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.
American Home Shield has provided 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.
- Three coverage options available
- Two service fee levels
- No home inspection required
- Coverage exclusions can be technical and difficult to understand
- Only response guarantee is that the company will contact a technician within 48 hours
American Home Shield Home Warranty Plans
American Home Shield offers three home warranty plans plus several add-ons for specific items. Depending on the plan you choose, the home warranty will protect essential systems within the home including:
Air conditioning with ductwork
Heating with ductwork
Electrical system and doorbells
Plumbing (including some stoppages)
While the lowest-tiered ShieldSilver plan does not cover appliances, its ShieldGold and ShieldPlatinum plans protect the following appliances:
Freestanding ice makers
Garage door openers
Built-in food centers
It’s worth noting that American Home Warranty does not cover stand-alone freezers. You can choose to add more coverage for roof leak repairs, well pump units, septic system ejector pump and pumping, pools and built-in spa equipment, and guest units up to 750 square feet, such as 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. We quoted a home in North Carolina and Oklahoma and received the following quote for both locations:
- ShieldSilver: $29.99 per month or $39.99 per month.
- ShieldGold: $49.99 per month or $59.99 per month.
- ShieldPlatinum: $79.99 per month or $89.99 per month.
The final cost depends on the service fee you choose, either $00 or $125 per call. The $125 per call fee will lower your monthly payment on your home warranty plan by $10. The deductibles are paid for trade service call fees every time a contractor is sent to the home, regardless of whether the reported issue is 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 purchasing.
All plans are subject to $50,000 aggregate limit of liability. The covered item limit under a ShieldGold plan is $2,000, while ShieldPlatinum has a covered appliance limit of $4,000.
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 lookup tool or by making a call to their 24-hour claims line.
The trade service fee is due when 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 48 hours. The contractor then contacts the consumer to schedule an appointment to inspect the item in question and 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. Either call the number or select your plan online. Plan costs are state-based, so your price might depend on location and home type. The sampling of locations we tested returned base rates of $30 to $90 monthly depending on location and plan.
American Home Shield Complaints
American Home Shield has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of “B” and a four- out of five-star rating on ConsumerAffairs with over 12,000 reviews posted. Most positive reviews speak highly of customer service. American Home Shield has responded quickly to customer issues with contractors doing poor work or lengthy delays in service appointments on ConsumerAffairs and successfully closed complaints through the BBB. A few customers report longer response times than the 48-hour window American Home Shield advertises.
Our Experience With American Home Shield
We reviewed the sample contracts provided by American Home Shield. Though the company offers services in 48 states, you can only view sample contracts from five states. Upon review, we found the 14-page contract to be detailed but also highly technical, so determining the coverage and exclusions could be overwhelming for some. That said, we like that American Home Shield offers several monthly plan premiums and service fee options and that its coverage limits are high. Other companies offer more add-ons, but its Shield Gold plan offers high appliance limits compared with industry averages.
To better access customer service representatives, we’d like to see American Home Shield add an online chat feature to their website.
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, American Home Shield will replace the unit when possible or suggest other solutions if replacement isn’t within the limits of your warranty contract.
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 refrigerator breakdown or an electrical problem can cause 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.