CarShield Review: How It Works, Plans, Cost

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 and 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 Bottom Line on 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?

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204 Consumer Reviews for CarShield

Average Consumer Rating: 3.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 132 4 star: 11 3 star: 7 2 star: 3 1 star:  51
Bottom Line: 73% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 204
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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
  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Lowest of the low

    • Colorado,
    • Mar 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    CarShield is the front man for a bunch of scam warranty companies who can't get any sales on their own, so CarShield brings them customers, like sexy demons luring unwitting victims into the clutches of a vampire.

    These well-trained sales ponies are your best friends -until they get their sale. Then they're out of the picture. Something wrong with your car? Warranty company denying your claim?

    Too bad for you!

    CarShield's already far down the road, counting their money, laughing at the sucker they left behind in the dust.

    I was one of the lucky ones. I found out real fast how much of a scam CarShield is, so I didn't have to go on for years thinking my car was protected by one of their fraudulent providers, pouring thousands of dollars into a protection plan that appears real on the surface, but doesn't actually cover a thing.

    Just look at the reputation of the scam warranty company CarShield tries to deliver you to. You'll see for yourself that this company is fronting for a bunch of thugs.

    Less than a star for this vile organization. May it rot on the outside like it rots from within.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Maybe later

    • Miami, FL,
    • Mar 23, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am being introduced to CarShield as a car warranty company, so far so good, I like what I am experiencing. My first call was promptly answered without delay, which is what I want in a company that I need assistance from in case of issues down the road.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Keep me informed

    • New Jersey,
    • Mar 19, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I learned today about benefits I did not know about until I was about to make a claim, and after I found out that I would have to go to another spot (the dealership), something I did not want to do, but I found out that I could get a 40% discount on labor with my CarShield policy. I AM LOVING IT. Thank you CarShield! Parts at market value.

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

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  • 13 out 13 people found this review helpful

    A fraud, a scam, and NOT trustworthy

    • Mar 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    They advertise peace of mind, it’s everything but that. Wife and I went in vacation to Florida from Massachusetts and purchased CarShield in advance prior to the long journey. Unfortunately, we had car issues several days after arriving and our car has been in the shop since January 30, 2019 and we owe over $1,200.00 to the repair shop and that does not include the repairs. The representative warned us about CarShield prior to starting service indicating that they will do anything and everything not to pay the claim. I showed them my contract and said, it’s clearly covered. Our vacation was ruined and we bought flights home, as of this morning there still denying the claim even though the Certified mechanic explained to the appraiser that what the computer shows does not invalidate that was the cause of the issue. CarShield reps have been blunt about there decision and have been rude, hung up not wanting to explain reasons. It’s clearly a fraud and I do not advise anyone to purchase this coverage. I truly believe a petition needs to be generated to shut this company down before others get taken advantage of and their money taken as mine was; a total scam.

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

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  • 11 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Customer service is non-existent

    • Colorado,
    • Mar 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My car went into the shop nine days ago for a "covered repair" under CarShield's policy terms. The car code was diagnosed the first day, and the repair shop called CarShield for the claim number and approval code. They sat on hold for 52 minutes and the phone was never answered - they had to return to work, so pressed the number to get a "return call."

    Day two - no return call, so another 45 minutes on hold with no answer - left another message.

    Day three - no return call, so two episodes of sitting on hold for more than 30 minutes each.

    Day three end of day - filled out Online Claim Form and submitted for an agent to call and review the claim.

    Days four through nine - no response yet. NINE DAYS my car is sitting, waiting for a repair that takes 90 minutes, all the while me having to pay for a rental car to drive to work.

    This is going to end up costing me more to file a CarShield claim than if I had just paid cash for the repair in the first place, which makes it pointless to buy one of their policies.

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

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  • 12 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Stupid

    • Simi Valley, CA,
    • Mar 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    If you have a 2007 vehicle, they don’t help you. Don’t waste your time with them. They don’t take older vehicles because they're the ones that actually will use the program. They need to state that they only help newer vehicles stupid.

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

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  • 3 out 6 people found this review helpful

    I wanted to change my card information and the lady was very polite and knowledgeable

    • Tennessee,
    • Mar 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Well, at first when I called, a man name Roger answered the phone. He was polite, he switched me to another department who can help me. I waited for like 10 minutes for help, someone picked up the phone and hung up on me. I called back and got another person on the phone. He was so polite and understanding. He switched me to another department, a lady answered the phone, I told her what happened, very polite and understanding. Also, I wanted to change my card number and date on my card so I can pay my bill and she was very patient with me and so knowledgeable. I would recommend CarShield to all my friends, if my car ever breaks down, I have peace of mind it will be fixed promptly with no problem Thank you so much for being there for me.

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

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  • 13 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Horrible

    • Manchester, NH,
    • Mar 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is a total scam. They will cheat you from day one. The excuse they gave me was that I was too new to be covered after being with them for 4 months. I was with another company before which covered most of the repairs, these cheats look for an excuse not to pay you, don't fall for there numerous TV ads and low price, you will regret it. The worst company ever.

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

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  • 16 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Been almost two weeks without my car and now riding the bus

    • Miami, FL,
    • Mar 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I bought a 2010 Mercedes C300 and thought CarShield would be the perfect fit because I know that repairs on a Mercedes can be very costly. I bought my GOLD plan in January and was very pleased with what was covered. Drove the car for about a month and went out in the morning and my car wouldn’t start. Thought the battery was dead, but it wasn’t. So I thought the battery in my key fob was dead so I replaced that. Still nothing. Called a locksmith and he came out and reprogrammed my key. Still nothing, paid for a new key that cost me $450.00 and still nothing.

    I notified CarShield on February 19th and they told me to get the car towed to repair shop. The car was towed to repair shop and was told that my ignition needed to be replaced. All paperwork and documentation were sent to CarShield and here I am still waiting for approval. Can’t get a rent a car because you have to have approval before that’s available. Now taking the bus as I sit and wait. The car broke on February 19th and today’s date is March 2nd.

    Also, heads up, they will also put incorrect information into the computer to deny your claim. They said I put the claim in on February 2nd and that was not true. After reviewing the recorded phone call, they said that February 2nd was an error. Anyway, have made the payment as scheduled to CarShield but my car isn’t repaired. Also, get this, I now had to call my mother for a loan to try to pay for my car repair.

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

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    • Mar 12, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      John-

      We are sorry you feel this way! We don't cover pre-existing issues, but we can negotiate the repair to save you money.

      If there's anything you need, please give us a call.

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  • 20 out 21 people found this review helpful

    No all coverage

    • Haverstraw, NY,
    • Mar 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    CarShield does not fix any emissions. I needed a Catalytic Converter, guess what? They don't cover it. I needed a 02 sensor, guess what? They don't cover it. I needed a new exhaust pipe, guess what? They don't cover it.

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

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    • Mar 12, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Joseph-

      Looks like you inquired about a policy, but never had one with us.

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  • 13 out 14 people found this review helpful

    Total scam

    • Greenville, NC,
    • Mar 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    CarShield is a total scam. They don't fix anything and they take to much money out of your account. Also, when they set you up for a policy, they tell you that the money is not automatically taken out of your account and it IS. I called to put in a claim and they said what I needed was not covered. DO NOT go into business with this company, they are a total scam!

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

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    • Mar 12, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Ondreya-

      We are sorry you feel this way. Can you please provide us with your contract number so we can further assist you?

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