As two of the oldest providers on the home warranty market, American Home Shield (AHS) and First American Home Warranty (FAHW) carry comparable protection plans for your home’s major systems and appliances. If you’re focused on securing an item-specific warranty for your home, you’ll find appliance-only coverage through FAHW, but not AHS. Likewise, AHS offers a robust tier-one systems-only plan, but FAHW only offers systems coverage in its more expensive combo plan.
Our review of American Home Shield vs. First American Home Warranty highlights the key similarities and differences between these two companies to help you choose the best home warranty for you.
American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty have each spent decades providing home warranty plans that effectively cater to the unique needs of different homeowners nationwide. American Home Shield offers a longer list of itemized inclusions than First American Home Warranty, including a third standard plan option, which FAHW lacks. While FAHW allows homeowners to hire a technician of their choice, AHS automatically assigns its customers with a contractor from its internal network of local service professionals. AHS has earned its way onto our list of top home warranties for buyers.
Compare American Home Shield vs. First American Home Warranty
|American Home Shield||First American Home Warranty|
|Website||Visit Site||Visit Site|
|Monthly Premium||ShieldSilver: $44.27|
ShieldPlatinum: $74.27*Based on the $75 service fee option
|Basic Plan: $38 per month|
Premier Plan: $48.50 per month
|Service Fees||$75, $100, or $125||$75|
|Availability||Not available in Alaska||Not available in AK, CT, DE, HI, IL, LA, ME, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NY, ND, RI, VT, or WI|
|Years in Business||51||38|
American Home Shield vs. First American Home Warranty Coverage
Between American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty, the right provider for you will ultimately depend on the items you aim to cover throughout your home. American Home Shield offers three standard coverage options whereas First American Home Warranty only offers two. Both FAHW and AHS offer systems-only plan levels, but only FAHW offers an appliance-only coverage option.
American Home Shield Coverage and Plans
We scored American Home Shield with a 4.7 out of 5 specifically for the customizability of its home warranty policies. With three plan options, a customizable service fee, and unique policy riders like electronic protection, AHS customers can create a made-to-order home warranty that best aligns with their home’s coverage objectives.
American Home Shield splits its coverage between its ShieldSilver, ShieldGold, and ShieldPlatinum plan options. ShieldSilver covers 14 major systems under an unlimited payout allowance per year. ShieldGold and ShieldPlatinum offer the same combined appliance and systems coverage, though ShieldPlatinum has its own VIP perks attached. ShieldPlatinum customers will also receive:
- Unlimited refrigerant
- $1,500 in roof leak repairs
- $6,000 annual coverage limit per appliance
- $1,000 for code violations, permits, and modifications
- One free pre-season HVAC tune-up per year
|Central Air Conditioning||✓||✓||✓|
|Built-in Exhaust, Vent, and Attic Fans||✓||✓||✓|
|Interior Electrical Lines||✓||✓||✓|
|Main Breaker and Fuse Panel Box||✓||✓||✓|
|Garage Door Openers||✓||✓||✓|
|Interior Plumbing Lines and Stoppages||✓||✓||✓|
|Hot Water Heaters||✓||✓||✓|
|Faucets and Valves||✓||✓||✓|
|Whirlpool Tub Motor and Components||✓||✓||✓|
|Freestanding Ice Maker||✓||✓|
|Instant Hot/Cold Water Dispensers||✓||✓|
|Roof Leak Repairs||✓||✓|
American Home Shield Optional Add-ons Available for Coverage:
- In-ground pools and spas
- Roof Leak Repairs
- Guest Unit (for dwellings up to 750 square feet)
- Septic Pump
- Well Pump
- Electronics Protection Plan (covers an unlimited number of devices like TVs, smart home products, laptops, gaming systems, and more)
For more information about AHS, read our full American Home Shield review.
To get a free quote from American Home Shield, fill out this online form or call 888-365-2839.
First American Home Warranty Coverage and Plans
First American Home Warranty offers two base plans: the Basic Plan and the Premier Plan. The Basic Plan is a great option for homeowners on a budget as it’s a low-cost appliance-only option offering coverage for 12 assorted kitchen and laundry appliances. The Premier Plan, however, elevates your coverage to include 20 systems and appliances for only $10 more per month.
Here’s how First American Home Warranty’s covered items vary across each plan:
|Covered Item||Basic Plan||Premier Plan|
|Cooktop Exhaust Fans||✓||✓|
|Cold/Hot Water Dispenser||✓||✓|
|Hot Water Heater||✓|
|Garage Door Openers||✓|
First American Home Warranty Optional Add-ons Available for Coverage:
- Central Air Conditioning
- Additional Refrigeration
- Pool/Spa Equipment
- Well Pump
- Septic System/Septic Tank Pumping
- First Class Upgrade:
- Up to $250 per local building permit if needed before replacing home appliances, systems, or components
- Fees associated with the use of lifting equipment (i.e., cranes) that are required to service rooftop HVAC systems and units
- Refrigerant recapture, reclaim, and disposal
- Haul-away services (this is when the company pays costs related to the removal of an old appliance, system, or component)
- Appliances and systems that have been improperly installed or modified
- First Class Plus Upgrade: Exclusively available to home buyers, this rider increases their allowance for code violations. It also covers glycol and oil furnaces.
- Plumbing Plus Upgrade: Also only available to homebuyers, this plan rider includes coverage for pipe breaks beyond the home’s foundation, water heater expansion tanks, ground-level cleanout installation, and plumbing stoppages due to roof infiltration.
For more information about FAHW, read our full First American Home Warranty review.
To get a free quote from First American Home Warranty, fill out this online form or call 833-204-7164.
American Home Shield vs. First American Home Warranty Cost
Side-by-side, American Home Shield costs more per month than First American Home Warranty but offers more comprehensive coverage in its third ShieldPlatinum plan level compared to FAHW’s tier-two Premier Plan. Unlike FAHW, AHS offers a customizable service fee, giving policyholders more control over what they’ll pay per month or year for coverage. The higher the service call fee they select, the lower their premium payment will be and vice versa. FAHW requires customers to pay a fixed $75 for every claim they file.
See how the two compare cost-wise below:
American Home Shield Cost
|Home Warranty Policy||Monthly Premium||Service Fee|
|ShieldSilver||$44.27, $34.27, or $29.27||$75, $100, or $125|
|ShieldGold||$54.27, $44.27, or $39.27||$75, $100, or $125|
|ShieldPlatinum||$74.27, $64.27, or $59.27||$75, $100, or $125|
First American Home Warranty Cost
|Home Warranty Policy||Monthly Premium||Service Fee|
American Home Shield vs. First American Home Warranty Reviews
Both AHS and FAHW hold a B rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), backed by generally positive feedback from former and current policyholders. To provide a more in-depth look at what you can expect from the customer experience with either company, we’ve excerpted a sampling of positive and negative reviews from each provider’s Trustpilot forum below.
Home Warranty Customer Reviews Comparison
|American Home Shield||First American Home Warranty|
|Average Star Rating||2.25/5||2.45/5|
|Number of Online Customer Reviews||10,437||2,200|
American Home Shield Customer Reviews
Here are a few of the most recent reviews from AHS customers:
“Needed the valves under our kitchen sink replaced with the new Flexi-hose, and because the valves would not shut off. We found this out when we purchased a new kitchen faucet that we replaced ourselves. AHS covered the cost of replacing the valves and sent All-Out Plumbing. Service was quickly scheduled, and AOP arrived promptly and did an outstanding job. Very efficient, knew their business, and super courteous.”– Jacque C., 4/15/2022
“I have mixed emotions and experiences with [American] Home Shield. The customer service is excellent when creating a work order and having a company contact me. However, the contractors overall have not been primary contractors; they’ve been sub-contractors with some experience. I’ve actually had to assist one contractor sent to work on my dryer. It took over six months to get my dryer halfway right, and it’s still not completely operational…”– Carter H., 3/12/2022
First American Home Warranty Customer Reviews
Here are a few of the recent reviews from FAHW customers:
“Our problem with our AC was in our breaker box. We were able to contact First American easily. Once we explained our problem, we were given a choice to call the electrician ourselves, which we did. They came within 20 minutes to assess the problem. They were able to fix it the same day. With this heat, we’re extremely thankful!”– Pamela A., 6/23/2022
“One problem was resolved, but the other one was not. I still have a leak in my refrigerator, and I have not heard from the service provider. First American told me they would contact the service provider that did the work and I should be hearing from them within a week. It’s been almost two weeks now, and I haven’t heard anything.”– John S., 6/27/2022
Whether American Home Shield or First American Home Warranty is the best home warranty company for you will depend on your budget for a home protection plan as well as the items on your list to cover. AHS provides its policyholders with three standard plan options, whereas FAHW only offers two. Both companies allow for some customizability but in different ways. American Home Shield allows customers to choose their service fee, giving you more room to shape your monthly or annual premium as you see fit. First American Home Warranty charges a fixed service fee but allows customers to hire a technician of their choice. On the other hand, AHS assigns you a contractor from its internal network.
An American Home Shield policy might be right for you if:
You’re looking to concentrate your coverage on major home systems and would benefit from an unlimited payout allowance on all systems
You don’t live in Alaska
You’re interested in choosing your service fee and customizing your premium
A First American Home Warranty policy might be right for you if:
You wish to choose your own technician for work around your home
You don’t mind paying an extra fee for air conditioning coverage
You have older appliances that may be damaged due to unknown pre-existing conditions or rust, corrosion, and sediment
As you continue to compare home warranty providers and plans, we always recommend generating a free custom quote with any company that piques your interest. This will allow you to confirm the carrier’s state availability while matching you with a made-to-order estimate based on your home’s individual needs.
If you’d like to get a free quote from American Home Shield, fill out this online form or call 888-365-2839. For First American Home Warranty, fill out this form or call 833-204-7164.
FAQs about Home Warranties
Is American Home Shield trustworthy?
As one of the only carriers with an A rating from the Better Business Bureau, House Method nominated American Home Shield as the most trustworthy provider in the home warranty industry. Since 1997, American Home Shield has satisfied the BBB’s criteria for transparent and good-faith business practices. American Home Shield is also one of the largest providers in the industry, supporting a customer base of over two million nationwide as of 2022.
Are home warranties a waste of money?
The true value of a home warranty will vary from homeowner to homeowner. On average, a home warranty costs between $400 to $700 per year, and a service fee ranging from $60 to $125. According to the latest American Housing Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, American homeowners spent an average of $950 on home maintenance in 2019. In other words, for homeowners who protected themselves with a home warranty, the policy would’ve paid for itself.
Now, for those with a solid emergency savings account in place — at least 1% of your home’s property value each year is the general rule of thumb — a home warranty may not be worth the hassle. For the $428,700 median sales price of a home in the first quarter of 2022, that’s a minimum of $4,287 earmarked.
Does American Home Shield cover plumbing problems?
American Home Shield will cover any plumbing costs related to:
- Leaks and breaks of water, drain, waste, gas, or vent lines
- Toilets and related mechanisms
- Toilet wax rings seals
- Faucets, shower heads, shower arms, valves, tubs, diverters, angle stops, risers, and gate valves.
- Interior hose bibs and basket strainers
- Permanently installed sump pumps (groundwater only)
- Built-in whirlpool bathtub motors, pumps, and air switch assemblies
- Pressure regulators
- Expansion tanks
- Sewage ejector pumps
- Clearing of sink, tub, shower, and toilet clogs
- Clearing of mainline and lateral drain lines up to 100 feet from an access point
What is the difference between American Home Shield vs. First American Home Warranty?
Though there are several policy differences between American Home Shield and First American Home Warranty, one of the most significant is that FAHW only includes coverage for air conditioning as a plan add-on, meaning it’ll need to be purchased separately. American Home Shield, however, automatically includes comprehensive A/C coverage in all three of its base plan options.
Today's Homeowner Home Warranty Ranking Methodology
At Today's Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader.
To create this rating system, our team spent hours researching over 60 companies, analyzing 2500+ key data points, getting the thoughts and opinions of 1000+ homeowners, and speaking to home warranty company representatives directly. We also dug into the fine print on each company’s service agreement to ensure no detail was left out.
We developed an objective home warranty review and rating methodology to score each home warranty company based on several criteria. We used a five-point scale with a point index ranging from 0.00 to 1.00. The minimum awardable value is 0.0, whereas 1.00 is the maximum. These numeric points are translated into star ratings, using whole star increments between one and five.
Here is a quick breakdown of our five core scoring categories:
- Coverage (0.4): This category evaluates the scope of protection offered by a home warranty provider. We clearly distinguished between limited or broad coverage to help homeowners identify their own home protection needs. We also factor in claim turnaround times, average waiting period lengths, plan types, annual coverage limits, policy exclusions, etc.
- Cost (0.3): This category considers what home warranty companies charge homeowners monthly, annual, and out-of-pocket. We urge homeowners also to consider the cost-to-value ratio of a home warranty plan.
- Transparency and Trustworthiness (0.15): This category evaluates home warranty providers based on pending or past legal action, hidden fees, lack of information readily available on the website, exclusions, and more. We consider how upfront a company is to its potential policyholders, which says a lot about its products and services.
- Customer Support and Satisfaction (.09): This category evaluates the efficacy of a home warranty company’s effort to provide supportive guidance to inquiring customers and how policyholders are satisfied with the assistance they receive.
- Customization (.06): This category evaluates the ability of homeowners to adjust and choose their policy details, such as pricing variation, optional add-ons, and the number of plans available.