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damage due to storms and fires, that coverage does not include broken appliances, HVAC, plumbing, water heaters, or outdated electrical systems that fail due to age or simple wear and tear.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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

My wife and I had an AHS warranty for over twenty years. AHS warranties are very competitively priced for what they cover. One way they keep costs down is by not having enough customer service people available. You should be able to file a claim online and doing so is easy and effective but if you need to speak to customer service expect your wait on hold to be 45 minutes to an hour. You cannot request a specific service provider. As is true of all industries there are good and bad companies. In that twenty something year we ran into two fraudulent providers. The problem is that AHS will take their word over yours. If some clown claims your coils are dirty but they aren't, well tough, you will have to provide them with either a bill showing you had the coils serviced or you can call another service provider on your own nickle and if they say your coils are clean, AHS will concede. The web site is pretty horrible. Often after having a system repaired, the website would act like we didn't have coverage for that item anymore, so you end up on the phone, on hold for an hour. A customer service rep told me just file a claim on the closest item listed. That saved time but eventually there weren't going to be anymore items to choose. The last straw was when we moved and I tried to log in at our new location and the web site said we had no contract. I called in only to be told, yes, we were covered but I'd had enough of their horrible website and horrible on hold times. I cancelled the policy. The only thing worse than having an American Home Shield policy is having to pay for the repairs out of pocket... and I'm not even certain of that.

Bobby W.
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