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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125 Consumer Reviews for CarShield

Average Consumer Rating: 3.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 86 4 star: 5 3 star: 3 2 star: 2 1 star:  29
Bottom Line: 73% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 125
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  • Editor’s Note: It is our understanding that this company has been asking its customers to leave feedback on HighYa. We assure you that each of these reviews has still been subjected to the same verification & vetting process that all submitted reviews go through. Learn More Here
  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Bad

    • Portland, OR,
    • Sep 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Not good. They send used parts that don't work right. For the price they charge, it should be new parts. And they don't cover everything.

    It takes four days to get approval. It has been two weeks now and the car is still not fixed.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great

    • Illinois,
    • Sep 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I just got the CarShield today.

    I wasn't going to do it today, but a gentleman named Rick Sttaughter was very polite and informative. Also very professional. He sold me on the CarShield. Great job.

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

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    • Sep 20, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Sheila!

      We are pleased to hear our specialists have helped resolve any questions you have had. We pride ourselves in having one of the best sales teams in the industry! 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

    Very good info

    • Burlison, TN,
    • Sep 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The agent represented a very personal experience. I felt he listened to me and gave me a superior quote and included my disability. He provided the goal of giving helpful and relevant information and took the time to give excellent info.

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

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    • Sep 19, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Barbara!

      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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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    New customer

    • Massachusetts,
    • Sep 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I'm a new customer, and I haven't had a claim done yet, however, I was changing my address and customer service has been really good and professional. It is my third time speaking with them for different reasons and each experience was great!

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

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    • Sep 17, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Renee!

      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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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    A scam and rude customer service.

    • Mississippi,
    • Sep 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    So I had them back in the past for a 09 Ford and back then it really did make some sense to have it. Due to the vehicle being used, having many miles, etc. Well, once you are actually covered by them, they will only cover very minimal pieces and you don't actually get any help from them when pieces go out and then all of this "will not cover regular maintenance" is just BS because anything associated with any of the systems that have pieces associated with regular maintenance intervals becomes an it's-your-fault issue. So if you have a vehicle that's getting older, it's probably better to either fix it yourself or become friends with a local garage.

    Anyway let's skip back to 2015 and these people have been calling me on and off for months and just won't stop calling. Well, I was in a somewhat decent mood today and was like, I'll listen to their pitch. So then they transfer me over and get this person talking to me and I start telling them all the issues I had and they keep just pushing it and pushing it constantly saying that everything I mentioned wrong with the old vehicle was something they needed to cover. Then I was like well, why even pay for any of this if you're not going to cover it? Then they proceeded to say well, maintenance hours and all these computers. So I retort with well, then I'll do the maintenance myself because overall any one of these pieces aren't going to cost me as much as this, so I told them to go do their research on fixing vehicles and hung up.

    I suggest that no one ever use this service unless you just want to waste money or you just bought a really bad brand/car, otherwise, you're throwing your money away.

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

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    • Sep 17, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Daniel-

      We are sorry you feel this way. Our coverage plans vary depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle. Therefore, our sales agents place you in the highest level of coverage your vehicle qualifies for. 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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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Scammed by CarShield

    • Mississippi,
    • Sep 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Liers, thieves, scamming seniors with their sweet talking salesmen. "Pease of mind" is a joke! I have electrical and luxury electrical. The rubber came off the track, and the electric wire was all chewed up in one of my doors. CarShield said that although it states electrical I have to go to another page for exclusions on electrical. I still don't understand, so I call to find out what this warranty WILL COVER. After a song and dance, they told me they only cover manufacturer defect or faulty workmanship. My car is 11 years old. You people made my life emotionally and financially difficult. My husband had a significant stroke, the reason why I bought this. It gave NO "peace of mind" and I plan on consulting a lawyer.

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

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    • Sep 17, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      JoAnn-

      We are sorry you feel this way. 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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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Great service from caring customer service rep

    • Illinois,
    • Sep 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Matt, my CarShield customer service rep, made my morning! It was not that it was awfully complicated, but in today's business culture where customer service is often dealt with cynicism toward late paying customers, Matt's genuine and caring attitude in the service he gave me was like a cool drink of water on a hot day! So refreshing!

    Keep him around and get more guys just like him! I am happy to tell friends about CarShield!

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

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    • Sep 17, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Deneika!

      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! 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

    Protection plan

    • Marrero, LA,
    • Sep 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The rep was very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about my account and its current status. They assisted me in updating my account info.

    There was easy access to the customer service department. I recommend CarShield coverage without any hesitation or reservations.

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

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    • Sep 17, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Latricia!

      Thank You for taking a moment to review CarShield. We look forward to working with you in the future. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Excellence in customer service is vital

    • Dallas, TX,
    • Sep 8, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am new to CarShield and I immediately observe everything, especially when it comes to purchases. I am very strict about the professional delivery of service. If there is any error, I will proceed to another company immediately. So far, CarShield has corrected the issues with Grace. It is customers like me who care about improvement in any product or company. It is very vital so companies can thrive properly.

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

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    • Sep 17, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Yolanda!

      Thank you for taking a moment to review CarShield and we are here to work for you! Please let us know if there is anything else we can do.

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    New CarShield customer

    • Norfolk, NE,
    • Sep 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Not sure yet how this coverage is and hopefully will not have to, however, the rep was very personable and answered all my questions and did not skirt around anything. I bought this on a vehicle that is a little older with not a ton of miles but was surprised anyone would issue a warranty on it.

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

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    • Sep 17, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Marlo!

      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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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    My review for needing extra car care insurance

    • Calcium, NY,
    • Sep 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I personally have not had extra car care insurance on any of my previous cars and trucks. This car care insurance is my first. I felt the need for it at this time because anything that man has made has failed at one time or another, so without this coverage, I felt that something could go wrong and I don't need the headache of trying to find someone to fix my car without it. I think that this is the best coverage I could get for the money.

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

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    • Sep 5, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Robert!

      Thank you for taking a moment to review CarShield. We look forward to working with you in the future. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

    • Sep 11, 2018

      Joseph L.

      I purchased a car from CarShield and went to California from Vegas on vacation. My vacation turned into a nightmare. My transmission went out. The Chevy dealer in California told me the CarShield wants me to pay $1800 to pull and open up the transmission. So I figured what's the use of having them. They are terrible. I wish I would have stayed with GE Auto warranty. At least they do what they say. Don't get CarShield, it will be the worst mistake you ever make.

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Showing 1-11 of 125

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