American Home Shield is an American home warranty company that was founded in 1971. The company offers a selection of four warranty plans that cover the repair or replacement costs on major home systems and appliances. Customers are able to manage costs by choosing from multiple policies, adding on coverage, and opting for higher service fees.

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Compared to other home warranty companies, American Home Shield has a slightly higher average annual cost, but it does provide some additional coverage on items that the competition does not, including doorbells, smoke detectors, 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.

Pros

  • Industry leader for over 45 years

  • Ability to build your own plan

  • More in-depth coverage than some other comparable companies

  • Nationwide coverage

  • Guest house coverage

Cons

  • Requires customers to use contractors who are in-network

  • High number of customer complaints

  • Pricing is somewhat on the high end for this type of industry

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

 

Company Overview

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 since 2013. 

Available Plans

American Home Shield offers four plans to select from and the price you pay depends on the Trade Service Call (TSF) fee that you choose. The TSF is like a deductible and in paid when you make a claim to have a service technician come to your home. Since prices can vary from state to state, we have included a sample of price quotes from several different areas of the country to assist you in comparing plan prices.

American Home Shield also offers coverage on some individual items for an additional cost.  

Plan Pricing

While American Home Shield’s plans do cover an impressive number of items, you have to request a quote online to view current prices. Once you do, expect to hear from a customer service representative almost as soon as you click on the “Request Quote” button.

If you don’t mind having a higher trade service call fee, however, the gap between plan prices begins to drop. American Home Shield gives three options for trade service fees ($75, $100, and $125) giving you a little more control. The lower your trade service fee, the more you'll pay each month, as our chart below shows.

Sample Monthly Plan Fees Based on Trade Service Fees

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.

Payout Caps

There is no limit to the number of repairs during your contract term. There is a dollar cap amount of $1,000 to $1,500 for items covered under the Systems plan and $3,000 for items covered under the Appliance Plan. This is about average for the industry standard on most of the items that the company covers and in some cases the dollar cap range exceeds normal service amount limitations. 

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.

Since American Home Shield has agreements in place with independent contractors in all of the states that they service, you do not usually get to choose your own repair person though occasionally exceptions are made.

Customer Service and Claims

There is 24/7 support and filing a claim is a relatively easy process that is done online or through customer service by calling (888) 298-6173 . 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

American Home Shield has a B rating with the Better Business Bureau. More important than the rating or accreditation with the BBB is what customers say. Although customers have stated that American Home Shield does honor warranty claims as promised, there is a relatively high number of complaints about the independent contractors that are assigned to service the claims. Problems reported range from repairs taking longer than expected to unresponsive vendors. This along with some complaints about difficulty in canceling service with the company have earned the company a B rating.

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.

Competition: First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield

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.

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 and your ability to create your own plan actually make it the better choice.

Both have similar plans for home systems, but if you want your washer and dryer covered First American Home Warranty charges an additional $75 for coverage, whereas American Home Shield includes it in the regular price plan. It will also cost you more if you want your pool and/or spa covered since First American Home Warranty charges an add on fee of $180 while American Home Shield only charges $87. 

When you take into consideration that American Home Shield offers four different price plans and a way to lower your overall cost with a higher service call fee, 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 does 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.

How We Review Home Warranties

When evaluating a company’s warranty plans, we not only look at the monthly cost, but the overall costs, including service fees, price of add-ons, and out-of-pocket costs. In addition, we also measure how they stack up to the competition in price, coverage options, and customer satisfaction.

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American Home Shield Key Facts