American Home Shield Review: Is it Worth it?

Is American Home Shield (AHS) Worth the Cost?

The short answer: most likely. But you need to know what you're buying.

american home shield logo
  • Flexible pricing
  • Customizable service plans
  • Monthly service plans

A thermostat hovering at 52 degrees 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 for reassurance that system and appliance repairs will be covered with a flat monthly rate, but is it really that easy?

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Flexible pricing
Pro Bullet Customizable plans
Pro Bullet Monthly payment options
Pro Bullet Easy cancellation
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Contract exclusions
Con Bullet Customer service complaints

Compare AHS Pricing and Plans

Price*
Service Fee**
Contract Length
Link

Systems Plan

$36.99/mo.

$100

1 or 2 yr.

Appliances Plan

#39.99/mo.

$100

1 or 2 yr.

Combo Plan

$54.99/mo

$100

1 or 2 yr.

Build Your Own Plan

$45.99/mo

$100

1 or 2 yr.

*Prices listed are for homes under 5,000 square feet, and prices do not include state and local taxes.
**Service fees are $100 at this monthly rate. Customers have the option of changing service fees for a higher or lower monthly rate.

What's Covered in Each Plan

Systems Plan

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

Appliances Plan

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

Combo Plan

Everything from the Systems Plan and the Appliances Plan

Build Your Own Plan

Any 10 items from the Systems Plan or the Appliances Plan Additional items for $2 each per month

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 preapproved 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 that 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 up to 21 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. AHS offers three service fee options: $75, $100, or $125. We found that on average, lowering your service fee will raise your monthly fee by about $10; raising the service fee decreases your monthly fee by about $5.

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 that is not covered under your warranty (and you may pay a service fee at the time 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 of $75 (or more) 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 ($200–$2000 per item), 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.

The Bottom Line

If you’re worried about the budget crunch of a sudden appliance or system breakdown, an AHS 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 FAQs

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
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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  • https://www.instajobpro.com instajobpro

    Exactly American Home Shield has a variety of home warranty options to choose from based on homeowners’ needs. A warranty company also gives their best. Our Home Repair Service Bronx is also gives best in their services. Thanks for sharing helpful point of view.

  • Doctor Pc

    These guys are the worst. Rip Off…scam. I paid them over 10000.00 for 14 years. Every time something went wrong like a water heater leaking the took a month to approve the fix. The last straw was my drains were starting to clog up and they refused service. So I cancelled them and now they say I have to pay them for the rest of the contract period. I never signed a contract and the contract says I pay them and they provide service. Not the way they look at it! They don’t provide service and you still pay…..nightmare!

  • e clay

    I tell anybody and everybody,
    The only good this about American home shield, is it shares my H.S initials(AHS)
    This is the worse company I have every dealt with
    After 4yrs of payments never used them until my ceiling fan broke, they denied me because I didn’t install it properly,,, I thought this is what I paid you for,
    But the worse part of it all, when I canceled this sham
    They gave me another bill ” early cancelation “, I didn’t know if they draft your account, it will automatically renew.
    This make 0 sense,
    America this is not American, all their customer reps are in the Philippines
    And barely understand English , or what your problem is
    #stayaway

  • DarrellWrites

    The restrictions are endless. I figured out that contracting a plumber myself for the same service requests would come to about the same amount and probably accomplish it the first time (instead of the four visits and the sink still isn’t draining.) I not only wasted money, but I also wasted time taking the time (4x) out of work to be available for the “plumbers.” If it’s something minor, they seem to make an at least a minimal effort. However, if it’s a real emergency that actually costs money, they’ll manipulate what they call your problem until they find a loophole. They promise peace of mind and deliver none.

  • Chris

    The article considers the financials of a failure but beyond that you should consider the engagement process. Your call will be directed to an Asian call center with people who are hard to understand. You will be placed on hold for 5-10 minutes for any question you ask them. If you are disconnected do not expect a call back, do not expect a call back even if the reason you called was to arrange a call back. The vendors that AHS likely believe the process of complaining or changing to another vendor is so painful that they will relay on this and provide you with subpar service. This subpar service will manifest in appointment windows of “From 9-5PM tomorrow” and then no-call-no-show you. If you call AHS to request another vendor they will attempt to make you spend another $110 dollar fee (I see lower values below but it seems the cost has gone up).

    So far I am out the cost of the warranty, the cost of the service fee, 1-2 hours of phone time, and 3 at home days for a microwave repair. A warranty can make financial sense but look for a service with a good reputation.

  • michpet

    American Home Shield is a terrible company. Stay away and don’t give them a dime..they are a true scam.

  • Autobroker

    A person purchased insurance, so IF the service is needed, he can utilize it. When an insurance company has such poor record keeping that they can’t find your file, how do you think they’ll be when it’s time to make a claim?

    This is why I cancelled all of my policies with them yesterday. Oh yeah, they billed me for cancelling! And of course no pro-rated credit for the partial month. But this is expected when dealing with a company like this.

  • Autobroker

    I transferred my home warranties from Fidelity to AHS a few months ago. I called yesterday to inquire about the policy – my first mistake. A person from outside the US answered and even though she was nice, she made numerous mistakes looking up my account (due to her poor English). When she finally found my account, she could not help with my problem and I was transferred to someone who “could” help.

    This woman also had problems finding my account and on top of it, she was in the US. She claimed she couldn’t understand, because of a bad connection, however I could hear her clearly. When she heard that I wanted to cancel, she tried to dump the call to another rep – my thinking is that she didn’t want it charged back to her sales quota. When she couldn’t find anyone to take the call, she let me know that she would have to take the cancellation. When I told her that her action pushed me to cancel all of my policies, she was not happy and put me on hold. The hold was for quite a long time and when she finally came back, she had a very bad attitude and took my information.

    At the end of the call, she told me that someone from the retention department would be calling. I told her that the service she provided was horrible and if she was working for me, I’d fire her on the spot. I also told her to put a note in my account that it is not savable and if there’s any final “accounting”, they could call and I would discuss this with the agent.

    I’m glad that I cancelled. What would it have been like if I needed an emergency repair and the person on the other end could not communicate effectively with me?

  • RoseMary O’Malley

    Do not use AHS. I have had them for years and when I needed them they were not there. Here is the situation. My garage door opener quit working. The company that AHS contracts with in my area is exclusive. The company was unaccommodating for the 1st appointment. I had no choice but to reschedule with them because they are the only company in my area used by AHS. The rude technician from the day before said that the garage door opener quit working because the garage door was old. AHS refuse to get a second opinion and denied my claim. They would not listen to reason but supported their contractor versus their customer. Needless to say after over 15 years I canceled my contract. I am now with 1st American home warranty whose customer service is excellent and their cost is less

  • Abby Ditomassi

    Well first off you try to call them for a service and it takes 20 minutes to get someone on the phone so they will say, you should just make a claim online. Well their online claims are bull crap because you can’t explain anything, I literally just had to click sump pump even though I would have told them it was an external sump if I could have. I even checked my contract to make sure external sump pumps were covered. And under plumbing it said sump pumps were covered, however right below the covered items are the NOT COVERED items and I read through those and nothing was stated about the external sump pump not being covered. However we finally get the plumbers out and they say American Home Shield won’t cover it and so on the phone with the first lady she pointed out that in a clause 3 sections above the plumbing section, it says nothing in the house is covered if it is not within the foundations of the house. I feel this is super shady and they at first would do NOTHING to help us out and basically said sorry you read the contract wrong. So then we decide to call them again to see if they would let us have a plumber come out for a different concern we had. Our sink drain in the basement possibly has a blockage and they say they will snake the drain up to 100 ft. HOWEVER, IF IT IS DUE TO A FOREIGN OBJECT OR TREE ROOTS ITS NOT COVERED. Aka WTF would be blocking the drain other than a foreign object or a broken pipe which is also not covered. So we were like, uh yeah can we just have our money back so we don’t have
    the literal SAME ISSUE we had last time where we called you out just for it not to be covered and us to get screwed again? Our contract is up in 15 days and we will not be renewing. Not worth it if everything that they say is covered is not actually covered once they come out.

  • 1keithesq

    AVOID THIS COMPANY AMERICAN HOME SHIELD!

    I filed a claim because my garage door jammed. American Home Shield demanded $100 deductible to be paid before they would schedule a technician to come out. I paid it. Next day, the technician arrived but told me American Home Shield denied coverage because the “garage door opener” did not break. Instead, a wire came loose causing the door to tilt and jam. The door and springs, etc. are not covered; only the “opener.” He said he could fix it for $99, which I paid and he fixed.

    American Home Shield refused to return my deductible, even though they denied coverage. This is unconscionable. Avoid doing business with this company. You will be sorry.

  • Doreen Boady Hager

    Had an A/C unit put in last summer (2018) had issues with it from the get go. Went thru three contractors to get the job done. Had
    To pay the service fee and pay $1500 for the Freon. I was concerned that the unit was too small, the contractor said it was the correct unit. It took over a Month and a Half to get the job done.
    Now A year later, the new unit is t working, it’s not cold and there is a puddle of water. Called AHS, this is a new case, I have
    To pay a new service fee and pay $200 for Freon on a new unit.
    AHS staff was not helpful, and didn’t really listen to you. Very frustrated with this company. Will not be paying for
    Their services once this contract is up.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      That stinks! But thanks for sharing your experience for others to read.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/560126497/ Michelle Awad Guijarro

    I have had American Home Shield for the past 6 years and YES it Worth it. I have never been disappointed Yes I can understand when it winter or summer that they may having a high valum of calls and you may have to wait 2 days but the job does get done and it is done professionally , not with some extra screws from some lawn mower. Some year’s I don’t use AHS but just knowing my house hold is protected gives me peace of mind.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • michpet

      Lucky you As far as I’m concerned they are a scam

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/100004099043631/ Beau Lynn-Miller

    Is American Home Shield worth it? No. It’s winter and my furnace just went out. I requested service online and
    I got a call from some dispatcher who barely spoke English telling me
    that they could come fix it in two days. I tried calling American Home
    Shield and the automated answering service told me that they were
    experiencing “higher than normal call volumes” and offered to give me a
    callback when they were ready. I accepted and got a callback. I’ve been
    on hold for 1hr and 30min since that callback.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Woof! That sounds awful. But thanks for sharing your experience for the rest of our readers. Hope you get that furnace back on ASAP. BTW, is this your first experience with American Home Shield, and do you have any experience with other home warranty brands?

  • http://www.zadiustech.com ZadiusTech

    I had a very bad experience with American Home Shield. When my bathroom toilet got clogged I thought American Home Shield would help me with no problems, but instead this was my experience with them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAyR5uIQ748