I set out to find the best home warranty company in Arizona buy pitting the state’s four biggest home warranty businesses against The Simple Dollar’s national recommendation, American Home Shield. Through an intense two-round evaluation (which involved price comparisons, scouring contracts and policies, applying for quotes, and chatting with these companies myself) I scored each company on a variety of factors.
In the end, American Home Shield maintained its national dominance as my top pick thanks to its clear-cut policies and affordable premium coverage. American Home Guardian came in at a very close second place, and BFS Home Warranty was also notable due to its super-cheap basic coverage. Finally, National Home Warranty and Platinum Home Warranty went home empty handed.
The Best Arizona Home Warranty Companies
|Home Warranty Company||Best for…|
|American Home Shield||Cheapest Premium Coverage|
|American Home Guardian||The Claims Process|
|BFS Home Warranty||The Cheapest Basic Coverage|
Round One: Basic Coverage
There are six appliances/systems you should be able to depend upon during your transition into a new home, lest it will become that much more of a hassle: an HVAC, fridge, clothes washer, clothes dryer, water heater, and oven/range. So, for my basic coverage evaluation, I applied for the cheapest possible coverage that included all six. Here are the quotes that I received:
|Home Warranty Company||My Quote For Basic Coverage|
|BFS Home Warranty||$430|
|American Home Guardian||$455|
|National Home Warranty||$470|
|Platinum Home Warranty||$550|
|American Home Shield||$648|
Finding the absolute cheapest option was pretty easy, minus one surprising exception: Not a single company I evaluated included washer and dryer coverage in its most basic package, so I had to finagle with add-ons and pricing schemes to come out with my best option. When all was said and done, BFS Home Warranty came out as the cheapest at $430.
Not only did BFS undercut American Home Guardian by $25, it also offered the cheapest basic service fee of all five companies: $55. So despite being arriving in the middle of the pack for my overall evaluation, it was an easy choice for the cheapest basic coverage.
If you buy a larger (or fancier) home outfitted with all the bells and whistles, the opportunity for system or device failure is that much more probable. (Think garbage disposal, WiFi lighting, multiple refrigerators, high-end appliances, et cetera.) That’s where a full-power home warranty comes into play.
I applied for the cheapest possible coverage that included the following big-ticket coverages that I deemed “must haves” for an all-inclusive package:
- Septic Tank and Lines
- Garbage Disposal
- Pool and Pump
- Well Pump
Note: I originally intended to include roof leak coverage into my premium evaluation, but American Home Guardian was the only company that offered such coverage.
Here are the quotes that I received:
|Home Warranty Company||My Quote For Premium Coverage|
|American Home Shield||$875|
|American Home Guardian||$885|
*National Home Warranty, BFS Home Warranty and Platinum Home Warranty do not offer well pump coverage or comparable septic coverage, so they weren’t considered for the top pick.
American Home Shield and American Home Guardian actually tied my evaluation test with an overall score of 92 out of 100 possible points. (AHS received higher marks for the quote process, while American Home Guardian scored higher for the claims process.) In terms of money, though, AHS came out ten dollars ahead.
It’s important to note that BFS’ “Deluxe” plan came out at $995 even without well pump, but did offer an “unlimited, no deductible” perk. BFS doesn’t cover as wide of a range of devices as AHS or American Home Guardian, but if you feel like you might wind up submitting more than two service calls in one year, BFS will wind up being your cheapest option.
What I Learned
Interestingly enough, American Home Shield came out as the most expensive basic option despite being the most affordable for premium coverage. How so? In order to get coverage for a washer and dryer, I had to select the “Build Your Own Plan” option, which came out at $648. This package allows you to choose coverage for 10 different systems or appliances. Basically, AHS covers more items in its standard plan than the competition, and thus, it is more expensive.
So, do you get more for the money with American Home Shield? If you only consider the range of devices covered, no. I compared six different arrangements between BFS and AHS’ “Build Your Own Plan” package and the difference in pricing ranged from $28 to $6 in BFS’ favor. AHS’ customization option is nice — especially if there’s a particular appliance that’s worrying you — but for those who want to spend the least for the utter basics, BFS is the most affordable route to take.
When I dove into the fine print, however, everything became a lot less straightforward.
Take the washer and dryer for instance. Per its policy breakdown, American Home Shield covers “all components and parts,” while BFS and American Home Guardian only cover “functional components and parts.” (You’ll find a list of exempted parts for the latter two companies, including things like racks, baskets, doors.) And the HVAC? I found more of the same: AHS and American Home Guardian cover “all components and parts” for a similar selection of system types, while BFS has a large list of exempted items and makes no mention of coverage for coolant replacement like its competition.
Here’s the bottom line: Not all home warranty companies are created equal.
After diving into the fine print for all six of my must-have items, American Home Shield consistently offered the most comprehensive coverage language in its policies. But, in terms of the HVAC, AHS was not the most comprehensive.
Obviously, these policies are tedious; it’s no wonder so many people have such fierce complaints when it comes time to file a claim. My recommendation is that if you can spare the money for a basic policy, AHS is your best chance at avoiding policy loopholes (it’s already cheapest for premium coverage). Below, you’ll find links to my top picks’ contracts where you can take a look yourself if you so desire:
Read the Fine Print for My Top Picks
Remember: You don’t have to be afraid of calling these reps and asking them direct questions about your policy — it’s their job to make sure you understand what you’re paying for.
American Home Shield has the most comprehensive coverage around, so it’s your best bet for having a successful, hassle-free home warranty policy with no policy disputes. But if you feel comfortable mastering the ins and outs of the policies yourself, BFS Home Warranty will save you over $200 for basic coverage.