American Home Shield Review

An industry leader in protecting homeowners from costly repair costs

Home
•••

Randy Faris/Getty Images

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

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.

What We Like

  • 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

What We Don't Like

  • 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

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 Appliances 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.

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.

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.
  • Re-Key: Replacement of deadbolts, knobs or associated hardware; garage door openers, broken or damaged locks, padlocks, skeleton locks and keys, window, file cabinet, safe, desk or mailbox locks; any other services provided by locksmith. A separate trade service call fee applies for each unit of any covered multi-unit property.
  • 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 

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 2.75-out-of-5-star rating based on 5,412 customer reviews and 11,359 customer complaints. 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.)

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

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.)

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.

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.

Optional Coverage for Real Estate Plans

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

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.

Specs