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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42 Consumer Reviews for CarShield

Average Consumer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 32 4 star: 1 3 star: 1 2 star: 0 1 star:  8
Bottom Line: 79% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 42
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  • Corporate confidence

    I found one of their representatives particularly helpful. Mr. Matt Murdoch, (DareDevil as I called him), was very understandable (answered ALL of my questions), upbeat, and professional. He addressed my concerns with poise and great dexterity. If Mr. Murdoch is indeed a typical representative of their company, then they should obtain great success!

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

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    • Jan 15, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Reginald!

      Welcome to CarShield!

      Thanks for joining our community of consumers who understand the importance of protecting their budgets and their vehicles an extended service contract. If there's anything you need, please give us a call. We're here to work for you!

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Customer service

    I emailed after seeing it on TV. The customer service rep was rude and did not listen to a word that I had to say. He just tried to force the service on me. Why would I give me credit information to your company without seeing ANY written information about the service? This sounds like Donald Trump with the FAKE NEWS! I hope no one falls for the sale's pitch!

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

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    • Jan 15, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Talmadge-

      We appreciate your comments. We strive to learn from every source of input available to us, to better improve our company and our customers' experience. Our coverage plans vary depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle. Therefore, our sales agents place you into the highest level of coverage your vehicle qualifies for at the best rates.

      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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  • Best customer service experience

    The representatives I talked to were very helpful. After explaining that my husband passed last year and I needed something I could afford, I asked if they had a zero deductible policy for my 2014 van.

    They went out of their way to put me in one and lowered the down and monthly payments for me. Then when asked if I had another vehicle, I explained I had a 1998 F150, and they said they could cover it also and they even gave me an even better deal on both.

    I couldn't ask for a better experience, and I will definitely tell others about them.

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

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    • Jan 9, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Lois!

      Welcome to CarShield!

      Thanks for joining 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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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Doesn't cover anything I needed. Cancellation was the hardest part.

    • Houston, TX,
    • Jan 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    So on the phone, I bought the service contract for engine coverage, etc. I was auto-drafted $158 monthly and paid I think $172 deposit. My car Lexus LS 260L, year 2007, was probably going to need this service warranty and I figured ok, this is an extended warranty I could probably use within the year. I understand they need to make their money, so a 25-day wait period was not a problem.

    I didn't have a problem with the fact that they didn't cover the parts I needed (suspension, brake actuator, bushings, etc.). After spending a couple of thousand getting some more work done on my car, I decided to give up and buy another car.

    The problem I had was when I tried to cancel my contract. I called once, and the service guy wouldn't even let me cancel and kept repeating how great their service was. I had to hang up because I didn't have another 30 minutes to explain why I was canceling. He kept talking over me and was just rude. I get that you're trying to keep my business. I've paid several months of dues, and now I don't need it. What part could they not understand about that? In fact, I would have used their service on my next purchase, but after the crappy and condescending attitude I received, NO thank you.

    On my second call, I had the same issues. After repeatedly asking them to cancel, they wouldn't let me cancel until I threatened to report them to the BBB. They made it as hard as possible to cancel by saying I had to send in a letter with all the info they needed. I asked how it was so easy to take my payment and sign me up on the phone, but canceling was such a pain. They finally agreed to let me email my cancellation. Unfortunately, I canceled my contract the day after my credit card was drafted. Let's hope I can get a refund for that.

    I would give them a zero if I could.

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

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    • Jan 5, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Lynh-

      We do apologize in advance if you were treated in a manner less than transparent, and courteous when you called into our office. We train each of our agents to be professional, polite and honest at all times.

      Our quality assurance team has been advised to listen to the call you made to the office on 1/3/2018. We strive to learn from every source of input available to us, to better improve our company and our customers' experience. Please be assured, we do not take these matters lightly and appropriate action will be taken should we find the allegations true.

      It appears your account has been canceled and is in the process of being refunded.

      If there is anything else we can do for you, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

      Best Regards,

      CarShield

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    The worst

    The worst experience I've ever come across. Definitely a scam, and I'm very disappointed with the company. 0% coverage after 6 months of on-time payments. Didn't help with anything while my car was in the shop and now I'm stuck with a non-working motor, plus all the fees for the teardown and labor. Very highly wouldn’t recommend this company to anyone.

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

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    • Jan 2, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Rochelle-

      We appreciate your comments. We strive to learn from every source of input available to us, to better improve our company and our customers' experience.

      Our coverage plans vary depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle. Therefore, our sales agents place you into the highest level of coverage that your vehicle qualifies for at the best rates.

      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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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Very professional

    Very helpful, answered all my questions directly with words that we all understand, and no run-around the bushes and quick.

    I meant to buy it a few months ago when I listened to the Rush Limbaugh program but it wasn't until today that I had chance to sit down and called.

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

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    • Dec 21, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Mario!

      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 with an extended service contract.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Excellent service

    The first person very polite and told me she was going to connect me to a representative. She did it promptly and politely. The representative that was on the line next very polite and explained the contract thoroughly, including what was covered in the contract, amount of years, cost limit, the choices of pricing and my deductible. Very knowledgeable and answered my questions.

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

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    • Dec 18, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Janet!

      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 with an extended service contract.

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

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  • Awesome

    • Muscle Shoals, AL,
    • Dec 14, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    They were very helpful in explaining the coverage and looking forward to doing business with them. Miss Mary White was awesome in explaining. Thank you very much. And to get the coverage needed for my car is a blessing. Hopefully, I won't need it, but if I do the plan I have will be great. Thanks again.

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

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    • Dec 15, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Emma!

      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 with an extended service contract.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Satisfied customer

    • South Carolina,
    • Dec 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    The CSR (Rosa) was very accommodating, helpful and patient. She took the time to explain the changes in my plan renewal and the options for payment. I was very satisfied with the service provided.

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

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    • Dec 6, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Carol!

      We are pleased to hear that Rosa helped you resolve any questions you have had. We pride ourselves on 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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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Got it done

    My automobile kept making this clicking sound when trying to engage the engine. I figured it was the battery. So I put in a new battery. Noise remained a problem. It was the starter. It had gone bad. I brought the car to the dealer and they contact car shield. Done. I just had to pay a deductible.

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

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    • Dec 4, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Stephen! We are happy 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!

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Great service

    Great service! I was impressed with the service over the phone; it was fast and simple, with the last question for getting the exact mileage being the hardest thing to do! I would recommend them to everyone.

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

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    • Dec 1, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Katherine!

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

    • Dec 5, 2017

      Katherine Ann Yankowsky

      I am just waiting for the booklet in the mail so I can put it in my glove compartment.

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Showing 1-11 of 42

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