Real Estate Home Warranties

First American Home Warranty Vs. American Home Shield: Which Company Should You Choose?

Deciding between American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty? Our First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield comparison breaks down the key differences that homeowners need to know about two of the leading home warranty providers.
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First American Home Warranty vs American Home Shield
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American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty are two of the top home warranty providers in the nation, and both can offer excellent coverage through their different policy options. Determining which one is the right fit may be difficult for homeowners who have little experience choosing a home warranty provider, or are simply not sure what to look for in a policy. Comparing different factors related to cost, coverage, and customer experience can go a long way toward helping customers decide if either of these companies is a good fit for them. Our First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield comparison takes a close look at each company’s features, policies, and rates, among many other factors, to see how the two stack up with each other.

How We Compared Home Warranty Companies

First American Home Warranty vs American Home Shield
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The home warranty market can seem pretty crowded at times, and determining which home warranty company is right for a particular situation isn’t always easy. That’s why it’s important for customers to look closely at what each provider has to offer when shopping for their first home warranty—or are considering other coverage options if they already have a policy. When comparing First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield, we weighed multiple factors that could influence a customer’s decision. In some cases, both companies stacked up well with each other, while in other cases, one home warranty provider held a clear edge over the other.

  • Reputation and customer reviews: Homeowners want to work with a company they can trust, and looking at past customer experiences and reviews can provide much-needed insight into the way home warranty providers work with their customers.
  • Service area: Home warranty companies don’t always have a nationwide footprint, so knowing exactly where coverage is available can help homeowners narrow down their options to service providers offering policies in their area.
  • Coverage amount: Home warranties can cover different types of repairs up to a certain amount, but those coverage limits often vary. Higher coverage limits may offer more value to a customer since it means there’s less likelihood of having to pay out of pocket for repairs (aside from the service fee).
  • Policies and plans: Customers often have the option to select from more than one policy, as well as the ability, in many cases, to purchase add-on services with their home warranty. More policy options, along with more comprehensive coverage, could result in more opportunities for homeowners to put a home warranty to use.
  • Average monthly rate: Comparing the average monthly rate of home warranty companies can be an effective way for homeowners to size up the affordability of different service providers that offer various policies at different price points.
  • Discounts: When available, home warranty discounts can significantly lower the price of a policy, making it easier for homeowners to afford coverage.
  • Service fee: Customers often need to pay a service fee when submitting a repair request. This out-of-pocket expense can impact the overall cost and value of a home warranty policy.
  • Quote process: Getting a quote on a home warranty is often easy, but some companies offer a more seamless and transparent process than others. A better quote process can help customers ensure they know exactly what they’re getting with a home warranty before they make a purchase.
  • Claims process: Filing a claim and submitting a repair request should be quick and easy, especially when an important home system or appliance is malfunctioning and requires service. Customers may want to look at response times, technician options, and claims submission options when vetting home warranty companies.
  • Workmanship guarantee: Home warranty companies will guarantee covered repairs up to a certain amount of time, which can vary quite a bit from one provider to another. A longer workmanship guarantee could offer more peace of mind in the event there’s an issue with the quality of completed work.

1. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Reputation and Customer Reviews

Customer experiences posted across various review sites show that American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty have both received a wide range of feedback from former and current customers. American Home Shield customers have posted largely positive reviews on Consumer Affairs, giving the company a 4.3 out of 5 rating overall. Reviewers praised the company’s employees for their responsiveness and helpfulness, as well as the ease with which they were able to submit claims and set up repair appointments. Reviews submitted to the Better Business Bureau were more likely to express concerns about slow response times, especially when trying to schedule technician appointments. The company received an average 2.17 out of 5 rating from BBB customer reviews. Negative Trustpilot reviews cited similar concerns from customers regarding their home warranty, and customer ratings averaged out to 2.2 out of 5 on the site. However, other customers were pleased with the company’s claims process, noting how quick representatives were to get a technician to their home. American Home Shield is also accredited with the BBB and currently holds a solid “B” rating with the organization.

First American Home Warranty customer reviews tell a largely similar story. Consumer Affairs reviews are positive overall—the company receives a 3.9 out of 5 rating—and customers lauded the quality of service provided by the company. Positive reviews commented on a smooth claims process that’s easy to navigate in order to replace or repair malfunctioning home systems and appliances. Although First American Home Warranty is also accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has a “B” rating, customer reviews tend toward the negative side with some complaining about slow wait times and rejected claims. On average, the company received a 1.91 rating out of 5 from customer reviews on the site. That being said, Trustpilot reviews for First American Home Warranty are, by and large, very positive, with a 3.9 out of 5 rating overall. Customer reviews gave the company credit for quickly setting up repairs and using technicians who provide quality workmanship. First American Home Warranty reviews are, in general, far more positive on Trustpilot compared with those for American Home Shield.

Verdict: American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty are both accredited with the Better Business Bureau and currently hold a “B” rating with the organization. In general, they have received fairly similar feedback across customer review sites too, especially in regard to overall ratings. The one exception is Trustpilot, where reviewers have given First American Home Warranty much more positive feedback.

Winner: First American Home Warranty

2. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Service Area

As noted in our American Home Shield review, the company has a very impressive coverage footprint, with a service area that covers nearly the entire country. Homeowners living in 49 states and Washington, D.C., can buy a policy with American Home Shield. The one state where coverage is not available is Alaska, which means that a very small percentage of homeowners in the U.S. will find that American Home Shield is unavailable in their area.

First American Home Warranty coverage is much more limited in this regard, as the company offers home warranties in just 35 states and Washington, D.C. The company’s coverage gaps are largely focused on the Midwest and New England, which are some of the most heavily populated regions of the country. Coverage is not available in the following 15 states:

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

As such, homeowners in certain areas of the country will have a much easier time deciding between these two companies since First American Home Warranty does not offer coverage in their home state.

Verdict: American Home Shield policies are available across most of the country, with a coverage area spanning 49 states and Washington, D.C.—Alaska being the lone exception. First American Home Warranty’s service area is much smaller in comparison, as the company offers home warranties in only 35 states and Washington, D.C.

Winner: American Home Shield

First American Home Warranty vs American Home Shield
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3. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Coverage Amount

When choosing a policy with either First American Home Warranty or American Home Shield, customers will want to take a close look at the coverage limits included with each policy tier, as they can vary for some types of repairs. First American Home Warranty customers may see the biggest shift in coverage amounts as the company’s Premium Plan offers up to $7,000 for appliance repairs, while the other policy tiers will cover up to $3,500. These coverage limits apply to ovens, refrigerators, laundry machines, and dishwashers, among other appliances.

An American Home Shield warranty may feature different coverage limits for certain types of repairs as well. Customers who purchase a ShieldGold policy will be covered for up to $2,000 on appliance repairs, while those who pay for a ShieldPlatinum plan will be covered for up to $4,000. While First American Home Warranty would appear to have the edge based on its appliance repair coverage limits, American Home Shield offers extremely generous coverage for HVAC repairs no matter the policy tier. Every policy includes up to $5,000 of coverage for these types of repairs, so every customer can take advantage of these higher limits regardless of the plan they select.

Verdict: Both companies can offer fairly generous coverage terms, but in some cases, it may depend on the policy selection. First American Home Warranty customers can receive up to $7,000 of coverage for kitchen appliances if they select a Premium Plan. In contrast, American Home Shield’s maximum HVAC coverage limits are not determined by policy tier, as every one of its home warranty plans will cover up to $5,000 for HVAC repairs.

Winner: American Home Shield

4. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Policies and Plans

American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty offer three policy tiers to choose from, giving customers a variety of options to consider regardless of which company they select. American Home Shield coverage options start out with a plan that solely includes core home systems and goes up to a premium policy with higher coverage limits on kitchen appliance repairs as well as additional perks.

  • ShieldSilver: American Home Shield’s most affordable plan includes coverage for 14 major home systems—HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, among others—but does not cover any appliances.
  • ShieldGold: This plan includes the same coverage as ShieldSilver but adds kitchen appliances and laundry machines to the list of covered items. Coverage on appliances caps out at $2,000 per item.
  • ShieldPlatinum: The highest tier available, ShieldPlatinum features higher coverage limits on appliance repairs—up to $4,000—as well as coverage for roof-leak repairs, code violations, permits, and modifications. Customers also receive one free HVAC tune-up each year and unlimited air conditioning refrigerant refills.

First American Home Warranty’s policy options are equally extensive, with three plans available for purchase:

  • Starter Plan: First American Home Warranty’s entry-level plan covers a selection of home systems and appliances, including heating, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as dishwashers, refrigerators, and ovens. Air conditioners are notably absent from the coverage options, though.
  • Essential Plan: This policy tier builds upon the Starter Plan to include laundry machines, trash compactors, water heaters, and air conditioning systems, among other items, in its coverage.
  • Premium Plan: This plan offers the most comprehensive coverage from First American Home Warranty, providing the same coverage the other two policies include and adding coverage for garbage disposals, garage door systems, and window air conditioning units, among other items. The most compelling benefit of the Premium Plan is the increased coverage limit on appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, and ranges, which goes up from $3,500 to $7,000.

While both companies offer comparable policies at first glance, homeowners may want to consider that all American Home Shield warranty plans cover pre-existing conditions (provided they are not observable during a visual inspection or simple mechanical test), rust, corrosion, and sediment. Although a First American Home Warranty plan can offer robust protection in its own right, these standard coverage terms nudge American Home Shield ahead in terms of its policies and plans.

Verdict: Customers looking for flexible coverage options will find multiple policy tiers to choose from with both companies. While First American Home Warranty’s policy options are impressive in their own right, American Home Shield’s offerings come out ahead thanks to the inclusion of coverage for pre-existing conditions, rust, corrosion, and sediment with every policy.

Winner: American Home Shield

First American Home Warranty vs American Home Shield
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5. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Average Monthly Rate

Some home warranty companies set standard rates across all markets, but that is not the case with either of these two providers. When comparing First American Home Warranty and American Home Shield, cost will be heavily influenced by the homeowner’s location. Average monthly rates for both companies can vary across different states, and those living in certain areas of the country may pay significantly more or less than others.

Having said that, homeowners may find that First American Home Warranty can offer lower rates in their particular ZIP code, as a head-to-head analysis of the two companies’ rates reveal that American Home Shield’s prices can be a bit higher.

For instance, in Oklahoma, American Home Shield’s average monthly rates are a fair bit higher than First American Home Warranty’s prices:

  • American Home Shield: $73 average monthly rate
  • First American Home Warranty: $57 average monthly rate

California is another state where homeowners may find that First American Home Warranty can offer a better deal on a policy:

  • American Home Shield: $60 average monthly rate
  • First American Home Warranty: $42 average monthly rate

When discussing average monthly rates, it’s important to note that total costs will depend on a variety of factors that may change from one homeowner to another. Coverage options, in particular, can have a major impact on the final cost of a home warranty, and purchasing service add-ons can drive up the price of a policy in a hurry. Location is another important factor to weigh and, although our sampling found American Home Shield to be the more expensive option, that may not always be the case in every market. With that being said, First American Home Warranty’s average monthly rates appear to be lower in general.

Verdict: Rates for both service providers can vary quite a bit from one market to another. First American Home Warranty’s prices tend to be a bit lower based on select head-to-head comparisons, though, and American Home Shield’s prices can be quite high in some parts of the country.

Winner: First American Home Warranty

6. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Discounts

Customers looking for ample opportunities to lower their home warranty costs by taking advantage of discounts may be disappointed by the minimal discounts offered by either company. It does not appear that First American Home Warranty offers any year-round discounts at all to new or returning customers. Although there may be seasonal promotions, these opportunities are few and far between, so the only chance many policyholders will have to adjust their rate is by selecting a different service fee when they sign up for a home warranty. There are some extra perks that could benefit customers in other ways—such as a $50 gift card for referring friends to First American Home Warranty—but discounts on home warranty coverage are not terribly common with this company.

While American Home Shield’s discount opportunities are fairly limited as well, customers who time their purchase right may be able to save money on their home warranty. The company periodically runs promotional offers that include discounts for new customers. These promotions may coincide with holidays such as Labor Day, so they are not consistently available. That being said, customers who purchase home warranty plans for multiple properties can receive a discount at any time of the year. American Home Shield customers also have exclusive perks to consider as well, including discounts on name-brand appliances through the company’s partnership program. These American Home Shield benefits may lead to additional savings if homeowners need to replace any appliances for reasons beyond the scope of their home warranty coverage.

Verdict: Discount opportunities may not be plentiful with American Home Shield, but they are available for customers who purchase home warranties for more than one property. The company also periodically runs promotions offering discounts to new customers, and all policyholders can take advantage of American Home Shield’s exclusive offers on brand-name appliances. Although First American Home Warranty offers extra perks and seasonal promotions as well, there are no year-round discounts available for home warranty coverage, giving American Home Shield a slight edge.

Winner: American Home Shield

7. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Service Fee

The service fee—or trade service fee, as it’s sometimes called—is the amount of money a customer pays when submitting a repair request on a home warranty. In many cases, the home warranty provider will not approve a claim and begin contacting contractors until this fee has been paid. Both companies give customers the flexibility to choose between more than one service fee when setting up their policy, but American Home Shield customers will have only two options to consider. They can select either a $100 or $125 service fee. In addition to being somewhat limiting, these service fee options are slightly high for a home warranty, as it’s not unusual to find service fee options below $100 with other home warranty providers.

Case in point: First American Home Warranty gives customers the option to select a service fee as low as $75, so they may pay less out of pocket if they need to submit a repair request. The other, more expensive options match American Home Shield’s service fees, so there’s more opportunity to find the right choice for each customer. This may be especially noteworthy since selecting a higher service fee will result in a lower monthly rate—and vice versa—so balancing different expenses can impact the total cost of a home warranty policy. As such, customers weighing First American Home Warranty cost considerations may want to take into account the lower service fee option and how it might affect their monthly rate.

Verdict: American Home Shield gives customers the option to choose between a service fee of either $100 or $125, which tends toward the higher end of service fees on home warranties. Meanwhile, First American Home Warranty customers can choose from three service fee options: $75, $100, or $125. With a wider range to choose from and a lower minimum service fee option to consider, First American Home Warranty comes out on top in terms of service fees.

Winner: First American Home Warranty

8. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Quote Process

The quickest way to get a quote on a home warranty is often by going online through a company’s website. American Home Shield’s quote process excels in this regard, allowing customers to quickly price out a policy according to their coverage needs. The company’s online quote tool is fairly detailed without being overly complicated and overwhelming the user. Customers can select which policy they want, along with a service fee and any add-on options they need. Coverage terms are clearly laid out for each plan, making it easy to compare policy tiers and find the right one for a homeowner’s particular needs. The online quote tool even shows coverage limits for certain types of repairs, including HVAC repairs, so customers can see how much coverage they’ll receive with each type of plan. For those who prefer to speak with a representative, the option to get a quote over the phone is available as well.

First American Home Warranty also allows customers to get quotes over the phone, but they may find that they need to speak directly with a representative as quotes are not always available online depending on their location. At times, this may be because coverage is unavailable in a customer’s particular state and the company wishes to direct them to another service provider, but this may not always be clear to the customer. In those circumstances, customers will be told to wait for a representative to follow up to complete their quote, but doing so could be a poor use of time if coverage is unavailable in their area.

When the online quote tool runs through its standard process, the experience is quick and insightful for the customer. Like American Home Shield, First American Home Warranty breaks down coverage options with each policy tier and allows customers to select their service fee when getting a quote. Prospective customers can also view coverage limits for different types of repairs across each policy tier. These details can go a long way toward helping homeowners decide on the right plan for their particular needs.

Verdict: American Home Shield’s quote process is fast, intuitive, and transparent, allowing customers to quickly select their coverage options and price out a policy. Although often convenient to use as well, First American Home Warranty’s online quote platform can be frustrating at times, as customers may need to wait for a representative to call them back even if coverage is not available in their area.

Winner: American Home Shield

9. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Claims Process

No matter which company a homeowner chooses for their home warranty needs, they will likely find that it’s fairly easy to submit a claim. With both First American Home Warranty and American Home Shield, customers can file a claim either online or over the phone with a representative. Submitting a claim online requires customers to first sign into their dedicated account, but the functionality of both companies’ online claims platforms seems to be comparable.

Making a distinction between First American Home Warranty and American Home Shield would appear to be difficult in this case, but there is one consideration that gives one of these companies a clear edge: response time. American Home Shield’s user agreement states that customers may have to wait up to 48 hours before a representative gets back to them and begins contacting service providers to set up an appointment. Response times with First American Home Warranty can be much quicker after homeowners file a claim, as repair requests received during normal business hours will be dispatched to service providers within 4 hours. According to the company’s contract terms, this means that customers can expect covered repairs to begin within 48 hours of submitting a claim, so repairs may be completed more quickly under those circumstances.

Verdict: Both companies allow customers to submit repair requests online or over the phone. The major distinction between the two comes down to response times. American Home Shield customers may need to wait up to 48 hours before the company contacts a technician to schedule an appointment. First American Home Warranty customers may see a quicker turnaround since repair requests are dispatched within 4 hours during normal business hours.

Winner: First American Home Warranty

10. First American Home Warranty vs. American Home Shield: Workmanship Guarantee

A long workmanship guarantee can be extremely appealing to homeowners who are shopping for a home warranty, but neither First American Home Warranty nor American Home Shield offer a generous guarantee period. Both companies only guarantee covered repairs for 30 days, which is on the short end for a home warranty. This means that if customers discover a problem with the quality of their technician’s work after those 30 days are up—or if the fix simply did not sufficiently address the underlying problem—then they may have to pay an additional service fee to have another contractor sent out to finish the job.

Because both companies have a short 30-day workmanship guarantee, neither stands out in this regard. In fact, such a short workmanship guarantee could be viewed as a disadvantage when comparing these two companies with other home warranty providers.

Verdict: Homeowners looking for lengthy workmanship guarantees may be disappointed that First American Home Warranty and American Home Shield only guarantee covered repairs for 30 days, which is a fairly short length of time for a home warranty. As such, neither company can be said to excel in this particular aspect.

Winner: Tie

Verdict: American Home Shield is largely the better choice, as its large service area, generous coverage limits, and standard coverage terms make it tough to beat. However, customers looking for affordable rates, low service fees, and quick response times to service requests may find First American Home Warranty to be the ideal fit.

American Home Shield is a great option for homeowners in most areas of the country due to the large service area that covers 49 states and Washington, D.C. Of course, that availability wouldn’t mean much if the coverage itself fell short of expectations, but American Home Shield can provide terrific coverage as part of the standard terms of service. This includes high coverage limits on HVAC repairs up to $5,000, as well as coverage for pre-existing conditions, rust, sediment, and corrosion—all of which are included with every policy no matter which plan a customer selects.

First American Home Warranty’s offerings are very impressive in their own right too, with high coverage limits on appliance repairs for Premium Plan customers, quick response times to claim requests, and low service fee options. However, because the company’s service area is so much smaller, it’s difficult to recommend it over American Home Shield for the majority of homeowners in the United States. In addition, the company’s high coverage limits on appliance repairs, while extremely generous, are only available to customers who purchase the most expensive plan available. Both companies have their strengths and weaknesses, though, so homeowners will want to do their due diligence and consider what they need from a home warranty policy before making a final decision.

FAQs

Some of the most common questions homeowners have regarding home warranties are addressed below. This can help them decide if this coverage is right for them—even before they narrow their list of options down to a handful of select companies such as American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty.

Q. Does American Home Shield cover water damage?

Generally speaking, home warranties don’t cover water damage in many cases. That being said, homeowners who purchase a ShieldPremium plan will receive limited roof-leak coverage. Other customers can also get this coverage as a separate add-on with their policy. For other types of water damage not covered by American Home Shield, insurance may be able to help.

Q. Is a home warranty necessary?

Although this coverage is not absolutely necessary, a home warranty can be worth it for homeowners who want to avoid paying out of pocket for repairs that wouldn’t be covered by their homeowners insurance. The benefit of a home warranty is that it covers age and normal wear and tear—issues that homeowners insurance will not protect against. Pairing the two together can provide the most comprehensive coverage for a wider range of issues.

Q. How long does a home warranty last?

Both American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty offer 12-month plans, but other companies may offer multiyear policies. Some of the best home warranty companies may even offer large discounts to customers who purchase multiple years of coverage up front.

Q. What does a home warranty cover?

Home warranties cover home systems and appliances for issues stemming from age or wear and tear. Customers may also be able to purchase add-ons that expand coverage to include other home services such as carpet cleaning.

Q. How can I cancel my home warranty?

Cancellation policies can vary from one company to another, but in the case of American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty, customers will need to speak to a representative over the phone to cancel their plan.