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damage due to storms and fires, that coverage does not include broken appliances, HVAC, plumbing, water heaters, or outdated electrical systems that fail due to age or simple wear and tear.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

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
January 23 2019 9:40PM

Carpet very wet around, Toilet base and by bathtub and wooden cabinet. Small area. First plumber from AHS said bathtub getting carpet wet when I shower. $125. Two/three months later, same area all wet. No one was using that same shower I might add! AHS sent out plumber again who said I had Crack in Toilet tank. Toilet wasnt wet anywhere? I don't have money to hire plumber to install new Toilet assembly.

Sandra S.
Dallas, TX
October 27 2018 2:44PM

I contacted AHS because my gas dryer was spinning intermittently and then stopped altogether. AHS assigned an out-of-state repair service that said it could not get to me for 10 days. I told them that was unacceptable and after saying they would immediately reissue the repair assignment, I did not hear from them for two days. I called them back only to be on hold for 16 minutes. I was then told they would get back to me with some information. The information: All the repair companies in my area were busy; hence, I was assigned and was to contact for a repair date the same-out of-state company. I declined. I called two local out-of-AHS-network repair companies, both of whom could schedule me within a day or two. I find my experience with AHS thus wholly unsatisfactory. I rated them a two rather than one because the AHS representative were cordial.

Yazmin S.
October 27 2018 12:23AM

In my experience, the WORST company EVER! So, two months ago, oven not heating, sent a guy, he yelled at me in front of my daughter, and then, my husband! The oven never did get fixed. The dryer broke, they were going to send same company, I said HELL NO, so they sent a different company. The guy BLEW UP our dryer and our electric circuit. Blamed it on our electricity. SO, they sent an electrician, he fixed it. It blew again, the electrician came again, fixed it, looked and said the dryer is melted inside and that it is burned up and the electric is not the problem and that the dryer has a short in it. I called the owner back and told him the guy he sent ruined the dryer and blew up circuit breaker. The OWNER came and "fixed" the dryer. I did a load of laundry and it BURNED my husbands expensive work clothes. I called the owner, said I was going to call Home Shield. He said I was lucky to have him because someone else would take a minimum of two to three weeks, maybe more, before they would be able to look at my dryer. I told him I was concerned about his guy blowing up my dryer (by the way he didn't know his employee's name, he said he goes through them a lot). A guy at my husband's work said if it had so much electric going through it that the circuit breaker broke and it was melted inside, it would never be the same. So, he "fixed" it again. I did another load of laundry and it BURNED my husband's other expensive work clothes. NOW, the appliance guy told American Home Shield that he never found any problem with the dryer?! Really?! So, their first guy, over the oven yells at me in my home in front of my daughter and the second guy, who blew up my, still not working dryer, it has now been about a month, said he found nothing wrong with the dryer?! Who are these people they are sending to my house? CRIMINALS? Apparently. THEIR electrician said it was the dryer. NOW, after calling them for a month, having a shady people in my house, they want to have someone else come to my house. I said I really think after everything you have put me through I should have a NEW DRYER, because your guy BLEW mine up and it WASN'T blown up before! AND for ALL of his HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE inconvenience (just got off phone, now having ANOTHER guy come to my house)! This has really added a lot of unneeded stress to my life. UPDATE: THEY SENT AN 8TH PERSON TO FIX DRYER AND THEY WERE A NO SHOW! WORST COMPANY EVER! Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend.

Adriene B.
October 09 2018 11:31PM

I am considering getting a home warranty coverage plan while I prepare to move and for the benefit of the peace of mind of new owners and am going to see what is available out there now. I had American Home Shield on two homes in the past and was nothing but happy with them. This is when a service call was $45, between 1995 and 2007. During that time they replaced a propane water tank that would have cost me over $700, replaced a portion of my air conditioner system, fixed my outdoor spa replacing many of the parts, saving me hundreds of dollars, and most importantly fixed the pump on my well at one house. They sent someone immediately that time and I had my water restored within hours. Other times a person always came promptly to make repairs. This was in Austin, Texas area so location may have played a part in getting reliable service people. Results would likely depend on the availability of good qualified service providers in your local area.

Diane T.
July 08 2018 3:03PM

This company subcontracted with a company who sent a green, unqualified workman to my house who literally did NOTHING to fix the toilet. I had to have another company come out to complete the work. When I contacted AHS, they couldn't have cared less. They don't care about you at all, you are just a monthly check until you actually need help. You will never get the time back you waste with their unknowledgeable and apathetic service people who you reach only after literally 45 min to an hour of hold time. This was a waste of money for me for YEARS. STAY AWAY

Terry G.
June 29 2018 11:24AM

I call only to be put on hold, told their computers are down, or disconnected with no return call. It's taken over a month to get my air conditioner compressor replaced. It is still not fixed. The people they hire are inexperienced and rarely show up. The electricians they sent left gaping holes around the outlets they replaced. I had a sewage stoppage. Their plumbers took 3 days to get out and look at it, only to tell me it wasn't covered. In the meantime, I couldn't use my water and had 4 inches of sewage in my shower. So far I have had to pay $225 in fees for their people to come out and not one thing has been fixed correctly. It is beyond frustrating.

Kelsey V.
June 23 2018 9:37AM

We found our Coils from our HVAC were leaking into our house yesterday and ruined our hardwood floor. Called the company and they said go ahead and call any company out which we did. After they came out and determined our unit had rusted out we tried multiple times to contact them for the authorization for replacement. We were literally on hold for over and finally hung up and called on 2 other telephones. We were always placed on hold and when we finally got a rep, they wanted to talk to the service technician who had stay with us on hold for over an hour and then finally said he was sorry but he had to go. I called him and gave him the number to call and after being on hold AGAIN, they told him to send a detailed breakdown of needed replacements. Its a joke dealing with them.

John L.
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