American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Which One Should You Choose in 2023?
Two of the top home warranty companies face off in our American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty comparison. Here’s how homeowners can decide which one is the right option.
Homeowners who have looked into their home warranty options have probably come across American Home Shield and Choice Home Warranty as potential candidates. Both companies are two of the most widely used home warranty providers in the country, offering service plans that can help homeowners pay to repair or replace home systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. Which one is a better fit for a homeowner’s needs, though?
Comparing American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty is basically pitting the old established name against the relative newcomer who’s looking to shake up the industry. While American Home Shield excels in the scope of coverage available, Choice Home Warranty may turn heads with its stellar claims process. There are many other factors that go into deciding if a home warranty is a good fit, so it’s a good idea to take a closer look at the benefits of each company to see which one comes out on top.
How We Compared Home Warranty Companies
Home warranty providers may seem similar at first glance, but take a deeper look at what each company has to offer and it quickly becomes apparent that even seemingly small distinctions can significantly impact the customer experience. There are many factors that distinguish one home warranty company from another.
- Reputation and customer reviews: Customer reviews and a company’s reputation give insight into what it’s like to actually use a home warranty service and what customers can expect from the organization.
- Service area: Home warranty availability can vary from state to state depending on which company a homeowner chooses, which could make the decision between two options much easier for customers in certain areas.
- Coverage amount: Home warranty companies will cover different types of repair jobs up to a certain limit. Service requests that exceed those amounts could be denied or require policyholders to pay the difference themselves, so it’s always good to compare home warranties’ coverage limits.
- Policies and plans: Broadly speaking, home warranties cover home systems and appliances, but not all plans will cover the exact same items. There may also be add-on services available that can expand coverage further.
- Average monthly rate: Prices on home warranties will vary depending on which plan a customer chooses and any add-on options that are selected. Even so, some companies will be more affordable than others when homeowners are looking at the average monthly rate of their policies.
- Discounts: Home warranty companies may offer discounts and promotions for new customers to lower the cost of coverage and make their services more appealing to homeowners.
- Service fee: Customers will need to pay a service fee—sometimes referred to as a technician fee or trade service fee—when submitting a repair request. Companies may offer a range of fees to consider or set one flat rate for every policy.
- Quote process: Online quotes are very common with home warranties, making it relatively easy to shop around for the best rate and compare home warranty companies. However, some quote platforms are more transparent, customizable, and user-friendly than others.
- Claims process: There are a lot of moving parts to processing a home warranty claim, starting with receiving the customer’s service request, then reviewing its validity and eligibility, finding a local contractor, and setting up an appointment. As such, a quick and streamlined process is ideal, so it’s good to look at how each company handles claims when homeowners compare home warranty plans.
- Workmanship guarantee: Home warranty companies will typically guarantee any covered repairs for a certain period of time. If customers find an issue with the quality of work during that time, they can schedule follow-up appointments without paying additional service fees.
1. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Reputation and Customer Reviews
American Home Shield reviews on Consumer Affairs are fairly positive, with an overall satisfaction rating of 4.3 out of 5. Reviews highlighted how easy it was to submit a claim and schedule a repair, and many customers were pleased that the company would pay them directly to replace broken appliances if the replacement items or required parts were unavailable. American Home Shield is also accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and currently holds a “B” rating with the organization. In addition, the company has a 100 percent response rate to customer complaints submitted to the BBB. American Home Shield is also one of the more seasoned companies in the home warranty industry, having been in operation since 1971.
Choice Home Warranty reviews on Consumer Affairs are slightly lower, but still impressive with an overall satisfaction rating of 4.1 out of 5. Positive customer reviews commented on the speed with which repairs could be scheduled and the exemplary assistance those customers received from Choice Home Warranty representatives. Many customers also praised the quality of the work provided by the company’s selected technicians and contractors. Although Choice Home Warranty is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and, as such, does not currently hold any rating from the organization, it does have a 100 percent response rate to customer complaints. However, the BBB has issued an alert regarding a possible pattern of complaints from Choice Home Warranty customers. The affected customers filed complaints stating that the company continued to charge their credit card or withdraw funds from their bank account after they had cancelled their warranty. Customers also raised concerns that processing refunds on these charges could be difficult. Choice Home Warranty is somewhat of a newcomer to the home warranty industry, having started business in 2008.
Verdict: Both companies have garnered relatively positive feedback from customers online and are responsive to any complaints they have received. Although customer satisfaction ratings are comparable between Choice Home Warranty and American Home Shield, the latter has a much longer history in the home warranty space.
Winner: American Home Shield
2. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Service Area
American Home Shield offers home warranties in 49 states, with the only exception being Alaska. As such, most homeowners across the country will be able to select a policy with American Home Shield. It’s worth noting, however, that customers in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin may be extended different user agreement terms than policyholders in other states. These differences are largely related to state-level laws that may affect the specific terms of the contract rather than affect the warranty’s coverage, though, so it shouldn’t impact the customer experience much, if at all.
Choice Home Warranty also has a large footprint, with a service area that extends across 48 states. Homeowners who live along the West Coast may not be eligible for coverage, however, as the company does not sell home warranties in Washington. Although California residents can sign up for a home warranty through the company’s website, they should know that their warranty will actually be serviced by a separate third party rather than Choice Home Warranty itself.
Verdict: Both American Home Shield and Choice Home Warranty policies are available in most states across the country, but their exclusions slightly differ. Alaska is the only state where American Home Shield coverage is unavailable, whereas Choice Home Warranty has some notable coverage gaps along the West Coast. The company does not offer home warranties in Washington state and relies on a third party to extend coverage to California residents.
Winner: American Home Shield
3. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Coverage Amount
When comparing home warranty coverage, customers will likely want to focus on the coverage amounts for appliances and home systems. American Home Shield sets different coverage limits for appliances depending on which policy a customer selects. The ShieldGold plan provides $3,000 worth of coverage for each covered appliance. Customers who opt for the Shield Platinum plan will receive a $6,000 coverage limit—again, per appliance. The company’s home systems coverage is even more generous as it does not set a cost limit on these types of repairs, regardless of which plan a customer chooses. As such, American Home Shield will not deny a claim on a home system repair request because the required work is too expensive.
Choice Home Warranty’s coverage is not quite as extensive, providing $3,000 for both home systems and appliances within a 12-month period. The company’s user agreement notes that this coverage limit applies to the aggregate when multiple claims are filed—that is, customers may receive $3,000 worth of coverage in total during their 12-month policy term rather than have $3,000 potentially available to spend on repairs for each claim.
Verdict: Coverage amounts can vary for both companies depending on the type of repair work requested and, in the case of American Home Shield, which plan a customer chooses. Choice Home Warranty’s $3,000 coverage limit is fairly typical for a home warranty, although customers will want to note that this amount is per 12-month term rather than per occurrence. With its unlimited coverage for home system repairs, American Home Shield comes out on top when homeowners are considering coverage amounts.
Winner: American Home Shield
4. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Policies and Plans
American Home Shield customers can choose from three plans to suit their needs:
- ShieldSilver covers major home systems—plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling—but does not include any appliances or extra benefits. This is the most basic plan available and may be ideal for homeowners who only want coverage for their most essential home systems.
- ShieldGold includes the same coverage as ShieldSilver but adds kitchen and laundry appliances to the customer’s policy. These additional appliances include refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers, and garbage disposals, among other items.
- ShieldPlatinum is the highest tier available, including all coverage options that come with ShieldSilver and ShieldGold along with higher coverage limits on appliances and several additional perks. Coverage for roof leak repairs up to $1,500 and building code violations, permits, and modifications up to $1,000 are included. Customers also receive one free HVAC tune-up per 12-month policy term.
Because every plan includes coverage for heating and air-conditioning systems, homeowners may find that American Home Shield offers the best home warranty for HVAC. If customers need more coverage, they can add extra coverage for swimming pools, in-home spas, guest units, septic pumps, and well pumps to American Home Shield plans. While the total number of add-on options may seem somewhat limiting, homeowners may find that American Home Shield’s standard policies are so exhaustive that purchasing extra services is unnecessary. For instance, the ShieldPlatinum plan includes roof leak repair coverage, making it a good option for customers looking for the best home warranty for roof coverage.
In addition to standard home warranty protection, American Home Shield also provides the ProConnect platform to help customers schedule other home services. Available in select markets, ProConnect allows homeowners to book appointments from local home service providers approved by American Home Shield. Using this platform, homeowners can quickly and easily set up home services that wouldn’t typically be covered by a home warranty, such as carpet cleaning, drain cleaning, and power washing. Although there’s a separate cost to using ProConnect since these services are not included in home warranty policies, the convenience and speed offered by the platform may be very appealing to homeowners who don’t want to search for and vet home service providers themselves.
There are only two Choice Home Warranty plans for customers to choose from, both of which include a combination of different home systems and appliances:
- The Basic Plan covers certain important home systems such as heating and electrical systems, along with a select group of appliances that includes ovens, dishwashers, and garbage disposals. Notable exclusions include refrigerators, air conditioners, and washers and dryers.
- The Total Plan provides coverage for all the same home systems and appliances included in the Basic Plan as well as air-conditioning systems, refrigerators, and washers and dryers.
A potential concern with Choice Home Warranty’s two-plan setup is that customers may find the exclusion of certain items with the Basic Plan to be confusing. For instance, this plan will cover heating system repairs but not air-conditioning repairs, so customers cannot get full HVAC coverage without buying the Total Plan.
Choice Home Warranty’s add-on options are a bit more varied, as customers can purchase extra coverage for sprinkler systems, central vacuums, and stand-alone freezers, which are not available with an American Home Shield policy. On the other hand, there are a couple of add-on services—second refrigerator and roof leak coverage, in particular—that are included as part of the standard coverage with American Home Shield premium plans.
Verdict: Homeowners looking for a variety of coverage options may gravitate toward American Home Shield’s three policy tiers rather than the two plans available with Choice Home Warranty. Choice Home Warranty does offer slightly more add-on options, but several of those extra services are included as standard coverage with American Home Shield’s ShieldPlatinum plan. Although there are a few notable add-ons that are exclusive to Choice Home Warranty, American Home Shield’s multiple policy options and extensive standard coverage may appeal to a wider range of homeowners.
Winner: American Home Shield
5. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Average Monthly Rate
Comparing home warranty costs isn’t always an apples-to-apples comparison because prices can vary depending on the plan, service fee, and extra add-ons selected by the customer. Rates may also change from one state to another, which is certainly the case with American Home Shield plans. Average monthly rates, which take into account all three available plans but do not include add-on options or technician fee selections, are heavily dependent on the customer’s location. For instance, West Virginia and Maryland residents may pay significantly more than Arizona or Georgia residents for a home warranty from American Home Shield. In some cases, average monthly rates may be as low as $43 or as high as $93, presenting a wide range of potential price points for customers to consider. Payments are made on a monthly basis regardless of which options a customer chooses.
Choice Home Warranty, meanwhile, is the model of consistency when it comes to prices. The company’s rates are not affected by the customer’s location, with the Basic Plan costing $46.67 and the Total Plan costing $55 in every state. With that in mind, some homeowners may find that Choice Home Warranty plans are more expensive than American Home Warranty’s policies, but other customers might be able to save a significant amount of money by going with Choice Home Warranty. Although customers can choose either to pay for a year up front or pay month to month, they will not receive a discount for making an annual payment.
Verdict: With three price tiers and rates that can vary from state to state—and sometimes significantly so—American Home Shield’s home warranty costs will heavily depend on the customer’s location and choice of plan. Choice Home Warranty’s pricing structure is much more consistent, with a $55 option and a $46.67 option for all customers across the country. There may be cases where American Home Shield is the more affordable option, but the inverse is just as likely, so Choice Home Warranty holds a slight edge on price point.
Winner: Choice Home Warranty
6. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Discounts
American Home Shield does not routinely offer many discounts for customers to apply to their home warranty. The only year-round promotions are a home warranty discount for AARP members and a $50 discount for customers who purchase warranties for multiple properties. The company does run temporary promotional discounts from time to time, though, but the availability of these promotions will vary throughout the year. Members may be able to save money in other ways, however. For example, American Home Shield has an appliance discount program that’s exclusive to its customers, allowing them to buy certain brand-name products at reduced prices.
Discounts on Choice Home Warranty plans are a bit more widely available. New customers can shave 5 percent off of their monthly rate just for signing up. Like American Home Shield, the company may also have promotions at various times that provide additional discounts and savings. Although Choice Home Warranty does not have other cost-saving perks to consider, it’s notable that its year-round discounts are less restrictive than American Home Warranty’s AARP or multipolicy discounts since they don’t require any eligibility standards beyond being a new customer. For homeowners looking for a cheap home warranty, Choice Home Warranty discounts could help them save money on their coverage.
Verdict: Although discounts are common with home warranties, neither company uses promotional discounts as a major selling point. Most American Home Shield customers can only receive a lower rate on their warranty using promo codes that may not always be available. Meanwhile, Choice Home Warranty offers a modest 5 percent discount for all new customers that can somewhat help lower the cost of coverage.
Winner: Choice Home Warranty
7. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Service Fee
Service fees are standard expenses that come with any home warranty and can directly impact the total cost of a customer’s policy. American Home Shield gives homeowners the option to choose from three different service fees: $75, $100, and $125. Customers who opt for the lowest fee will pay less out of pocket when they submit a service request, but pay a higher monthly rate in return. On the other hand, selecting the highest service fee will lower a customer’s monthly rate while increasing the cost to schedule repairs. Having a few options to choose from gives homeowners the flexibility to find the right balance for their financial situation.
Choice Home Warranty takes a different approach to technician fees, charging the same rate for every customer. No matter which plan they choose or options they select, customers will pay an $85 service fee when they submit a repair request and schedule a technician appointment. That may simplify things somewhat, but some customers may find the lack of service fee options to be limiting, especially if they would like to lower their up-front or out-of-pocket expenses to better suit their current financial situation.
Verdict: Choice Home Warranty’s flat $85 service fee may suit some homeowners perfectly fine, but other policyholders may want more options to consider. American Home Shield customers can pick a service fee of $75, $100, or $125. In addition to having the option to select a lower technician fee to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses, customers can also choose a higher service fee in exchange for a lower monthly rate. That flexibility combined with a lower minimum technician fee gives American Home Shield the edge.
Winner: American Home Shield
8. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Quote Process
American Home Shield’s online quote tool is quick and easy to use. After providing their address and email, homeowners will have the option to select one of the company’s three plans, with prices for each one clearly laid out. There’s also a comparison table that breaks down what each policy tier offers in terms of coverage. Coverage limits for different types of repairs are provided as well, so customers can easily understand what their policy will cover. Customers can also select their preferred service fee and any add-ons they wish to include. Getting a quote can be done either over the phone by speaking with an agent. Representatives are available 24/7, so customers can receive a quote on a home warranty at any time.
Choice Home Warranty’s quote process is similarly streamlined but comes up a little short in terms of transparency. The online quote tool lays out a comparison table to highlight the coverage included with both plans, but coverage limits are not clearly defined; customers will need to find the company’s user agreement elsewhere on the site to find that information. In addition, although it’s easy to add extra service options to a policy, the cost of those additions will not be shown until the customer lands on the purchase screen. This is also true for the baseline price for the two standard plans, which could mean that customers have to navigate back and forth between pages if they want to price out different home warranty options. If customers have questions about their potential policy or they simply want to get a quote over the phone, they can speak with one of Choice Home Warranty’s sales representatives for more assistance.
Verdict: Both companies allow customers to get home warranty quotes either online or over the phone, which is considered standard. Choice Home Warranty’s online quote tool is perfectly serviceable—and relatively quick to boot—but customers won’t see the price of their plan or any add-on options until they land on the purchase screen. American Home Shield’s online quote process is a bit more transparent and detailed in comparison, laying out the cost of each plan and coverage option from the outset.
Winner: American Home Shield
9. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Claims Process
When filing a claim, American Home Shield customers can request repair service through their online account or by calling the company’s dedicated claim center. Both options are available 24/7, allowing customers to submit a claim whenever they need to schedule repairs on a malfunctioning home system or appliance. Customers will need to register an account with American Home Shield before they are able to submit a claim online, but that should be a relatively straightforward process, only requiring customers to create a password that’s associated with their email address. American Home Shield customer service representatives will contact a local technician within 48 hours of receiving a request.
Choice Home Warranty customers can submit a claim at any time using either the company’s online account center or call center. The call center is staffed around the clock, even on holidays, so customers can receive assistance with their claims whenever they need it. That may provide some peace of mind knowing that there’s always a representative standing by to help—for instance, if an HVAC system breaks down around the holidays. Logging into the online account center should be relatively easy, as customers only need to provide their email address and policy number to sign into their account.
Choice Home Warranty’s response time on service requests is especially impressive, with the company stating that it will begin contacting technicians to schedule an appointment within 4 hours of receiving a claim. Such a quick turnaround time can help address any issues with home systems and appliances without delay.
Verdict: Customers can submit a claim online or over the phone no matter which company they choose, and both providers will select a technician to handle any repairs from their network of preferred contractors. Choice Home Warranty stands out, however, with its speedy 4-hour response time to service requests; American Home Shield customers may wait up to 48 hours for a contractor to be contacted after submitting a claim.
Winner: Choice Home Warranty
10. American Home Shield vs. Choice Home Warranty: Workmanship Guarantee
American Home Shield will guarantee any covered repairs for 30 days. After that time, any additional work that’s required to fix the problem will necessitate a new service fee to be paid. A 30-day workmanship guarantee is fairly short for a home warranty, and it’s possible that customers could wind up paying more than one service fee in the event that the initial repair fails to adequately address whatever issue they are experiencing.
Choice Home Warranty’s workmanship guarantee gives customers more time to schedule follow-up repairs if they are dissatisfied with the original technician’s work. In particular, the workmanship on any covered repairs is guaranteed for 60 days, while any parts or materials used in the repair are guaranteed for 90 days. As part of the terms and conditions of the company’s agreement with its service providers, contractors are required to respond to and address any customer complaints within 24 hours.
Verdict: American Home Shield’s 30-day workmanship guarantee is short for a home warranty, and any additional repairs scheduled outside of that time frame may require payment of an extra service fee. Choice Home Warranty’s workmanship guarantee is a bit more generous, guaranteeing service work orders for 90 days on parts and 60 days on labor. Choice Home Warranty also requires service contractors to respond to any customer complaints within 24 hours.
Winner: Choice Home Warranty
Verdict: American Home Shield is our pick for homeowners looking for a home warranty with extensive standard coverage, high coverage limits, and flexible service fee options. That being said, Choice Home Warranty may be a better option for customers who value a speedy service-request process, responsive claims representatives, and a longer workmanship guarantee.
American Home Shield may be a good choice for many homeowners interested in a more expansive home warranty due to the scope of coverage provided with its standard plans, various policy options, and widespread availability (aside from Alaska). Choice Home Warranty has plenty to consider as well, though, including an exemplary claims process with quick turnaround times and relatively long workmanship guarantees. Customers who want more flexibility with their home warranty—including the option to raise coverage limits by purchasing premium plans or select from multiple service fees—may find American Home Shield to be a better fit overall.
American Home Shield’s long history in the industry and generally positive customer reviews may assuage any concerns about the company’s short workmanship guarantee. Choice Home Warranty, meanwhile, excels in this area with a longer workmanship guarantee and responsive claims representatives, but the exclusion of California and Washington from its service area could limit availability for many homeowners. Depending on a customer’s circumstances and what exactly they’re looking for in a home warranty, either provider could be the best home warranty company to suit their needs. That being said, American Home Shield nudges ahead of the competition on account of its high coverage limits, comprehensive ShieldPlatinum plan, transparent quote process, and service fee flexibility.