CarShield Review - The Right Extended Car Warranty?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: May 3, 2019

CarShield offers extended auto warranties in most states, which they say could help protect you from expensive surprises, save you thousands in potential car repairs, and allow you to drive with peace of mind.

They also advertise they have a plan for every type of driver, whether you’re a new car owner, have an expired manufacturer’s warranty, or own a high-mileage vehicle. Furthermore, plans are customized to your needs, allowing you to select the ASE-Certified mechanic of your choice, along with easy, flexible payment terms.

Together, CarShield says they’re the USA’s #1 auto protection provider, offering the “ultimate in extended vehicle service protection” to more than 750,000 vehicles over the past 14 years, with more than $1 billion in claims paid.

But, are extended auto warranties a good idea in the first place? And will CarShield’s coverage necessarily deliver better value than the competition? We’ll help you make a more informed decision, starting with the company’s fundamentals.

How Do CarShield’s Vehicle Service Contracts Work?

While CarShield sells and services your extended auto warranty, otherwise known as a vehicle service contract (VSC), coverage is provided through their partners—or distributors—American Auto Shield and United Car Care.

Between them, CarShield offers six different coverage plans:

  • New Car Diamond – Modeled after a new car warranty from the manufacturer. Covers “everything” from transmission failure and fuel pump breakdown to starter issues.
  • Platinum – CarShield advertises this is ideal for high-mileage vehicles, since it focuses on systems and components like water and fuel pumps, electrical and air conditioning system, engine, and transmission.
  • Gold – A middle-of-the-road option that helps protect a mix of major and minor components, including power windows, engine and transmission, alternator and starter, and even your air conditioning system.
  • Silver – This is CarShield’s most affordable plan and protects essentials like lubricated engine parts, transmission, and water pump.
  • High-Tech – If you want to cover electrical and computer-related problems—e.g., engine control module, navigation, starter, alternator, etc.—this is the plan for you.
  • Specialty – Offers coverage not provided in any of the other plans, including options for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and so forth.

Pro tip: Once you narrow down your options, be sure to check individual coverages in the sample contract for the plan you’re considering, and then reach out to a representative if you have further questions.

CarShield tells us that all of their contracts include courtesy towing, and they pay claims directly to the US or Canadian ASE-Certified repair facility of your choice. Most also come with 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car coverage (or rental car reimbursement, at least), and are transferrable to a new owner if you sell your vehicle.

CarShield doesn’t provide the ability to obtain a quote on their website. Instead, you’ll enter your basic information (vehicle year, make, and model, your first/last name, phone number, email, zip code) and then click the “GET YOUR FREE QUOTE” button.

Afterward, a CarShield representative will reach out and help you personalize one of the above plans based on your vehicle and budget. Then, they’ll provide sample policies for comparison.

CarShield’s iOS and Android apps provide customers access to their contract’s details, the ability to open claims, receive roadside assistance, and reach out to customer service.

Then, once you’re ready to go, you can make a payment. But, your coverage won’t take effect immediately, which we’ll discuss next.

How Much Does CarShield Coverage Cost?

Like any other service contract, how much you pay for your CarShield coverage depends on a variety of factors, including your vehicle, its age and mileage, and the level of protection you seek, to name just a few.

CarShield quotes are free, so we reached out to their sales department about a 2010 Toyota 4Runner with 145,000 miles. Based on its mileage, the only plan we qualified for was Gold, which carried an annual price of $1,548, or $129 per month.

After balking a few times, the price eventually dropped to $99 per month, which we were told is “employee pricing.”

If you decide to purchase CarShield coverage, they can email (instant) or snail mail (up to two weeks) a copy of your contract. Just keep in mind that there’s a 20-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.

If you have questions, you can reach a representative at 800-974-9385 or customerservice@carshield.com.

Running the Numbers: Is a CarShield Vehicle Service Contract Worth It?

In Do You Need an Extended Auto Warranty, we outline that you should start by making sure you can afford one in the first place since it will increase your monthly expenses.

After all, as we can see in our CarShield quote above, a VSC might cost well over $100 per month, which can be a big shock to your budget—one that might outweigh potential benefits down the road if something on your car breaks. Let’s put this into perspective by running some quick numbers.

Car and Driver lists the Ford F-Series pickups as one of the best-selling vehicles in America last year.

Edmunds indicates that the 5-year ownership costs for a new 2019 F-150 Lariat SuperCrew are more than $64,000—only $1,000 of which relate to repairs a warranty would cover.

Because of this, it wouldn’t make much sense to get a CarShield warranty, especially considering Fords come with a three-year basic warranty and five-year power train warranty.

But, what if you drive an older model?

Edmunds lists the 5-year repair costs of the same F-150 model and trim, but a 2014 year model with 98,000 miles, at more than $3,400.

Comparatively, CarShield’s Gold contract will cost you about $1,200 per year, meaning you’ll, in lose out on $200, in theory. Based on this research, we believe that an after-market warranty like CarShield works best on older cards whose average repair costs per-year exceed the premiums you pay for your warranty. Edmunds.com’s True Cost to Own tool will help you understand the average yearly repair costs for your car.

Also, not all repairs are covered by a CarShield policy. Here are some exclusions in the Gold contract (by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Repairs performed without prior authorization from the administrator
  • Damage caused by acts of nature
  • Otherwise covered parts that did not meet the manufacturer’s specifications
  • If the vehicle is used for commercial purposes (there are some exceptions to this)
  • If the part is already covered by a manufacturer’s warranty
  • Damage resulting from overheating
  • Pre-existing conditions

Customer Reviews for CarShield

Here on HighYa, more than 200 readers have provided feedback about their experiences with CarShield, giving the VSC company an average rating of 3.8 stars.

In most of these, customers report excellent support, although common complaints reference difficult claims experiences, denied coverage, and less-than-stellar support. The company responds directly to most of these compliments and complaints.

There are also more than 100 combined reviews between iTunes and Google Play, with a similar average rating. Most of the app’s compliments relate to ease of use, with many of the same complaints found elsewhere online.

With these details in mind, the Better Business Bureau sent a Code of Advertising letter to CarShield as recently as August 2018, challenging “a false sense of urgency” created by some of their mailers.

According to Dane Janas, a former contract administrator for a regional dealership franchise in Pennsylvania, “These are generally sent out by companies trying to fool you into believing your car is no longer under warranty protection.”

CarShield also holds an F rating with the BBB as of this writing, based on more than 400 closed complaints in the last three years—the vast majority of which reference denied coverage and less-than-stellar claims experiences.

Still, CarShield comes with a much higher average reader rating and positive feedback on HighYa, and we think it’s positive that the company responds directly to complaints.

CarShield vs. Other Vehicle Service Contract Companies

According to O.J. Lopez, owner of Fluid MotorUnion in Naperville, Illinois, “third-party warranties can be a lifesaver, especially if you are buying a vehicle that had a high value when originally purchased, or was an exotic or luxury vehicle.”

Their parts and systems “will most likely break down,” he says, “and can be quite costly to repair” when they do.

And to help provide this coverage, there are currently 20+ companies offering a variety of vehicle service plans and options. Popular options include:

Company Administrator(s) Number of Plans Waiting Period Average HighYa Reader Rating
CarShield American Auto Shield, Interstate Nation Dealer, United Car Care 6 20 days 3.8 stars, 210 reviews
Endurance Auto Warranty Endurance 4 30 days and 1,000 miles 2.3 stars, 67 reviews
Toco Auto Warranty Warrantech Automotive, Inc. 4 30 days 2.4 stars, 25 reviews
CarTection American Auto Shield, Royal Administration Services 3 30–60 days 1.6 stars, 14 reviews

How to decide which option to choose?

“I always tell people to read through their warranty contract more closely than any other contract they’ll ever sign (maybe besides buying a home),” Janas says.

“They are definitely worth the money,” he says, “but not if the list of non-covered items is a figurative mile long.”

To accomplish this, O.J. Lopez strongly recommends looking for top-of-the-line warranties from the company. “If there is a Platinum or Diamond plan, that is the one to go for,” he points out. “Don’t be fooled by names like Gold, Bronze, etc. If it’s not the best warranty they sell, then it’s useless.”

Even then, make sure “items such as electronics, hoses, gaskets, and pumps are covered,” he says. “It’s also important to see if they have a cap on labor rates, since some warranties only cover up to $80 per hour, and you’ll be responsible for the difference.”

Looking at the table above, we can see that CarShield offers the most plan options, which could mean they have a better chance of meeting your coverage needs.

They also feature the shortest waiting period—something the sales representative emphasized in our phone call—along with the highest average rating on HighYa, the most reader reviews, and the only option that offers month-to-month billing.

However, if you’re looking for a direct administrator, Endurance is the only option in the list above. This means they don’t just service your policy, but also handle your claims directly.

You’ll note that both CarShield and CarTection offer plans administered by American Auto Shield, so it might be worth reaching out to both to see if pricing aligns. Although, the latter comes with a much lower average reader rating here on HighYa.

However, Endurance also makes you wait 30 days and 1,000 miles before coverage goes into effect, and they have a middle-of-the-road reader rating compared to the above competitors.

So, if you're looking for a highly-rated company with mostly positive online feedback, and who offers more plans than many other VSC companies, features one of the shortest waiting periods, and provides monthly billing, CarShield certainly seems like a solid option. But, does this necessarily mean you should sign on the dotted line?

Final Thoughts: Pros & Cons for CarShield’s Vehicle Service Contracts

Based on everything we’ve discussed, here’s an overview of the company’s pros and cons, so you can decide where you fall in the spectrum:

Pros:

  • A CarShield VSC can help provide financial assistance in the event of an unexpected auto repair, which seems to make the most financial sense for older (5+ years) vehicles.
  • Multiple plans available, depending on your vehicle’s age and mileage.
  • Contract costs are split into equal monthly payments.
  • Representatives are friendly and able to answer questions.
  • All plans include towing and are transferrable. Most feature 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car coverage.
  • Repairs performed by the ASE-certified mechanics of your choice.
  • Mostly positive feedback from HighYa readers.

Cons:

  • Based on their limited repair needs during their first five years, a CarShield VSC doesn’t seem to make financial sense for newer vehicles.
  • Contracts come with multiple exclusions.
  • 20-day waiting period before contract goes into effect.
  • Can’t receive a quote on the CarShield website. And when calling, salespeople are somewhat pushy.
  • Most common customer complaint is declined claims. Also, BBB sent CarShield (F rating) multiple letters regarding their advertising practices.

With these details in mind, whether you decide to go with CarShield or another company, be sure to go through your coverage with a fine-tooth comb before handing over any of your hard-earned money.

>> Continue reading: Extended Auto Warranty Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Company

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Read 222 CarShield Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 3.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 144 4 star: 13 3 star: 8 2 star: 3 1 star:  54
Bottom Line: 73% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 222
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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
  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Nice customer service

    • Virginia,
    • Jun 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.


  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Excellent service!

    • Fredericktown, MO,
    • Jun 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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!


  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Outstanding customer service

    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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.

    • Aug 21, 2017

      Maria

      The customer service person who introduced me to the quote was very pushy. They were pressuring me to read the entire policy while we were on the phone and sign by the end of the phone call. This is not acceptable. It doesn't seem very trusting and I get more skeptical as a customer. It doesn't seem fair that I'm not being offered more time before you take away the quoted offer.

    • Aug 22, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Maria!

      We would like to look into the call that was placed to CarShield. Can you please provide us with the customer ID number that is on the notice you received, or primary telephone number?

    • Aug 24, 2017

      Maria

      Hi Danielle, the customer ID number was 0000229688. I would like to be assigned to a better customer service representative with a different personality and with better attitude if I were to call or be called again. Thank you.

    • Aug 28, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Maria!

      No problem. If you find it appropriate, would you mind re-evaluating your review?


  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Cancelation of extended warranty

    • Harford County, Maryland,
    • Jul 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.

    • Jul 18, 2017

      Miranda Edwards

      You are very welcome, it was my pleasure to write a review. It was nothing but the truth. Everyone I spoke to from the moment I signed up was very kind and understanding. I will definitely keep you guys in mind and will definitely recommend you guys! Thank you!


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Warranty

    • New York, New York,
    • Jul 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.

    • Aug 14, 2017

      Linda Thompson

      No, exactly the opposite. They paid for an air conditioning compressor and transmission repair and it cost over $2600. I'm very happy with my policy.


  • 2 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Highly recommended

    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

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    Comments (4)
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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.

    • Aug 9, 2017

      Vickie Mobley

      It's a rip-off, they don't pay for anything. Save your money so when something goes right you have the money to fix it.

    • Aug 14, 2017

      Linda Thompson

      No, exactly the opposite. They paid for an air conditioning compressor and transmission work and it cost over $2600. I'm very happy with my policy.

    • Aug 15, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Vickie,

      Thanks for bringing your concerns to our attention. We are sorry to hear you feel this way. Please contact our customer service department Monday through Friday, from 7 am- 6 pm CST. We'd be more than happy to assist you.

      Thank you


  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    California

    • Fort Worth, Texas,
    • Jul 27, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

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    • Jul 27, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.


  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Coverage

    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

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    • Aug 15, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.


  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Satisfied

    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

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    • Aug 11, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.


  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Outstanding

    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

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    • Aug 11, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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


  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Great customer service

    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

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    • Sep 6, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.


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