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:
  • 282 Customer Reviews
  • 68% Recommend This Company
3.7 out of 5
5 star: 57% 4 star: 8% 3 star: 4% 2 star: 1% 1 star: 28%

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  • Nice customer service

    • By Rickey,
    • Virginia,
    • Jun 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I am very much impressed with the customer service they provide. I will definitely recommend this company to others, especially if they have a used luxury vehicle which can cost thousands to repair. I am fully confident in purchasing a used car, so long as I have this warranty. I cannot say enough about the quality of the customer service and ease of use.

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

    • Jul 14, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Rickey!

      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! Feedback, such as yours, helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again, for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.


  • Excellent service!

    • By Jaudon Browers,
    • Fredericktown, MO,
    • Jun 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I'm recommending this company to anyone seeking reliable, hassle free service and security in selecting a car warranty company. We have used their services for years and have been extremely pleased each time. After getting our repairs, we receive a copy of work completed, along with a total price that our warranty company pays. That's all there is to it. I love the problem-free maintenance!

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

    • Jul 14, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello Jaudon!

      We are glad 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!


  • Outstanding customer service

    Overall Experience:

    The agent that I spoke with was very helpful and courteous. She answered my questions, and she provided me with valuable information. Because of the outstanding customer service so far I am glad I chose CarShield.

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

    • Jul 14, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello DeeGee!

      Thank you for your compliment! We appreciate your support.

      Even though we are sad to see you go as a customer, we hope you do keep us in mind for the future.

      Please give us a call if we can do anything else for you.


  • Cancelation of extended warranty

    • By Miranda Edwards,
    • Harford County, Maryland,
    • Jul 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Unfortunately, I had to cancel my extended warranty due to no longer working and financially not being able to afford the monthly payments. On a good note, my representative Hannah was amazing! She was very understanding and presented me with different options and pricing to see if I could keep the warranty. Hannah definitely did an excellent job! I've worked in customer service for over 20 years, and she has GREAT customer service skills. Thank you Hannah!

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

    • Jul 14, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Miranda!

      Thank you for your compliment! We appreciate your support.

      Even though we are sad to see you go as a customer, we hope you keep us in mind for the future.

      Please give us a call if we can do anything else for you.


  • Warranty

    • By Jeff Smart,
    • New York, New York,
    • Jul 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    A great, quick service. On and off the phone in an orderly fashion and time. Reasonable rates. Very nice and helpful with getting me the service I needed. I have already recommended this service and plan on recommending it to everyone that is in need of an extended warranty.

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

    • Jul 14, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Jeff!

      Thank you for your compliment! We appreciate your support.

      Even though we are sad to see you go as a customer, we hope you keep us in mind for the future.

      Please give us a call if we can do anything else for you.


  • Highly recommended

    Overall Experience:

    So far everyone has been very helpful and professional. I would recommend CarShield to anyone looking for an extended warranty. The people at customer service have helped me with every step towards fixing my Nissan.

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

    • Jul 14, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello Linda!

      We are glad 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.


  • California

    • By Mrs R Hodge,
    • Fort Worth, Texas,
    • Jul 27, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I called to ask questions about my contract and ask what different things meant, and the customer service rep was very knowledgeable and patient with me.

    I was very pleased with my call and would definitely refer friends and family to use CarShield.

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

    • Jul 27, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Mrs. Hodge!

      We are pleased to hear that 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! Feedback, such as yours helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.


  • Coverage

    Overall Experience:

    The representative was kind and helpful. She went above and beyond to assist me in making sure my brakes were covered. Also, she gave me the telephone number that the service department needed to call.

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

    • Aug 15, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Mary Jean Morris!

      We are pleased to hear our specialists helped resolve the questions you have had. We pride ourselves in having one of the best customer service teams in the industry! Feedback, such as yours, helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.


  • Satisfied

    Overall Experience:

    I made a call to Carshield to update a payment method, this was easy, precise and without issues. The phone call was pleasant and representative knowledgeable.

    I also received a follow-up call from Customer Service asking if I needed anything else and was my previous call handled to my satisfaction. I responded, “Yes thank you.”

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

    • Aug 11, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi John!

      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! Feedback, such as yours, helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.


  • Outstanding

    Overall Experience:

    The associates I dealt with were extremely friendly and thorough. They even took the time to explain some discounts. Very pleased with every facet of the transaction. I will be passing this on to my son very soon.

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

    • Aug 11, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Armand!

      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! Feedback, such as yours, helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again, for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do


  • Great customer service

    Overall Experience:

    Great experience. Easy to use and keeps my car on the road. Whenever I contact by phone, the representative is friendly, polite, and answer all my questions. I never get off the phone feeling like I was shrugged off or not had my questions answered.

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

    • Sep 6, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Sandy!

      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! Feedback, such as yours, helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.


Showing 1-11 of 282

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