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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160 Consumer Reviews for CarShield

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 109 4 star: 10 3 star: 4 2 star: 3 1 star:  34
Bottom Line: 76% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 160
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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
  • Excellent service

    • Charlotte, NC,
    • Nov 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I spoke with Derrick this morning to start my relationship with CarShield. Derrick was very friendly, knowledgeable, and caring. Derrick was able to ensure me that my LED Tail lights would be covered under my policy, which they are manufacturer lights, which was a huge concern of mine. I do look forward to establishing my relationship with CarShield. Like the commercial says "I'm on my way to a great preventive coverage with Car Shield."

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

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    • Nov 19, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Anna!

      Thank you for reviewing CarShield. Even though we are sorry to see you go as a customer, we hope you do keep us in mind for the future. If there is anything more we can do for you, please give us a call.

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Outsourcing

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Nov 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I don't like the outsourcing for the parts. All that does is hold the work up from getting done. I wish the company would change their policy. My car was in the shop for two days longer than it should have been!

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

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    • Nov 16, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Kenneth-

      Thank you for your review. Please contact customer service for any questions or concerns you may have!

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  • Pretty good

    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Nov 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    They were helping me and explained very good and nice how they can help me as the insurance company. And then tell me if I have any trouble, just call them, they will help me wherever I need. Also, if something happens on the road, they can help me too, and I can take the car to the dealer or to any other mechanic.

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

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    • Nov 16, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Gildardo!

      Welcome to CarShield and Thank You for taking a moment to review CarShield. Please contact customer service if you have any questions or concerns.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great

    • Puyallup, WA,
    • Nov 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    CarShield is the best and very honest. I would pass CarShield on to others. If it wasn't for their services, I wouldn't have my car to drive again. Thank you CarShield for your back up.

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

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    • Nov 12, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Theresa!

      Thank you for the review and we look forward to continuing our business with you! If there's anything you need, please give us a call.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    So far great service

    • Canton, GA,
    • Nov 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    They have always been very helpful. I feel that everyone should get an extended warranty after theirs have run out. You never know when you will break down. I live alone and I have peace of mind that I will be taken care of in the event that something happens.

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

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    • Nov 12, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Ann!

      Thank you for taking a moment to review CarShield. We look forward to working with you in the future. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Bought plan

    • Stanley, NC,
    • Nov 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Very excited about this plan. Mr. Ridge Grossman helped me this morning - so nice, polite, and patient. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a great warranty for their vehicle.

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

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    • Nov 12, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Cynthia!

      Thanks for joining our community of consumers who understand the importance of protecting their budgets and their vehicles an extended service contract. If there's anything you need, please give us a call. We're here to work for you!

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  • 14 out 14 people found this review helpful

    Transmission not paid

    • Georgia,
    • Nov 8, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Warning about the small print - in order to get your claim paid, you must have 3 to 18 months of repair receipts and repairs (I needed 18). AAMCO transmission reported my transmission needed to be replaced and said there was a crack. Autoshield aka CarShield wanted to inspect, therefore I had to approve my transmission be removed and opened, taken apart. Me thinking my claim will be approved, which it was not because they said the crack came from an accident, likely I hit a rock. So my claim was denied, and my contact states in Section F4 that I had to pay for the restoration of the transmission $1100. So be warned - they will not pay like the commercial states. Save your money, read Section F closely.

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

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    • Nov 9, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Sherdina-

      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. 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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  • 10 out 11 people found this review helpful

    They don't cover anything, it's scam!

    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Nov 8, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I purchased warranty right after I bought the car. After I dropped the car to the dealer to fix some small problems, they say they can't cover it. People, it's a scam! SCAM.

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

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    • Nov 9, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Oleg-

      We are sorry you feel this way. 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. 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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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Ok for the most part

    • Georgia,
    • Nov 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    So, I had transmission trouble with my truck and although the contact stated that I was covered for a rental car up to 4 days, the representative told me that as long as my car was being worked on the coverage could be and was extended. I kept the rental for 11 days up until I was able to get my car from the shop. They finished my truck on a Friday evening, in which I was working...that was a total of 9 days they kept my truck after the rental approval. The shop wasn't open on the weekend, and I worked, so I couldn't get my truck until Monday morning, so that's a total of 11 days. I was only expecting to be compensated for 9 days because CarShield has no say in that, but I was only compensated for 7 days and that put me in a really bad bind as far as my financial situation goes, and then the refund still hasn't made it to me because they only issue checks in the mail, and they can't even track it to have a general delivery date...

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

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    • Nov 8, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Edward!

      Thank you for reviewing CarShield. Even though we are sorry to see you go as a customer, we hope you do keep us in mind for the future. If there is anything more we can do for you, please give us a call.

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Yeah, they're pushy

    • Texas,
    • Nov 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've got a small sports car that I'd like to keep around for a while, and sometimes sports cars have breakdowns. It happens. I have been on the fence about some kind of "warranty" for a while, and I finally called CarShield. I disclosed every possible detail about the car to the salesperson, so if they ever try to decline a claim that should be covered, I'll have their butt in court fast enough to make their head spin because I did ask very specific questions and demanded specific answers. The rep I spoke with was incredibly pushy, to the point I literally laughed at him. I used to work in sales and I know all the tactics, and he was clearly selling me on a method. He kept brushing aside my questions and asking for my debit card number until I finally told him that if I wasn't going to get my questions answered before I was asked to pay again, I was just going to move along. I wasn't mad, it's sales, and I could have just as easily hung up. We'll see how they do if the car ever needs a covered repair. Here's to hoping I wasn't completely fleeced.

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

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    • Nov 7, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Jeff,

      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. We look forward to working with you in the future. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    My experience and expectations

    • Virginia,
    • Nov 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My expectations and my experience were blasted when I had to take my truck in for fuel system repair, my mechanic called and said your whole fuel system is covered except one fuel line and the repair cost would be $1000.00, I was floored. I had two vehicles covered, costing me close to $300.00 a month and now I was going to have to pay $1000.00 for repairs. Yep, I was furious. I have removed coverage on one vehicle and will see on the truck on its next repair if they will cover it. If not, I will cancel my coverage. But I'm willing to give one more chance. They assured me I had great coverage, well, I will say they have average coverage, we all know insurance companies find loopholes so they don't have to pay. What a shame. I guess I have to check the "yes recommend," but have reservations.

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

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    • Nov 6, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Audrey-

      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. 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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Showing 1-11 of 160

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