Before American Home Shield introduced home warranties in 1971, homeowners had little protection against surprise home damage and repairs that required expensive replacement parts. Since that time, the company has grown to offer customizable plans, with coverage for everything from HVAC systems to ice machines.
American Home Shield serves 49 states and is ideal for anyone who seeks an individualized plan. The company’s customizable coverage means that you won’t be stuck paying a premium to cover appliances you don’t own. Before taking out a policy with American Home Shield, though, buyers should consider this company’s service fees, appliances and systems covered, American Home Shield reviews, and response time — all before choosing a plan.
American Home Shield Overview
- Plan types: Appliances, Systems, Combo, and Build-Your-Own
- Pricing: Varies by location and plan
- Service fees: $75, $100 or $125
- Workmanship guarantee: 30-day guarantee
- Contract length: One year (standard)
- BBB rating: B
- Home inspection required? No
- States served: 49
- Available appliance and system coverage: offered separately, bundled or customized
|Appliances||Systems||Combo||Build Your Own|
|Appliances Covered||Refrigerators Ovens/cooktops Clothes washers Clothes dryers Dishwashers Built-in microwave ovens Trash Compactors Freestanding ice makers Garage door openers Built-in food centers||None||Refrigerators Ovens/cooktops Clothes washers Clothes dryers Dishwashers Built-in microwave ovens Trash Compactors Freestanding ice makers Garage door openers Built-in food centers||*all options available for customized plan|
|Systems Covered||None||Air-conditioning with ductwork Heating with ductwork Electrical Doorbells Smoke detectors Ceiling fans Plumbing (including stoppages) Water Heaters Garbage Disposals Instant H/C Water Dispensers Central Vacuums||Air-conditioning with ductwork Heating with ductwork Electrical Doorbells Smoke detectors Ceiling fans Plumbing (including stoppages) Water Heaters Garbage Disposals Instant H/C Water Dispensers Central Vacuums||*all options available for customized plan|
Who is this best for?
Due to the high customization, the company offers in its warranties, American Home Shield works best for homeowners who want to have more control over which home appliances and systems will be covered under their personal plan. The plans offered by American Home Shield are straightforward and transparent, and the company’s sample contract should help to clear up questions.
- Customizable plans make American Home Shield a solid choice for people who need a policy that does not conform to any preexisting plans offered on the market. With four flexible plans, every homeowner should be able to find a plan that works for them.
- Company longevity offers a little extra reassurance that the American Home Shield will be around long enough to settle any claims that occur. It also lays claim that it started the concept of home warranties in the first place.
- Service fee options give homeowners more freedom for how they want their plan to work. If the homeowner chooses a plan with a higher service fee, then the plan will have a lower monthly payment—and vice versa.
- No inspection required means that the homeowner can sign up for an American Home Shield home warranty without worrying over a home inspection first, which gives homeowners an easier experience starting out.
- Lack of monthly pricing information makes it more difficult for people to find out how much the plan will cost every month. Homeowners will need to get a quote before they know what the monthly cost will be after signing up.
- Short workmanship guarantee means that repairs covered by the plan will only be guaranteed for 30 days. Considering that many other companies selling home warranties offer workmanship guarantees for 90 or 180 days, American Home Shield falls short of the competition in this area.
|American Home Shield||Cinch Home Warranty||Complete Protection||AFC Home Club|
|$75, $100, or $125||$100, $125, or $150||$0||$75, $100 or $125|
|30 days||180 days||None||guaranteed until contract ends|
|Four plans offered Online portal available||Three plans offered Online portal available||Four plans offered No online portal||Four plans offered No online portal|
All information accurate as of 02/07/2020.
AHS compared to Cinch
American Home Shield and Cinch (now Cinch Home Services) are fairly comparable in terms of what is offered in the plans. However, one big difference is customization. American Home Shield offers plans that can be customized to virtually anything a homeowner wants, while Cinch Home Services requires you to stick to the plans the company offers.
Cinch Home Services definitely wins in the category of workmanship guarantees. Cinch offers a 180-day guarantee with its plans, which is significantly more than the length of time that American Home Shield offers under its own plans. American Home Shield does offer lower service fees, which somewhat makes up for its short guarantees. So if something breaks down after American Home Shield’s 30-day guarantee is up, at least it will be less expensive to have someone come out again.
Due to the difference in cost by location, it’s a good idea to get quotes from both companies to see which one will work best for your area.
AHS compared to Complete Protection
American Home Shield and Complete Protection offer very different kinds of home warranties. With American Home Shield, people signing up can expect plans that are traditionally structured—meaning the plans come with a contract, a service fee, and a workmanship guarantee. Complete Protection offers a separate take on home warranties that is less traditional than American Home Shield’s plans.
With Complete Protection home warranties, homeowners don’t have to worry about contracts or service fees. Complete Protection offers cancellation anytime, with some refunds available depending on the company’s prorating formula. Complete Protection also has quite a few restrictions on what its home warranties cover, so it’s a good idea to make sure that the home appliances and system that you want to be covered will be available under the plan.
Choosing between American Home Shield and Complete Protection largely depends on what kind of home warranty fits in with your lifestyle and how you want your appliances and systems covered.
The Bottom Line
The high level of customization that American Home Shield offers in its plans makes this company a sound choice for homeowners who might have unusual home warranty needs and are looking to create individualized plans. However, for anyone who wants a long workmanship guarantee, American Home Shield is probably not the right plan, as there are plenty of competitors with longer guarantees. Ultimately, the best choice will rest with the needs of the homeowner and what they want out of their home warranty.
American Shield FAQ
The most commonly covered appliances or systems under American Home Shield are refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, built-in microwaves, heating and air conditioning. This company also offers add-ons like pool and septic tank coverage — so there are tons of options to choose from. Plus, the flexible plans cover up to 21 services and appliances under one policy.
American Home Shield warranty reviews on the Better Business Bureau are mixed. Some customers report swift service, while others have struggled to be assigned a contractor and have had claims denied. When a claim is approved, the workmanship is only covered for a month, which could pose problems for more complicated repairs.
Yes, plumbing is covered by American Home Shield warranties. Water and drain breaks, faucets, toilet wax rings, pressure regulators and shower heads can all be covered under your policy. There are some plumbing parts that are excluded from coverage, though, including any stoppages caused by a collapsed drain, as well as caulking, grouting, jets and water filtration systems.
If you move while your policy is still active, you can transfer the remainder of your plan to the new buyer. You will have to set up new coverage at your new home, though. Alternatively, you can cancel your plan and receive a prorated refund of your contract fees for the rest of the contract term (but be aware that in some places you will also pay an administrative fee).