Introduction to American Home Shield
American Home Shield (AHS) is a Tennessee-based organization that specializes in providing home warranty services. The company was founded back in 1971. Over the years, AHS has signed agreements with various professionals who ensure that all covered appliances are repaired or replaced in case of malfunctions.
Home warranties or home repair insurance are very useful especially to individuals with aging equipment. Through such a cover, you can transfer the liability of having to repair or replace home systems such as refrigerators, HVAC systems and other appliances to AHS. Instead of paying the full amount of repairing or replacing the item, you will only have to pay a service fee for each repair which is much less than what the entire repair costs.
AHS also stands out in the market because it has much more precise terms than its competitors. This doesn’t mean that the provider is always straightforward though. You still have to pay close attention to all the details before signing an agreement. The last thing you’d want is to have a minor technicality cancel out your repair insurance. However, when we compare AHS to the alternatives, the terms seem to be much better. The company can even cover for damages caused by disrepair and neglect something that most other home warranty providers like to use as an excuse of getting out of fulfilling the agreement.
Another thing we love about home repair insurance from AHS is the fact that all repairs have a set flat service fee. After paying this fee, all other costs incurred in repairing the appliance will be covered by AHS. This means that in case your malfunctioning system ends up to have a much bigger issue than initially thought, American Home Shield will be responsible for the entire bill including the extra charges. However, then there is a limit to this. AHS has set a maximum payout of $3,000 for every appliance repairs or replacement. Therefore, they won’t cover any fees past this limit.
Sadly, that maximum payout limit isn’t the only issue to worry about when dealing with AHS. American Home Shield is a poorly rated home warranty company with users complaining of different problems spread out to almost all aspects of the company. Talk about poor customer services, unnecessary and lengthy delays, inflexibility, tricky terms of services and so on. These are some of the problems that most homeowners had had to deal with when they took out AHS’s Home Warranty.
With AHS, you cannot decide whom you want to repair your appliances. This company has signed contracts with independent professionals from whom they source all their repair and replacement services. Based on the numbers of unsatisfied customers, it is fair to say that most of these contractors are of poor quality yet you don’t have the option of choosing one of your own.
Then there are cases where AHS falls out with some contractors. This leaves the insured stranded with a broken appliance yet it is covered. So, until AHS and the contractor sort out their issues and send out a professional, you will have to live without the equipment in question.
Most people always fancy a replacement instead of a repair. This is especially true if you are dealing with old appliances. Unfortunately, when you are working with AHS replacement may not always be the best way to go. This is because the company tends replacing a broken appliance with the same features but necessarily the same make. Yes, you might end up with a new electronic, but then it could be from a cheaper low-quality model!
We’ve also come across reports of individuals who were given money instead of repairing or replacing the item. This practice seems to be a bit common, yet it always leaves the insured in a bad position. AHS will only give you the amount they would have used in repairing or replacing the item, and since they are a big company partnering with most contractors, this figure is almost always going to be less than what you’d spend if you were to source for the services as an individual.
Funny enough, even with these issues AHS remains as one of the most reasonable companies when you are looking for home repair insurance. They charge competitive rates and their terms are also much better than some of the other alternatives. This basically means that the company remains relevant due to the lack of proper competition in the market. It is for that reason that we urge our clients to avoid getting the warranty altogether if they can afford to pay for home repairs. This will save you from having to deal with lots of frustration.
Is the Home Repair Insurance the Same as Homeowners Insurance?
No, it is not. These two policies cover different parts of your home, and hence one cannot replace the other. For instance, a homeowners insurance could cover the roof of your house against natural disasters while a home warranty cover won’t. The two policies also protect your items against different types of damages.
It is important to note the differences between these two and compare them against your needs to determine which one is your best suit. While on that, you need to know that homeowners insurance typically saves you more money in case of massive damage compared to a home warranty.
What Items are covered under American Home Shield Home Warranty?
It is crucial that you know which items are covered and the terms under each one of them. You are also responsible for choosing which items will be covered while signing up for the contract.
AHS, have categorized home repair insurance into two: Appliances and Systems. You can get a cover for one of them, or you can combine them into one bundle in what they refer to as “combo plan.” You also have the freedom to customize your own plan and select only the items that you own.
Some of the items that can be covered under the System category include:
- Heating (Ductwork)
- Air conditioning (Ductwork)
- Ceiling fans
- Smoke detectors
- Central vacuums
- Cold water and instant hot dispensers
- Rekeying door locks
- Garbage Disposals
- Water heaters
Note that the $3,000 maximum limit per item applies on the appliances category only. The above systems don’t have a coverage limit.
On the other hand, AHS will provide coverage for the following appliances:
- Clothes washers
- Clothes dryers
- Cooktops, oven or ranges
- Inbuilt food centers
- Garage door openers
- Trash compactors
- Inbuilt microwave ovens
American Home Shield also provide optional add-ons that you can include in your cover. These are hot tub, guest house, well pump, septic pump and swimming pool.
Understanding the types of damages your items are covered against is just as important as knowing the items covered. This is because specific equipment may be covered, but if the reason for the damage is excluded from AHS’s list, you won’t be eligible for a repair or replacement.
With that said, here are the insured damage causes:
- Wear and tear
- Unknown pre-existing issues
- Rust or corrosion
- Poor maintenance
- Improper previous repair
- Poor installation
Some of the notable exclusions in AHS’s insured damage causes include:
- Disasters like Earthquake, Fire or Lightning
- Manufacturer’s defects
- Neglect or misuse
Routine maintenance and items that are still covered by the manufacturer’s policy are also not covered by AHS.
Here is what a few American Home Shield Customers had to say about the services offered:
“AHS makes every effort to locate a vendor to perform the necessary service needed to repair your covered item.” By CM from Boston, MA
“We had our microwave break down. So we called AHS, they sent out a repairman after we paid the deductible. The repairman fixed our microwave, and it is working perfectly now.” By Evelyn Ortega
“Don’t waste your money; they take forever to have repairs completed (you have to beg them to come back after initial visit). If the item is determined non-repairable will take months to get a replacement and don’t even bother with cash out option, they will never reimburse you for agreed price.” By Linda from Hummelstown, PA
“I would not recommend anyone to go with AHS Very very poor customer service, Billing department does not care and not taking to Sales. Salespeople are charging without your permission .please stay away and save your Money.” By Jaivarn from Gainesville, FL
“Very disappointed when trying to call the billing department with AHS. I get placed on hold for 25-35 minutes then my call goes straight to someone’s voicemail. I have previously called twice before for the same issue-getting billed for something I have already paid. The last two times, I was told a backlog in billing and not to worry then another bill comes in the mail. It seems like once you sign up, there’s not any customer service or anyone to answer any questions.” By Melissa from Henderson, NV
David is a financial expert who graduated from the University of Fordham (Master in Finance) in 2001. He has 10+ years of experience in private equity and wealth management. With strong expertise in senior-level financial planning, personal financial analysis, and mortgages, David knows his way around personal finance. Before working at CCR he used to be a financial analyst at McKinsey.
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