CarShield Review - The Right Extended Car Warranty?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: May 3, 2019

CarShield offers extended auto warranties in most states, which they say could help protect you from expensive surprises, save you thousands in potential car repairs, and allow you to drive with peace of mind.

They also advertise they have a plan for every type of driver, whether you’re a new car owner, have an expired manufacturer’s warranty, or own a high-mileage vehicle. Furthermore, plans are customized to your needs, allowing you to select the ASE-Certified mechanic of your choice, along with easy, flexible payment terms.

Together, CarShield says they’re the USA’s #1 auto protection provider, offering the “ultimate in extended vehicle service protection” to more than 750,000 vehicles over the past 14 years, with more than $1 billion in claims paid.

But, are extended auto warranties a good idea in the first place? And will CarShield’s coverage necessarily deliver better value than the competition? We’ll help you make a more informed decision, starting with the company’s fundamentals.

How Do CarShield’s Vehicle Service Contracts Work?

While CarShield sells and services your extended auto warranty, otherwise known as a vehicle service contract (VSC), coverage is provided through their partners—or distributors—American Auto Shield and United Car Care.

Between them, CarShield offers six different coverage plans:

  • New Car Diamond – Modeled after a new car warranty from the manufacturer. Covers “everything” from transmission failure and fuel pump breakdown to starter issues.
  • Platinum – CarShield advertises this is ideal for high-mileage vehicles, since it focuses on systems and components like water and fuel pumps, electrical and air conditioning system, engine, and transmission.
  • Gold – A middle-of-the-road option that helps protect a mix of major and minor components, including power windows, engine and transmission, alternator and starter, and even your air conditioning system.
  • Silver – This is CarShield’s most affordable plan and protects essentials like lubricated engine parts, transmission, and water pump.
  • High-Tech – If you want to cover electrical and computer-related problems—e.g., engine control module, navigation, starter, alternator, etc.—this is the plan for you.
  • Specialty – Offers coverage not provided in any of the other plans, including options for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and so forth.

Pro tip: Once you narrow down your options, be sure to check individual coverages in the sample contract for the plan you’re considering, and then reach out to a representative if you have further questions.

CarShield tells us that all of their contracts include courtesy towing, and they pay claims directly to the US or Canadian ASE-Certified repair facility of your choice. Most also come with 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car coverage (or rental car reimbursement, at least), and are transferrable to a new owner if you sell your vehicle.

CarShield doesn’t provide the ability to obtain a quote on their website. Instead, you’ll enter your basic information (vehicle year, make, and model, your first/last name, phone number, email, zip code) and then click the “GET YOUR FREE QUOTE” button.

Afterward, a CarShield representative will reach out and help you personalize one of the above plans based on your vehicle and budget. Then, they’ll provide sample policies for comparison.

CarShield’s iOS and Android apps provide customers access to their contract’s details, the ability to open claims, receive roadside assistance, and reach out to customer service.

Then, once you’re ready to go, you can make a payment. But, your coverage won’t take effect immediately, which we’ll discuss next.

How Much Does CarShield Coverage Cost?

Like any other service contract, how much you pay for your CarShield coverage depends on a variety of factors, including your vehicle, its age and mileage, and the level of protection you seek, to name just a few.

CarShield quotes are free, so we reached out to their sales department about a 2010 Toyota 4Runner with 145,000 miles. Based on its mileage, the only plan we qualified for was Gold, which carried an annual price of $1,548, or $129 per month.

After balking a few times, the price eventually dropped to $99 per month, which we were told is “employee pricing.”

If you decide to purchase CarShield coverage, they can email (instant) or snail mail (up to two weeks) a copy of your contract. Just keep in mind that there’s a 20-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.

If you have questions, you can reach a representative at 800-974-9385 or customerservice@carshield.com.

Running the Numbers: Is a CarShield Vehicle Service Contract Worth It?

In Do You Need an Extended Auto Warranty, we outline that you should start by making sure you can afford one in the first place since it will increase your monthly expenses.

After all, as we can see in our CarShield quote above, a VSC might cost well over $100 per month, which can be a big shock to your budget—one that might outweigh potential benefits down the road if something on your car breaks. Let’s put this into perspective by running some quick numbers.

Car and Driver lists the Ford F-Series pickups as one of the best-selling vehicles in America last year.

Edmunds indicates that the 5-year ownership costs for a new 2019 F-150 Lariat SuperCrew are more than $64,000—only $1,000 of which relate to repairs a warranty would cover.

Because of this, it wouldn’t make much sense to get a CarShield warranty, especially considering Fords come with a three-year basic warranty and five-year power train warranty.

But, what if you drive an older model?

Edmunds lists the 5-year repair costs of the same F-150 model and trim, but a 2014 year model with 98,000 miles, at more than $3,400.

Comparatively, CarShield’s Gold contract will cost you about $1,200 per year, meaning you’ll, in lose out on $200, in theory. Based on this research, we believe that an after-market warranty like CarShield works best on older cards whose average repair costs per-year exceed the premiums you pay for your warranty. Edmunds.com’s True Cost to Own tool will help you understand the average yearly repair costs for your car.

Also, not all repairs are covered by a CarShield policy. Here are some exclusions in the Gold contract (by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Repairs performed without prior authorization from the administrator
  • Damage caused by acts of nature
  • Otherwise covered parts that did not meet the manufacturer’s specifications
  • If the vehicle is used for commercial purposes (there are some exceptions to this)
  • If the part is already covered by a manufacturer’s warranty
  • Damage resulting from overheating
  • Pre-existing conditions

Customer Reviews for CarShield

Here on HighYa, more than 200 readers have provided feedback about their experiences with CarShield, giving the VSC company an average rating of 3.8 stars.

In most of these, customers report excellent support, although common complaints reference difficult claims experiences, denied coverage, and less-than-stellar support. The company responds directly to most of these compliments and complaints.

There are also more than 100 combined reviews between iTunes and Google Play, with a similar average rating. Most of the app’s compliments relate to ease of use, with many of the same complaints found elsewhere online.

With these details in mind, the Better Business Bureau sent a Code of Advertising letter to CarShield as recently as August 2018, challenging “a false sense of urgency” created by some of their mailers.

According to Dane Janas, a former contract administrator for a regional dealership franchise in Pennsylvania, “These are generally sent out by companies trying to fool you into believing your car is no longer under warranty protection.”

CarShield also holds an F rating with the BBB as of this writing, based on more than 400 closed complaints in the last three years—the vast majority of which reference denied coverage and less-than-stellar claims experiences.

Still, CarShield comes with a much higher average reader rating and positive feedback on HighYa, and we think it’s positive that the company responds directly to complaints.

CarShield vs. Other Vehicle Service Contract Companies

According to O.J. Lopez, owner of Fluid MotorUnion in Naperville, Illinois, “third-party warranties can be a lifesaver, especially if you are buying a vehicle that had a high value when originally purchased, or was an exotic or luxury vehicle.”

Their parts and systems “will most likely break down,” he says, “and can be quite costly to repair” when they do.

And to help provide this coverage, there are currently 20+ companies offering a variety of vehicle service plans and options. Popular options include:

Company Administrator(s) Number of Plans Waiting Period Average HighYa Reader Rating
CarShield American Auto Shield, Interstate Nation Dealer, United Car Care 6 20 days 3.8 stars, 210 reviews
Endurance Auto Warranty Endurance 4 30 days and 1,000 miles 2.3 stars, 67 reviews
Toco Auto Warranty Warrantech Automotive, Inc. 4 30 days 2.4 stars, 25 reviews
CarTection American Auto Shield, Royal Administration Services 3 30–60 days 1.6 stars, 14 reviews

How to decide which option to choose?

“I always tell people to read through their warranty contract more closely than any other contract they’ll ever sign (maybe besides buying a home),” Janas says.

“They are definitely worth the money,” he says, “but not if the list of non-covered items is a figurative mile long.”

To accomplish this, O.J. Lopez strongly recommends looking for top-of-the-line warranties from the company. “If there is a Platinum or Diamond plan, that is the one to go for,” he points out. “Don’t be fooled by names like Gold, Bronze, etc. If it’s not the best warranty they sell, then it’s useless.”

Even then, make sure “items such as electronics, hoses, gaskets, and pumps are covered,” he says. “It’s also important to see if they have a cap on labor rates, since some warranties only cover up to $80 per hour, and you’ll be responsible for the difference.”

Looking at the table above, we can see that CarShield offers the most plan options, which could mean they have a better chance of meeting your coverage needs.

They also feature the shortest waiting period—something the sales representative emphasized in our phone call—along with the highest average rating on HighYa, the most reader reviews, and the only option that offers month-to-month billing.

However, if you’re looking for a direct administrator, Endurance is the only option in the list above. This means they don’t just service your policy, but also handle your claims directly.

You’ll note that both CarShield and CarTection offer plans administered by American Auto Shield, so it might be worth reaching out to both to see if pricing aligns. Although, the latter comes with a much lower average reader rating here on HighYa.

However, Endurance also makes you wait 30 days and 1,000 miles before coverage goes into effect, and they have a middle-of-the-road reader rating compared to the above competitors.

So, if you're looking for a highly-rated company with mostly positive online feedback, and who offers more plans than many other VSC companies, features one of the shortest waiting periods, and provides monthly billing, CarShield certainly seems like a solid option. But, does this necessarily mean you should sign on the dotted line?

Final Thoughts: Pros & Cons for CarShield’s Vehicle Service Contracts

Based on everything we’ve discussed, here’s an overview of the company’s pros and cons, so you can decide where you fall in the spectrum:

Pros:

  • A CarShield VSC can help provide financial assistance in the event of an unexpected auto repair, which seems to make the most financial sense for older (5+ years) vehicles.
  • Multiple plans available, depending on your vehicle’s age and mileage.
  • Contract costs are split into equal monthly payments.
  • Representatives are friendly and able to answer questions.
  • All plans include towing and are transferrable. Most feature 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car coverage.
  • Repairs performed by the ASE-certified mechanics of your choice.
  • Mostly positive feedback from HighYa readers.

Cons:

  • Based on their limited repair needs during their first five years, a CarShield VSC doesn’t seem to make financial sense for newer vehicles.
  • Contracts come with multiple exclusions.
  • 20-day waiting period before contract goes into effect.
  • Can’t receive a quote on the CarShield website. And when calling, salespeople are somewhat pushy.
  • Most common customer complaint is declined claims. Also, BBB sent CarShield (F rating) multiple letters regarding their advertising practices.

With these details in mind, whether you decide to go with CarShield or another company, be sure to go through your coverage with a fine-tooth comb before handing over any of your hard-earned money.

>> Continue reading: Extended Auto Warranty Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Company

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Read 229 CarShield Customer Reviews and Complaints

Write a Review
Average Consumer Rating: 3.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 147 4 star: 14 3 star: 9 2 star: 3 1 star:  56
Bottom Line: 73% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 229
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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 helpful

    • Indiana,
    • Jun 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Just remember, the next time your car breaks down just remember CarShield is there to help you get it back on the road, and they are a blessing to have. They explained my coverage in the terms that I can understand and what is covered and what is not so they are really good at what they do. So think real hard and look into CarShield, it's worth it. Thanks for everything that you do to ensure my coverage. Thanks again.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    1st time

    • Savannah, GA,
    • Jun 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    This was my first time using CarShield. It left a lasting impression talking with someone that sounds like they cared about my problems. Instructed me on what I needed to do. If they treat everyone this way no wonder they are the number one car warranty in the country.

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

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    • Jun 17, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Jerome!

      We are pleased to hear our team was able to answer any questions you had. Thank you again for your time.


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Autos

    • California,
    • Jun 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Thus far all is going smoothly as it’s only one day later. All my vehicles were enrolled, all questions at the time of enrollment were answered. I am learning how CarShield will help me, but, just enrolling, there’s not much, I can say. I hope all the TV hype is true and not a farce. The initial enrollment was easy. The representative was knowledgeable.

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

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    • Jun 13, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello George!

      We appreciate your support. If you have any questions don't hesitate to give us a call!


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Small review

    The customer service has been very nice so far. I have not had the policy very long. I would say at the price point to me is a little high. I'm not sure how long I would keep this coverage going due to the monthly cost. But they do cover a lot and what they cover for the price.

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

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    • Jun 13, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Kristopher!

      Thank you for the review and when your vehicle does encounter a repair, don't hesitate to give us a call!


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Check them out with BBB first!!

    • Jun 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Horrible experience. MAKE SURE THAT YOU TOTALLY UNDERSTAND your package and what it covers before purchasing! We were screwed really BAD. We had many questions for the sales rep and we understood them. But when it came time for us to make a claim...we were denied!

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

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    • Jun 13, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Vett-

      We are sorry you feel this way. Please provide us with your policy number so we can better assist you?


  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Communication needs improvement

    • Sarasota, FL,
    • Jun 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    CarShield needs better communication between client/repair shops, 30/45 minutes on hold is too long for businesses/clients to be on hold waiting to be assisted. Nothing more to be said regarding this matter...

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

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    • Jun 13, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello John!

      Thank you for your review. We apologize that your administrator is experiencing longer than normal hold times. Please contact customer service if you have any questions!


  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    THEY LIE!

    • St Louis, MO,
    • May 30, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    One of the promises they make on their commercial is that they have your back. THEY LIE! I had a radiator and water pump leak and my claim was denied because there was water in the radiator instead of Anti-Freeze. It seems instead of putting water in the radiator and driving 2 blocks to the repair shop, they expected me to drive to an auto parts store about 15 miles away, buy coolant and then drive to the repair shop as $14 worth of coolant leaks out.

    Once again their commercials say they have your back. THEY LIE! They DO NOT have your back! When I called for help they just said after the sale they have nothing to with it anymore.

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

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    • May 30, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Mike-

      We apologize you feel this way. Do you have a policy with us?


  • Excellent

    • Mississippi,
    • May 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Customer service is excellent. They make sure it fits your budget, they are knowledgeable about any questions I have, and always have someone available if they are not able to fix that problem. Thank you.

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

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    • May 21, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello Audrey!

      We appreciate your support. If you have any questions don't hesitate to give us a call!


  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Transmission on truck has no reverse. Needs to be rebuilt.

    • Hillsborough, NJ,
    • May 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I spent over $3000.00 on my warranty on my truck.

    I don’t like that your company would tell my mechanic to used aftermarket parts or to put in a kick yard transmission into my truck. That is false advertising and dishonest.

    Also to tell my mechanic can you do the repairs on the cheap side of a repair. This is fraud. No, I will not recommend this company to anyone, even an enemy.

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

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    • May 16, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      John-

      We are sorry you feel this way. We at CarShield have little to no control over the claims 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.


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Very good

    • Midlothian, VA,
    • May 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I think CarShield has a very good warranty plan for those that don't already have one or getting ready to be out of mileage for their current plan with their manufacturer. I would recommend them to a friend. Who has all of that money to put out for unexpected repairs? Not me. And not most people.

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

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    • May 15, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Vicki!

      Thank you for your review! Please contact customer service if you have any questions!


  • Knowledgeable

    • Apollo Beach, FL,
    • May 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I went with CarShield because the price was right for the coverage I chose. The coverage I have is just like a new car's coverage, bumper to bumper. If something goes wrong I know I can get it taken care of. A lot off my mind. The reps were friendly and knowledgeable.

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

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    • May 14, 2019

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello Jackie!

      We appreciate your support and review. If you have any questions don't hesitate to give us a call!


Showing 1-11 of 229

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