American Home Shield Review

By: House Method

Major home systems and appliances aren’t meant to last forever. The average life expectancy for a hot water heater, for example, is 8 to 12 years. And the average cost of water heater repair is $546. To save time and money, you can buy a home warranty plan—not to be confused with homeowners insurance—which is typically a one-year service plan that offers repairs and replacements on major home systems and appliances.

American Home Shield, a home warranty company that has 47 years of experience, offers an Appliance Plan, a Systems Plan, a Combo Plan, a Build-Your-Own Plan, and optional coverage for additional items. For the Build-Your-Own plan, you simply select 10–21 items that you want covered to create a customized plan for your home.

American Home Shield has served 1.7 million customers across 49 states. What are the pros and cons? House Method compared American Home Shield to other home warranty companies by reading customer reviews and creating an overview of what the provider actually covers and for how much. Read our American Home Shield review to find out more.

Our reviews save you time, save you money, and they are always free. House Method is reader-supported. Affiliate disclosure.

Data and ratings accurate as of January 2019

Best home warranty for appliance coverage

American Home Shield offers four home warranty plans, which includes an Appliance Plan. This plan covers 10 major home appliances including your refrigerator, dishwasher, an oven, range, and cooktop, built-in microwave, and your clothes washer and dryer. According to its sample contract, American Home Shield will cover repairs and replacements of each covered appliance that cost up to $3,000 each. This is a generous coverage cap that no other provider we reviewed could match, which is why we believe it’s the best home warranty for appliance coverage.

Add-ons available
BBB accredited
Generous coverage caps

American Home Shield cost

American Home Shield’s annual premium starts at $249, making it one of the cheapest home warranties available today. According to their website, though, its prices vary according to location. Contact American Home Shield for an accurate quote.

Service fee

American Home Shield charges a service fee between $75 and $125. The service fee is flexible because customers are allowed to choose a higher service fee in exchange for a lower premium. Customers are therefore able to set their own coverage cost depending on the amount of service they anticipate needing. On average, American Home Shield customers submit two claims per year, but you may request service as many times as you want during your contract term.

American Home Shield coverage

Appliances Plan Systems Plan Combo Plan Optional Add-Ons
Refrigerator Air conditioner with ductwork Air conditioner with ductwork Pool/spa
Oven/range/cooktop Heating system with ductwork Heating system with ductwork Well pump
Clothes washer/dryer Electrical system Electrical system Septic pump
Dishwasher Doorbell Doorbell Guest unit (<750 sq. ft.)
Built-in microwave oven Smoke detectors Smoke detectors
Trash compactor Ceiling fans Ceiling fans
Freestanding ice maker Plumbing including stoppages Plumbing including stoppages
Garage door opener Water heater Water heater
Built-in food center Garbage disposal Garbage disposal
Water dispenser Water dispenser
Central vacuum Central vacuum
Refrigerator
Oven/range/cooktop
Clothes washer/dryer
Dishwasher
Built-in microwave oven
 Trash compactor
Freestanding ice maker
Garage door opener
Built-in food center

Note: American Home Shield customers can choose 10 or more of the appliances and systems above for custom coverage under a Build-Your-Own Plan.

Coverage length

Home warranty coverage lasts for exactly one year after it begins. Coverage begins 30 days after purchase or, if you acquired the plan in a real estate transaction, it begins the day of closing. If you set up automatic payments, your plan will automatically renew at the end of the year. American Home Shield will notify you of the upcoming renewal at least 30 days in advance. You must be eligible to renew your home warranty, according to American Home Shield reviews.

Coverage exclusions

It’s important to review the terms of your desired plan so you know what’s covered and what’s not. American Home Shield warranty contracts specify the coverage details for each plan. A sample of the American Home Shield home warranty agreement is available online.

One of the main differences between American Home Shield and its competitors is its leniency when it comes to coverage exclusions. American Home Shield still offers coverage even if an appliance or system has been improperly installed, insufficiently maintained, or mismatched. However, they will not offer coverage to appliances or systems still under a manufacturer’s warranty, but these limits and exclusions are far more generous than its competitors.

If you read the fine print of the American Home Shield agreement, you’ll learn that if American Home Shield is unable to repair or replace an item, they may offer money for you to repair or replace the item yourself. Note: American Home Shield is not liable for matching the brand, dimensions, or color of appliances or systems.

American Home Shield service requests

The home warranty company has a network of professional contractors and technicians who are available across the US to assist customers. There is no limit to the number of claims you can make, but the provider will not be able to assist with your request if a service isn’t covered under your plan.

American Home Shield is available to accept service requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can make your claim online or call American Home Shield customer service at 888-776-4663. Once your claim is approved, a customer service representative or contractor will get in touch with you directly to set up a time to make a home visit. American Home Shield claims that their service professionals are dispatched within the first 24 hours 98% of the time.

Summary of benefits

Starting cost per year $249
National availability All US states
Service fees $75–$125
Contract length 12 months
Time in business 47 years
BBB rating B
Review last updated: January 3, 2019

More about American Home Shield

Years in business

In business since 1971, American Home Shield is the oldest home warranty company on the block. The company started the home warranty industry 47 years ago and it’s a founding member of the National Home Service Contract Association. Today, there are 188 home warranty companies in the US.

American Home Shield ratings

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives American Home Shield a B rating. Although American Home Shield reviews on the BBB site are 96% negative, this is to be expected. The company is 47 years old and home warranty reviews are, in large part, negative. Because the BBB bases its score on more than just customer reviews, it still gives American Home Shield a decent rating. The BBB uses the following criteria to score businesses:

  • Number of complaints filed with BBB against the business
  • The size of the business
  • If the business has appropriately responded to complaints
  • If the business has resolved the complaints in a timely manner to the customer’s satisfaction
  • Whether the business has made a good faith effort to resolve complaints, even if the customer was not satisfied with the resolution
  • Whether the business failed to resolve the underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints
  • The age of resolved complaints—older complaints that have been resolved have less of an influence on the rating than recent complaints

Consumers Advocate gives American Home Shield a 9.7 out of 10. It explains, “American Home Shield’s coverage is the most comprehensive and consumer-friendly in the industry. The company covers considerably more appliances and systems than its competitors, and has fewer coverage limitations.” Consumers Advocate also considers American Home Shield’s Combination Coverage one of the most competitively priced plans in the industry.

House Method gives American Home Shield 4.75 out of 5 stars. Since AHS founded the home warranty industry, we think the company knows what it’s doing. We also appreciate the responsiveness its customer service has shown on the BBB and other review sites by actively responding to customer reviews. You also can’t beat the huge coverage caps AHS puts on covered appliances.

American Home Shield reviews

As the longest running home warranty company and the starter of the industry, it’s not surprising that American Home Shield has garnered a lot of customers. The company does an excellent job responding to their consumer reviews across a number of platforms.

One customer review reads:

“[We] requested the service call online. We were immediately contacted by AHS with the name and contact information of our contractor. Our appointment was promptly set for the next morning. Our contractor kept in touch with us, even to let us know that he was en route. They were pleasant and quick to solve our problem. Thank you, AHS!”—Carolyn W. on December 17, 2018

More reviews include:

“They answered my request for a repair within minutes of calling and [I] was assigned a plumber immediately. The plumber called within an hour to set up an appointment. They arrived when promised and professionally completed the repairs.”—Robert C. on December 17, 2018

“AHS was very cooperative in getting us a new toilet. They allowed us to have an upgraded one for a small amount extra. It was fast and easy.”—Terrill H. on December 17, 2018

Ready to sign up?

Compare home warranties

Compare American Home Shield to the competition.

Company Best home warranty for Plan options Service fees Additional perks Risks to consider
American Home Shield Appliance coverage  4 + add-ons $75–$125 Up to $3,000 limit on appliances, cost to dispose of old appliances covered, discounts on appliances and plans for multiple properties, $25 referral reward Higher service fees and longer wait times than most providers
Choice Home Warranty Overall 2 + add-ons $60–$75 90-day repair guarantee, freon fully covered (most companies charge $10 per pound), first month free (available on a promotional basis), referral reward Coverage by CHW is not available in California or Washington
First American Limited exclusions 2 + add-ons $75 Covers improperly installed or insufficiently maintained systems and appliances, no cap on coverage for heating, cooling, and ductwork A sample contract is difficult for homeowners to access online

Frequently asked questions

What is covered by American Home Shield?

Coverage depends on the plan you choose. American Home Shield has four home warranty plans. The Appliances Plan covers 10 major appliances including your refrigerator and clothes washer and dryer. The Systems Plan covers major systems like your electrical system, heating and cooling, and plumbing. The Combo Plan—chosen by 70% of customers—covers all of the appliances and systems covered under both the Appliances and Systems plans. You can also customize your home warranty coverage with the Build-Your-Own Plan by choosing 10–21 appliances and systems you want to cover. Optional add-ons include pool and spa, guest units up to 750 square feet, and well and septic pumps.

Exclusions and limitations apply. American Home Shield is lenient compared to other home wararnty companies. It will repair or replace covered items that fail or malfunction due to the following scenarios:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Improper installation
  • Insufficient maintenance
  • Mismatched systems

How much does American Home Shield cost?

American Home Shield’s lowest annual premium starts around $249, but prices vary based on your location, the plan you choose, and whether you add on any optional items. We’ve seen premiums for Combo Plans that cost up to $504 per year.

You’ll also pay a service fee for every claim that’s approved for service. American Home Shield’s service fees range from $75 to $125. Customers can opt for a lower service fee for a high premium or vice versa.

Does American Home Shield replace appliances?

Under its Appliances Plan, American Home Shield will pay up to $3,000 per covered appliance. It is up to the home warranty company to decide whether to repair, replace, or reimburse customers for any of the 10 appliances that are explicitly written into the plan. It is not liable to match the brand, dimensions, or color of the broken appliance.

American Home Shield covers 10 major home appliances under its Appliances and Combo plans. You can also add home warranty coverage for appliances by including them in your custom Build-Your-Own Plan. Covered appliances include:

  • Refrigerator
  • Oven/range/cooktop
  • Dishwasher
  • Built-in microwave oven
  • Trash compactor
  • Freestanding ice maker
  • Garage door opener
  • Built-in food center

Note: American Home Shield will not cover appliances that are already covered under a manufacturer’s warranty.

Does American Home Shield require an inspection?

No, like most home warranty companies, American Home shield does not require a home inspection to grant customers coverage. The age of your home and its systems and appliances will not affect coverage either. Although not required, a home inspection may be useful in the case that you must prove a pre-existing condition is unknown to you since the majority of home warranties do not cover pre-existing conditions.

Can you cancel American Home Shield?

Yes, you can cancel your American Home Shield home warranty at any time. The company will refund your contract fees if you cancel within the first 30 days of coverage. If you cancel after that, the provider will refund you a prorated amount for the remaining duration of your coverage term. Note: a cancellation or administration fee may apply, which typically costs $50–$75.

Is there a waiting period for American Home Shield?

You can make a claim as early as 30 days after you sign up for your warranty. If you purchased coverage during a home sale, your home warranty coverage starts on closing day.

Does American Home Shield cover septic?

American Home Shield does not cover septic tanks. It offers first-year customers non-renewable coverage of sewage ejector pump for septic systems. The sample contract reads—mainline stoppages that can be cleared without excavation. The septic tank will be pumped once during the contract coverage term if the stoppage is due to backed up septic. Exclusions apply.

Does American Home Shield cover electrical?

Yes, under the Systems Plan, American Home Shield will pay $1,000–$1,500 per covered system.

American Home Shield covers 11 major home systems under its Systems and Combo plans. You can also add home warranty coverage for systems by including them in your custom Build-Your-Own Plan. Covered systems include:

  • Air conditioner with ductwork
  • Heating system with ductwork
  • Electrical system
  • Doorbell
  • Smoke detectors
  • Ceiling fans
  • Plumbing including stoppages
  • Water heater
  • Garbage disposal
  • Water dispenser
  • Central vacuum

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