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Friday, August 12th
American Home Shield has been in business for over half a century, boasting over two million customers overall.
3 plans plus add-on coverage
You'll need to enter your zip code to see which AHS warranty plans are available in your area. Generally speaking, these are the options:
Pricing depends on your preferred trade service call fee
When you click on "Shop Plans" and enter your street address and email, you'll see the specifics of the plans offered for your location. Pay attention to the Trade Service Call Fee at the top: you'll pay what is essentially a co-pay for every service request, and you choose whether you want it to be $75, $100, or $125 (with the corresponding impact on your monthly pricing). For our home, with a $100 call fee, we were quoted $39.99/month for ShieldSilver, $49.99/month for ShieldGold, and $69.99/month for ShieldPlatinum. No matter which plan you choose, all AHS home warranties include protection for older items, undetectable pre-existing conditions, items without maintenance records, and removal of old/defective items.
Extra coverage is worth looking at
Once you select a plan, you'll see all of the available add-on coverage. For example, we could add electronics protection (backed by Allstate) for an unlimited number of new/used devices for just $18/month. Depending on what's included in your chosen plan, you can add some coverage a la carte: roof repairs, septic pump, and pool/spa are a few of the options.
Be sure to read the sample contract
We recommend that you take the time to review the sample contract that AHS has on their website. We found that link in the FAQ at the bottom of the page. It's a great way to make sure you understand exactly what you're getting, with no nasty surprises when you try to make a claim. For example, it states very clearly that if your AC unit needs refrigerant, you'll pay up to $10 per pound (if you're not on the Platinum plan) and you're on the hook for anything beyond that - and at least at the time of this evaluation, freon was running anywhere from $50 to $150 per pound. If your system needs a complete refill of 6-15 pounds, you should do the math and be aware of how much you'll pay out of pocket.
10,000+ complaints - in just one year
American Home Shield has a "just okay" rating of "B" from the Better Business Bureau, along with accreditation. We're not going to lie: we were pretty shocked to see that there were over 10,000 complaints filed against AHS - in the last 12 months alone. That reflects what we found elsewhere, including abysmal 1-star ratings from over 2,100 American Home Shield customers. Comments describe unreasonably long delays in getting parts and repairs (like five days without AC in Florida), difficulties in getting covered appliances replaced, and customer service reps who sound like they're overseas and are hard to understand.
Hardly any happy customers here
Yes, many home warranty companies get thousands of complaints. Unfortunately, AHS's rivals also tend to have a decent number of five-star reviews as well, while this company only scrapes up a few hundred five-star ratings out of over 2600 total reviews. Most disappointing were the reviews from people who said they paid premiums for years, only to be refused when they made their first claim - and those who said that they used to receive good service here but now it's just bad all around.
No longer a provider we recommend
American Home Shield is no longer one of our highest-rated home warranty providers. Their track record lately shows a disappointing trend towards customer dissatisfaction, and you're likely to get better service from another provider. While we hope to see some changes in a positive direction in the future, for now we have to rank American Home Shield as one of our least-recommended home warranty companies.
Maybe you're a landlord trying to mitigate your operating expenses. Or you're trying to sell your home in a tough market and want to set prospective buyers' minds at ease. Then again, you could be like the average homeowner who wants some protection against those unexpected expenses like a failing air conditioner or a leaky bathtub.
In all of these situations, a good home warranty is a wise choice that can make the difference between a quick, inexpensive fix and a huge repair bill. How do home warranty plans work? Most providers give you several plans to choose from, ranging from basic coverage of appliances or systems, to premium packages that cover just about every component of your home. There are usually add-on services for an extra fee, like coverage of your electronics, sump pumps, septic systems, pools/spas, and so on.
All home warranties have limits, exclusions, and caps on the amount your policy will pay over the life of the contract: this is one of those times where it's essential to read the fine print and understand what's covered and what's not.
You should also expect a 30-day waiting period before your coverage takes effect. In other words, don't think you can hurriedly throw a warranty plan on your broken fridge and expect it to get fixed - unless you want to wait a whole month. Many home warranty companies use this time as a money-back guarantee period, in case you change your mind or discover something in your policy that you weren't aware of when you signed up. One such "surprise" is often the trade call service fee: what you'll pay per service call, similar to a copay you'd have on a medical insurance plan or a deductible with your car insurance. Be aware that you could have multiple fees for a single repair, if the fix requires different tradespeople to get it taken care of (both a plumber and an electrician).
You've got a lot of companies to consider for your home warranty, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. How can you tell which ones will deliver what they promise? Here are the most useful criteria to guide your decision:
To help protect your home (and your savings), TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular home warranty providers. We're sure this information will help you choose the right plan for your property!
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