American Home Shield Home Warranty
Caption: American Home Shield Home Warranty

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damage due to storms and fires, that coverage does not include broken appliances, HVAC, plumbing, water heaters, or outdated electrical systems that fail due to age or simple wear and tear.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 Termination Policy # Of Repair Limits Coverage Effective Date
12 months Cancel anytime
after 30 days. Refunds
are prorated and subject
to an admin 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. Get a quote by calling (888)312-6764.

American Home Shield Reviews

Recent Reviews

September 25 2020 5:28PM

This company is a complete scam. They sent a "plumber" to my house and charged me $100.00. The contractor (water works company, in northern California) was rude, unprofessional and a liar.

He said that fixing the stoppage on my sink was not going to be covered because it did not have a p-trap. I had to go online and google what a p-trap looked like in order to find out he was making stuff up. My sink DID have a p-trap and the stoppage was covered under my plan.

I fought for hours on the phone with their representatives in the Philippines and they always sided with the contractor. In the end they said that they were going to give me my $100.00 back but that was a lie too. I have been waiting over 2 weeks and nothing.

I then decided to cancel the contract and they had the audacity to charge me a cancellation fee of $49.99 and will not pro-rate my last payment. Do not sign up with this company. They will steal your money.

Karelia B.
NAPA, CA
September 03 2020 11:08PM

I’ve had a contract with AHS for 15 years on two houses. They have gone from mediocre to terrible. The hold time for a representative is from 1 hour to 2 hours. Then the representative speaks broken English and is rude and speaks while the customer is speaking.

They put you on hold and refuse to let you talk to a supervisor. Then after 2 hours on the phone, they “drop” the call and do not call you back. So you start all over again. Then they are totally unreasonable about what they won’t cover.

If you are fortunate enough to get a technician/repairman who actually knows how to talk to them and will not back down about what is or should be covered, ask for that company the next time you need service on that system.

I spent over 8 hours total on the phone with them over a $150 ceiling fan that they refused to cover. Talking to them turns me into someone I don’t want to be.

My husband says for me to just cancel the contract. Have you ever tried to cancel their contract? You need an attorney to cancel. My advice - JUST DON’T!!!!

Alice L.
Cape Carteret, NC
August 07 2020 3:31PM

American Home Shield is a very poor company to be with. Pay $47.99 every month and pay for a service call to get someone come out to your home is $125.

And then when you do get the contractors to come out they don't do the job correctly so American Home Shield I've been calling them ever since June to get the company back out here to my home to fix my AC unit and left message and email also.

They're not answering any of the messages at all so finally here just the other day which was August 6th a 2020 I had a new customer to come out and they did not wants to do the job that the first contractor did which is A1 construction service out of Greer South Carolina.

And I don't blame her so I called back and told American Home Shield what was my problem and don't you know they sent a email back to A1 construction company and they call and they still not answering their messages.

And I told them, "Why y'all still begging them for their business? Get rid of them because they're no good. Then making your company go down" and I myself been wanting my air condition fix and they put you on the phone forever and forever.

Then when they get on the phone you do not understand their English and I am really really pissed off and upset about how I've been treated as a customer with American Home Shield and they want me to write their customer service holiday Wars.

To me it's not customer service that doing. It is American Home Shield and I don't fault the customer service. I fault American Home Shield because they're not doing nothing about it so today Imma call them again and see how they keep me on the phone.

I'll get me a clear English person on the phone. I just don't understand this company any and if y'all go with American Home Shield please ask them who are they sending out to your home and I've been with them since 2015.

Also they wants to give me $75 back on to my account because of my position I'm in with air conditioning and I told them, "You ought to give me my money back all $195 that I paid for freon from A1 construction service in Greer South Carolina."

I advise no one to get a contract with American home shield. They will change your payments because I had a friend ran into some problems and she want to change her due date and they wouldn't unless they pay the money up front or head I'm 2 months.

And I told her that is ridiculous advise no one please no one. And last I told them to stop begging that same company to come by. Get someone else please or get rid of them.

Pearllina J.
Laurens, SC
July 08 2020 1:52PM

Horrible company. The customer service is a joke. Can't get through with a phone call, on hold for 3 hours, then hung up on. The reps are rude and have no idea how to help you. Very few actually speak English.

They hire F rated, through the BBB, contractors that don't know what they are doing, put in used or defective parts, and leave you hanging. My oven has been under repair for 7 months and it's still not fixed. They take your money, but you get nothing in return.

Mary J.
Midland, TX
July 08 2020 5:18AM

Totally disappointed! Both washer and refrigerator were worked on, neither work properly. Washer is making a loud noise and refrigerator is leaking water.

A company by the name of Express was sent to repair both, very poor service. I cancelled the service. AHS took my monthly payment but when I needed the repairs, they failed me.

Cynthia W.
Covington, LA
July 06 2020 7:02PM

American Home Shield is not a reliable Insurance company, they are not responding to customers complaints, and their service is one of the worst anyone can experience.

The company and customers care are located in the Philippines even though they advertise to be in the U.S.A.

Their service people are the worst, they send a Technician for the microwave, he said it needed a new door, it was ordered and then a different technician came to install it, and he couldn't. Then he said we needed to replace the microwave.

The technician was supposed to be from Sears, but it was from A&E company services. After their visit to my home, they never submitted a report back to AHS and after several more phones call to American Home, they said, someone will call me from contractor relations.

Lousy technicians!! And lousy customer service.!! I have been dealing with a microwave repair for over a month and no-one is resolving anything. I would not pay for this insurance company, it is trash!!!

Alma W.
Tucson, AZ
March 26 2020 5:31PM

I ordinarily do not buy insurance because I understand that insurance companies win ONLY if I lose, so they are predisposed to find ways to make me lose. But when I bought a new house, the previous owner purchased an AHS policy on my behalf.

My experience with AHS started out reasonably well. They arranged to have a decent plumber come out and fix a few low-cost leaky faucets on various occasions, relatively quickly, with no hitches. Then my central heating system malfunctioned.

On 3/5/2020 I put in a service request. An HVAC tech came out that day, and told me the “zone controller” needed to be replaced. On 3/8 I got a call from a different HVAC tech from a different company asking to set up an appointment. I asked the new guy what happened to my original tech, and he said he didn’t know… but he suspected that Tech #1 decided he didn’t want to do the work (for whatever reason).

So Tech #2 came out on 3/8, and diagnosed the following: 1) Jackson zone retrofit kit to static pressure zone board, discharge sensors and static pressure sensors. 2) Retrofit zone dampers to Jackson static pressure modulating system. This was Greek to me, but the bottom line is that the fix would cost $2,000. So I waited for AHS to approve the work… and waited… and waited… and then waited some more, until 3/21—16 days later!

All this time, the status indicator on the AHS website read “Pending Approval”. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I called AHS and was told my claim had been denied. The first-level customer service representative told me my contract did not cover “zone systems”, referring me to Section F1 that presents a list of “Covered” items and a list of “Not Covered” items.

That Section does not use the term “zone system” anywhere, so my zone system was neither explicitly covered nor excluded. So, I asked to speak with the Supervisor. The supervisor agreed with me that the terms “zone” and “zone system” are nowhere to be found in the contract, and suggested that Section A2 would then apply, which reads: “Your Agreement with AHS includes only specified coverage for the systems and components STATED AS COVERED.”

Since my “zone system” was not stated as covered, it was not covered. I then explained that I know nothing about “zone systems”, only that my central heating system was explicitly covered in the “Covered Items” section of my contract. The Supervisor then transferred me to the Manager. The Manager was shocked to learn that my service request had been pending for 16 days and stated that someone from AHS “should have told me about the claim denial sooner”.

I agreed, and suggested that here was his opportunity to make it up to me. He said he could not do that, because I have a “zone system”. Aw geez, that word again… I still don’t know what it means, other than AHS won’t fix it, and I still have no heat. I stated that it sure sounded like he was trying to wiggle out of his responsibility on a technicality, and he agreed… but didn’t change his mind.

Instead, he waived the $75 service call copay for me. You can imagine how unimpressed I was at that offer. So after 16 days and 2.5 hours on the phone, I came up with bupkiss. I had to arrange and pay for the service from Tech #2 all by myself.

My impression of insurance companies has only been reinforced… they WIN only if I LOSE, and sure enough, AHS found a way to make me lose. The only thing I can do about it is to ignore the “Renew Now” button on my AHS account webpage, and write this review in the hope that others may be spared. Sigh.

Dagan H.
TULSA, OK
January 24 2020 10:49PM

A listing agent had AHS policy attached to our house that we bought from her ( as an incentive ) as an added 'feature.' After we moved in we found 4 plumbing issues. Guess what? This POS outfit did not cover ONE. NOT A ONE. They give you the excuse and fine print crap. Mad? I was going to dump on the plumber but he was just a kid working for them as a contractor. Unless you pony up big monthly bucks to them . . . . Stay away from ALL this con B.S. and save your money to cover things yourself.

Ed L.
Chicago, IL
January 04 2020 6:38PM

I canceled my contract in the phone in late June last year. They continued to bill me and I called again. They said it was taken care of. I noticed recently that they have continued to bill me. I called, again. They told me I never canceled, that when I called in late June I never spoke with the cancelation department. They said I hung up without ever speaking with anyone in that department so it was never canceled. So, they want an early termination fee now since the Contract terminates in March. I canceled because of horrible customer service and non - responsive technicians. Now they want more money? Really?

Danielle H.
Warner Robins, GA
December 18 2019 2:19AM

BUYER BEWARE!!!! This company is crooked. Very very crooked. They will send the cheapest, most unprofessional company a person can deal with to you home, only to lie and tell you everything is fine. And then when a technician actually tells you that you have a problem, conveniently American home shield can't get a hold of said technician. They will give you a 24/7 run around. It's so so very sad I had to take time out of my day to sign up for this site, so that I may help others save their money. RUN FAR AWAY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

Joseph K.
Jacksonville, NC
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