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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201 Consumer Reviews for CarShield

Average Consumer Rating: 3.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 130 4 star: 11 3 star: 7 2 star: 3 1 star:  50
Bottom Line: 73% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 201
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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
  • 17 out 18 people found this review helpful

    No help

    I brought my 2003 Chevy Trailblazer into AAMCO to get repaired due to my check engine light was on and me getting a flat in the process, and no plug could've fixed it and I had to get a new tire. However, the company checked the car and said the wire harness and another cable all that links to my transmission, which makes the car move. You would think that it's covered, but unfortunately, CarShield said they don't cover electrical parts and that they couldn't help me. None the less I still haven't received a card or booklet from them that explains the terms and what's covered.

    I spoke to a rep, and she said when I go to the shop have them call the administrator office and explain what happened to see if they can help with partial payment. They said it's not their problem, so I had to pay $350 out of pocket for a diagnostic which didn't help, and I had to buy my own tire, which was another $80. SO OVERALL, there's no courtesy for any help.

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

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    • Jul 14, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Mr. Rosario,

      We are sorry you're unsatisfied with one of our administrators. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are working with this administrator to improve processes and we will evaluate our relationship with them. It’s our top priority that our customers have a great experience from beginning to end. We apologize this administrator jeopardized that for you. We hope that you will not see this as a reflection of our company’s business practices and we will continue to support our endeavors here at CarShield.

      If there is anything we can do to better assist you, or help increase your satisfaction of our company, please reach out to our customer service team. We're on your side and always willing to help!

    • Aug 4, 2017

      Char S

      You can tell which reviews are written by the company, and which ones are written by actual customers. There are two tell-tale signs. First, any of the "raving" reviews are all written with almost the exact same verbiage in each one. They are also written with perfect spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Most people today do not write that way. Second, they are all perfect, stellar reviews. Any reviews written by actual customers have misspellings, incorrect punctuation and/or grammar.

      In addition, the ones written by actual consumers are all complaints and notes of dissatisfaction. If I'm not mistaken, it is against the law for companies to have employees write fake reviews. Perhaps this company needs to be investigated further. From what I've read, they are not a company I will be doing business with.

    • Sep 26, 2018

      Daniel G.

      This company looks like a scam for sure.

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  • 35 out 37 people found this review helpful

    Don't trust them!

    • Kansas City, MO,
    • Jul 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Well, I told my wife they were a scam, but she didn't listen. She let the sales rep convince her that everything was good. Wrong! The first time she had a problem, they said it wasn't covered. Let me explain.

    We were riding along with our family, and I noticed the vehicle temperature start to rise above normal. I always look at the gauges while I drive. We call. They tell us to take it to the shop and have them call CarShield. So we did.

    The authorized dealer saw that a nozzle that connects the water hose broke. It caused damage to the engine. CarShield said it's not covered because the hose caused the damage. Engines don't just go out! It always has to be something that goes wrong to cause a problem. They said no. So what's the point of having it? It clearly says powertrain. I don't understand. We get our oil changed regularly. We don't speed or drive crazy. This is my wife's car. She has the kids with her!

    Men, do not let them take advantage of your wife! Ladies, be careful with this company! They are very, very manipulative. Commission, commission, commission. They are trained salesmen, and they will tell you anything. We are now without a car with four kids a nine-month baby! My wife paid faithfully because she thought they were good. Don't trust them.

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

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    • Jul 19, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Aisha,

      We are very sorry to hear about the issues you've experienced trying to repair your vehicle.

      We at CarShield have little to no control over the claims process or the administrators' decision to approve or deny a claim. We are, however, always willing to explain the coverage details or help you with any of your customer service needs.

      We strive to learn from every source of input and appreciate you letting us know about your experience. However, it appears the complaints regarding the claim are aimed at the administrator and not at CarShield. Please, take a moment to re-evaluate your experience with CarShield. If you find it appropriate, please update your review to reflect the experience you've had directly with CarShield.

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

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  • 17 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Not for me.

    • Flemingsburg, KY,
    • Jul 23, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Bought a policy from CarShield after I was pressed into buying it. The policy I was told I was purchasing was not the policy I received after 5-6 failed attempts to cancel. At last, a lady got it cancel. Very high-pressure sales!

    She told me to write a letter to them to receive a total refund. 6 to 8 weeks ago, the letter was sent, and I called today and was told there would be no refund.

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

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    • Jul 24, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Scarlet,

      Thank you for taking a moment to share your experience with us. We strive to learn from every source of input and appreciate your opinion. If there is anything we can do to help you, please don't hesitate to give us a call.

      Thank you again for your time.

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  • 16 out 18 people found this review helpful

    Pushy

    • Aug 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Very pushy customer service; rude. After being given a quote, they rudely asked me to log on my computer, read the quote right there and then, and sign up. It's not fair not being given enough time before the proposed quote is taken away. They need to be more open to questions; provide info if needed by customers. They lack courtesy and respect, I'm not impressed, and not appealing to sign up with them. The customer needs to be number one.

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

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    • Aug 22, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Maria,

      Thank you for taking a moment to share your experience with us. We strive to learn from every source of input and appreciate your opinion.

      Please be assured, we do not take these matters lightly and appropriate action will be taken should we find the allegations true. Can you please provide me with your primary telephone number or Customer ID number?

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  • 26 out 27 people found this review helpful

    Car repair insurance

    • Oswego, IL,
    • Nov 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I paid for four months and when I went for the first repair, they gave all their excuses to deny my claim.

    I canceled and reported CarShield to BBB.

    Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to use caution when considering doing business with CarShield, an Auto Service Contract company. BBB has received a pattern of consumer complainants alleging, misleading sales and advertising practices, many times indicating the company led them to believe they were the manufacturer or dealer, rude customer service, failure to cover needed repairs, difficulty cancelling a policy and obtaining a refund, and that the firm made harassing calls or sent harassing mail solicitations.

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

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    • Nov 20, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Eva,

      We would like to look further into your account, What is your contract number or customer ID?

    • Nov 21, 2017

      Eva D

      105XN38757. Evaliz DAMIAN. I would like to request a refund.

    • Nov 27, 2017

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Eva-

      Please contact our customer service department and we can further assist you!

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  • 29 out 29 people found this review helpful

    The worst

    The worst experience I've ever come across. Definitely a scam, and I'm very disappointed with the company. 0% coverage after 6 months of on-time payments. Didn't help with anything while my car was in the shop and now I'm stuck with a non-working motor, plus all the fees for the teardown and labor. Very highly wouldn’t recommend this company to anyone.

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

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    • Jan 2, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Rochelle-

      We appreciate your comments. We strive to learn from every source of input available to us, to better improve our company and our customers' experience.

      Our coverage plans vary depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle. Therefore, our sales agents place you into the highest level of coverage that your vehicle qualifies for at the best rates.

      If there is anything we can do to help you, please don't hesitate to give us a call.

      Thank you again for your time.

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  • 26 out 27 people found this review helpful

    Doesn't cover anything I needed. Cancellation was the hardest part.

    • Houston, TX,
    • Jan 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    So on the phone, I bought the service contract for engine coverage, etc. I was auto-drafted $158 monthly and paid I think $172 deposit. My car Lexus LS 260L, year 2007, was probably going to need this service warranty and I figured ok, this is an extended warranty I could probably use within the year. I understand they need to make their money, so a 25-day wait period was not a problem.

    I didn't have a problem with the fact that they didn't cover the parts I needed (suspension, brake actuator, bushings, etc.). After spending a couple of thousand getting some more work done on my car, I decided to give up and buy another car.

    The problem I had was when I tried to cancel my contract. I called once, and the service guy wouldn't even let me cancel and kept repeating how great their service was. I had to hang up because I didn't have another 30 minutes to explain why I was canceling. He kept talking over me and was just rude. I get that you're trying to keep my business. I've paid several months of dues, and now I don't need it. What part could they not understand about that? In fact, I would have used their service on my next purchase, but after the crappy and condescending attitude I received, NO thank you.

    On my second call, I had the same issues. After repeatedly asking them to cancel, they wouldn't let me cancel until I threatened to report them to the BBB. They made it as hard as possible to cancel by saying I had to send in a letter with all the info they needed. I asked how it was so easy to take my payment and sign me up on the phone, but canceling was such a pain. They finally agreed to let me email my cancellation. Unfortunately, I canceled my contract the day after my credit card was drafted. Let's hope I can get a refund for that.

    I would give them a zero if I could.

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

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    • Jan 5, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Lynh-

      We do apologize in advance if you were treated in a manner less than transparent, and courteous when you called into our office. We train each of our agents to be professional, polite and honest at all times.

      Our quality assurance team has been advised to listen to the call you made to the office on 1/3/2018. We strive to learn from every source of input available to us, to better improve our company and our customers' experience. Please be assured, we do not take these matters lightly and appropriate action will be taken should we find the allegations true.

      It appears your account has been canceled and is in the process of being refunded.

      If there is anything else we can do for you, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

      Best Regards,

      CarShield

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  • 23 out 26 people found this review helpful

    Customer service

    I emailed after seeing it on TV. The customer service rep was rude and did not listen to a word that I had to say. He just tried to force the service on me. Why would I give me credit information to your company without seeing ANY written information about the service? This sounds like Donald Trump with the FAKE NEWS! I hope no one falls for the sale's pitch!

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

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    • Jan 15, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Talmadge-

      We appreciate your comments. We strive to learn from every source of input available to us, to better improve our company and our customers' experience. Our coverage plans vary depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle. Therefore, our sales agents place you into the highest level of coverage your vehicle qualifies for at the best rates.

      If there is anything we can do to help you, please don't hesitate to give us a call. Thank you again for your time.

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  • 42 out 42 people found this review helpful

    Information on warranty options

    I tried to get some information on the warranty options for two vehicles I own. One is brand new with 100 miles on it, the other has 63k and is in great shape. As I talked to the sales rep, he questioned everything I asked, especially when I told him I was just getting info on their products. When I told him that, he asked if I was looking to compare other warranty companies and I told him yes. He did not like that and told me if I looked long enough I could find a better price. I told him that I had to think about it and he asked me why, so I told him I had a wife to discuss it over with and that did not go over well with him.

    I finally hung up on him and made my decision that I would not do business with this company. Price and coverage was not the problem, he was, so they better think about who they hire to talk to customers because pissing off one can become many more by word of mouth.

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

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    • Feb 5, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Tony-

      We do apologize in advance if you were treated in a manner less than transparent and courteous when you called into our office. We train each of our agents to be professional, polite, and honest at all times.

      Our Quality Assurance Team has been advised to listen to the call you made to the office on 2/2/2018. We strive to learn from every source of input available to us, to better improve our company and our customers' experience. Please be assured, we do not take these matters lightly and appropriate action will be taken should we find the allegations true.

      It appears your account has been canceled and is in the process of being refunded.

      If there is anything else we can do for you, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

      Best Regards,

      CarShield

    • Mar 1, 2018

      Gary Balboa

      With only 42 reviews, and most being of more than satisfied, I would think CarShield may be worth looking into. My dealership told me of negative responses but I had called and sent emails to CarShield. We will see, I am registered with HighYa.com

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  • 32 out 33 people found this review helpful

    They left me hanging!

    • Paintsville, KY,
    • Mar 3, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had an engine go down in my truck. No problem I got CarShield. Wrong!

    Two years later and it's still in the shop, and I still have to make monthly payments and keep full coverage insurance on it. Now the dealership said that I owe them over $2000 to get it out. And CarShield said it's not their problem. My policy is still good until May. Does anyone know a good lawyer?

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

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    • Mar 6, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Lowell- We would like to look further into your account. What is your contract number or customer ID?

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  • 34 out 35 people found this review helpful

    After a month of saying they will cover, they would not!

    • Winchester, KY,
    • Mar 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    It has been over a month dealing with this company! They have told me numerous times if it was an internal lubricating part that caused the problem with my truck, then it is covered! Having asked several times from different reps to go over my policy, all saying it WAS covered. Another two weeks pass, and now they then want our mechanic to tear down the whole motor, taking more time and more money! They needed me to fax oil and filter receipts for the past three years, which I did, and they tell us an inspector will be looking at it. Then they tell us because it had farm tags, they would not cover! Really!

    No, I would not and will not recommend CarShield to anyone, but for sure will report them to the BBB! It’s required to give at least a one-star rating, otherwise, there would be none!

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

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    • Mar 8, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Eugene, we would like to look further into your account. What is your contract number or customer ID?

    • Mar 8, 2018

      EugenePacr

      Contract# 1021882SRB

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