By Patricia Barnes
With over 40 years of experience in the home warranty business, American Home Shield has long been a trusted source of coverage for millions of Americans. Its customizable plans currently serve over 1 million homeowners and cover all appliances and systems, including antiquated, discontinued models.
AHS’ plans are among the most customizable in the industry. You get to pick exactly what coverage you need and what parts to leave out. For example, if you don’t have a toaster, AHS allows you to fine tune your plan so there is no toaster coverage. In addition, there’s no intrusive home inspection at the start, and their waiting period is generally half of what it would be with similar insurance providers.
Air conditioning (including ductwork)
Instant hot/cold water dispensers
Built-in microwave ovens
Freestanding ice makers
Garage door openers
Built-in food processors
$249 - $500+
$75, $100, $125
AHS offers 4 plans to choose from with prices varying depending on your situation. There is an appliance plan, a system plan, a build your own plan, and a combo plan. Optional add-ons for any of these plans cost money and include coverage for pools/spa, water softeners, well pumps, and septic pumps. In order to receive a quote, you need to enter your information online. Unlike other insurance companies, AHS does not require a home visit to give a quote.
The plans cover what their names state. If you choose the appliance plan, your appliances are covered; the systems plan covers the replacement or repair of home systems; the combo plan provides coverage for both appliances and systems; build your own plan allows you customize a plan that covers only what you need.
Prices for each plan vary depending on where you live, which appliances and systems you want to cover, and the size of your home. AHS offers 3 options for their trade service call fee. You can choose to pay $75, $100, or $125 dollars. If you choose the $125 fee, it will cost you more per repair but over time you will likely see lower premiums.
Since their plans are customizable, it’s important to make sure you only pay for the coverage you need. If your home doesn’t have an air conditioner, make sure that coverage is not in the contract. Review your contract closely and trim anything excessive.
Every contract from AHS comes with fine print that all customers should be aware of before signing. These details limit a warranty’s effectiveness by giving AHS the right to dictate the terms of repair or replacement. AHS may choose to repeatedly fix a problematic appliance rather than replace it. While they’ll get it working, this can be a headache if you need to keep calling and scheduling repairs. If they do choose to replace it, they decide which appliance to replace it with.
Another major source of frustration from customers stems from being unaware of holes in coverage. In any given plan, your plumbing system might be covered but this coverage doesn’t extend to bathtubs, sinks or showers. Again, it’s imperative to review the contract before you sign.
AHS boasts a network of over 11,000 independent contractors as well as 45,000 service technicians around the country. However, the quality of those contractors differs depending on location. You’re guaranteed to get a professional with AHS but since they’re all independent, it is impossible to say whether you’ll be happy with the contractor assigned to your repair.
Reviews of AHS’ customer service are mixed. While the company offers 24/7 service requests online and a phone line open during regular business hours, many customers have reported excessive wait times while trying to get a person on the phone.
Whether lodged over the phone or online, service requests are simple. Once you submit a problem, AHS emails you with the name of the vendor that will take the service call. It is then up to you and the vendor to schedule an appointment for the repair.
AHS has all the tools in place to offer customer’s support, but like most companies, the individual experience varies. If you stick to electronic communication, you’ll face few issues, but if you want to talk to a human and plan to call, expect long wait times.
The effectiveness and value of American Home Shield is dependent on you and your individual needs. There are no one size fits all options when it comes to home insurance and it is on the homeowner to determine whether a warranty is a good fit or not. If you know what you’re getting into and you’re aware of the limitations of any insurance plan, AHS or another provider might be a good fit for you. Crunch all the numbers, read the fine print, and make your own determination.
AHS has been a reliable warranty provider for over 40 years. Today it manages a network of over 11,000 independent contractors as well as 45,000 service technicians. It currently covers over 1 million homeowners and has covered over 10 billion dollars in repairs and replacements over the last 10 years. AHS is a founding member of the National Home Service Contract Association and a Better Business Bureau accredited business.
Telephone: 800 776 4663