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.

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14 Customer Reviews for CarShield

Average Customer Rating: 4.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 10 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  3
Bottom Line: 71% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 14
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  • 0 out 2 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Outstanding

    The associates I dealt with were extremely friendly and thorough. They even took the time to explain some discounts. Very pleased with every facet of the transaction. I will be passing this on to my son very soon.

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

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    • Aug 11, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Armand!

      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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  • Satisfied

    I made a call to Carshield to update a payment method, this was easy, precise and without issues. The phone call was pleasant and representative knowledgeable.

    I also received a follow-up call from Customer Service asking if I needed anything else and was my previous call handled to my satisfaction. I responded, “Yes thank you.”

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

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    • Aug 11, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi John!

      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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  • California

    • Fort Worth, Texas,
    • Jul 27, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I called to ask questions about my contract and ask what different things meant, and the customer service rep was very knowledgeable and patient with me.

    I was very pleased with my call and would definitely refer friends and family to use CarShield.

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

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    • Jul 27, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Mrs. Hodge!

      We are pleased to hear that 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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  • 6 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Not for me.

    • Flemingsburg, KY,
    • Jul 23, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Bought a policy from CarShield after I was pressed into buying it. The policy I was told I was purchasing was not the policy I received after 5-6 failed attempts to cancel. At last, a lady got it cancel. Very high-pressure sales!

    She told me to write a letter to them to receive a total refund. 6 to 8 weeks ago, the letter was sent, and I called today and was told there would be no refund.

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

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    • Jul 24, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Scarlet,

      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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  • 14 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Don't trust them!

    • Kansas City, MO,
    • Jul 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Well, I told my wife they were a scam, but she didn't listen. She let the sales rep convince her that everything was good. Wrong! The first time she had a problem, they said it wasn't covered. Let me explain.

    We were riding along with our family, and I noticed the vehicle temperature start to rise above normal. I always look at the gauges while I drive. We call. They tell us to take it to the shop and have them call CarShield. So we did.

    The authorized dealer saw that a nozzle that connects the water hose broke. It caused damage to the engine. CarShield said it's not covered because the hose caused the damage. Engines don't just go out! It always has to be something that goes wrong to cause a problem. They said no. So what's the point of having it? It clearly says powertrain. I don't understand. We get our oil changed regularly. We don't speed or drive crazy. This is my wife's car. She has the kids with her!

    Men, do not let them take advantage of your wife! Ladies, be careful with this company! They are very, very manipulative. Commission, commission, commission. They are trained salesmen, and they will tell you anything. We are now without a car with four kids a nine-month baby! My wife paid faithfully because she thought they were good. Don't trust them.

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

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    • Jul 19, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Aisha,

      We are very sorry to hear about the issues you've experienced trying to repair your vehicle.

      We at CarShield have little to no control over the claims process or the administrators' decision to approve or deny a claim. We are, however, always willing to explain the coverage details or help you with any of your customer service needs.

      We strive to learn from every source of input and appreciate you letting us know about your experience. However, it appears the complaints regarding the claim are aimed at the administrator and not at CarShield. Please, take a moment to re-evaluate your experience with CarShield. If you find it appropriate, please update your review to reflect the experience you've had directly with CarShield.

      Please, give us a call if we can do anything more for you.

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Highly recommended

    So far everyone has been very helpful and professional. I would recommend CarShield to anyone looking for an extended warranty. The people at customer service have helped me with every step towards fixing my Nissan.

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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Linda!

      We are glad to hear your vehicle service contract is working in your favor, as we expect it to.

      Thanks for your review and support!

      Let us know if there's anything else we can do for you.

    • Aug 9, 2017

      Vickie Mobley

      It's a rip-off, they don't pay for anything. Save your money so when something goes right you have the money to fix it.

    • Aug 14, 2017

      Linda Thompson

      No, exactly the opposite. They paid for an air conditioning compressor and transmission work and it cost over $2600. I'm very happy with my policy.

    • Aug 15, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Vickie,

      Thanks for bringing your concerns to our attention. We are sorry to hear you feel this way. Please contact our customer service department Monday through Friday, from 7 am- 6 pm CST. We'd be more than happy to assist you.

      Thank you

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  • Warranty

    • New York, New York,
    • Jul 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    A great, quick service. On and off the phone in an orderly fashion and time. Reasonable rates. Very nice and helpful with getting me the service I needed. I have already recommended this service and plan on recommending it to everyone that is in need of an extended warranty.

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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Jeff!

      Thank you for your compliment! We appreciate your support.

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

      Please give us a call if we can do anything else for you.

    • Aug 14, 2017

      Linda Thompson

      No, exactly the opposite. They paid for an air conditioning compressor and transmission repair and it cost over $2600. I'm very happy with my policy.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Cancelation of extended warranty

    • Harford County, Maryland,
    • Jul 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Unfortunately, I had to cancel my extended warranty due to no longer working and financially not being able to afford the monthly payments. On a good note, my representative Hannah was amazing! She was very understanding and presented me with different options and pricing to see if I could keep the warranty. Hannah definitely did an excellent job! I've worked in customer service for over 20 years, and she has GREAT customer service skills. Thank you Hannah!

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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Miranda!

      Thank you for your compliment! We appreciate your support.

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

      Please give us a call if we can do anything else for you.

    • Jul 18, 2017

      Miranda Edwards

      You are very welcome, it was my pleasure to write a review. It was nothing but the truth. Everyone I spoke to from the moment I signed up was very kind and understanding. I will definitely keep you guys in mind and will definitely recommend you guys! Thank you!

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  • Outstanding customer service

    The agent that I spoke with was very helpful and courteous. She answered my questions, and she provided me with valuable information. Because of the outstanding customer service so far I am glad I chose CarShield.

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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello DeeGee!

      Thank you for your compliment! We appreciate your support.

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

      Please give us a call if we can do anything else for you.

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Showing 1-11 of 14

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