American Home Shield Review: Is it Worth it?

Is AHS worth the cost? The short answer: most likely. But you need to know what you're buying.
Home warranty
american home shield logo
American Home Shield
  • pro
    Flexible pricing
  • pro
    Customizable service plans
  • pro
    Monthly service plans
Kasey Tross
Nov 09, 2022
Icon Time To Read6 min read

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

A thermostat hovering at 52º Fahrenheit or a dryer full of soggy clothes can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. An unexpected appliance repair bill can really take a bite out of your budget—and the worst part is not knowing how big of a bite it’s going to be.

Many homeowners are turning to home warranty companies like American Home Shield (AHS) for reassurance that system and appliance repairs will be covered with a flat monthly rate, but is it really that easy?

pro Flexible pricing
pro Customizable plans
pro Monthly payment options
pro Easy cancellation
con Contract exclusions
con Customer service complaints

American Home Shield cost

While plan costs vary by location, they tend to range from around $40 for the lowest plan to around $55 for higher plans. You choose which service fee you want ($75, $100 or $125) and that determines how high your monthly fee is. The higher the service fee, the lower your monthly fee.

With the ShieldSilver plan you get the basics:

  • Heating and cooling system coverage
  • Electrical system coverage
  • Plumbing system coverage

For a little more, you can step up to the ShieldGold plan. It covers everything in the ShieldSilver plan plus a little more:

  • Kitchen appliance coverage
  • Laundry appliance coverage

ShieldPlatinum covers all of those and a little bit more:

  • Roof leak repairs
  • Free HVAC tune-up
  • Unlimited A/C refrigerant servicing
  • Coverage for code violations and permits

Compare American Home Shield plans

Price Icon Tooltip  Dark
Contract length
Learn more
Heating/cooling, plumbing, electrical 1 or 2 years
Heating/cooling, plumbing, electrical, laundry/kitchen appliances 1 or 2 years
Heating/cooling, plumbing, electrical, laundry/kitchen appliances, roof, HVAC tune-up, violations1 or 2 years
Varies 1 or 2 years

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

What's covered in each plan


  • Heating and AC with ductwork
  • Electrical
  • Doorbells
  • Smoke detectors
  • Plumbing
  • Water heaters
  • Garbage disposals
  • Instant hot/cold water dispensers
  • Central vacuum


  • Everything in ShieldSilver
  • Refrigerators
  • Ranges, ovens, cooktops
  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Built-in microwaves
  • Trash compactors
  • Freestanding ice makers
  • Garage door openers
  • Built-in food centers


  • Everything from the other two plans
  • Roof leak repairs
  • Free HVAC tune-up
  • Unlimited A/C refrigerant
  • Coverage for code violations and permits

American Home Shield basics

American Home Shield has a variety of home warranty options to choose from based on homeowners’ needs. The flexible pricing helps you feel in control of your service plan, but coverage restrictions can be frustrating if you haven’t read the fine print.

Things like pre-approved service contractors, service fees, and annual dollar caps are important to understand before signing on the dotted line.

Homeowners insurance vs. home warranty service

First, what’s the difference between homeowners insurance and a home warranty?

Simply put, homeowners insurance handles all the accidental damages that can happen to the structure of your home—like wind damage, fire, or flooding.

A warranty company, on the other hand, offers home warranties to cover unexpected breakdowns of your home’s systems and appliances due to normal wear and tear. Warranties may cover things like your plumbing, air conditioner, or built-in microwave oven.

Unlike homeowners insurance—which is usually mandatory—home warranties are more like a service contract for appliances or systems that will end up aging or breaking down eventually.

For example, if your toddler uses your dishwasher door as a trampoline and breaks it, a typical home warranty will not cover it. But if your dishwasher door won’t close correctly because the seal has come loose over time, your repair may be covered under a home warranty.

What you need to know before you buy

AHS’s warranty service plans cover most things found in your home systems, and you don’t have to worry about getting a home inspection or providing maintenance records. But like most warranty companies, AHS won’t cover preexisting conditions.

When you’re trying to decide which AHS service plan makes sense for your home (and your budget) there are a few important factors to consider.

Don’t pay for coverage you don’t need

Many plans may include items you don’t have in your home, newer items that are unlikely to require service, or items that you wouldn’t necessarily call a service professional to fix, like a smoke detector.

For the best price, we recommend getting a quote for the Build-Your-Own Plan before you decide. Other home warranty companies, like Choice Home Warranty, don’t offer this.

Changing your service fee changes your monthly cost

Every AHS plan gives you the option to choose your service fee, but you don’t get that choice for nothin’—a lower service fee will cost you more in your monthly premium. Think of the service fee like an insurance deductible: the lower your service fee, the higher your monthly payment, and vice versa.

There is a waiting period

When you sign your AHS contract, you’ll have 30 days until your warranty goes into effect. Your first payment will be processed at the end of that waiting period. One month isn’t too long to wait, especially if you’re moving into a new house where you’re likely to discover little problems over time.

How it works: requesting and receiving service

Let’s say your air conditioning goes out. Once your plan goes into effect, you can call or go online anytime to request service for it. Within 24 hours of your call, AHS will contact an approved local contractor who will then call you to schedule an appointment.

Light Bulb

Be ready to pay your service fee when you put in your request for service. But on the bright side, you won’t have to find your own contractor—AHS has a nationwide network of preapproved service technicians.

Once the contractor checks out the problem, they will contact AHS with the results of their inspection, and AHS will determine whether or not your warranty covers repair or replacement. If it is covered, the contractor will fix the problem at no additional cost to you.

The fine print

One of the main issues American Home Shield customers have with their warranties is finding out that a repair is not covered under their service plan.

The easiest way to think of the fine print in an AHS warranty is to understand that you’re not getting a warranty on an entire system or appliance—you’re just getting a warranty on certain components of that system or appliance.

Here are a few other fine print items to watch out for:

  • The AHS website may let you request service for an item not covered under your warranty (and you may pay a service fee when you request it).
  • If something like a water heater repair is not covered because you have the AHS Appliance Plan, then you’re out your service fee and you’ll have to pay for the repair out of pocket.
  • AHS warranties do not cover cosmetic issues or the repair or replacement of any part that does not "contribute to the primary function" of a covered item.
  • Warranties do not cover property that was damaged as a result of a malfunction. (Translation: if your laundry room floods due to a broken washer and it wrecks the hardwood floors, AHS will fix the washer but not the floors.)
  • AHS’s warranty plans allow for the cheapest fix possible, including the use of rebuilt parts and mismatched parts.
  • If the combined cost of labor and materials exceeds a certain amount, AHS will simply "cash out" and pay you the dollar limit (minus any expenses incurred by AHS), leaving you to foot the rest of the bill.

In short, you would be wise to read through a sample AHS contract carefully to fully understand what you’re buying with a warranty.

Is American Home Shield right for you?

If you’re worried about the budget crunch of a sudden appliance or system breakdown, an American Home Shield home warranty is a good choice. Just be sure to get familiar with the home warranty policies and fine print so you don’t end up with an unexpected repair bill that isn’t covered and a monthly premium that you can’t get back.

American Home Shield FAQ

While it’s impossible to see the future, we can make some informed guesses. According to our calculations based on yearly repair estimates from Home Advisor and service call fee estimates from Angie’s List, you can estimate annual expenses for home maintenance to be around $863. Compare that to the average annual cost of an AHS home warranty—plus service fees—at about $684.

As long as you stay within or above the averages, you may save money with an AHS warranty. But if you’re worried about AHS coverage restrictions or about not using the full value of your warranty every year, you might want to consider just paying into a personal home maintenance savings account instead. Budgeting website The Balance suggests setting aside either 1% of your home’s purchase price or $1 per square foot each year to budget for home maintenance, which includes things a home warranty won’t cover, like roof repairs.

If you’re buying a home and have concerns about certain systems or appliances, you may be able to get the seller to foot the cost of an AHS home warranty. Check with your real estate agent when you’re putting your offer together and include a warranty in your negotiations.

The Better Business Bureau gives AHS a rating of B, with most negative reviews having to do with poor customer service and spotty coverage on warranty items. Other expert review sites also point out consistent customer service complaints.

Most complaints are related to frustration over rejected claims or dissatisfaction with the company’s preapproved service technicians and contractors. We’ve also had customer reports of slow response times to service call requests.

AHS says you can cancel at any time. If you cancel within 30 days of your coverage start date, the company will refund contract fees minus any service claims. After 30 days you’ll owe “administrative fees” of up to one month’s payment, minus any “prorated contract fees.”

There’s no limit to the number of repairs you’re entitled to, but dollar cap limits per each covered item still apply.

American Home Shield clearly outlines its covered items in the plan details, but like most home warranty companies some items always seem to be left out. Here’s a list of items that AHS doesn’t cover.

  • Stand-alone freezers
  • Countertop microwaves
  • Wine chillers
  • Multi-media centers
  • Window air conditioners
  • Outside or underground pipes and water lines, sprinkler systems
  • Fuel storage tanks
  • Fireplaces, wood stoves
  • Flues, chimneys, vents, exhaust lines
  • Bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilet lids and seats, caulking/grouting
  • Saunas or steam rooms
  • Water lines broken by roots or other foreign objects
  • Garage door tracks or track assemblies

How we reviewed American Home Shield


Image: Anıl Karakaya

For our American Shield Security review, we researched the company, customer reviews and more to bring you the best information possible.

Kasey Tross
Written by
Kasey Tross
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers.

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