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:
  • 280 Customer Reviews
  • 69% Recommend This Company
3.7 out of 5
5 star: 58% 4 star: 8% 3 star: 4% 2 star: 1% 1 star: 27%

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  • No help

    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Jul 14, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      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!


  • Don't trust them!

    • By Aisha T.,
    • Kansas City, MO,
    • Jul 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Jul 19, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      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.


  • Not for me.

    • By Scarlet Moran,
    • Flemingsburg, KY,
    • Jul 23, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Jul 24, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      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.


  • Pushy

    • By Maria,
    • Aug 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Aug 22, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      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?


  • Car repair insurance

    • By Eva D,
    • Oswego, IL,
    • Nov 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Nov 20, 2017

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Eva,

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


  • The worst

    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Jan 2, 2018

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      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.


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

    • By Lynh Phan,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Jan 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Jan 5, 2018

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      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


  • Customer service

    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Jan 15, 2018

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      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.


  • Information on warranty options

    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Feb 5, 2018

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      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


  • They left me hanging!

    • By Lowell Bush,
    • Paintsville, KY,
    • Mar 3, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Mar 6, 2018

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

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


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

    • By EugenePacr,
    • Winchester, KY,
    • Mar 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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

    • Mar 8, 2018

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

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


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