CarShield Review: A Detailed Look at How It Works, Cost, and More

By Zina Kumok
Updated on: Mar 26, 2020

Extended warranty policies always sound great on paper. Much like insurance, you pay a set monthly fee in exchange for some peace of mind. If an emergency happens and your car needs major repairs, the extended warranty would, in theory, cover all the costs.

But how often do those emergencies actually crop up? As it turns out, not as often as extended warranty companies would like you to think.

A 2013 survey from Consumer Reports found that “55 percent of owners who purchased an extended warranty hadn’t used it for repairs during the lifetime of the policy, even though the median price paid for the coverage was just over $1,200. And, on average, those who did use it spent hundreds more for the coverage than they saved in repair costs.”

To examine the issue a little more closely, we took a look st CarShield, one of the most popular providers of extended warranty coverage. Here’s what we found.

How CarShield Works

CarShield provides extended warranties for cars when the original warranty has expired or when the owner wants to buy additional coverage.

If the car needs a repair, they take the car to a CarShield-authorized mechanic who will contact CarShield, verify the policy and start work on the car. CarShield will pay the mechanic directly, so customers don’t have to pay for the repairs and then wait to be reimbursed.

There’s no annual contract with CarShield; users can sign up and cancel anytime. Payments are made on a monthly basis.

Rates depend on the car’s make, model, year, mileage and location. There are also six different tiers of coverage which will affect the price. CarShield does not provide rates online.

On top of the monthly fee, you’ll still owe a copay every time you take the car in, generally around $100.

Every CarShield warranty has a 20-day and 500-mile waiting period, meaning that you have to wait 20 days and 500 miles after purchasing a policy for the coverage to kick in. This is to prevent someone who just found out their car needs a new engine from buying a policy and filing a claim immediately.

Customer reviews for CarShield vary. The company has a 3.8-star rating here on HighYa based on over 260 reviews, as well as a 4.1-star rating on Trustpilot with more than 6,000 reviews.

While that may sound respectable, they have an F rating from the Better Business Bureau with 630 complaints in the past three years. The BBB even has a warning for customers interested in CarShield, stating that there is a record of CarShield having “misleading sales and advertising practices,” including not covering repairs that should be under warranty.

CarShield has six service tiers with varying levels of coverage. All tiers cover towing and rental car reimbursement, and many have complimentary roadside assistance as well.

When you call CarShield for a quote, they’ll tell you which coverage level you qualify for. The price difference between levels may be minimal, around $10 or so, but not every car will qualify for each tier.

Getting a Quote

To get a quote, you have to submit some basic information about the car and wait for a phone call from a CarShield representative. It can be frustrating to not get a quote instantly or in an email.

Like some financial service companies, CarShield’s reps can be aggressive if you request a quote and don’t sign up right away. I sent information about my car and had two missed calls from them within two hours. They’ve called about once a day since then.

When I did call back, I was quickly connected to a sales rep who said my 2016 Toyota Camry with 51,000 miles qualified for the highest coverage possible. The diamond level covers the engine, transmission, drive axle, steering, suspension, computer, and electrical systems.

Initially, he said the rate would be $129.99 a month. Because it was my first time calling, the rep said he could knock it down to $109.99 a month. I told him I wanted to discuss the policy with my husband, and then he offered to decrease the cost to $99 a month.

I repeated that I’d have to talk with my husband and call back, and he offered to wait on hold while I did that. I told him that I would prefer to call back, and he became slightly irritated. Overall, it was a pushy experience.

Even with the highest-level policy, I would still be responsible for general wear-and-tear including oil changes, brake pads, and new batteries. The policy has a $100 co-pay for every repair. While the representative argued that paying $100 would be cheaper than a new engine or starter, this would still be a significant expense for such an expensive policy.

When I called back a few hours later with more questions, I spoke with a new rep who said he could offer me an employee discount for $89.99. As I tried to get off the phone, he told me his manager authorized him to offer me a policy of $79.99.

Finding a Mechanic

Like other extended warranty companies, CarShield requires you to use a certified mechanic when you submit a claim. You can go here to see if your current mechanic would be covered under a CarShield plan.

When I went to the CarShield website to see which mechanics would be covered, I couldn’t find any within a 10-mile radius. I called CarShield, and they claimed to work with any ASE-certified mechanic.

I then called my mechanic, who said he is ASE-certified but doesn’t work with CarShield because of delayed payment issues on their end.

Use a Sinking Fund Instead

Given CarShield’s high rates and frequent customer service complaints, you’re better off saving for car repairs yourself without relying on an extended warranty company.

The CarShield rep I spoke with quoted me $99 a month, which comes out to $1,188 a year.

RepairPal.com says a 2016 Toyota Camry will have an annual repair cost of $365. That will likely increase as the car gets older, but it still means a CarShield policy will cost three times more than what I’m likely to pay in a year.

Instead of relying on CarShield or another extended warranty company, consider starting a sinking fund for car expenses.

A sinking fund is a savings fund for a specific goal or future expense. In this case, the sinking fund will be exclusively for car maintenance and repairs. The fund should be held in a savings account, separate from an emergency fund.

High-yield savings account with an interest rate between 1.5 to 2% is your best bet, because the savings will earn interest to help combat inflation.

Instead of paying CarShield a premium every month, you’ll set money aside in your sinking fund. You can set up automatic transfers so you don’t have to manually move it from a checking to a savings account.

A sinking fund, unlike an extended warranty, has no restrictions or limits. You can put the money toward any repair or maintenance cost with any mechanic.

The downside of a sinking fund is that you’re completely responsible for the money. If you feel like spending it on a trip to Vegas or a new TV, there’s nothing stopping you. If you have trouble resisting temptation, a sinking fund may be more of a burden than a boon.

Another drawback to a sinking fund is that it may take a while to accrue enough money to pay for any major repairs.

If you have a CarShield powertrain warranty and your transmission dies, the warranty will pay for a new transmission right away. If you only have a $200 sinking fund when your transmission dies, you won’t have enough to replace it.

Most mechanics don’t offer a payment plan, so your only option would be to put the funds on a credit card, borrow money from another source or raid another savings account. Obviously, none of these are great options.

The Bottom Line

Car owners interested in the towing and roadside assistance that CarShield provides can look elsewhere for this benefit.

Many credit card providers offer this as a complimentary benefit to cardholders, and a AAA membership costs between $30 to $100 a year, depending on the membership and location. That’s generally less than the cost for one month of CarShield.

An extended warranty is often a poor financial decision. Instead of paying for CarShield, you’re better off taking that money and saving it yourself. If you save consistently, you’ll have enough to cover all the necessary repairs.


Read 267 CarShield Customer Reviews and Complaints

Write a Review
Average Customer Rating: 3.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 163 4 star: 23 3 star: 11 2 star: 4 1 star:  66
Bottom Line: 72% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 267
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  • This company is actively collecting reviews from its customers. All reviews submitted are subject to moderation and approval to ensure they meet our Review Guidelines.
  • A scam to the lowest form

    • By Burt G.,
    • Minneapolis, MN,
    • Apr 1, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    This such a scam. I put my car in a shop with their permission or their preauthorization for repairs. After that, 3 hours later a call came in that the fuel pump wasn’t covered, it was my floater on my pump that gives my car an inaccurate reading, so now I’m stuck with a rental car and a diagnostic and my repairs but CarShield and America Auto, now this is my out-of-pocket cost. Trust me, it’s not what it appears to be, the apple can look good on the outside but there could be a worm on the inside, be careful. I’m filing charges to get my money back and to report to BBB and the Attorney General and anyone else that listens to me, but be careful. Would I recommend this to anyone else? Heck no.

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

    • Apr 2, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Burt,

      There is no way to know what the cause of failure is without a diagnostic test. We pay for that if the part that failed is listed for coverage. We are sorry to hear there was confusion about this. Please review your contract and give us a call with any questions you may have.


  • Not happy

    • By Hardy D.,
    • Colorado,
    • Mar 31, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I put my car into the shop on the 13th of March 2020, I'm still waiting to get my car approved by United Car Care of Greenwood Village, CO. I have paid out of pocket $200 and I'm still waiting to get my car fixed.

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

    • Apr 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Hardy,

      Sorry to hear this is taking longer than normal. We recommend reaching out to United Car Care for an update on the status.


  • Good people to talk to, upset with the terms I encountered.

    • By R. F.,
    • Mount Olive, NJ,
    • Mar 18, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    First attempt at a transaction. The people were very nice but they did not cover my situation. Very upsetting. I read the policy. This part leaves something open. I feel they should have paid a portion.

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

    • Mar 19, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Richard,

      It is always unfortunate when a needed repair is not covered under the policy. If you have any questions about your policy or your recent claim, please contact us.


  • Friendly girls who were quick to answer my questions.

    • By Deloros B.,
    • Ontario, Canada,
    • Mar 17, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Very helpful and the transaction was completed quickly and friendly.

    I would certainly recommend your program to my friends and relatives.

    The program gives me the confidence that I know I would be looked after financially if I should have an accident. This is truly a great service for seniors on a limited income who might have an accident and would possibly leave them with no way to get around.

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

    • Mar 19, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Delores,

      We're happy to help! Let us know if you need anything else.


  • Be sure you are clear

    • By Dennis D.,
    • Sierra Vista, AZ,
    • Mar 4, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    When contracting with this company, be very clear as to the date you want the payments taken from your financial institution.

    This company will take it out the date you agree to the coverage.

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

    • Mar 5, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Dennis,

      Thanks for the review. Yes, you can let us know when you'd like the payment to be made each month. We are always happy and willing to work around what works best for you!


  • Fuel pump

    • By Gregory R.,
    • Lakewood, CO,
    • Feb 26, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    On Saturday the 22nd, my car wouldn't start at my work and I had it towed to the Firestone mechanic. They discovered it was a bad fuel pump. Called CarShield and claims were closed. Going to call back on the 24th to see if it is covered.

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

    • Feb 27, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Gregory,

      It looks like the claim is approved for $506! We're happy to help!


  • CarShield review

    • By Clarence L.,
    • Circle, MT,
    • Feb 16, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Everything seems ok, I hope I understood everything the salesperson was telling me. I believe the price was satisfactory. They were very helpful in getting what I needed to change my warranty.

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

    • Feb 17, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Clarence,

      Thanks for the review and welcome to CarShield! If you still have questions about your coverage, we are always happy to explain it with you. Just give us a call when you get a chance.


  • Very helpful and friendly assistance.

    • By Rut A.,
    • Dewey, AZ,
    • Jan 28, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    My experience with CarShield was very pleasant. I did not feel pushed or rushed. They were very patient as I went to get the required information needed. I look forward to doing business again in the future; should the need arise.

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

    • Jan 29, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Rut,

      Thank you for your review and we are always here to help. Please give us a call if you need anything else!


  • Waste of money

    • By Gene Z.,
    • Stafford, VA,
    • Jan 27, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Signed up for CarShield over a year ago. Now, the powertrain control module goes out. Call CarShield. My powertrain plus (Gold) policy does not cover the powertrain control module. What a ripoff and waste of money! Buyer beware!

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

    • Jan 28, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Gene,

      Not all repairs are covered under your plan or any vehicle service contract for that matter. We are always available to go over your policy with you so that there are no surprises. We're sorry there was confusion about what parts are covered and which are not.


  • What a joke!

    • By Eric L.,
    • Kaysville, UT,
    • Jan 2, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    CarShield/American Auto Shield: everything was perfect until I actually filed a claim. I signed up and they debited my account for the monthly payments without any issues at all, LOL. As soon as I actually needed them to perform their part of the agreement they informed me that they do not cover the particular things my vehicle needed, which is really weird because the sales rep that signed me up told me that the coverage was basically like the original manufacturer's warranty except for things like brake pads, fluids or regular maintenance type services. I also find it interested that you can only cancel your contract and get a refund within 30 days of signing up with CarShield but you can't file a claim within the first 30 days so basically you are out some money before you will figure out that they are a BS scam. The lady I spoke with was extremely rude and short with me, she kept interrupting me and talking over me, it was obvious to me very quickly that they had no intention of helping me whatsoever and were fine with cancelling my contract because they had already received several hundred dollars from me without having to provide any service or pay for any claims.

    This company has no integrity or honor and simply wants to scam you out of as much money as they can before you figure out that they are the only ones that will benefit from the relationship. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY.

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

    • Jan 3, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Eric,

      When you sign up we go over many components that are covered under your plan. The contract includes more detail and has all of the parts included in your policy. We can only cover parts listed on your policy. If you have questions about this, please contact us.


  • Waste of money

    • By Michelle C.,
    • Colorado,
    • Nov 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I should have looked at their BBB rating and would have seen that they have a rating of "F"! They have numerous complaints about misrepresenting their coverage which is exactly what happened to me. Paid a LOT of money for a "bumper to bumper" coverage except for wear and tear only to be denied numerous things because it's not in the warranty so sorry we won't cover it. Like a heater coil. Then they will only approve aftermarket parts and not dealer parts so we have to wait for them to send in aftermarket stuff from who knows where. Called them several times only to be given "sorry, if it's not in the warranty we won't cover it". I have had numerous extended warranties and have never had problems with repairs. THIS IS A NIGHTMARE and costing me a lot of money which is exactly what I wanted to avoid by purchasing their "warranty". I will be taking this as far as I need to for this to be rectified. I am a professional and this is wrong!

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

    • Nov 18, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Michelle,

      Sorry to hear about your frustrations. We do not offer bumper to bumper coverage. And yes, we can only cover the parts listed on your contract and no other parts. The aftermarket parts is a service we offer to help you save money and you do not have to choose to use that service. If you'd like to discuss this further, we encourage you to call us.


Showing 1-11 of 267

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