How to Choose a Maryland Home Warranty

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A home warranty for your Maryland home may be beneficial, but finding a reputable company is difficult—you may pay more for a home service contract than it’s worth. 
While owning a home is a dream for many, homeownership costs don’t stop once you actually purchase your home. Beyond normal wear and tear, Maryland homeowners face termite damage, flooding, severe storms, and hurricanes, all of which can cause your homeownership costs to skyrocket.
To help guide you through this decision, Jerry, the super app designed to save you money on home and car insurance, is here to break down what you need to know about home warranty coverage for your Maryland home. 
We’ll cover all you need to know about home warranties from the best home warranty to the pros and cons of purchasing one in Maryland. 
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What is a home warranty? 

While a home warranty sounds official, you’re not actually purchasing a warranty. Instead, you are purchasing a home service contract or plan. A home service contract is valid for a certain amount of time (typically one to two years) to cover repairs, replacements, or payouts if any of your home’s appliances or major systems are damaged. You can expect a home warranty to cover:
  • Refrigerators 
  • Dishwashers
  • Ovens
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Plumbing
  • Washer/dryer
  • Electrical systems 
When you buy a home warranty or home service contract, you’re paying for repair or replacement coverage at a significantly lower rate

Home warranty vs. home insurance

It’s a common misconception that home warranties and home insurance cover the same things. 
Home insurance primarily covers your home and its contents from damage caused by covered perils. By default, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover damage from wear and tear or regular use. If your oven finally kicks the bucket after twenty years, your home insurance won’t provide coverage. However, if a house fire damages your kitchen and appliances, you would have coverage
In comparison, a home warranty covers appliances and systems in your home that are damaged due to normal wear and tear or regular use. Home warranties may seem too good to be true, and to a certain extent, they are.
A home warranty won’t fix or replace anything intentionally damaged or damaged due to owner negligence—which can have various definitions depending on the home service contract. 

Do you need a home warranty in Maryland?

Unlike home insurance, mortgage lenders in Maryland don’t require you to purchase a home warranty to buy a home, nor are home warranty companies registered or regulated by the state. 
The thought of having to replace your refrigerator, washer, or dryer may send shivers up your spine, but in most cases, home warranties aren’t worth their cost
Before signing a home service contract or plan, read the fine print and consider your options carefully. If you just bought a home and are worried about living beyond your means, you may benefit from the financial security a home warranty offers. However, if you have an emergency fund or flexibility in your budget, you may consider forgoing the warranty and save that money to cover any potential problems

How to choose a Maryland home warranty

Should you decide to purchase a home warranty, you’ll want to research as much as possible. Comparison shopping with at least three companies is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Things you’ll want to look for are:
  • Coverage options
  • The lowest rate, including additional fees 
  • Positive reviews 
  • Good customer service
Although ideally, you want to find a company that checks all the boxes, you may not find them all in one place. 
The table below compares five of the best home warranty companies in Maryland. If you see a company you like, always review the contract and fine print before signing
CompanyMonthly paymentAnnual premiumService feeStates not coveredBBB ratingLimitsWhat it’s best for
American Home Shield$40-$65$479-$799$75-$125AlaskaB$1,000-$6,000Basic plan has good coverage, and all plans are fully customizable. More than 50 years in business.
Choice Home Warranty$36-$53$430-$660$85New York, Nevada, Washington, WisconsinB$3,000Set service fee, higher than most coverage cap.
Select Home Warranty$52-58$579-$650$60-$150Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, WyomingB$500-$2,00090-day repair guarantee, combo plan options
First American Home Warranty$25-$50$300-$600$85Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, WisconsinB$500-$2,50035 years of experience, low cost for coverage
Liberty Home Guard$65-$75$420-$816$65-$125Washington, Wyoming, and WisconsinA$2,000-$2,50024/7 customer service, 60-day workmanship guarantee
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The pros and cons of home warranties

Like almost everything, there are positives and negatives to home warranties. Maybe you heard horror stories about them from your friend, but your parents insist if you’re buying a home, you need one. 
Depending on your financial situation and preferences, either could be true. Here are the pros and cons of home warranties.

Pro: A home warranty can take the guesswork out of hiring contractors

Finding the right person for a job is hard, especially for an essential appliance or home system. Choosing the wrong contractor could mean you’re paying for their work and paying to fix it.
A home warranty can take the guesswork out of hiring help. Each home warranty company will have specific contractors or technicians they work with, so you’ll only have to make one phone call if something breaks. 

Pro: No need for an emergency fund

With a monthly or annual premium, your home warranty protects you from any covered incident. If all your kitchen appliances die at the same time, you’re not paying to repair or replace each one—your premium covers it. Instead of shelling out $10,000, you’re likely only paying a small fraction of that, even including additional service fees.  
Even if finances are a little tight, it’s one less thing to worry about. 

Con: You often won’t deal directly with contractors 

The downside of not having to make phone calls? You’re at your home warranty company’s mercy. The contractors they work with could lack the professional skill, experience, or training that a contractor you choose yourself may have. 
Additionally, having your home warranty act as a middleman between you and your contractor could cause problems, including misunderstandings, slowdowns, or additional expenses. 
If you’d rather have control over who is servicing your home, skip the warranty

Con: Low coverage limits and high service fees

Depending on your service contract and appliance or system, your limit could be anywhere from $500 to $6,000. If the repair or replacement exceeds your limit, you may still have to pay out of pocket for the fix
Beyond coverage limits, most home warranty companies have service fees, meaning every time you call and request service—you pay a fee. Service fees vary, but you can expect to spend an additional $50 to $125 every time you need assistance. 

Con: Warranty companies can deny coverage

Here’s why home warranties often get a bad reputation—even if you maintain your appliances or home to the best of your ability, companies can deny claims and coverage
Some companies discriminate against older homes and appliances or if you aren’t the original owner. Often, companies deny these claims under owner negligence, making it incredibly difficult to get repairs, replacements, or a payout for your claim. 

How to find affordable homeowners insurance in Maryland

What to consider when buying, or even deciding if a home warranty is right for you, may make your head spin. But one thing every homeowner can agree on is the need for a quality home insurance policy, and thankfully, Jerry, a licensed insurance broker, can help you find it with a click of a button. 
Jerry is the easiest and most effective way to find a home or renters insurance policy that is customized for you. You can even bundle your policy with your car insurance for the most savings. 
After providing you with a comprehensive cross-analysis of the best policies across providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals for your top pick so that you don’t have to. They even help cancel your old policy! 
Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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FAQs

On average, a home warranty in Maryland costs anywhere from $479 to $780 a year, not including any additional services fees or coverage. Expect to spend between $50 and $150 when you need service.
Most home warranties are good for one year in Maryland. However, some companies may offer a longer-term.
Home warranties aren't one size fits all for homeowners. You’ll have to research to determine what’s best for you based on your budget, needs, and priorities. 
That said, American Home Shield tops most best-of lists, as they have been in business for over 45 years, offer customizable plans, and have affordable rates.

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