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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71 Consumer Reviews for CarShield

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 50 4 star: 3 3 star: 1 2 star: 1 1 star:  16
Bottom Line: 75% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 71
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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.
  • I was treated with so much respect!

    • Texas,
    • May 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I really just needed to talk to a representative that could work with me and my financial needs! She was very professional and cared about my needs!

    Thank you, CarShield!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Biggest regret

    • New York City, NY,
    • May 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I first signed up with CarShield, I informed them about the reviews I read, but silly me, I still tried giving them a chance.

    I explained to CarShield my mileage on my car wasn’t in mileage, and it was in KM, and I only went by the estimated mileage on my dashboard from my oil change. I also told the customer service representative that I was not 100% sure what the mileage was when I signed up. I never received a contract in the mail and called several times if they can they email me a copy and I never received it. I had to call twice this week after a month when I finally received the contract through email.

    I went to my mom's house and my car wouldn’t turn over. I called them and they told me to call roadside assistance and so I did. I gave them my contract number and they couldn’t find my contract and told me I would have to pay and get reimbursed. I said no and called CarShield again. This was Tuesday, and I didn’t get assistance until yesterday (Thursday).

    My car ended up at Pep Boys. They said there’s a knocking and before I made them go any further, I told them to call CarShield and tell them what the issue was. They thought my car was in mileage and told me it was 187,000+. I told them my car isn’t in mileage but in KM. They estimate the mileage to be less than the 117,+ what originally was on my dashboard.

    Because the mileage on my car was calculated wrong from the previous mechanic, CarShield doesn’t want to honor the contract anymore. And believe me, I wasn’t surprised because I read all the reviews but I wanted to give them a chance, and I wanted to be the 1% that gives them a positive review. But unfortunately, what they did was prove everything that was written on every negative review to be right.

    Let’s also add that they really have poor customer service when signing up, but once there’s an issue and they have to pay, you get the nastiest attitude. The last customer service argued for over 10 minutes after I asked to speak to a supervisor because they wanted me to send and mail in a cancellation letter for me to get a refund because it's over 30 days. She stated that was in the contract, which I didn’t receive until Tuesday of this week.

    When she FINALLY gave me the supervisor he was nice enough to give me the email address after I explained the above. But I would suggest not to sign up with CarShield because they would find ways on not paying for the car to be fixed. Save your money and don’t waste your time because it’s a headache to get your money back and right at this moment I have to pay Pep Boys out of pocket, and I won’t be seeing my money anytime soon.

    CarShield, please don’t even respond to this comment, because I will not be contacting you guys again and I really don’t have any interest in what you guys have to say unless you guys are actually going to honor your contract, but because I know better, that’s just not going to happen. I think everyone here should file a class action lawsuit against CarShield for breach of contract and false advertisement.

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

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    • May 24, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Nordia-

      We apoligize this repair happened during your grace period. If you would like to call our customer service team, we would be more than happy to go over more details with you.

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Very pushy

    • New Hampshire,
    • May 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    After seeing an ad on TV, I filled out the info and they called me back. After info verifying me, they passed me on to someone else. Very fake conversation. He explained the coverage and cost. Then he started...let's go ahead and get your credit card and get you covered. I explained up front I wasn't purchasing anything today without talking to my husband. He tried to make me feel guilty and attempted to get my credit card two more times. I finally, nicely, told him off. That he was very pushy and I would express this in all the reviews.

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

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    • May 24, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Janice-

      Our records indicate you haven't called in and spoken with us. Please provide us with your contact number or primary telephone number so we can further assist you.

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  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Awesome service

    • Milford, ME,
    • May 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Very good communication and representatives are very knowledgeable. I highly recommend CarShield to everyone I know and everyone else I don’t know. Thank you all for answering all my questions and being very knowledgeable.

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

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    • May 14, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Tammy!

      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 2 people found this review helpful

    You just cannot beat that!

    I have not had an auto since 2006. I got an auto loan through my credit union and got a 2013 Dodge journey on May 7th. I did not get an extended warranty through the dealer, so I saw this commercial on TV last week and decided to check out CarShield. Thanks! What a relief to know if I should need repairs for my SUV that'll be covered by my contact. Even if I have to come up with half the expenses, it's better than the alternative.

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

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    • May 14, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Antoinette!

      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 2 people found this review helpful

    Great customer service

    CarShield has great customer service. Our contract covers a lot, thank goodness. I wish I could do more online but having live, friendly representatives does help. If it had more of an online presence, I would rate five stars, but still I recommend it.

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

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    • May 14, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Stacey!

      Thanks 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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  • Awesome customer service!

    CarShield is awesome! They make my life so much easier and so less stressful. And for the price, you just can't beat CarShield!

    My only regret is that I failed to call a CarShield representative to enroll sooner!

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

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    • May 9, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Adam!

      Thank You for your comment, and Welcome to CarShield!

      Thanks for joining 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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  • Very easy to deal with by phone.

    This product sounds like a good item to have. The representative was patient, easy to understand, explained everything. I printed out the information sent to my email address and it was a lot to read.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Reliable

    I have had to call CarShield twice and I was very pleased each time. They are very professional and timely. I was informed what time someone would arrive, and they arrived within that time frame. Once they arrived, it was no time before my car was started! It feels good knowing you have someone to call when you have car trouble.

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

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    • May 7, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Joyce!

      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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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Buying a new warranty for my truck

    Very helpful. I just have to wait until I take my vehicle to the repair shop.

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

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    • May 1, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Shakiba!

      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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  • My experience

    • Mohave Valley, AZ,
    • Apr 28, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My experience with CarShield was great. My salesman Casey was very pleasant to speak with. He was very helpful with the contract. We're on a fixed (really fixed) income, and he helped us so we could actually get our vehicle covered. Now we don't have to worry if our vehicle brakes down, CarShield is with us. I will recommend them to everyone I know. All the people I spoke with were very friendly and very helpful. I just got the contract and will give another review if and when I have to use them the first time.

    Thanks CarShield.

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

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    • Apr 30, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Paulette!

      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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Showing 1-11 of 71

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