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.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of CarShield:
  • 280 Customer Reviews
  • 69% Recommend This Company
3.7 out of 5
5 star: 58% 4 star: 8% 3 star: 4% 2 star: 1% 1 star: 27%

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  • Worst warranty company I have ever had

    • By Sara G.,
    • Florida,
    • Sep 14, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    CarShield is the worst company ever. I have been with this for 6 months, costs me $115 monthly. My car needed an engine, they gave me the runaround for 2 weeks, telling me all types of lies. It’s always a different story with them. They do not answer emails from the car shop. You can’t talk with a manager or supervisor. I advise you if you are looking for a warranty, do not get CarShield, this company is garbage!

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • Customer service is garbage
    • They are the worst warranty company out here
    • They all tell lies
    • Waste of my money

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


  • They canceled me when I got only 8 payments to pay

    • By Virgilio C.,
    • Waldwick, NJ,
    • Aug 31, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    In this time of pandemic, after paying 18 monthly payments and being late for 1 month, they immediately canceled my 2 accounts. When I tried reinstating them after 8 days when they canceled my 2 accounts, they said they can’t do anything and reinstate me because I was 1 month late in my payments. They said I have to start all over again and reapply. After I paid 18 months and I only have 8 more payments left, they said it’s their policy not to reinstate my 2 accounts, for which I paid already a total of $5400. They are ruthless and I know why they canceled me, because they can make more money if I reinstate the 2 insurances that I have. I haven’t even used the insurances on both vans, not once, for the last 18 months they were automatically deducted from my credit card so I was never late on my payments until this hardship from this pandemic. They are heartless and I think this might as well get canceled because if ever when it’s time I need to use the insurance, they will probably say it’s not covered. Beware of companies like this who have no empathy for their customers and they will easily deny coverage, just as easy canceling them.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • No sympathy for people who are in hardship and when late on month payment, they immediately cancel you

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

    • Sep 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Virgil,

      We are happy to help out as best we can and we understand the hardships many people are going through during this pandemic. Your account was canceled because you requested that we cancel it. Since it was processed as a cancellation we cannot reinstate the account.


  • CarShield people are thieves

    • By Bobette L.,
    • Hollywood, FL,
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    Do not do business with these thieves! They do not like covering repairs and if they decide to do so, it takes forever. It is the hardest thing to cancel a policy with these people. They are scam artists.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • They do not cover repairs
    • They are hard to get on the phone unless you say you are making a payment
    • Customer service is rude

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

    • Sep 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Bobette,

      Sorry you feel this way. We have millions of customers who have saved over $1 billion on repairs! Most of our customers are quite happy with our service and we're sorry we did not meet your expectations. I see that the repairs you needed were not listed for coverage as outlined on your contract which is why we could not help. We are sorry about the longer than normal claims process. The company that handles the claims has seen an influx of claims being processed due to the pandemic and are working hard to get everyone processed as quickly as they can.


  • Useless

    • By Felix C.,
    • Adirondack, NY,
    • Aug 24, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    This company is useless. They take your money and never pay out a claim. They just jerk you and the dealer around. Had three claims in; one barely was paid with a fight, and the other two zilch, even though the parts were covered in my contract. I recommended this company to 10 friends and I looked like an idiot every time I submitted a claim, my friends stated seriously. The parts covered aren't covered if another uncovered part caused the damage, so they state. You're better off just paying the repairs with a credit card and paying slowly, it's the same payments but more peace of mind because at least you know your car is being repaired for sure and there are no double payments. This contract is getting canceled.

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

    • Sep 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Felix,

      Sorry we couldn't help you out enough on your repairs. We have helped millions of customers save over $1 billion on repairs and sorry we did not meet your expectations.


  • Still waiting on reimbursement

    • By Victor B.,
    • Miami Gardens, FL,
    • Aug 23, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: Less than 3 months
    Overall Experience:

    Took the car in for a simple thermometer swap and end up waiting over a week. I had to end paying out of pocket for a car rental and work on the car. I only hope that I might get some type of reimbursement. Bad experience?

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

    • Sep 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Victor,

      If I have the correct account up, I am not showing a claim was submitted so we did not get the opportunity to help with this repair. If you could please provide your contract number I can confirm that I am looking at the correct account.


  • Not happy

    • By Vic H.,
    • Charleston, SC,
    • Aug 14, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    Have had a CarShield agreement for 9 months. First time I go to use it the dealership can't get through to CarShield for authorization for hours on end. Then when an additional issue is found they denied the claim since my vehicle wasn't towed into the shop. I thought being proactive and taking it in before the issue was serious was the proper thing to do. I'm trying to reach customer service to discuss the issue but was told wait times were in excess of an hour to speak with someone.

    My dealership said CarShield was the worst of the extended warranty companies about getting approvals for service. Wish I had known that in October when I signed up for the service.

    Pros and Cons:

    • Simple to sign up
    • Claims approval
    • Customer service
    • Phone system

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

    • Aug 14, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Vic,

      We are sorry to hear about the hold times, however, those are with the company that handles claims, not us at CarShield. Either way, it looks like your claim is being approved for $2538. Again, we apologize about hold times reaching claims but assure you, you're in good hands. We have paid out over $1.3 million for the month of July on covered repairs to customers just like you!


  • Not worth the time or money!

    • By Ca R.,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Jul 30, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 3–6 months
    Overall Experience:

    First claim with CarShield. CarShield wouldn’t answer the phone. Left several messages and never received a call back. This is a money pit, I am not going to continue with this place and will inform everyone I know not to deal with this place. They are not responding to customers and only collect money as a revenue source. I think I will file a class action in response to their insidious business practice. I will not be doing business with these people again...I have learned a lesson with this company.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • Customer service
    • Lack of contact with their customer
    • Lack of feedback

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

    • Aug 3, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello,

      We're sorry you're having trouble reaching us. We are open Mon- Fri 7am-8pm CST and Sat 8am-3pm CST. Typically, we do not have long wait times. If you're trying to reach the administrator of your account, they are a different company. A storm took our their phone lines for a week and they are working extremely hard to get caught up.


  • I have to do most of the leg work, why do I have to do this?

    • By Richard A.,
    • Delaware,
    • Jul 24, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 3–6 months
    Overall Experience:

    They know how to take my money, but I have to do most of the leg work. That's what I pay them for. I myself stay on the phone, waiting to talk to someone. Then they tell me to do something else. The repair facility is going through the same thing I am. Can never get in touch with anyone. I pay the monthly premium, I've been waiting almost a month to no avail. My car still has not been repaired.

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

    • Jul 27, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Richard,

      We're sorry to hear this and this is not typical of our service. The phone lines for the company that handles claims has been down but has since been resolved. They are working tirelessly to contact everyone who reached out and apologize for the delay.


  • Still waiting

    • By John M.,
    • Charleston, SC,
    • Jul 8, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    I put the claim in ten days ago and am still driving a rental car. We (me and my repair shop) have done everything they asked and still no response. You call and every day no matter what time of day they are experiencing higher than normal call volume. I suggest they add a few employees!

    So much for listening to Glen Beck!

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

    • Jul 9, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi John,

      We're sorry to hear about the delay in hold times and with the claim. The claim is moving along as fast as possible. We have had to wait to receive some documents to review and now are in the process of having an inspection done. We hope to have you back on the road soon.


  • Annoyed!

    • By Rno D.,
    • Jersey City, NJ,
    • Jul 5, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 2+ years
    Overall Experience:

    Brought my vehicle to the dealership and was told my coverage was denied because every other part was covered except that particular part, other problems were diagnosed and still denied. And I’m supposed to have a platinum level policy? I’ll be paying over $4K for my repairs, what a scam!

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

    • Jul 8, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello,

      Sorry to hear we could not help out on your repairs. We have helped tons of customers save over $1 billion on repairs. The repairs must be listed for coverage on your policy, however.


  • They lie to get you to purchase a plan

    • By Dyvonia J.,
    • St. Louis, MO,
    • Jul 2, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 3–6 months
    Overall Experience:

    I feel like I was lied to when the salesperson was presenting this service to me. I was told every major repair under my hood would be covered with the Gold level coverage. The only thing that was not covered with this plan would be regular routine maintenance (oil changes, tires, brakes). The very FIRST TIME I needed to use CarShield for a repair, for a non-routine maintenance repair, the claim was denied. I am canceling my contract and NO, I will not recommend CarShield to anyone.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • Lied about the coverage
    • I did not receive the list of covered repairs with my contract, only got the list after they denied my very first claim
    • Waste of money

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

    • Jul 8, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Dyvonia,

      Our reps cannot say everything under the hood is covered and would lose their license if they said so. We will review this call to confirm. Perhaps there may have been confusion about your policy, and for that, we are sorry.


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