American Home Shield Review

An industry leader in protecting homeowners from costly repair costs

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American Home Shield

American Home Shield

overall rating
4.3

Our Take

American Home Shield is one of the most popular home warranty plans found in the country. Though slightly more expensive than the average competitor, AHS offers three trade service fee options to help homeowners customize pricing.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • You have the option to build your own plan with only the options you need

  • Nationwide coverage

  • 24/7 claims and customer service online or by telephone

  • 30-day workmanship guarantee

  • Coverage for guest houses and rental units up to 750 square feet

  • Optional coverage for electronics

Cons
  • Exclusions for standard coverage such as roofs and stand-alone freezers

  • Real estate plans do not offer a choice on the Trade Service Call fee

  • Multiple service call fees are possible such as plumbing and an appliance

  • Trade Service Fee of $75 to $125 per occurrence

Key Takeaways
  • There is a 30 day waiting period before homeowners can use the policy.  
  • The company offers a very generous $3,000 per appliance cap.  
  • The Combo Plan has the fewest coverage gaps for homeowners to rest assured their home is protected. 
Specifications
  • Year Founded 1971
  • Coverage Nationwide
  • Customer Service 24/7 online
  • Waiting Period 30 days
  • Contractor Network Contractor network of over 16,000 licensed contractors in 49 states.
  • Service Recall Period 30-day workmanship guarantee
  • Number of Plans 3 homeowner plans. 3 real estate plans. Optional coverage available for an additional fee.
  • Coverage Limit Payout cap of $1,000 per contract term for plumbing. Payout cap of $1,500 per contract term for well pump.
  • Contract Length 12 months, 2 year options are available for real estate plans.
  • Payment Options The company will repair/replace covered items or may pay cash in lieu of repair/replacement.
  • Cost (Trade Service Call Fee Options: $75, $100, $125) Homeowner plans: $22.99-$94.99/mo depending on location and plan options. Real estate plans: $375-$1,045 yearly depending on location and plan options.
  • Official Website https://www.ahs.com/

When you are a pioneer and the first to venture into unknown territory; those that come after you try to follow your example. In the home warranty industry, American Home Shield was the first company in the nation to establish home warranties to help protect homeowners against the high cost of home repairs. With more than 45 years in business, it is a respected home warranty provider.

We’ve taken a close look at American Home Shield (AHS) to see how its home warranty plans measure up. Some of the criteria we examined included the number and type of home warranty plans, the company’s BBB rating, plan costs, exclusions, payout caps, and how it compares to the competition. Keep reading to see if AHS is a good fit for your home warranty needs.

Company Overview

American Home Shield was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. It has the distinction of being the first home warranty company in the U.S. It offers nationwide coverage with three homeowner options along with three real estate plans. 

Homeowner Plans

AHS offers three home warranty plans; its Appliance Plan, System Plan, and the Combo Plan. (You can also build your own plan. If you build your own warranty plan, you’ll choose from all of the available options of the systems, appliances, and combo plans.) Trade Service Fee Options include $75, $100, and $125.

COVERED System Plan Appliances Plan Combo Plan
Air Conditioning w/Ductwork  
Heating w/Ductwork  
Electrical  
Doorbells  
Smoke Detectors  
Ceiling Fans  
Plumbing (including stoppages)  
Water Heaters  
Garbage Disposals  
Instant H/C Water Dispensers  
Central Vacuums  
Refrigerators  
Ranges/Ovens/Cooktops  
Clothes Washers  
Clothes Dryers  
Dishwashers  
Built-in Microwave Ovens  
Trash Compactors  
Freestanding Ice Makers  
Garage Door Openers  
Built-in Food Centers  

Real Estate Plans

AHS offers three real estate plans; ShieldEssential, ShieldPlus, and ShieldComplete. The Trade Service Fee is $75 for all real estate plans. Consumers should be sure to talk to their realtor during the escrow process. Sellers can use them as a powerful negotiation tool and buyers can get better pricing if they need to purchase it.

Our expert says

Purchasing a real estate homeowners home warranty plan can protect home buyers from unexpected repair costs after moving in and also provides sellers an added layer of protection from liability issues.

COVERED Shield Essential ShieldPlus Shield Complete
Air Conditioning w/Ductwork
Heating w/Ductwork
Plumbing (including stoppages)
Electrical
Water Heaters
Insufficiently Maintained Equipment
Failure due to presence of rust & corrosion
Built-in Jetted Bathtub Motor & Pump
Refrigerant Recapture, Reclaim, and Disposal
Removal of Defective Equipment
Failure due to mismatched systems
Failure due to Undetectable Pre-existing Conditions
Improper Installations, Repairs, or Modifications
Permit Fees ($250 Per Contract Term)
Code Violations ($250 Per Contract Term
Rekey
Clothes Washers  
Clothes Dryers  
Kitchen Refrigerator with Ice Maker  
Built-in Microwave Ovens  
Dishwashers  
Garbage Disposals  
Ranges/Ovens/Cooktops  
Ceiling Fans    
Telephone Wiring    
Doorbells    
Garage Door Openers    
Instant H/C Water Dispensers    
Built-in Exhaust, Attic, Whole House Fans    

Exclusions

A complete list of terms and exclusions can be found in the sample contract.

  • Air Conditioning and Ductwork: Outside or underground piping, well pump, and well pump components for geothermal and/or water source heat pump, window units, water towers, chillers, Chiller components, water lines, legally mandated diagnostic testing when replacing heating or cooling equipment. Certain air conditioning systems have their coverage limited to $1,500. This limitation only applies to the access, diagnosis, and repair or replacement of any geothermal and/or water source heat pumps, glycol, hot water, or steam circulating systems. In certain circumstances, ductwork coverage may be limited to $1,000.
  • Heating and Ductwork: Outside or underground piping, well pump, well pump components for geothermal and/or water source heat pump, fuel storage tanks, portable units, fireplace grain, pellet, wood heating units (even if it's the only source of heating), legally mandated diagnostic testing when replacing heating or cooling equipment.
  • Electrical: Audio/video/computer/intercom/alarm or security wiring or Cable, telephone wiring, faceplates, and circuit overload.
  • Plumbing (including stoppages): Stoppages caused by collapsed, damaged or broken drain, vent or sewer lines outside your home’s main foundation; when your lines are broken, infiltrated or stopped by roots or foreign objects – even if they're within your home’s main foundation; bathtubs, sinks, showers, shower enclosures and base pans, toilet lids and seats, jets, caulking or grouting, septic tanks, water filtration/purification system, holding or storage tanks, saunas or steam rooms, costs needed to locate or access cleanouts that can't be found or are inaccessible, or to install cleanouts, access through roof vents.
  • Water Heaters: Auxiliary holding or storage tanks, noise, fuel storage tanks, and energy conservation units.
  • Central Vacuums: Removable hoses and accessories; the cost of accessing and closing floors, walls, and ceilings when locating or repairing a malfunction.
  • Garage Door Opener: Garage doors, garage door track assemblies
  • Refrigerators: Freestanding freezers, multi-media centers, wine chillers; AHS will pay up to $3,000 per covered item malfunction for access, diagnosis, and repair/replacement of any covered appliance.
  • Built-in Food Centers: Any removable accessories.
  • Electronic Extended Warranty: Mobile phones, software failures, accidental damage.
  • Pool and Spas: Portable or above-ground spas; access to pool and spa equipment; lights, liners, jets, ornamental fountains, waterfalls, and their pumping systems; auxiliary pumps, pool cover and related equipment, fill line and fill valves, built-in or detachable cleaning equipment including, without limitation, pool sweeps, pop-up heads, turbo valves, skimmers, chlorinators, and ionizers; fuel storage tanks, disposal filtration mediums, heat pump, multi-media centers, dehumidifiers, saltwater generators and components.
  • Well Pump: Above or underground piping, cable or electrical lines leading to or from the well pump, including those that are located within the well casing; well casings, pressure switches not located on the pump, holding, storage or pressure tanks, booster pumps, re-drilling of wells, well pump, and all well pump components for geothermal and/or water source heat pumps.
  • Septic Pump: Broken or collapsed sewer lines outside the foundation; Stoppages or roots that prevent the effective use of any externally applied sewer machine cable; cost of finding or gaining access to the septic tank or sewer hook-ups, disposal of waste, chemical treatment of the septic tank, and/or sewer lines.

Payout Caps

  • Plumbing: $1,000 limit per contract term
  • Well Pump: $1,500 per contract term
  • Appliances: $3,000 per covered item 
Our expert says

The company will make its best effort to expedite those repairs it deems to be of an emergency.

Repair Time

A service technician will be initiated within 48 hours after you request service from AHS. The company will make its best effort to expedite those repairs it deems to be of an emergency. You may request expedited service for non-emergency repairs if a service contractor is available for an additional fee.

Customer Service/Claims

You can request service online 24/7 or report a claim by calling 888-682-1043. Just look up your warranty by entering your zip code and address or contract number, or log in to your account if you’re already registered. For customer service, you call 888-682-1043. There is also an online chat feature.

BBB Rating

American Home Shield has a “B” rating with the BBB and has been an accredited business since 1997. The company has a 2.62-out-of-5-star rating based on 7,551 customer reviews and 12,752 closed customer complaints in the last three years. The most common customer complaints deal with billing/collection issues. 

Homeowner Plan Pricing

We obtained quotes in several states to help you compare plan prices. Trade service call fee options are $75, $100, and $125. Choosing a higher trade service call fee lowers your monthly payment.)

Choose a higher trade service fee to keep your monthly payments down.

*TCF=Trade call fee which is the amount you pay for a service call.

State TCF* System Plan Monthly Cost Appliance Plan Monthly Cost Combo plan Monthly Cost
California $75 $44.99 $44.99 $54.99
  $100 $34.99 $34.99 $39.00
  $125 $22.99 $22.99 $39.99
Washington $75 $59.00 $59.00 $69.99
  $100 $49.99 $49.99 $59.00
  $125 $44.99 $44.99 $54.99
New York $75 $84.99 $84.99 $94.99
  $100 $74.99 $74.99 $84.99
  $125 $69.99 $69.99 $79.99
Florida $75 $49.99 $49.99 $59.99
  $100 $39.99 $39.99 $49.99
  $125 $34.99 $34.99 $44.99
Kansas $75 $59.99 $59.99 $69.99
  $100 $49.99 $49.99 $59.99
  $125 $44.99 $44.99 $54.99
New Mexico $75 $59.00 $59.99 $69.99
  $100 $49.99 $49.99 $59.99
  $125 $44.99 $44.99 $54.99

Optional Coverage for Homeowner Plans 

*Prices are per month (The trade service call fee applies the same whether it is a coverage option that is in the original plan or whether it is a service call to repair an item under optional coverage.)

State Pool Inground Spa Pool/Spa Equipment Inground Spa (addt’l) Well Pump Guest Unit Septic Pump Electronics
California $16.25 $16.25 $16.25 $11.67 $8.33 $14.99 $4.17 N/A
Washington $16.25 $16.25 $16.25 $11.67 $8.33 $14.99 $4.17 N/A
New York $23.75 $23.75 $23.75 $15.42 $8.33 $33.99 $4.17 $14
Florida $18.75 $18.75 $18.75 $12.92 $8.33 $15.99 $4.17 $14
Kansas $23.75 $23.75 $23.75 $15.42 $8.33 $18.99 $4.17 $14
New Mexico $23.75 $23.75 $23.75 $15.42 $8.33 $21.99 $4.17 $14

Real Estate Plan Pricing

Trade Service Call Fee for all real estate plans is $75. The pricing of plans is on a yearly basis.

Purchasing a real estate homeowners home warranty plan can protect home buyers from unexpected repair costs after moving in and also provides sellers an added layer of protection from liability issues. Many times a discount is available for purchasing a home warranty plan within 30 days of closing on a home. This discount is an added savings over purchasing a home warranty plan outside of a real estate transaction.

Talk to your realtor when buying a home to see if the sellers are willing to buy the home warranty plan for you as part of escrow closing.

A California homeowners plan outside of a real estate transaction is roughly $660/yearly for the most comprehensive package compared to the $575/yearly option of the most comprehensive option for a real estate homeowners warranty plan. The waiting period for homeowners plans is 30 days and the real estate home warranty plan goes into effect upon the completion of the home closing.

State ShieldEsential Shield Plus ShieldComplete
California $375 $525 $575
Washington $430 $575 $640
New York $635 $915 $1,045
Florida $450 $600 $660
Kansas $500 $675 $750
New Mexico $495 $640 $680

Optional Coverage for Real Estate Plans

*Electronics optional coverage includes TVs, laptops, tablets, home theater systems, gaming systems, and smart home products.

State Pool Inground Spa Pool/Spa Equipment Inground Spa addt’l Salt Water Pool Equip Guest Unit Well Pump Fridge Dddt’l *Electronics
CA $195 $195 $195 $195 $390 $195 $175 $15 $168
WA $285 $285 $285 $285 $400 $240 $175 $15 $216
NY $285 $285 $285 $285 $400 $525 $175 $15 $168
FL $225 $225 $225 $225 $390 $220 $175 $15 $240
KS $285 $285 $285 $285 $400 $250 $175 $15 $216
NM $285 $285 $285 $285 $400 $335 $175 $15 $216

The Competition: American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty 

Both American Home Shield (AHS) and Choice Home Warranty (CHW) offer nationwide coverage and 24/7 customer service and claims handling. AHS offers three different trade services call fee options ($75, $100, $125) whereas CHW only offers its customers the $85 trade service call fee option. Plan prices for CHW range from $470 to $570; compared to AHS plan prices of $300 to $700 yearly. American Home Shield offers more optional coverage choices than Choice Home Warranty. When you look at the customer service records compared – AHS has a slightly better “B” rating with the BBB compared to the CHW rating of “B-”. More plan price options and better customer service make American Home Shield the clear winner over Choice Home Warranty in our opinion.

Final Verdict

The Combo Plan is American Home Shield’s most comprehensive home warranty plan and the best bargain for your money. It covers 21 home systems, components and appliances. The company has over 45 years of experience and has a favorable customer service record. A unique feature of AHS is the ability to build your own plan with only the features you want. AHS has fewer payment caps than other home warranty companies we have reviewed. Its plan flexibility and excellent reputation make American Home Shield a great choice when considering home repair coverage options.

Methodology

There are several aspects to think about in choosing a home warranty. To help readers pick the plan that works best for them, we developed a methodology for reviewing home warranties that includes a quantified scoring system that evaluates plan pricing, exclusions, payout caps, repair times, and terms, comparing them to other carriers across the industry. Third-party ratings and customer satisfaction scores are factored in to help assess an insurer's overall quality and value.