent over the weekend or on a holiday. Regardless of the circumstances, this is quite a long length of time to allow for a home warranty company to respond to a claim and may cause difficulty for landlords if their tenants are facing time-sensitive issues with an appliance or home system. However, the response time should likely be faster for claims filed during business hours. When filing a claim, landlords who choose Select Home Warranty will have the option to do so online through the company’s website or by emailing the claims department directly. Select does not offer an option to speak with a representative over the phone to talk through the repair request, which may not be ideal for customers who prefer a human touch. On the other hand, some customers may be relieved to know they won’t have to spend valuable time on hold with a representative just to submit a claim.
- Service area: 47 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in Nevada, Washington, or Wisconsin)
- Average monthly rate: $62
- Service fee: $75 to $100
- Waiting period: 30 days
- Claims process: Online, email
- Workmanship guarantee: 60 days
- Free limited roof coverage with every policy
- 2 months of free coverage with annual payment
- Frequent promotional discounts
- No phone option for submitting claims
- Relatively slow claim response of up to 96 hours after receiving service request
Why It Made the Cut: With Choice Home Warranty, landlords can potentially reap the benefits of waived waiting periods and more attention throughout the claims process.
Customers who switch to Choice Home Warranty from another provider may be able to avoid gaps in their home warranty coverage since the company promises to waive its standard 30-day waiting period. This promise can allow landlords the flexibility of switching providers while still ensuring their properties are adequately covered. Landlords will want to note that Choice Home Warranty only offers two base plans for customers to choose from, which could feel limiting depending on the coverage needed. However, there are a handful of service add-ons available.
Choice’s claims process is unique in that the company chooses to allocate multiple representatives to each claim it receives, whereas most companies have only one designated person devoted to each repair request. This unique approach may be beneficial to customers, as it minimizes the likelihood of a request falling through the cracks and also makes it easier for customers to reach a representative who is familiar with their claim in the event they have questions or concerns they need to have addressed.
Choice offers a single service fee of $85, which means customers who choose this provider won’t have the option to select a lower service fee as may be the case with other providers. However, it’s important to note that opting for a lower service fee typically means paying more up front in the monthly rate, so this set service fee may help landlords keep their up-front costs in check.
- Service area: 49 states and Washington, D.C. (not available in California)
- Average monthly rate: $51
- Service fee: $85
- Waiting period: 30 days (unless switching from another provider)
- Claims process: Online, phone
- Workmanship guarantee: 60 days labor, 90 days parts
- Waiting period waived for customers with an existing policy
- Hands-on claims support from multiple representatives
- Limited policy options
- No service fee flexibility
We gave the award for Best Overall to Cinch Home Services because of the company’s relatively low monthly rates, quick response to service requests, long workmanship guarantee, and offer for free HVAC maintenance. The Runner-Up award was given to American Home Shield as a result of its uncapped limits on repair costs, the flexibility to purchase additional coverage for a guest unit, and the availability of discounts on plans for multiple properties.
How We Chose the Best Home Warranty Companies for Landlords
To determine the best home warranties for rental properties, we first considered the service area of each home warranty company, then looked for providers with reliable standard coverage and a portfolio of extra add-ons that could appeal to property owners and managers, such as guest- unit coverage.
Cost considerations were also a factor, so we examined each company’s average rates, service fees, and potential discount opportunities, such as discounts that may allow landlords to save money when purchasing policies for multiple rental properties. We rounded out our search by considering the claims process, including how easy it is to submit claims, how long it takes for claims to be processed, and how long repairs are protected through a workmanship guarantee, to gain insight into the customer experience with each company.
Before You Choose One of the Best Home Warranty Companies for Landlords
In general, are home warranties worth it for landlords? The short answer is yes. Because one of the primary roles of a landlord is maintenance and repairs, a rental property home warranty can mean the difference between a happy or incredibly unhappy tenant, so choosing the right plan and provider is important. But before they consider their home warranty options, landlords will need to consider the extent of coverage they need.
Although a standard security deposit will help protect the landlord in the event that a tenant causes damage to the property, this deposit won’t cover normal wear and tear to the unit’s home systems and appliances, which makes having a home warranty for rental properties worth it in many cases. However, the specific coverage options a landlord will want to choose are often influenced by factors such as the property’s location, age, and overall condition.
Cost of Opting for One of the Best Home Warranty Companies for Landlords
The average home warranty cost is anywhere between $264 and $1,425 annually depending on the property location and the specific type of coverage selected, among other factors. However, the national average cost sits around $600 per year.
Because these home warranty costs can vary so dramatically, prospective customers will want to base their decision on quotes obtained directly from each company on their list to ensure they have accurate cost expectations. When considering costs, landlords will want to look at both the average rates and service fees of each potential provider, as both of these elements will impact the overall cost of coverage.
The Advantages of Opting for One of the Best Home Warranty Companies for Landlords
At their core, home warranties exist to protect homeowners from expensive repairs when their crucial home systems and appliances experience issues or break down entirely. For landlords, this extra layer of protection can be even more valuable as it can also protect the relationship between the landlord and the tenant. In general, opting for one of the best home warranty companies can provide several advantages, including:
- Peace of mind that selected systems and appliances are covered if issues arise;
- Less expensive repairs because the landlord will only have to pay a service fee, rather than the full out-of-pocket cost of repairs; and
- Easier access to service professionals through the home warranty provider, which may be particularly helpful if the landlord lives in a different area than where the rental property is located.
With so much to consider, it’s understandable that landlords may have some lingering questions about choosing a home warranty policy. From who needs a home warranty to home warranty vs. home insurance confusion, the following are some of the most commonly asked questions to shed some light on this type of coverage.
Q. What is the difference between a home warranty and a homeowners insurance policy?
While homeowners insurance covers damage against certain types of losses, such as fire, wind, and vandalism, home warranty coverage helps offset repair or replacement costs due to aging and normal wear and tear of the home’s systems and appliances. Property owners will want to familiarize themselves with the difference between homeowners insurance and landlord insurance, as they will need the latter to cover a rental property.
Q. Do home warranties cover other types of rental properties such as condos or mobile homes?
Home warranties protect home systems and appliances and therefore can be purchased for all types of homes, including single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and mobile homes.
Q. Will a home warranty cover older homes?
Home warranties are available for homes of all ages and conditions. However, homes with outdated appliances or systems may have more limited coverage options.
Q. Can I deduct rental property home warranty costs from my taxes?
With a rental property, the cost of a home warranty is considered an operating expense and is therefore tax deductible.
Q. Which home warranty has the lowest service fee?
Among those on our list, Liberty Home Guard offers the lowest service fee, though customers will want to note that low service fees typically come with higher monthly or annual rates.
Q. What is a service call fee on a home warranty?
A service fee is the out-of-pocket cost paid by the landlord at the time of repairs. Service fees vary among home warranty providers.