What Is CarShield?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Published on: Jun 6, 2017

Promoted as the USA’s #1 auto protection provider, CarShield promises to provide the ultimate extended vehicle service protection plans—often called extended warranties—that can help safeguard you against expensive surprises.

By partnering with financially stable administrators, the company claims to deliver policies that allow you to choose your own US or Canadian ASE-Certified repair facility, obtain 24/7 roadside assistance and towing, along with rental car coverage (in some instances). They can even customize a plan for any driver.

Combined with their competitive prices and flexible payment plans, CarShield tells us they’ve covered more than 600,000 vehicles over the past decade, and that their administrators have paid more than $1 billion in claims.

Whether you purchase a new car, own a high mileage vehicle, or have an expired manufacturer’s warranty, CarShield’s plans might seem like a no-brainer. But what’s all this talk about administrators? Are there any competitors? How can you choose the best option?

Let’s kick things off by addressing this first question.

How Does CarShield Work & Is It a Warranty?

In CarShield’s FAQ, they explicitly note that they don’t offer extended warranties, since:

“An ‘extended warranty’ is an extension of your manufacturer’s warranty. CarShield is not connected to vehicle manufacturers or dealers in any way. Instead, a CarShield service contract is designed to pick up where your existing warranty drops off, or to fill any gaps in coverage.”

But, the fact of the matter is that they don’t offer any product. Instead, according to the disclaimer at the bottom of their home page, they’re a “nationwide company marketing vehicle service contracts on behalf of leading 3rd party administrators.”

Specifically, CarShield sells vehicle service contracts from other companies like United Car Care, American Auto Shield, and Interstate National Dealer Services, and then services their customers.

When you first contact CarShield, they’ll help you determine which coverage plan is right for you using criteria like the make, model, mileage, usage, the age of your vehicle, as well as your budget and the state in which you live. Then, they can take your down payment and put your contract into place.

What’s the Difference Between CarShield’s Protection Plans?

Overall, CarShield advertises four different plans:

New Car – According to the website, this is most similar to a manufacturer’s new car warranty, which will cover the engine, transmission failures, starter problems, and fuel pump breakdowns.

Comprehensive – If you own a high-mileage vehicle, CarShield recommends this plan, which also covers the engine and transmission, as well as air conditioning, electrical system, starter, and water and fuel pump. This is promoted as the best coverage for used vehicles.

Powertrain+ – Similarly advertised as the best option for high-mileage vehicles, this plan covers major and minor parts like the engine, transmission, alternator, water pump, air conditioning, and power windows.

We contacted customer service and learned that there’s no single definition for a high-mileage vehicle, as it will depend on all of the factors listed in the last section. However, they typically recommend purchasing the highest level of coverage available.

Powertrain – The Powertrain contract is CarShield’s most affordable and covers “all lubricated parts on your engine, transmission, and water pump.”

A comparison chart of CarShield's four protection plansCarShield offers four different protection plans depending on your vehicle, your needs, and your budget. Image credit: CarShield

With coverage under our belt, what’s the difference in price between each protection plan?

How Much Does CarShield Cost?

While no specific prices were listed on the CarShield website, the company claims to offer a coverage plan that fits every budget. For specific pricing, you can obtain a free quote by calling 800-974-9385 or sending an email to customerservice@carshield.com.

Since every policy is underwritten and placed in a specific tier based on the vehicle, we learned from customer service that each one will be priced differently.

However, as long as your contract is in force, most are transferable if you sell your vehicle to another person. Speaking of other people, what’s everyone saying in their feedback?

What Can We Learn From CarShield Reviews?

According to the company’s home page, “Almost all of CarShield’s policy holders gave us five stars for reliability during a crisis.”

Specifically, on ConsumerAffairs.com and TrustPilot.com, CarShield had 4.4 and 8.8-star ratings at the time of our research, respectively. There, most compliments seemed to revolve around helpful support, stress-free claims process, and overall ease of doing business.

On the other hand, frequent complaints on these sites related to frustrating customer service experiences (many specifically referenced high-pressure selling).

Speaking of which, we encountered a 2016 Reddit thread where the original poster talked about a letter from CarShield that indicated the person’s warranty was about to expire. When they called, they said they experienced pushy, rude sales tactics.

From a company perspective, St. Peters, MO-based CarShield had an F Better Business Bureau rating, 238 closed complaints, and 334 customer reviews (80 percent of which were negative) as of 6/6/17. There, common complaints related to difficulty obtaining refunds, less-than-stellar customer service, and excessive contact (usually via mail and phone).

To be sure, we’re not saying this is what you might expect with the company. We’re only reporting the facts to help you make a more empowered decision.

Does CarShield Have Any Competition?

There are dozens and dozens of third-party vehicle service contract (aka “extended warranty”) companies available to consumers. In fact, you can see how many there are in just a few seconds by typing either of these phrases into your favorite search engine.

In addition to CarShield, some of the popular options that appeared during our research included Carchex, Ally Premier Protection, American Auto Shield, and EasyCare. The HighYa team had also written about companies like CarTection, Toco Auto Warranty, Warranty Direct, and Endurance.

Given this plethora of options, how in the world can you determine any meaningful differences? The Federal Trade Commission recommends keeping the following in mind during your research:

  • Make sure you’re not duplicating any coverage if your vehicle’s warranty is still in place
  • Find out who backs the service contract, along with their financial rating and customer feedback
  • Verify that the price you’ll pay won’t exceed the cost of anything covered under the contract
  • Ask if you can take your vehicle to any repair shop, or only specific ones approved by the company or the administrator
  • Are new or reconditioned parts used in repairs?

Even then, Consumer Reports generally recommends avoiding vehicle service contracts, finding that:

“ … the plans, which can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, typically contain fine print that the providers use to deny claims. They might reject a claim, for example, because the customer can't prove the vehicle was maintained according to the manufacturer's recommendations or because the problem was caused by gradual wear and tear or was a pre-existing condition. And plan benefits might be limited to a vehicle's market value at the time of a breakdown or a specified maximum amount. Because the marketers don't actually provide the coverage, they often disclaim responsibility for the plans they sell.”

What does this mean when it comes to CarShield?

Our Final Thoughts About CarShield

There’s no doubt that vehicle service contracts can provide value and a certain peace of mind if your car’s warranty has expired—or perhaps even if it hasn’t, assuming you’re looking to maximize potential coverage.

Furthermore, CarShield seemed to come with mostly positive online customer feedback at the time of our research, has been in business since 2005, offers policies backed by administrators with high financial ratings, allows you to take your vehicle just about anywhere, and lets you transfer your coverage to a new owner if you sell your car.

And as we learned from the FTC, these are all positives that you should look for in any vehicle services contract (VSC) company.

On the other hand, it’s important to balance these positives with the fact that Consumer Reports notes many VSC customers (CarShield or otherwise) end up paying more than they ever get back from a coverage perspective. Also, despite their high ratings elsewhere, that the company had an F Better Business Bureau at the time of our research.

Bottom line: CarShield’s overall reputation and length of time in business might speak volumes, but in case you’re not satisfied, as consumers ourselves, we think it’s important to ask about the cancellation policy for your specific contract (and administrator), before handing over your credit card details.

See Also: Do You Need an Extended Auto Warranty? 4 Questions to Ask

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23 Customer Reviews for CarShield

Average Customer Rating: 4.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 18 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  4
Bottom Line: 78% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 23
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  • Very pleased

    I have been with CarShield for a while now and it is excellent to have for your vehicle. I am very pleased with everything they have to offer. I would recommend to my friends and family.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Camilla!

      Thanks for taking a moment to review CarShield. We genuinely appreciate your comments and look forward to working with you in the future.

      Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

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  • Great customer service

    We are one of the flood victims in Houston, Texas. So we had to purchase a new car right away one with a little higher mileage in order to afford it. The dealer did not offer any warranty. Richard explained in detail about the plan and it sounds great. Just what we need.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 11, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Lynda!

      Thank you for taking the time to review CarShield, especially during this time. CarShield genuinely cares about our customers and will continue to send good will and vibes to all who were affected by the hurricanes.

      We are pleased to have you join our community of consumers who understand the importance of protecting their budgets and their vehicles an extended service contract.

      Although we would never wish for you to have to face a breakdown, we are pleased to help alleviate the cost of covered repairs and give you peace of mind when the inevitable happens.

      If there's anything you need, please give us a call. We're here to work for you!

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  • Excellent service

    The dealership where I recently purchased my used car was pushing a plan I wasn't comfortable with, and luckily I saw the CarShield ad and called. My luck continued when I was connected with Steve, who was outstanding with his customer service. He took his time, explaining all the details of each plan and helped me weigh my options. And the most important thing he did, was made me feel comfortable about my purchase, which usually isn't the case when dealing with any sales person in the automotive industry.

    I hope I never have to use this coverage, but knowing I have it now makes me feel so much better about my overall decision to purchase this latest vehicle.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 11, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Michael!

      Welcome to CarShield!

      We are pleased to have you join our community of consumers who understand the importance of protecting their budgets and their vehicles an extended service contract.

      Although we would never wish for you to have to face a breakdown, we are pleased to help alleviate the cost of covered repairs and give you peace of mind when the inevitable happens.

      If there's anything you need, please give us a call. We're here to work for you!

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • Great Customer Service

    There was great customer service from the sale to the follow up after I received my contract. They made sure I understood what I was getting and how things work. All of my questions were clearly answered and clearly explained. They made sure to completely go over and explain what I had selected as the coverage for my truck.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 8, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Luther!

      We are pleased to hear our specialists have helped resolve any questions you have had.

      We pride ourselves in having one of the best customer service teams in the industry! Feedback, such as yours, helps us continue to improve our company and processes.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.

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    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • Helpful

    A great place to protect your car mechanical breakdowns. I would recommend to a friend. The people and the staff are very helpful and pleasant. Thanks CarShield.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 8, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello James,

      Thank you for reviewing CarShield.

      We pride ourselves in having the most helpful and courteous associates, as well as working with only the top-rated administrators in the industry. We are pleased to hear that you are satisfied with the service you have received thus far!

      Thank you for entrusting us to be on your side, to protect your budget and your vehicle. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

    • Sep 8, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello James!

      Thank you for reviewing CarShield. We appreciated your feedback and are pleased to hear our representatives have been helpful, as we expect.

      Even though we are sorry to see you go as a customer, we hope you do keep us in mind for the future.

      If there is anything more we can do for you, please give us a call.

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  • F 150 warranty on fully loaded HD truck

    I purchased a 2012 Harley Davidson edition F 150 in January of 2017. This truck has every feature you can imagine along with an extremely powerful 6.2 L engine. Transfer case has 2WD, 4WD, as well as AWD settings. I've never purchased an aftermarket warranty before, but given the level of options on this truck, it obviously increases the chances for repair needs in the future. I have not used the service yet, but my couple of dealings with the customer service department so far have been very pleasant. I trust that when the need arises it too will be a pleasurable experience.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 6, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Jimmy!

      Thanks for taking a moment to review CarShield. We genuinely appreciate your comments and look forward to working with you in the future.

      Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • CarShield best deal ever

    CarShield is the best ever. I tell everybody about it. If you have a nice automobile, you need this. I don't have money to pay out of pocket to get the car fixed when in need! Thanks for being there when I need you.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 6, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Larry!

      Thanks for taking a moment to review CarShield. We genuinely appreciate your comments and look forward to working with you in the future.

      Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

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  • Great customer service

    Great experience. Easy to use and keeps my car on the road. Whenever I contact by phone, the representative is friendly, polite, and answer all my questions. I never get off the phone feeling like I was shrugged off or not had my questions answered.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 6, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Sandy!

      We are pleased to hear our specialists have helped resolve any questions you have had.

      We pride ourselves in having one of the best customer service teams in the industry! Feedback, such as yours, helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Pushy

    • Aug 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Very pushy customer service; rude. After being given a quote, they rudely asked me to log on my computer, read the quote right there and then, and sign up. It's not fair not being given enough time before the proposed quote is taken away. They need to be more open to questions; provide info if needed by customers. They lack courtesy and respect, I'm not impressed, and not appealing to sign up with them. The customer needs to be number one.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 22, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Maria,

      Thank you for taking a moment to share your experience with us. We strive to learn from every source of input and appreciate your opinion.

      Please be assured, we do not take these matters lightly and appropriate action will be taken should we find the allegations true. Can you please provide me with your primary telephone number or Customer ID number?

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  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Very helpful

    CarShield customer service is great. Thanks so much for your help!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 11, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Keshia,

      Thank you for taking a moment to share your experience with us. We strive to learn from every source of input and appreciate your opinion. If there is anything we can do to help you, please don't hesitate to give us a call.

      Thank you again for your time.

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    • Previous review
    • Aug 10, 2017

    CarShield scammed me out of $300

    I am very upset. I am a mother of two. They were supposed to be honest and help my pockets and not break them. I was scammed into doing a plan, and my car needed repairs, and I was declined. So I'm stuck with this hefty bill for car repairs, and no help was received from them. And the only way to cancel is to mail them a letter.

    (read moreread less...)

  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Coverage

    The representative was kind and helpful. She went above and beyond to assist me in making sure my brakes were covered. Also, she gave me the telephone number that the service department needed to call.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 15, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Mary Jean Morris!

      We are pleased to hear our specialists helped resolve the questions you have had. We pride ourselves in having one of the best customer service teams in the industry! Feedback, such as yours, helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

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Showing 1-11 of 23

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