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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93 Consumer Reviews for CarShield

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 66 4 star: 3 3 star: 2 2 star: 1 1 star:  21
Bottom Line: 74% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 93
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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
  • Very satisfied

    • Gaylesville, AL,
    • Jul 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Very professional and helpful. Done exactly what I needed to be done. It's very affordable and nice to have a "peace of mind". If I'm going to my surgeon in Birmingham and the car stalls, even though we keep PM it serviced, this warranty will pick up the towing bill and the cost of renting a car until it's fixed.

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

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  • Thanks CarShield

    • Newport News, VA,
    • Jul 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The best thing I like is that you can save a lot. My BMW X5. I'm just waiting for my SUV get out of the shop so my family can go to work and take family trips. Carshield will help with low payments a month that you can afford. You can call them and know what's going with your car. You send your the car any dealership of your choice. Carshield hasn't let me down.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Based on the info provided, I should be throughly satisfied.

    • Highlandville, MO,
    • Jul 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Good experience and the salesman seemed to be quite knowledgeable and helpful. Everything was in my inbox on my email as promised. The research I've done regarding the company seemed to be just what I'm looking for.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Awesome service

    • Cody, WY,
    • Jul 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Their customer service si awesome. The young lady in Customer Service was very nice and understanding of having to cancel my contact with CarShield. Yes, I would recommend them to friends and family.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Best customer service

    • Austin, TX,
    • Jul 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have not yet tried to use my coverage, but the few times I have called to get information on my account the reps are always very knowledgeable and take the time to understand all your questions.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    So far so good.

    • Florida,
    • Jul 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    So far so good. Even better than I expected. In the event I ever have to make a claim, I hope this experience carries over. Great customer service, great plan for your vehicle. Much better than the plan I had with TOCO.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Horrible, terrible service

    • USA,
    • Jul 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    CarShield has left my child's car at the repair shop (ASE Certified) for nine weeks and refuses to repair it as per the mechanic's recommendation! She has had to borrow a vehicle because CarShield won't cover a rental while they screw around making excuse after excuse!

    They don't even deserve one star! RIP OFF, and I wish the contract could be canceled.

    STAY AWAY!

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

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  • Best darn customer service!

    • Michigan,
    • Jul 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had the best time on the phone with CarShield. Went over and beyond what I was getting or expected! Kim had the greatest customer service skills ever! I am very impressed with this company.

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

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  • Excellent customer service

    • Stuart, FL,
    • Jul 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The agent was VERY efficient, personable, courteous and knowledgeable. The agent is definitely an asset to the company, who was able to answer all questions quickly and accurately.

    I highly recommend this company. It is definitely based on customer service satisfaction.

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

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  • Thank God for CarShield

    • Silver Springs Shores, FL,
    • Jul 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am very happy that there is a company like CarShield available for business because it brings a peace of mind not to have to worry about where I will get the money to fix my engine or transmission should either one of them fail, and just a $100.00 deductible is very very nice. God bless CarShield and all they do to help people obtain the peace of mind they disserve. Thank you again.

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

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    • Jul 11, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Annmarie!

      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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  • Excellent customer service skills

    • Jul 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    She was great about customer satisfaction and she fulfilled all the needs that I asked, and she responded quickly and took care of all the questions and answers. I appreciate being with CarShield, and I hope I can recommend many more to this company. Thank you.

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

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    • Jul 10, 2018

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Linda!

      We are pleased to hear our specialists have helped resolve any questions you have had. We pride ourselves in having one of the best customer service teams in the industry! Feedback, such as yours, helps remind us that the customer comes first.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment. Let us know if there is anything else we can do.

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