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American Home Shield vs First American Home Warranty

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AMERICAN HOME SHIELD

American Home Shield is the largest home warranty provider in the nation, and for nearly 30 years, they've been the featured partner of ServiceMaster. ServiceMaster brings a network of home service industries together, including high-profile brands like Merry Maids, Terminix, and Furniture Medic. American Home Shield's influence and high position in the industry can't be ignored

On the other hand, we can't ignore the fact that in recent years their reputation has taken a hit. American Home Shield's rating with the BBB dropped from an A+ to a B. The reason? American Home Shield has more than 10,000 complaints registered on the BBB site alone.

The home warranty coverage offered by American Home Shield has remained consistent:

  • Appliances Plan
  • Systems Plan
  • Combo Plan
  • Build-Your-Own

These include what you would generally expect from coverage; American Home Shield is one of the only home warranty providers on the market that does have that customizable option; you can choose 10 or more items/systems for coverage, which allows you to only pay for the protection you actually need. That's another plus for this company.

You'll have to enter your address and email in order to get a pricing quote. The first residence we tried to cover kept giving us an error; we had to try a different address to get the quote system to work. For that residence, we were given pricing ranging from $34.99 to $44.99 per month with a $100 Trade Service Call Fee. The base price for the Build Your Own was $39.99, with any coverage over 10 items/systems resulting in an extra cost, which varied depending on the items included. American Home Shield also provides options for upgrades, like well pump or pool/spa coverage, and you can modify your pricing by choosing a service call fee of $75 or $125 which raises or lowers your monthly fees accordingly.

At the bottom of that quote page, you'll also find the sample contract. This will provide important information about what is covered for each item/system and what is specifically excluded.

Another plus for American Home Shield is their 24/7 availability if you need to schedule a repair and make a claim. Also, American Home Shield will ask you to rate your technician; many problems with home warranties come when less-than-expert repair people are sent to service a claim, and American Home Shield wants to make sure that their network of more than 13,000 contractors is doing a good job.

Despite American Home Shield's challenges lately with respect to customer complaints, their commitment to quality and their long-standing position and reputation within the home warranty industry are worth keeping in mind. For this reason, we still think American Home Shield is a strong choice for your home warranty needs.

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FIRST AMERICAN HOME WARRANTY

Established in 1984, First American Home Warranty has more than 500,000 customers and offers around-the-clock service on their home warranty contracts.

In order to find out if First American can cover your property, you'll need to enter your zip code. You'll be taken to a page that shows you what is covered for your area. But, in order to get pricing, you'll have to enter your full information: name, address, zip code, and so forth. For our residence, we were given these two options:

  • Basic Plan: service call fee of $75, priced at $28/month (or a one-time yearly payment of $300, a savings of $21). Includes coverage of appliances: disposal, dishwasher, range, cooktop, microwave, trash compactor, refrigerator, washer/dryer
  • Premier Plan: service call fee of $75, priced at $44/month (or one-time yearly payment of $492, a savings of $21). Includes coverage of appliances and major systems, such as plumbing, electrical, heating/ductwork, garage door opener, and central vacuum system.

Both plans offer upgrades to cover pool/spa equipment, well pumps, central air (electric), as well as a "First Class Upgrade" that covers more components within the various appliances and systems.

When you look at the quote page, you'll notice plus signs (+) next to each listed component. We weren't thrilled to read that "company shows examples of components 'not covered' to assist your understanding of this Contract, and examples are not exhaustive". In other words, could there be things that are actually not covered, but they're not listed on the quote page? That's not reassuring, to have to download the sample contract just to look up every possible exclusion.

And reassurance may be exactly what you want, because most of the complaints we found regarding First American center around excluded coverage items. Customers described systems that needed repair, and the most common replacement items were actually not covered. We also read a number of reviews that complained about less-than-competent technicians contracted by First American, who wound up causing more damages than they fixed.

But, compared with some of the home warranty companies we surveyed, it does look like First American makes the effort to address such complaints. Both with their "B" rating with the Better Business Bureau and their responses to negative reviews, this company does show respect for the customer.

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Best Home Warranty

To help you find the Best Home Warranty Companies, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty.

Who has the best Home Warranty? Whether you're a homeowner, landlord, or home seller hoping to sweeten the deal for prospective buyers, a home warranty can make a significant difference. From appliances like washers and dryers to home systems such as HVAC and electrical, home warranty policies protect you in the event of a malfunction or needed repair.

Given that the average costs of even a minor fix can easily run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars, it's easy to understand why many people purchase home warranties every month. The coverage purchased typically explains what is and is not covered, so you know exactly what you're getting. Also, most plans have some kind of deductible or service fee once a technician has been dispatched for your repair or claim.

You should be aware that home warranties are one of the most complained-about services available today. Why? The main reason is that customers don't pay attention to the fine print. When considering a home warranty policy, be sure to take a look at a sample contract. Like all warranty and insurance companies, they're hoping that you don't need to make a claim - and so many of the cosmetic, non-essential inner workings and components may be excluded from coverage.

However, if you take the time to educate yourself on the home warranty you're purchasing, there should be no unpleasant surprises, and your covered systems will be repaired in a timely fashion by a licensed, reputable technician.

As you decide which company earns your business for a home warranty plan, here are several criteria to consider:

  • Coverage. What is included, and what is specifically excluded? Do the plans offered cover the systems and appliances you most want to protect?
  • Premiums and Fees. What will you pay for your coverage? Will you pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly? What are the fees you pay for service calls? Do you have a deductible?
  • Reputation. What is the company's rating with the Better Business Bureau, if they have one? What do current and previous clients have to say about the home warranty, both during the purchasing process and especially during the claims/repairs experience?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best home warranty companies available today. We hope this research helps you find the best home warranty policy for your home or rental property!



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