American Home Shield Review

American Home Shield is a home warranty company that is part of the residential and commercial services company, ServiceMaster Company, which also owns Terminix and Merry Maids. American Home Shield offers home warranties – service plans designed to cover appliance or home systems breakdowns that your homeowner’s insurance does not cover. A home warranty typically includes items that are considered part of the regular costs of home ownership such as the breakdown of appliances, electrical systems, and plumbing. Home warranties are best suited for those who live in an older home, especially if they do not have the know-how or physical capability for do-it-yourself repairs.

Your home is probably the most costly thing you have to maintain. While homeowner’s insurance covers damage due to storms and fires, that coverage does not include broken appliances, HVAC, plumbing, water heaters, or outdated electrical systems that fail due to age or simple wear and tear. This coverage gap can leave a huge hole in the budget of most consumers and is where home warranties fit in. A home warranty is designed to cover the repairs that homeowner’s insurance will not. For example, if your water heater suddenly stops working your homeowner’s insurance will not cover it, but a home warranty will.

American Home Shield has been providing home warranties since 1971 and states they have paid out over $2 billion in claims in the last five years alone, with nearly 1.7 million customers serviced.

Pros
  • Several coverage options available
  • Multiple service fee levels
  • No home inspection required
Cons
  • Coverage exclusions can be technical and difficult to understand
  • Service calls have no guaranteed time frame beyond a contractor assigned within 24 hours

American Home Shield Home Warranty Plans

American Home Shield offers several home warranty plans along with additional coverage riders for specific items. Their Systems Plan covers essential systems within the home including:

  • Air conditioning with ductwork

  • Heating with ductwork

  • Electrical system and doorbells

  • Smoke detectors

  • Ceiling fans

  • Plumbing (including some stoppages)

  • Water heaters

  • Garbage disposals

  • Central vacuums

The Appliances Plan covers large and small appliances that are not easily removed from the home. In addition to covered appliances, this plan also covers items you can add on such as pools and spas, well pumps, septic pumps and more. Covered items under the Appliance Plan include:

  • Refrigerators

  • Stoves

  • Ovens

  • Cooktops

  • Clothes washer

  • Clothes dryer

  • Dishwashers

  • Built-in microwaves

  • Trash compactors

  • Freestanding ice makers

  • Garage door openers

  • Built-in food centers

A little over 61 percent of customers use American Home Shield’s Combo Plan. It covers items under both the Systems and the Appliances Plan.

American Home Shield also offers a Build Your Own Plan where consumers can select just the systems and/or appliances for which they need warranty repair coverage. Coverage riders are also available for pools or spas, well pumps, septic pumps, and additional guest units up to 750 square feet in size, like a mother-in law’s suite.

American Home Shield Home Warranty Fast Facts

Coverage Length Cancellation Policy # Of Repair Limits Coverage Effective Date
12 months Cancel anytime
after 30 days. Refunds
are prorated and subject
to an administrative fee
No limit on the number
of covered repairs but
there are coverage
limits and caps
for specific items
Coverage goes into
effect 30 days after
a plan is purchased

American Home Shield Home Warranty Pricing

Prices for each home warranty plan aren’t available online but you can request a free quote for each plan on their website. There are many factors that determine the final price for your plan but multiple consumers were quoted $516 per year ($43 per month) with a $100 service call fee. As with any insurance, your exact monthly premium will vary based on the policy chosen, your location and your deductible. With American Home Shield, you can set the level of the deductible to either lower your out of pocket costs or lower your premiums.

You can also set your own trade service call fee. This is the fee you pay the contractor when he or she comes out to diagnose your covered item. Trade service call fees start at $75 which lets you pay less per service call. You can also choose $100 per call or $125 per call. The $125 per call fee will lower your monthly payment on your home warranty plan. The deductibles are paid for trade service call fees every time a contractor is sent to the home, regardless of whether the issue reported is deemed covered or non-covered. Depending on the warranty you choose, there may also be coverage limits or caps that could affect your total out of pocket costs for repairs.

American Home Shield Home Warranty Exclusions

All home warranty policies have exclusions in coverage, no matter what company you choose. For example, while plumbing is covered, there is no coverage for stoppages caused by roots or foreign objects in the pipes. Also, some coverages have limits to repair or replacement cost, as mentioned in our Best Home Warranties buyer’s guide. For example, if a plumber has to cut through a wall to access a pipe, the warranty would only cover the wall repair to a rough finish and limits the dollar value of those repairs. As with any home warranty, consumers should read the policy entirely and be sure they understand all of the limits and exclusions before purchasing a plan. American Home Shield offers consumers a chance to view sample policies before making a purchase.

water heater

American Home Shield Home Warranty Claims

The claims process for American Home Shield home warranties starts with either a claim submitted via your online account, creating an online service request using the warranty look-up tool or by making a call to their 24-hour claims line.

The trade service fee is due at the time that the consumer files the claim request. Once the trade service fee is paid, American Home Shield will assign a contractor in the consumer’s area within 24 hours. The contractor then contacts the consumer to set up an appointment to inspect the item in question then determines if a repair is required. The contractor does not arrive at a specific time, so someone will need to be home for a window of a few hours while waiting for the contractor to show up. The contractor inspects and diagnoses the issue, then contacts American Home Shield to determine coverage. If the warranty covers the problem, repair or replacement within the limits of the coverage will be authorized.

How to Buy an American Home Shield Home Warranty

American Home Shield home warranties can be purchased via a toll-free number or on their website, by clicking on the bright orange Get a Quote button. From there, fill out the home address and select a coverage plan, either Systems, Appliances, Combo, or Build Your Own.

Because the base monthly price of these plans varies depending on your location due to home costs in the area, local cost of living, and state regulations, we can’t provide an estimate of the cost you should expect. The sampling of locations we tested returned base rates of $40 to $50 a month depending on location and plan.

What Consumers Say about American Home Shield

American Home Shield has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of “B” and a four- out of five-star rating on ConsumerAffairs with over 21,000 reviews posted. Most positive reviews speak highly of customer service. American Home Shield has been quick to respond to customer issues with contractors doing poor work or lengthy delays in service appointments on ConsumerAffairs and successfully closed complaints through the BBB.

American Home Shield Q&A

  • Do I have to pay the trade service fee before I find out if my claim is covered?
    Yes. The trade service fee is required each time a service contractor is dispatched to the home, regardless of the final coverage determination. This fee goes directly to the contractor to compensate him or her for the trip to your home and time spent diagnosing the problem, and it is required before a contractor is called.

  • Can I choose my contractor?
    No. American Home Shield selects a licensed, professional contractor from your area and contacts them for you. The contractor will then contact you to set the service call time window.

  • Do I have to have a home inspection?
    No. A home inspection or records of previous repairs are not required to obtain coverage with American Home Shield.

  • Is coverage available in all states?
    Coverage is currently available in 49 states. Alaska is the only state where coverage is unavailable at this time.

  • What if my covered item is not repairable?
    If your covered item is beyond repair, then American Home Shield will replace the unit when possible or suggest other solutions if replacement isn’t within the limits of your warranty contract.

Conclusion

The cost of maintaining your home and its main components are likely the most significant expense you have next to a mortgage payment and property taxes. Unfortunately, an unexpected break down of a refrigerator or an electrical problem can cause a severe financial strain. A home warranty is an option for reducing the uncertainty of some of the repair costs associated with homeownership, requiring a small monthly payment.

Budgeting funds in savings to cover service fees further reduce financial strain compared to keeping thousands of dollars in savings in case of an appliance or home system failure. American Home Shield warranties are a good fit for those who buy an older home, or for seniors who want to stay in their home but do not have the know-how or physical capability for do-it-yourself repairs.

American Home Shield Reviews

Recent Reviews

November 01 2019 10:22PM

Worst customer service EVER. This company is set up to profit, which means, they do not pay out, and will look for every excuse not to. Within two years, they "replaced" my evaporator coil twice, and when it broke the third time, again only offered replacement of the part, not to replace the 12 year old unit. Instead, I opted for the cash out of $690, but ha, ya, umm.. of course they every excuse not to pay this.

Did I mention that every time they replaced the coil, I had to pay $600 out of pocket for freon, in addition to the $125 service call? Wicked scammers, this company. You are so much better off paying for repairs out of pocket. Save the premiums and bank them to cover repairs the right way.

Georganne V.
Sarasota, FL
October 05 2019 1:51PM

RUN as FAR & FAST as you can before you become a "Sucker"!!! This company will legally STEAL your hard earned ca$h. Don't sign a service contract that restricts your consumer rights and dismisses their business liabilities. Do NOT be their next SCAM victim!!!!

Brian K.
Hansen Hills, CA
September 15 2019 4:27AM

Sadly, after 25 plus years with this company I cancelled service with them on two properties. I placed in a service call for my washer. The water would not drain. My husband is bedridden with Alzheimer’s Disease. We wash often.

However, the washer that is having problems is one they replaced several years ago. My previous washer was purchased approximately 20 years ago at the same time I purchased my dryer. And, the dryer is still working because I purchased a quality product. They’ve denied repairing my washer without any consideration of my length of time as a loyal customer of coverage for two properties.

My 20 years plus of payments on two properties have no doubt paid for a washer many times over. Additionally, the representatives sent to my home are obviously working in behalf of AHS. It’s a sad situation that a once awesome 5 star company has failed in ratings due to greed. And, I’m positive I’m one of many many individuals searching for a reputable home warranty company. Don’t use them. They will take your money and deny your claims.

Patricia S.
North Las Vegas, NV
August 21 2019 8:34PM

Customer service is horrible. Accents that I cannot understand, representatives unable to comprehend my issues as they only go by a script. Told me I would have to wait 1-2 hours to speak with a supervisor when I requested one. What’s happened to this company?!?!?!? Used to be much better.

Shirley P.
Conyers, GA
July 20 2019 3:45PM

One issue like many others but this is my most recent isn't taken care of. AHS sent an air conditioning repair man from Patriot in Lawton OK to my house installed a condenser and added freon. He took my $430.00 cash said he would email me a receipt and didn't. The repair man left off the value covers so all of the freon is out and I need freon added again. Patriot company can't be found and AHS won't take care of this issue without charging me again. This has been going on since Sept 2018 and it is 100 degrees and warmer and it's hot in my house. I refuse to pay again for something that I have already. AHS sent this stupid person to my house and ripped me off. When I called AHS I get the same story. They said a supervisor would call. That never happened either. AHS needs to back up their work and the stupid jobs that their employees do. Any advise?

Connie M.
Lawton, OK
April 05 2019 11:41PM

AHS - Sorry to say but you guys SUCK. Worst ever support. We have had to deal with AHS for 2 issues: 1. Washer 2. Garage door Let me start by saying that their support is one of the worst ever! They never ever pick up the call and chat is as slow as one can imagine. Horrible experience to start with. 1. Washer When we called in to complain about our washer, it took us 12 calls to reach a specialist. When we explained them our issue, they assigned MAJOR HOME APPLIANCE to perform the repair.

The specialist came to our home, and was very rude. When we asked him what the issue was, he said let me do my job and you won't even understand, so don't bother asking. He mentioned a part needs replacement and ordered it. Next time he came, he replaced it and left, without even explaining us the issue. After 2 days, the washer stopped working again so we had to deal with AHS again! Called them multiple times but nothing helped. Finally, we got a hold of someone from chat option and after arguing with them for more than 10 hours, they assigned another company - NANA SERVICES. These guys are good as they came home within a day and were kind enough to explain us the issue. Not to forget, they mentioned the 1st company replaced the wrong part!

They also offered to talk to AHS and tell them that repairing would be most costlier than the new machine. They agreed AHS only thinks of replacement of parts and nothing in regards to customer satisfaction. Nothing happened for a few days and when we got hold of AHS representative, they said NANA didn't submit any such requests! So they asked NANA to come to our place 1 more time and conclude their findings. Guess what, no one showed up and when we called them, they said we have replaced whatever we could and we don't know what else to do! I told them atleast care to call us and tell that you guys are not gonna show up. They said they will tell AHS. BUT, but, but they never told AHS that the washer needs replacement as they are afraid their relationship with AHS will be screwed. What a selfish moto. Finally, when we talked to AHS again, they said go ahead and buy a new one if you want, we can't help you! 2. Garage door Unfortunately, our garage door stopped working after a few days of washer issue. We tried to chat a few times and finally got hold of a specialist. They assigned ACE's GARAGE DOOR REPAIR AND INSTALLATION. The person came to check out our garage door and mentioned that he would need to change the whole assembly of garage (drums, spring, bearings, etc.). He told us he would charge $1500. To his surprise, we had already called in 3 other companies and got a quote on the issue. All 3 companies mentioned issue was with drums and spring bearing only, and it would cost around $175!

When we told this to the person from ACES, he said okay I will repair for $300. We were like why did you even lie in 1st place. He gave crap reason that I thought issue is with motor and the assembly. We then told him we don't want you to work on this so he left and told his company that we agreed to order bearings and a few other parts, which we never ever did! When we called them to complain, they apologized and would make sure that our garage door gets repaired without unnecessary charges. The person was supposed to come again at 8 am but came at 3 pm! When he came, he mentioned he will only repair the spring bearings which need dis-assembly of many things. When we told him we know the issue and there is no need for dis-assemble, he said I don't want to work for you and left. We then contacted AHS again and they didn't even agree to re-assign to another company. All they do is assign the issue to a crap company and then the problem is all ours. The washer issue has been going on for more than 3 months now and still no resolution. This is how you treat your customers. Well done!

Kunal S.
Fremont, CA
March 24 2019 2:45AM

I’ve been a member of AHS for approximately 15 years. The company used to be an upstanding business until later years. It took them 3 months to determine my heating system was not repairable and that they couldn’t find the system and offered me a payout. The repair company they sent to do the work, took their time with a decision. Needless to say I ended up going through most of the winter without heat and paying over $400.00 out of pocket along with what they offered to get a new system. Their motto is “if it can’t be repaired they will replace product.” That’s the biggest snow job ever. Don’t believe the hype.

Catherine B.
Baltimore, MD
March 02 2019 4:03AM

We have a contract with AHS dating back 7 to 10 years. While we've had no major problems in our home and pay in excess of $50 a month. They replaced a drop in stove with a GE glass top a few years ago. We use the stove every day. The glass top broke while I was pushing ribeye steaks down in a plastic bag to marinate on top of it. Very little pressure, since I'm a woman of 61 years. They sent a technician out and then denied the claim because of "abuse". What a crock. Previously, they replaced a dishwasher that we use once every few months, only when a big dinner with company occurs. It went bad within 12 uses. They sent a technician once who reset the unit and it worked once. It quit again and the next technician said the panel had a roach infestation. I've never had roaches but they again denied the claim. Synopsis; pay over $600 a year and get very little return. After paying all that money for this service, we had to pay to get another dishwasher ourselves and now, because they like, we will have the expense of replacing the stove when we can save enough to buy it.

Phillip and Penny F.
Columbia, TN
February 25 2019 6:29PM

I set up an appointment on a Sunday because my heater went out during a snow storm. Because I could not get an appointment until the following Thursday, I had it fixed at my own expense. I canceled the appointment 3 days in advance and was told online at that time that my money if charged, would be reimbursed within 2 business days. I was charged the fee the day of the appointment. I waited 2 business days before reaching out to American Home Shield but was not reimbursed. After sitting on hold for 15 minutes waiting to speak to someone, I decided to try chat online instead. I was told that there was a system error and that the charge shouldn't have been charged. Because it was, I now have to wait 10 business days before a physical check is mailed. I explained that since the error was not on my part, this was not right. The agent refused to give me a supervisor and said that it is what it is. I will NEVER renew my policy with them and will share my experience with as many people that will listen. DO NOT CONDUCT BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY.

Derek T.
Hesperia, CA
February 14 2019 8:20PM

Stay away from American Home Shield (AHS) at all costs. AHS is probably one of the worst companies with which I have done business. Indeed, if AHS does not solve my problem or return my money today, I will sue them. AHS sent a technician to my home on January 25 to repair a dishwasher, a refrigerator, and an oven. The technician called AHS for authorization to get the parts that were needed for the repair. On January 25, but there was no one at AHS who could authorize the needed parts. The repair company AHS sent to my home called AHS a number of times to get the needed authorization, but there was never anyone at AHS who could authorize the needed parts. I called AHS on numerous occasions, and could not get any information from AHS on the status of AHS's approval of the needed parts. Indeed, on most of my calls to AHS, I was put on hold for more than 30 minutes after which I was cut off. It is now February 14, and neither I nor the repair company has been able to find someone at AHS who could authorize the needed parts. It is my personal, subjective opinion, belief, and interpretation that AHS disappears when expensive parts are required for a covered repair. I personally believe that I was ripped off by AHS.  Therefore, it is my personal, subjective opinion, belief, and interpretation that AHS is dishonest and unethical.  The foregoing review solely provides my personal, subjective opinions, beliefs, and interpretations.

JEFFREY P.
PEBBLE BEACH, CA
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