American Home Shield Home Warranty Review

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American Home Shield

American Home Shield

Investopedia’s Rating
4.3

Our Take

American Home Shield is an American home warranty company that was founded in 1971. The company offers a selection of three warranty plans that cover the repair or replacement costs on major home systems and appliances. AHS is by far the biggest and most established company in the home warranty market, and represents 42% of this market in the US.

Compared to other home warranty companies, American Home Shield offers only average pricing. Customers are able to manage costs by choosing from multiple policies, adding on coverage, and opting for higher service fees. On the other hand, the company does provide some additional coverage on items that the competition does not, including doorbells and re-key services. Read on to see our full take of American Home Shield and if they offer the right home warranty for you. 

When it comes to customer service, AHS has achieved a respectable score on independent review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If you are looking for a standard, established home warranty provider, AHS could be a good choice. However, you may be able to find a better deal if you shop around.

According to our research, the most important feature to consumers when choosing a plan is its cost, with 74% of respondents naming this as the most important factor. Other important factors include service fees (63%), speed of response (48%), and pricing information being available online (46%). Our reviews thoroughly consider all these factors, as well as exclusions and payout caps, to help you make an informed decision when choosing a home warranty company.

  • Pros and Cons
  • specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • The largest home warranty provider in the US, with 42% of the national home warranty market

  • Coverage for more appliances and systems than some comparable companies

  • Wide coverage – 49 States (excluding Alaska)

Cons
  • Average pricing

  • Potentially multiple service fees for same incident (i.e. plumbing and washing machine)

  • High number of customer complaints

American Home Shield’s headquarters is located in Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1971, the company has provided service to more than 1.8 million customers and reports that it has paid out more than $2 billion in home warranty claims in the past five years. 

specifications
Website
N/A
Year Founded
1971
Average Annual Cost
$579.88
Service Fees
$75 - $125
Response Time
48 hours
Payout Cap
$6,000 per item
Coverage Area
AL, AR, AS, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, GU, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MP, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UM, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Out of Network Technician
Yes. Must be licensed, qualified, insured, and have automobile liability coverage
Pricing Available Online
No
Sample Contract Available
Yes
Waiting Period
Yes
Why Trust Us Investopedia collected key data points from several home warranty providers to identify the most important factors to customers. We used this data to review each provider for cost, availability, coverage options, and other features to provide unbiased, comprehensive reviews to ensure our readers make the right decision for their needs. Read our Full Methodology
38 Providers reviewed
35 Criteria considered
875 Data points analyzed
59 Primary data sources used

Company Overview

American Home Shield is the oldest, largest home warranty provider in the US today. As such, it represents the standard by which other home warranties are judged. In most regards, the policies the company offers are distinctly average – they don’t offer great value, payout caps are also fairly standard, and the company has achieved a respectable customer satisfaction score.

The advantages of AHS are that the size and age of the company might provide peace of mind for some homeowners skeptical of newer or smaller home warranty providers, and the wide coverage that AHS provide. If you live in a populous state, however, and have fairly standard appliances and systems in your home, you can probably find better value elsewhere.

States Covered

AHS covers every state in the country except Alaska, and they cover DC as well. You can get an AHS home warranty if you live in any of the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • DC 
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

47% of our 538 survey correspondents said that coverage and support was the most important aspect of a home warranty, so make sure a company covers your home state first, before considering other factors. AHS covers almost every state in the US, so it might be a good choice for homeowners not covered by other providers.

Available Plans 

American Home Shield offers three plans to select from – silver, gold, and platinum. Each covers a different mix of appliances and systems. Here’s the basic list of coverage for each metallic level:

  ShieldSilver ShieldGold ShieldPlatinum
Roof Leak Repair Add-on Add-on
Air Conditioners
Heating Units
Ductwork
Built-in Exhaust, Vent & Attic Fans
Main Breaker & Fuse Panel Box
Doorbells & Chimes
Interior Electrical Lines
Ceiling Fans
Garage Door Openers
Interior Plumbing Lines
Toilets
Faucets & Valves
Whirlpool Tub Motor & Components
Water Heaters
Refrigerators
Ranges/Cooktops
Ovens
Dishwashers
Built-in-Microwaves
Garbage Disposals
Instant Hot/Cold Water Dispensers
Washers
Dryers

As we can see from this table, the main difference between silver and gold levels is that kitchen appliances are covered, and between platinum and gold that roof leaks are covered. Platinum also offers a range of other benefits, including higher payout limits, a free AC tune-up, and coverage for code violations. AHS can also cover a wide range of items and appliances not on this list as optional add-ons (see below for details).

The coverage provided by AHS is quite broad in comparison to their competitors, especially at the platinum level. It is rare to have roof leaks covered in a policy like this, for example. In addition, AHS provides plenty of clear information as to what systems and appliances are covered by each of their plans – again, unlike some other home warranty providers.

Real Estate Plans

American Home Shield does offer state-specific plans for real estate professionals. The company estimates that its plans are included in more than 300,000 real estate transactions per year. This allows qualified home sellers to have warranty coverage for up to six months with no money due until closing if they add the Seller Coverage Option to their warranty package. 

These mirror the metallic levels that the company uses for its consumer plans, but they are named differently – essential, plus, and complete. Just as with AHS’s consumer plans, their policies for real estate professionals are highly customizable, and there is an extensive list of extra items that AHS can cover. 

AHS doesn’t make the prices for real estate plans available publicly. Instead, they ask that potential customers contact them for a quote.

Plan Pricing

AHS doesn’t provide prices for their policies online. Instead, potential customers must provide their location and contact details in order to be given a quote. During our research, we requested quotes from AHS for all three of their plans, across three states. These were California, Florida, and Texas. Here are the quotes the company provided for a year’s worth of coverage:

  Silver Gold Platinum
California $419.88 $539.88 $779.88
Florida $419.88 $539.88 $779.88
Texas $419.88 $539.88 $779.88

As we can see, your location doesn’t appear to make any difference to the price of these plans. This would make it easy for AHS to provide these prices on their website, but they do not. This is a mark against the company when it comes to price transparency, a feature valued by home warranty customers.

On the other hand, the pricing of these plans is highly competitive. During our research, we found that the average cost of a home warranty plan in the US was $574. This means that AHS’s gold plan is slightly less expensive than the average plan across the sector, for full coverage of both kitchen appliances and other systems. The platinum plan, on the other hand, may be a little too pricey for most customers. 

There are other costs involved with this type of policy, though. All home warranty providers charge a service fee, and the industry-wide average service fee is about $82. This is due each time you call out a technician to fix an appliance. When you take out a policy with AHS, you can choose the level of service fee you’d like to pay – $75, $100, or $125 – and this will affect the cost of your plan. If you expect to make frequent calls for service (because, for example, some of your appliances are old) you should choose the lower service fee in order to limit your out-of-pocket costs.

The lower your trade service fee, the more you'll pay each month, as our chart below shows

AHS Plan Monthly Pricing Trade Service Call Fee (TSF) ShieldSilver ShieldGold ShieldPlatinum
California $75 $100 $125 $39.99 $29.99 $24.99 $49.99 $39.99 $34.99 $64.99 $59.99 $49.99
Nevada $75 $100 $125 $49.99 $39.99 $34.99 $59.99 $49.99 $44.99 $74.99 $64.99 $59.99
Texas $75 $100 $125 $49.99 $39.99 $34.99 $59.99 $49.99 $44.99 $74.99 $64.99 $59.99

51% of our survey correspondents said that pricing information was the most important piece of information they need when choosing a home warranty policy, and 70% of survey correspondents said that the monthly or annual cost of a plan was more important to them than service fees.

Optional Add-Ons

AHS can add extra items, appliances, or systems on to any of their standard plans. For customers with a pool or guest unit, this will necessary, because even platinum level coverage doesn’t include these items. You will need to pay extra for each item you add on, and these are the prices that AHS has provided to us for the key items:

Add-Ons Price
Electronics Plan by Allstate Protection Plans (TVs, computers, tablets, home theater systems, video game consoles and more) $18.00/mo
Guest Unit (extends coverage to guest units and/or rental houses that are under 750 square feet) $10.99/mo
Pool or Spa $21.25/mo
Well Pump (Serving as home water source) $8.33/mo

Be aware, however, that many of these extra items and systems are only covered to a limited degree by any home warranty. Customers who want to add these on to their plans should therefore carefully check that their specific equipment is covered by AHS.

Types of Damage Covered

AHS provides plenty of information on the type and extent of damage their policies cover. They’ve even provided a sample contract on their website.

In general, home warranties by AHS:

  • Provide a commitment to repair certain appliances and systems if they malfunction,
  • Cover repair and replacement costs on major home systems and appliances in the event of breakdowns associated with normal wear and tear.

However, buyers should be aware that there are some limitations to what a home warranty plan can cover. Home warranties cover breakdowns that occur due to normal wear and tear. For example, if a fan in your AC unit breaks due to natural use, AHS would cover the replacement. However, if that AC was broken from human misuse or a natural event like a tree branch falling on the outdoor air handler, it would not fall under their coverage.

Plan Exclusions 

Although American Home Shield covers almost all breakdowns for appliances that occur from normal wear and tear, there is a longer-than-normal list of exclusions when it comes to the coverage of home systems. 

As an example, while water, drain, gas, waste or vent line leaks are covered, broken drain, vent or sewer lines are not. You can see a complete list of coverages and exclusions by viewing a version of American Home Shield’s sample contract.

Home warranty coverage doesn’t usually apply if a system or appliance stops working because of misuse or abuse. It also doesn’t cover malfunctions due to lightning strikes or fire; for protection from these events, you need homeowners insurance.

Payout Caps 

Every home warranty policy has a payout cap. This is the maximum amount that the provider will pay out for repairs and replacements. It’s sometimes expressed per item, and sometimes as an aggregate amount that is designed to cover all repairs for the lifetime of the policy.

The payout caps for AHS policies vary depending on the plan you choose, and are highest for platinum plans. There is no limit to the number of repairs during your contract term. Each plan option has a different dollar cap amount ranging from $1,500 - $6,000 for the platinum plan. This is relatively generous for individual items, and it likely to cover any repair or replacement on the average appliance.

27% of our survey correspondents said that getting the maximum payout cap is important to them when choosing a home warranty policy. American Home Shield’s payout caps for their gold and platinum plans are quiite generous in comparison to the competition.

Repair Times

Once you have made a request for a repair online, you can typically expect authorization for a major repair to take 24 to 48 hours to complete. This is in line and comparable to industry standards. 

American Home Shield has agreements in place with independent contractors in all of the states that they service, and because of this you do not usually get to choose your own repair person. However, the company have told us that customers can choose their own repair person if you request this, so it’s worth checking this with AHS if you have a trusted technician you’d prefer to work with.

34% of our survey correspondents said that choosing their own technician was important to them when choosing a home warranty policy. AHS told us that they offer this flexibility, and so could be a good choice if you already have repair people that you trust.

Customer Service and Claims 

AHS provides 24/7 support for customers, and filing a claim is a relatively easy process. This can be done:

Once your claim is made, the process starts immediately and you can expect authorization for a major repair to take 24 to 48 hours to complete. 

Complaints and Third-Party Assessments 

As we’ve seen, in most respects American Home Shield offers standard home warranty plans at slightly below-average prices. When it comes to customer satisfaction scores, the company is also about average for the home warranty sector.

As of January 2022, the company holds a Better Business Bureau rating of B – not bad, but not great either. Similarly, after almost 10,000 customer reviews, the company has scored an average of 2.42 out of 5. Though this sounds low, it’s not so bad for the home warranty sector, where companies tend to attract a lot of negative reviews.

  1. Our own survey results confirm this mixed picture. We asked 33 people to rate their experience requesting service, and American Home Shield scored just 2.82 out of 5. The company did slightly better when people were asked about their experience of the repair process (3.56) and payment (3.63). However, many people rated the dispute resolution experience badly – in this regard, American Home Shield scored just 1.6 out of 5.

American Home Shield vs. The Competition

To provide a comparison between American Home Shield and the competition, we chose First American Home Warranty. Both companies provide similar warranty coverage, are affiliated with a network of contractors, and provide round-the-clock service.

  First American Home Warranty American Home Shield
Average Yearly Cost $396 $480
Plans Available Basic Plan Premier Plan ShieldSilver ShieldGold ShieldPlatinum
Support 24 hour online claim system; phone number 24 hour online claim system; phone number
Service Fee $85 $75 / $100 / $125
Available Service Areas Available nationwide Available in 49 states, excluding Alaska

At first glance, First American Home Warranty seems like a better value cost-wise, but there are many other positive features we like with American Home Shield. The additional items that they cover actually make it the better choice. 

Both companies have similar plans for home systems, but if you want your air conditioner covered you must select it as an optional coverage plan for $9/mo with First American Home Warranty, whereas American Home Shield includes it in the regular price plan. 

When you take into consideration that American Home Shield offers three price plans, as well as a way to lower your overall cost with different service call fee options, American Home Shield begins to make better sense and is the clear overall winner when it comes to getting more features for your money. 

Our Verdict

American Home Shield has been around a long time and is well-known in the home warranty industry.

They do appear to have a slightly higher number of complaints than some of the other home warranty companies. When you compare the number of customers they have served with the number of complaints they have received, however, this is not appear out of line for a home warranty company. You should take this into consideration before you purchase.

If a low monthly rate is your primary concern, you may find there are other home warranty plans that fit your needs better. Where American Home Shield shines is in its flexibility by offering a choice of four separate plans and the ability to create your own plan based on your individual needs. So if that’s what is most important to you, you can’t go wrong.

American Home Shield Warranty FAQs

How Much Does an American Home Shield Warranty Cost?

During our research, we found that the average price for an AHS plan for a year was $579. That’s average for a home warranty.

What Do American Home Shield Warranty plans cover?

AHS Home Club plans cover most major appliances, home systems or a combination of both. You can choose various levels of coverage for your appliances, or add on extra items from an extensive list.

What Does an American Home Shield Warranty not cover?

AHS policies, like those of other home warranty companies, do not cover damages resulting from misuse or from natural events. Damages caused by natural events may still be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

How Much Is American Home Shield Warranty's service fee?

It depends. Customers can choose a policy with service fees of $75, $100, or $125, and the cost of your policy will be adjusted accordingly.

Can you cancel an American Home Shield warranty plan for free?

Yes. AHS told us that customers can cancel these policies for free.

How do you file a claim with American Home Shield Warranty?

AHS provides 24/7 support for customers, and filing a claim is a relatively easy process. This can be done:

What is the response time after filing a claim with American Home Shield Warranty?

AHS says that they will respond to most claims within 48 hours. That’s about the same as other home warranty companies.

Are there customer service complaints against American Home Shield Warranty?

AHS does appear to have a slightly higher number of complaints than some of the other home warranty companies. When you compare the number of customers they have served with the number of complaints they have received, however, this does not appear out of line for a home warranty company.

Methodology

There are several aspects to consider when evaluating a home warranty company and its coverages. To assist in your decision process, our methodology for reviewing home warranties includes a quantified scoring system that evaluates four major categories - total plan cost, coverage and support, customizability and transparency. Within those four major evaluation categories we look at 18 core features that include annual plan fees and service fees, claim response times, payout caps, states available, contract length range, customizable coverages, ability to use own repair person, free cancelation, plan pricing, plan exclusions and other plan provisions available online. We assign fractional score values ranging from 0.00 to 1.00 points for each feature and then weight those feature values according to subject matter expert advice and consumer survey importance ranking.  We also compare features for each company to industry average values determined from our data collection for the top 25 home warranty providers. Third-party ratings and customer satisfaction scores are factored in to help assess a home warranty company’s overall quality, suitability and value.