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First American Home Warranty 2021 Review Of Coverage, Plans And Benefits

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Published on August 24, 2021
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Worried that your home's dishwasher will start leaking, sending a river across your kitchen floor? Maybe you worry that your central air conditioning unit will conk out in the middle of the hottest month of the summer. Or maybe you know that your oven is on borrowed time.

Fixing or replacing any of these major appliances could be a serious drain on your savings account. But there is a tool that can help protect you when your home's appliances or systems need to be replaced or repaired: a home warranty.

And one of the major providers of this financial safety net is First American Home Warranty.

But is this company reliable, and what does a home warranty with First American Home Warranty cover? What protection doesn't it offer?

Read on to learn more about First American and how its warranty program works.

First American Home Warranty Background

First American Home Warranty has been working with homeowners since 1984. According to the company, First American works with more than 850 associates who serve more than 590,000 clients.

First American Home Warranty does not offer coverage in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont or Wisconsin.

The warranties offered by First American – the company provides a basic and premier version – cover a wide range of appliances and home systems, including dishwashers, garbage disposals, ovens, electrical systems, washers, dryers, plumbing, ductwork, water heaters and many others.

If a covered item breaks down, the company's warranties will make a payout to cover all or part of the cost of repairing or replacing that appliance or home system. Homeowners pay either a monthly or annual fee to receive this coverage. The size of this fee varies depending on your home, coverage level, how often you pay and the length of your contract, but you can expect to pay about $28 a month for basic coverage and $42.50 a month for the company’s premier plan, which covers more appliances and systems.

You’ll also pay a service fee of $85 each time a contractor comes to your home. This service fee is paid directly to the contractor. If you call someone to repair your home’s water heater, dishwasher or dryer, you’ll have to pay this $85 fee no matter what repair work is needed.

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How Does A Home Warranty Differ From A Homeowners Insurance Policy?

While a warranty does provide a financial safety net to homeowners, It’s important to understand the difference between home warranties and home insurance.

A homeowners insurance policy, which lenders require before they’ll give you a mortgage, pays out to help owners rebuild their homes if they have been destroyed or damaged. They also pay out if someone breaks into your home and steals your valuable items. These polices provide liability protection, too, helping you cover any medial or legal bills when people injure themselves while at your home.

Home warranties don’t provide this type of protection. They, instead, pay out if a specific appliance or home system needs repairs or replacement. Homeowners insurance policies typically don’t pay out if your refrigerator conks out. But if a fire destroys your home, a homeowners policy will pay to help you rebuild.

First American Home Warranty Reviews

How do you know if First American Home Warranty is right for you? It helps to reearch reviews from other sites across the internet. Here’s a look at some.

U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report gives First American Home Warranty a ranking of four out of five stars.

Pros

  • Low monthly fee.
  • Fixed service fee.

Cons

  • Not much flexibility. First American offers just two coverage plans.
    Coverage is not available in all states.
  • No coverage for roofs.

Home Warranty Reviews

Home Warranty Reviews gives First American Home Warranty a ranking of three out of five stars.

Pros

  • Unlimited service calls.
  • Plans can be cheap, starting at $28 a month.
  • You don't need a home inspection before getting a warranty.

Cons

  • Homeowners must pay to add on many systems and appliances not covered in the company's two plans.
  • Coverage limits aren't high enough for some repairs.

 

BestCompany

BestCompany gives First American a ranking of 3.9 stars out of five.

Pros

  • 24/7 claims service.
  • Plans that cover many systems and appliances.
  • First American has been in business for many years.

Cons

  • Coverage for air conditioning units is an add-on that costs extra.
  • Some clients complain of bad customer service, delayed service time and hidden coverage fees.

Better Homes & Gardens

Better Homes & Gardens gives First American Home Warranty a largely positive review.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing compared to competitors.
  • Online claims processing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • You can cover appliances and home systems no matter how old they are.

Cons

  • Coverage is not available in all 50 states.
  • Homeowners can only choose from two plans.
  • Central air conditioning coverage must be purchased as an add-on.

Why We Like First American Home Warranty

What makes a warranty from First American Home Warranty a good choice? Here are several reasons.

No Home Inspection Required

You won’t have to pay for a home inspection before signing a contract with First American Home Warranty. This is a positive: Home inspections aren’t free and can cost about $450 depending on the size and location of your home. Companies that require a home inspection might turn down your request for coverage if they find too many problems with your residence.

Unlimited Service Requests

With First American Home Warranty, you can call plumbers, electricians and other service people to your home as often as you’d like. There is no limit set on the number of service calls you can make. The number of service calls also won’t cause your monthly fee to rise or fall.

Optional Building Permit Coverage

As part of First American's First-Class Upgrade plan, the company will help pay for the cost of building permits that are required when homeowners need to replace appliances, systems or components. First American will pay up to $250 to cover the cost of these local building permits. 

24/7 Claims Service

You can call First American at any time of day, any day of the week, for service calls. The company staffs its call center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This doesn’t mean that a service technician will come to your house at 2 a.m. You can put in a service call, but many technicians only take on service calls during regular business hours.

First American Home Warranty Plans

Homeowners can choose from two different home warranty plans – a Basic Plan and the Premier Plan. As the name suggests, the Premier Plan covers a larger number of home systems and appliances.

Basic Plan Premier Plan
Washer-Dryer Y Y
Refrigerator Y Y
Dishwasher Y Y
Oven Range Y Y
Cooktop Y Y
Microwave Y Y
Trash Compactor Y Y
Garbage Disposal Y Y
Plumbing N Y
Plumbing Stoppages N Y
Heating N Y
Water Heater N Y
Electrical N Y
Garage Door Opener N Y
Ductwork N Y
Central Vacuum System N Y

Basic Plan

Best For: Homeowners who want to spend less for basic coverage and are more interested in protecting their home appliances, not their home systems.

Pricing: This will vary according to where you live and your home type, but you can expect to pay about $28 a month for the Basic Plan.

Premier Plan

Best For: Homeowners who want to cover as many systems and appliances as possible and don’t mind paying a bit extra each month for this protection.

Pricing: About $42.50 a month, though this price might vary depending on where you live, whether you pay annually or monthly and the how large your home is.

First-Class Upgrade

The First-Class Upgrade package is one that real estate agents can offer to their clients. It costs an additional $9 a month and includes the following additional coverage:

  • Building permits: First American will help cover the costs when homeowners must take out building permits when replacing home appliances or systems.
  • Botched installations: The First-Class Upgrade package provides coverage for botched installations and modifications that were completed before homeowners signed up for their home warranties. Homeowners, though, must have had no prior knowledge of these problems before signing a contract with First American.
  • Refrigerant: The upgrade package helps pay for the cost homeowners incur when they must remove or recapture refrigerant.
  • Removal: Service technicians will take away appliances, systems and components that they replace.
  • Plumbing coverage: The upgrade plan provides coverage for the replacement of faucets, shower heads, shower arms, hose bibbs and toilets up to $600 an occurrence.
  • Heating: First American will cover fees associated with the use of cranes or other lifting equipment required to service roof-top heating units.
  • Garage door openers: The company will cover the cost of replacing hinges, springs and remote transmitters.
  • Ductwork: The upgrade plan will cover the costs of replacing grills and registers.

Optional Add-Ons

If you want a home appliance or system covered that isn't included in First American Home's Basic or Premier plans, you can purchase optional coverage. The add-ons available to customers are:

  • Additional refrigeration (up to 4 units): $4 per month
  • Central air conditioning: $9 per month
  • Pool and spa equipment: $15 per month
  • Well pump: $7 per month

First American Home Warranty FAQs

For Which States Does FAH Offer Coverage?

First American Home Warranty offers coverage in most states. The only states that the company does not operate in are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Are There Any Age Limits On Systems And Appliances That The First American Will Cover?

No. First American Home Warranty will cover all appliances and systems regardless of their age as long as they are in working condition before homeowners sign their contracts.

What are the most common coverage exclusions?

Any home system or appliance not listed in your warranty contract is excluded from coverage. If you take out First American Home Warranty's Basic Plan, then, and your water heater or garage door opener breaks down, these items would not be covered.

First American also lists some of the more common expenses that are excluded from their coverage:

  • Code upgrades: If you need to update home systems that no longer meet your municipality's codes, your warranty won't cover the costs of bringing these systems up to code.
  • Structural modifications: First American's warranties don't cover structural modifications. If you need to pay for a new roof, replace your home's electrical system or repair its sagging foundation, your warranty won't pay out.
  • Secondary damage: Warranties also don't cover the costs of mitigating secondary damage after a home is hit by fires, floods or other disasters. Secondary damage after a flood might include mold that develops because an area of the home was not dried out properly. A flood might also cause the wood in a home to rot. First American's home warranties won't cover the cost of repairing this secondary damage.
  • Cosmetic changes: Want to replace that avocado-green refrigerator? Or maybe you're tired of the ratty carpet in your living room. Your warranty won't cover the cost of these repairs. That's because these are cosmetic changes, changes you make not because an appliance or system is broken, but because you don't like the way they look. First American's warranties don't provide any coverage for cosmetic fixes.

Is There A Waiting Period Before You Can Request Service?

New customers typically must wait 30 days after signing a contract before they make their first service request.

The Bottom Line

If you’re worried about covering the cost of replacing or repairing your home’s appliances or systems, a home warranty might be a smart move. Just be aware that these warranties don’t come cheap and will cost you a monthly or annual fee.

Be sure to read the fine print of what is and isn’t covered. And before making a decision on any home warranty company, compare top home warranty companies to boost your odds of making the right choice.

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Dan Rafter

Dan Rafter has been writing about personal finance for more than 15 years. He's written for publications ranging from the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post to Wise Bread, RocketMortgage.com and RocketHQ.com.