Two years ago I bought a Choice Home Warranty for my 1918 house in Florida and I wanted to share what my experience has been. I feel like there are a lot of questions about how these warranties work, what is covered, and if they are worth it.
Since my only experience has been with them I figured a Choice Home Warranty review especially tailored to that company would be in order as they are one of the largest home warranty providers.
Choice Home warranty offers two levels of coverage, Basic and Total, which I’ve outlined the differences below.
For my house I bought a 5-year Total warranty that I paid for upfront. It was a hefty sum to make in one payment, but by paying upfront you get a considerable savings and I wanted to have the best chance of getting my money’s worth.
The warranty covers way more than I expected. As a handy person I knew that fixing things like wood rot, windows, and siding would be on me, but there are a lot of expensive things I don’t know how to fix in my house. I got pretty good coverage for the major mechanicals as well as a lot of appliances.
The basic home warranty covers all components and parts for the following items no matter what brand or how expensive the item is.
Basic Plan Covered Items
- Built-in Microwave
- Garbage Disposal
- Ceiling Fan/Exhaust Fan/Attic Fan
- Garage Door Opener
- Water Heater
- Electrical System
- Plumbing System
If you would like deeper coverage, opt for a more complete plan called the Total Plan which adds coverage for the following items.
Total Plan Covered Items
- Air Conditioner
They also cover add on optional items below. There are limits on the dollar amount they will pay on certain items so read the fine print first.
Add On Items
- Limited roof leak protection
- Septic systems
- Well pumps
- Septic tank pumping
- Sump pumps
- Central vacuum
- Stand-alone freezers
- Second Refrigerators
That’s a lot of expensive stuff and what surprised me is that they don’t discriminate about the brands. It costs a whole lot more to replace a SubZero fridge than a GE model.
Keeping an emergency fund is always a good idea as a homeowner, but now you’ve got a little extra insurance to protect yourself against big expenses.
What Does a Home Warranty Cost?
It was surprising to me how much I could negotiate the rate for the warranty. By extending my coverage time from 1 year to 2 years and finally all the way up to 5 years they gave me considerable discounts.
For 5 years of coverage, purchased in early 2022, I paid $3,040. That’s about $50 a month which is a killer deal for me considering that if you pay monthly you’ll end up paying between $400 -$600 a month.
Another surprise was the pricing was not dependent on square footage of the house unless your home is over 5,000 SF. Anything under 5,000 SF is the same rate so those with larger houses that still fall under that limit get more bang for their buck.
The service fee for each incident is also surprisingly negotiable. My father-in-law has a Choice Home Warranty and he told that he only paid $60 per service call whereas they were telling me the fee was $140 per claim. All I had to do was mention that my dad was getting a better rate and the salesman said he couldn’t match that, but he could give me $75 per claim. Sounded good to me!
How Does it Work?
If I have a problem with something that I believe it covered then I call their 24-hr claim line or submit my claim online. They give a response within 48-hrs to determine if the claim is for a covered item. Sometimes they needed a little more info to determine if the claim is covered from you so be ready with specifics if you can.
They will find a service provider, you don’t get to pick unless they can’t find anyone for that specific service in your area, and send them over. You pay the repairman the service fee ($75 in my case) and they take care of the rest of the billing with Choice Home Warranty.
I’ve put in 3 claims so far and here’s how they have gone so far.
- Well Pump Broke – I bought add-on coverage for a well pump because our irrigation runs on a well. That was a mistake because the coverage for wells only applies if your well feeds your drinking water. That was a big bust so I had to pay for that out of pocket. My mistake for not reading the fine print. -1 for the warranty.
- Refrigerator Leak – My refrigerator wasn’t cooling properly, would get really hot and then start leaking. It’s a 10-year old SubZero that came with the house when we bought it so I did not want to buy a new one! It took about 1 week instead of the 48 hrs to find a repairman who knows how to work on SubZeros. Apparently there are fewer of them. He kind of fixed it, but not really, so we called again and they sent out a different guy who actually fixed the problem and now we’re back to working. Score 1 for the warranty!
- Attic Fan Broken – One of our attic fans stopped working so we called and we were provided with a repairman within 24-hrs. The repairman was not responsive and missed their appointment multiple times. I ended up repairing the attic fan myself because I thought it would make good content for the blog. I’m sure if I followed up more aggressively I would have gotten a new guy to come fix it though. No score for this one.
Right now it’s a wash, but I didn’t buy the warranty for little repairs that I can take care of myself. I bought it for insurance that when that SubZero dies or that 12-year old AC dies I’ll get them replaced or at the least fixed for nothing out of pocket.
So, as of right now I can’t tell you if I will make my money back, but I can assure you that old houses break and things wear out. I’ll give another write up at the end of the 5 years so we can see how the whole thing turned out.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.