- The Good
- Different plans to choose from
- Reasonable monthly pricing
- Long established business
- 24/7 customer support
- Boasts high-quality contractors
- The Bad
- Trade call service fees required
- Contractors available only during normal business hours
- Some contractors not highly rated by customers
- Inadequate service by some contractors
American Home Shield (AHS) offers home protection plans to cover frequently-occurring system breakdowns in your home. American Home Shield has been in business for 40 years. Such longevity tends to project stability but reviews of service don’t reflect a customer base that’s highly satisfied.
Other Home Warranty Reviews
- Annual Premiums Range
- $249 to $600
Annual premiums differ by the type of plan you choose and the Trade Service Call Fee. This is the deductible, or amount that you’re required to pay to the contractor who makes the service call to your home. These fees are set at $75, $100 and $125. You get to choose the fee price you want on your contract, and this will influence the final cost of your yearly premium.
- Build Your Own Plan to customize coverage
- Combo plan for max coverage
- Optional coverage for certain items
There is no payout limit for repairs or replacement for many of the items American Home Shield covers. Some items do have caps in place, however. These are reasonable and there is no yearly max on the cap. For example, appliances have a cap of $3,000, which is a generous limit. Some heating and cooling units have payout limits, as do obstructed plumbing and systems difficult to access.
- Over 13,000 independent contractors with 45,000 technicians
- Covers all makes/models of appliances and systems
- Sub-company of The ServiceMaster Company
American Home Shield states they will cover any make or model of appliance or system, regardless of the age of the unit. Customer reviews state that some of the contractors utilized by AHS are “second-tier” operations, while others state that AHS has sent contractors from reputable national companies such as Sears.
- Additional Features
- Flexible plans you can “build” yourself
- Short 15-day waiting period
- No home inspection required
- 24/7 service request
American Home Shield allows you to build your own plan, giving you options on out-of-pocket expenses. While most competitors require a home inspection and a 30-day waiting period, AHS proudly boasts it requires no home inspection. AHS also limits its waiting period to a simple 15 days. If you need a repair, you can put in a request 24/7. Repair contractors don’t come to your home on that time-table, however.
American Home Shield: User Reviews
American Home Shield has a customer base of over 1.5 million customers and is the largest home warranty provider in the U.S. AHS has been in the home warranty services business since 1971; in fact, they spearheaded the development of the industry.
This company specializes in coverage for repair or replacement of all the standard household systems and appliances. To sweeten the pot, AHS offers a “build your own plan” option that lets the homeowner select the items they want covered instead of signing up for a predetermined list of appliances and systems.
American Home Shield ranks high when measuring customer experience and plan value but it really tops its competitors with the size and depth of its contractor network. Although there is a plethora of customer reviews and even complaints to the Better Business Bureau about sub-par service from repair contractors, AHS offers one of the least restrictive contracts in the industry.
The contract required by American Home Shield is available for download online. There are stipulations included in the “fine print” that place limits on when the coverage applies. The wording of the contract takes certain decisions out of the hands of the customer, such as the color of replacement appliances. It is important for potential customers to get their homework done before signing up for any home warranty service to avoid surprises that may pop up when a repair need comes along.
How Does American Home Shield Work?
American Home Shield offers contracts on a 12-month basis. First, you choose the protection plan you want, including the amount you’re willing to pay as a Trade Call Service Fee each time a contractor or technician comes to your home. You pay your first month’s premium, and this triggers your 15-day waiting period.
Once you’ve cleared the waiting period hurtle, your home warranty coverage is active. You can get any covered system or appliance that breaks down repaired or replaced by contacting American Home Shield through their website or via phone, 24-hours per day, seven days a week.
If you have an AHS policy and move into a new home during your policy period, your protection plan may be transferable. If your new location is not something that is specifically excluded by the contract, your policy will likely transfer.
When a covered system or appliance breaks down, you contact American Home Shield to speak to a service representative, who will schedule a contractor to come look at your problem. Here is where there seems to be some serious contention among customers: you can contact a service representative 24/7 but your contractor will only contact you during normal business hours. Apparently, based on reviews, a lot of people neglect to read this part of the contract.
You will need to pay your Trade Call Service Fee directly to your contractor upon arrival. Once you’ve paid the agreed-upon fee, they will begin diagnosing your problem. The contractor must contact AHS to verify that your policy covers the identified problem. If the policy covers the appliance or system, the contractor will begin work.
What Makes American Home Shield Stand Out?
American Home Shield has been around since 1971; the longevity of the company in a rather volatile business market has to say something about it. It is available in all 50 states and boasts a massive stable of contractors and technicians it calls on to service the needs of its customers.
Another point that places American Home Shield apart from its competitors is its short waiting period after the initial payment of your premium. Most companies require a 30-day waiting period, while AHS has shortened that to a mere 15-days. And there is no home inspection required before you’re approved for a policy. These two points alone make it a sweeter deal than most others in the field.
Common Reviews of American Home Shield
American Home Shield currently holds a “B” rating from the Better Business Bureau, mostly due to an onslaught of complaints about contractors performing subpar work or not completing repairs at all. This sort of consumer complaint is a running theme through most reviews with a negative bent.
There are not a lot of positive reviews out there for American Home Shield, but there are some. One review stated the customer reported a problem with his water heater. He received an email within a few hours with the name of a contractor who would be doing the covered repair work. The contractor called the next day to schedule a repair date.
The customer continued, relating how the contractor called to ask permission to come earlier than originally scheduled. The contractor came and got the job fixed in no time. The customer reported the contractor was professional, courteous and thorough.
Other reviews related incidences of customers buying homes that came with an AHS warranty attached. There were no issues in getting a contractor to fix problems under the transferred policy. Others related just the opposite, complaining about multiple contractors showing up, each diagnosing a different problem and each requiring the policyholder to pay out the Trade Call Service Fee. These payments can quickly add up.
Another reported buying an older home with a current AHS warranty in place. Within a few months of moving in, the oven failed. The homeowner called AHS and a repairman showed up the next day, looked at the oven and informed the homeowner that parts were no longer available for that model. It took a little over a week but the homeowner received a check for $550 toward the purchase of a new oven.
On the other end of the spectrum, those who post negative reviews are very negative. There are many one-star ratings out there for American Home Shield. To be fair, many of the complaints were avoidable had the customer simply understood what they were buying.
Is American Home Shield for Me?
The experience you may have with American Home Shield could vary depending on your location. It seems to have better luck satisfying customers in certain regions and not others.
AHS seems as solid as any other company offering a similar policy. As with any contract, however, reading the entire contract before agreeing to it is highly recommended, and get any questions clarified before you sign on the dotted line.