We invest a great deal of money into our homes—not only in regards to the physical structure, but on interior design, added features, and, of course, the items inside.
To help protect us financially, items often come with a warranty, offering a repair or replacement if the piece breaks down.
Many of us would not think twice about taking out a warranty for our refrigerator or washing machine.
When it comes to our properties, however, many homeowners are not prepared or covered in the event of an incident.
A home warranty can help to protect you and offer both peace of mind and financial compensation, but first you need to pick the right home warranty provider.
About American Home Shield
American Home Shield’s History
American Home Shield tops our list of the best home warranties. It is a firm providing home protection plans, which are specially designed to cover some of the most common issues and system breakdowns which may occur within your home.
Operating since 1971, they claim to cover over 1.4 million homeowners across 49 states.
They also boast a team of more than 10,000 contractors who can provide the services you need to get your home up and running.
How It Works
American Home Shield has a simplified process for coverage. The system works on the basis of a twelve-month contract.
You pick your plan, pay a month’s premium, and have your contract activated fifteen days later.
From this date, you are fully covered. Plans come in a range of options and can be paid via monthly payments to help make them more affordable.
How to Make a Claim
If you need to make a claim, you can contact American Home Shields via the website or phone, 24/7. This will put you in touch with a service representative, who will arrange for a contractor to be sent to your property.
It’s important to note that you will only be contracted by your contractor during regular business hours, despite the customer claim line having 24/7 accessibility.
The company claim that all of their contractors are of the highest quality to ensure that their customers remain completely satisfied, though some feedback has expressed concerns with the contractor they received.
How American Home Shield Assesses Claims
Upon arrival, the contractor will request a trade call service fee paid directly to them to start the process for them to diagnose the issue.
They will contact American Home Shield before taking any further action to check that your plan covers the problem before repairing or replacing the system.
While the consensus is that this phase is carried out effectively in most cases, there have been reports of some contractors failing to diagnose the issue after receiving the fee.
Benefits of American Home Shield’s Process
There are some bonuses to the system.
First, your plan is fully transferable, ensuring that you are covered even if you move from your house to another one during your policy period.
The policies are also ‘all risk,’ meaning that everything will be included unless explicitly stated; any exclusions will be made clear to you when you take out the plan.
Types of Plans
As we have mentioned, there are a variety of plan types available, depending on your needs. Pricing may vary according to location but can be paid via affordable monthly payments.
The policies on offer include:
Usually retailing at around $32 per month, this covers the repair or replacement—where possible— of any components in the air conditioning and heating units of your home, as well as plumbing and electrical systems.
Like the systems plan, this coverage is offered at around $32 per month. The appliance plan covers components in refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers, and other key household appliances.
If the appliance is covered, either a repair or replacement will be carried out, depending on what is needed.
Offered at around $42 per month, this option combines the Systems and Appliance plans, providing all of the benefits of both with financial savings.
If you like the comprehensive coverage offered by both types of policies, the combo plan is an excellent way to save money.
Build Your Own
As the name suggests, this policy allows you to cover at least ten items, while picking and choosing the coverage you need. The price is dependent on what you prefer.
Each monthly payment can also be adjusted by altering the trade service fee which is paid to the contractor when they visit your home.
The set amounts are for $75, $100 and $200; the higher priced options will reduce the price you pay per month.
What is Covered
Each plan is different, but there is a general list of appliances and components which are covered by the policies:
Covered Under Systems Plan
- Air conditioning (including ducting)
- Garbage disposal
- Water heaters
- Instant hot and cold water dispensers
- Ceiling fans
- Central vacuums
- Smoke detectors
Covered Under Appliances Plan
- Clothes washers and dryers
- Ranges, ovens, and cook tops
- Freestanding ice makers
- Built-in microwaves
- Garage door openers
- Trash compactors
- Built-in food processors
As a bonus, there are a few optional add-ons which can be purchased as part of the build your own plan.
Elements covered here include:
- Pools and spas
- Well pumps
- Septic pumps
- Water softeners
What is Not Covered
As with any policy, it is essential to be aware of what is not included. The fine print of the paperwork includes a few stipulations.
Be sure to consider the following factors:
- Exact items listed: If you have updated your dryer but not informed American Home Shield, you will not be covered for that item.
- Malfunctions covered by a warranty: If an item is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, American Home Shield reserves the right to decide whether the item will be replaced or repaired or not.
- Selection: Homeowners also do not get to choose the item if it is replaced; this is at the discretion of the contractor and doesn’t have to be a match in terms of the color, model, size, or brand.
- Cash alternatives: If the contractor decides that they cannot repair the component, they may also offer a cash alternative.
It is always worth reading the small print before signing for a plan or policy as it will make your life easier and eliminate any expectations or confusion in the event of a claim.
Alternatives to American Home Shield
Advantages and Disadvantages of American Home Shield
Pros of taking out a policy include:
- Adaptability: A range of protection plans which can be adapted according to your needs
- Comparison: The monthly repayments will almost certainly cost less than repairing or replacing your appliance or system as an individual
- Access: You can file a claim 24/7
- Coverage: Offers protection and reassurance even after the expiration of a manufacturer’s warranty
- Time: Contractors will only contact you and carry out work during regular business hours
- Quality of Contractors: There have been reports of some low-quality contractors being sent to the home of customers, and those who are only interested in the fee
- Cost: Building up some savings and a network of reliable tradespeople may be a cheaper alternative
Taking out a home protection policy can be a great way to protect your home and belongings, providing peace of mind and a financial safety net if anything goes wrong, and eliminating the need to worry or search for a contractor to fix the problem fast.
American Home Shield offers a variety of flexible and affordable plans to suit every lifestyle and budget and help to protect homeowners from high bills later on.
As with any policy, however, exclusions and exceptions apply, and it is a good idea to make sure you are fully aware of these before committing.