First American and American Home Shield are both home warranty companies that offer protection plans for systems and appliances such as air conditioning or plumbing. American Home Shield also offers coverage for air conditioning within a couple of its core plans, while First American does not. Both companies offer optional add-ons.
Keep reading to see a breakdown of the differences between First American and American Home Shield’s plans, coverage, cost, claims process, and important policy features.
Side-to-Side Comparison: First American vs. American Home Shield
|Features||First American Home Warranty||American Home Shield|
|Get a free quote||Visit site||Visit site|
|This Old House rating||8.4/10||9.5/10|
|Plan options||Basic, Premier, and optional add-ons||ShieldSilver™, ShieldGold™, ShieldPlatinum™, and optional add-ons|
|Service Fee Deductible||$75||$75–$125|
|State availability||Available in all U.S. states except Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Wisconsin||Available in all U.S. states, except Alaska|
|Years in Business||36||49|
American Home Shield provides customers with a wide range of coverage options and offers three plans: the ShieldSilver™, ShieldGold™, and ShieldPlatinum™.
First American Home Warranty provides two affordable, easy-to-understand plans—a Basic Plan and a Premier Plan—that offer coverage on major home systems and appliances. Additionally, FAHW offers customers a First Class Upgrade, which covers appliances and systems that have been inadequately installed or repaired.
American Home Shield Coverage
|Built-in exhaust, vent, and attic fans||✔||✔||✔|
|Main breaker and fuse panel box||✔||✔||✔|
|Interior electrical lines||✔||✔||✔|
|Garage door openers||✔||✔||✔|
|Interior plumbing lines||✔||✔||✔|
|Faucets and valves||✔||✔||✔|
|Instant hot/cold water dispensers||✔||✔|
|Roof leak coverage||✔|
American Home Shield also offers optional coverage for the following items:
- Electronic extended warranty
- Pool and spas
- Well pump
- Septic pump
- Guest units up to 750 square feet
You can receive pricing for these items when you go to the AHS website and request a free quote.
First American Home Warranty Coverage
|Items||Basic Plan||Premier Plan|
|Built-in microwave oven||✔||✔|
|Garage door opener||✔|
|Central vacuum system||✔|
First American Home Warranty offers coverage through two affordable plans, Basic and Premier, that provide comprehensive coverage on systems and appliances. Compare what’s covered under each plan below.
In addition to these two plans, First American offers a First Class Upgrade that protects systems and appliances that have been improperly installed or repaired. If you choose to opt for this add-on, you’ll receive coverage for the following items:
- Fees associated with the use of lifting equipment, like cranes, necessary for rooftop HVAC maintenance
- Up to $250 per local building permits (if needed) prior to replacing appliances, home systems, or components
- Refrigerant recapture, reclaim, and disposal
- Haul-away services associated with the cost of appliance, system, or component removal
- Appliances and systems that have been insufficiently installed or modified
Although First American Home Warranty and American Home Shield offer similar coverage, First American offers cheaper monthly premiums. See how the companies compare in pricing below.
American Home Shield Prices
|Plan||$75 Service Fee||$100 Service Fee||$125 Service Fee|
|ShieldSilver™||$54.99 per month||$44.99 per month||$39.99 per month|
|ShieldGold™||$64.99 per month||$54.99 per month||$49.99 per month|
|ShieldPlatinum™||$79.99 per month||$69.99 per month||$64.99 per month|
In addition to the monthly cost of an AHS plan, you’ll be required to pay a service call fee, a one-time fee paid to the service technician that comes out to repair or replace your system or appliance. American Home Shield allows customers to select their own service fee: $75, $100, or $125. Usually, a higher service fee decreases your monthly cost while a lower service fee increases it.
First American Home Warranty Prices
|First American Home Warranty Plan||Cost|
|Basic Plan||$28.00 per month|
|Premier Plan||$42.50 per month|
FAHW customers are also required to pay a $75 service fee for every claim they make.
Note: The monthly cost of your FAHW plan could increase if you add on optional coverage for central air conditioning (electric), additional refrigeration, pool or spa equipment, well pumps, or the First Class Upgrade.
Our Conclusion: Which Is Better?
American Home Shield offers customers the ability to choose between a variety of plans that can protect systems or a combination of appliances and systems. AHS offers generous caps on systems and appliances, and it allows customers to choose their service fee.
Although AHS offers comprehensive coverage throughout the United States, it does not provide coverage in Alaska. The company also doesn’t allow you to choose your own technician and only guarantees repairs for up to 30 days.
On the other hand, First American Home Warranty provides affordable coverage through two comprehensive protection plans. The established provider has no caps on heating, cooling, and ductwork and offers 24/7 customer service.
Unlike American Home Shield, FAHW doesn’t provide a protection plan for just coverage on systems. To protect your home’s systems, you’ll have to opt for their Premier Plan, which protects both appliances and systems, or purchase additional coverage through add-ons. Additionally, First American doesn’t allow you to choose your own technician or service fee.
This Old House Pick: American Home Shield
American Home Shield is our top pick as a home warranty provider, receiving a rating of 9.5/10. The home warranty veteran has been in the business for almost 50 years and has some of the most comprehensive coverage in the industry, offering you the ability to customize your own coverage and choose your own service fee.
Although the AHS monthly premium is a little higher than First American’s, customers have the ability to decrease their monthly cost through selecting a higher service fee.
For a free quote from American Home Shield, fill out this online form or call 844-529-9298.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our home warranty ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each provider. We conduct research by speaking with company representatives, requesting quotes, analyzing sample contracts from each company, and conducting focus groups and consumer surveys. We then score each provider against our review standards for coverage, value, trustworthiness and transparency, availability, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.
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