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:
  • 272 Customer Reviews
  • 71% Recommend This Company
3.8 out of 5
5 star: 59% 4 star: 8% 3 star: 4% 2 star: 1% 1 star: 25%

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  • Do not purchase, scam, they are crooks!

    • By Gary C.,
    • Florida,
    • Jan 20, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    If I could give a rating of less than one star, I would. I would be happy if CarShield even gave me the service of one star. I took my BMW to the dealership the week of Thanksgiving 2018. CarShield gave me a claim number and only ask me to have the dealership call CarShield before any work was done. I had a water hose leak and I know it is the pulley. CarShield found a way of denying my claim. They are only out for your money. They even had the nerve of taking out my monthly payment for December 2018 and January 2018. When I called CarShield, they told me the only way that I could get a refund on my contract was only if I had canceled the policy in the first 60 days. Do not use, do not use, do not use. They only are out for your money and will find a way to deny your claim. They are crooks. THIS IS A SCAM.

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

    • Jan 22, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Gary-

      We are sorry you feel this way. 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.


  • Scammers, don't waste your time or your money!

    • By Samya A.,
    • Bridgeview, IL,
    • Jan 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I purchased a policy in October! I had car issues in January, went to a certified dealer, and I was told I would have to pay $175 just get the car diagnosed. I called CarShield only to find out that my vehicle was not covered because the sales agent who originally sold me the policy entered the VIN number wrong! They accused me of giving them the wrong VIN number. I called BS on that, asked for the recording, they declined. I spoke to Justin, a manager at CarShield, and he was unable to refund me for the three months that they were charging me for basically service I did not have! I canceled with them. I would never want to deal with sharks like that again! Stay away, people, STAY AWAY!

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

    • Jan 16, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Samya-

      We are sorry you feel this way. Looks like you did speak to one of our customer service representatives and they were able to resolve your issue.

      If there's anything you need, please give us a call.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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?


  • Updated review

    Update

    • By Vincent B.,
    • Louisiana,
    • Mar 28, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Also, they lie and say that the problem was solved and no, it never was. The thieves still have all my money. There are a lot of fake reviews here as well, so beware when dealing with this scam of a company. If you see this as a response to any of the one-star reviews:

    Vincent -

    We are sorry to hear about your experience. Looks like you spoke to one of our customer service representatives and they were able to assist you.

    If there's anything you need, please give us a call.

    It is a lie. Before you deal with this company, please read the one-star reviews, they are not lying to you, but this company is. They are nothing but a bunch of liars who only want your money. Consumer beware.

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

    • Previous review
    • Feb 19, 2019

    Stay away from this company

    This company is a complete scam. I called them up today and made a claim for my 2002 GMC Yukon SLT and I was told that they don't cover the seals or the block of the motor now. When I bought the policy and went over their contract, they said they did cover those parts. The contract is very confusing and I called the company and they reassured me that those parts would be covered. Well, after I call the claims department and getting a very rude guy on the phone, I call the account department and I explained to them that if y'all don't cover the block and seals then what am I paying y'all for? They said they could not refund me my money since it was longer than 30 days. I've been having the policy for 2 months now but they lied to me to make me stay on the policy until time ran out. All the receptionist could tell me was oh I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I told her this is a scam and you are not an honest person. I also explained to her that if I did not get it fixed, the vehicle would get worse over time and then they would not cover the policy because of negligence, but it's their fault that there is negligence in the first place. So if you're thinking about getting this policy with this company, just don't.

    (read moreread less...)

  • 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?


  • Liars!

    Overall Experience:

    My father was sold this policy and was told it covered bumper to bumper since my car was four years old. It supposedly covers drivetrain.

    My front wheel bearing is going out. I took it to a dealer who verified this and tried to file a claim. The Ford dealer is stating on a 2013 Ford Escape that the wheel bearings are part of a drivetrain. CarShield/ American Auto Shield is denying payment calling it a suspension problem. Luckily, my dad and husband will do the repair since Ford wants $500 to fix it ($42 part). I would pay the dealer had I not spent over $600 on this insurance that doesn’t pay anything.

    My father is canceling coverage on both vehicles on our policy and disputing payments made to the bank for services not delivered. A horrible company full of liars!

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

    • Mar 22, 2018

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Erin-

      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 have your father give us a call.

      Thank you again for your time.


  • 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.


  • SCAM

    • By Linda O.,
    • Massachusetts,
    • Feb 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    This program is completely a scam. The commercial makes it look easy. Guess what - IT'S NOT. Cannot get authorization because they won't answer the phone. They also say that you can file online. GUESS WHAT? The site doesn't work. Has anyone else experienced this?

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


  • SCAM

    • By Marilyn C.,
    • Rochester, NY,
    • Aug 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I purchased this contract for a 1999 Chevy Malibu. I took it in for repairs on August 1, 2019 and as of this date, I have heard nothing from your company. I called customer service and was told you are declining my repairs because of rust. Why are you selling a contract for a 20-year-old car in New York state and then denying any coverage because of rust? I have been without a car for two weeks.

    I would like a total refund for all I have paid you, plus compensation for the 2 weeks with no car.

    REPLY - too bad! This place is a scam! Covered NOTHING with my "Luxury" coverage.

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

    • Aug 20, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Marilyn,

      We do apologize you feel this way. It looks like the delay was from the repair facility not contacting us. We at CarShield have little to no control over the claims, shop process or the administrators' decision. We are, however, always willing to explain the coverage details or help you with any of your Customer Service needs.


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