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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184 Consumer Reviews for CarShield

Average Consumer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 128 4 star: 10 3 star: 5 2 star: 3 1 star:  38
Bottom Line: 77% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 184
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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
  • Great insurance coverage

    • Madison, TN,
    • Jan 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have driven millions of miles. I have had several insurance companies throughout the years. CarShield is very knowledgeable and are professionals in explaining their policy. I would place this insurance company in the top four companies in the United States.

    Their coverage is what everyone needs driving the highways today.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

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

    • Bridgeview, IL,
    • Jan 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    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

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    • Jan 16, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      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.

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  • More than expected

    • Texas,
    • Jan 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    So far I have not had to file a claim, and for that I am thankful. But since day one of working with CarShield, I have encountered only courteous and professional people. Everyone seemed happy that I called and more than willing to help with any questions I had. CarShield has a very well informed and caring group of associates working for them, and I truly appreciate that very much. It's sad that every business is not like this one in working with their customers. I think this company is above the average and definitely above the norm for this day and time. Keep up the good work CarShield!

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

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    • Jan 16, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Vivian!

      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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  • Outstanding customer service

    • Honolulu, HI,
    • Jan 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have a Mercedes Benz. Pretty nice, and I have to insure it for any malfunction that comes nowadays. It's old but well maintained. A 2003 S500 model. It's like new. I hope CarShield will cover anything when it breaks down.

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

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    • Jan 16, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Felino!

      Thank you for the review! If there's anything you need, please give us a call.

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

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  • Customer service GREAT so far

    • Pensacola, FL,
    • Jan 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    They called me because payment method (card on file) had changed. I appreciated them calling me to remind me to put info from new Visa in on file. I will be using this policy next week at a nearby Toyota dealership, so hopefully, they will send me a survey then. I am anticipating that there will be no issues with CarShield and all will be smooth sailing for coverage and payment to the dealership for any required repairs. Stay tuned as I will post the results of my claim when it is complete. We will see...

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

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    • Jan 16, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Robert!

      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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  • A great customer service rep

    • Boston, MA,
    • Jan 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Wendy the Customer Service Rep that helped me was very nice, professional and showed a lot of compassion dealing with my situation of the Government shutdown. Wendy is great for your company and customers.

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

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    • Jan 16, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Brian!

      We are pleased to hear that Wendy helped resolve any questions you have had.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment.

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  • Very helpful

    • bradner44@gmail.com,
    • Jan 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I really needed to understand all the policies included. I was educated on each one and was allowed to ask as many questions as in needed. This company has awesome customer service.

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

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    • Jan 16, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Angela!

      We are pleased to hear our specialists have helped resolve any questions you have had.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    It is not a scram

    • Dixon, MO,
    • Jan 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I used CarShield for a transmission repair. They fixed it, no problem, and they rented a new car to me all the time until my car was returned. It cost me $100 because I have a $100 deductible.

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

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    • Jan 16, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Donald!

      We are happy to hear your vehicle service contract is working in your favor!

      Thanks for your review and support!

      Let us know if there's anything else we can do for you!

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    They were very nice, real test is...

    • Missoula, MT,
    • Jan 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    ...when I can be approved for future car repairs, if and when it occurred.

    I have seen so many negative reviews of CarShield, it kind of scares me a bit. I am the first to admit, and may know up front, if a vehicle's problem that is maintenance, it should not be covered under the CarShield warranty. But what gives me pause is some of the reviews talk about the person’s body shop not agreeing with CarShield’s decision to not cover a certain repair because CarShield has ruled that the repairs are maintenance related.

    I am very particular about the maintenance of my vehicle, so if something major goes wrong, and I and my body shop agree it’s not because of not maintaining my car, or a regular maintenance problem, I will be very upset. I feel I’m taking a big risk, however, I am giving the benefit of the doubt, because I need to know my car is protected for major repairs. Integrity is very important to me, and I expect CarShield will not disappoint me.

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

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    • Jan 14, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hello Shelli!

      We are pleased to hear our specialists have helped resolve any questions you have had.

      Thank you again for your time and your compliment.

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  • I never had to use the service protection for my car, but each person I spoke with was kind and understood my need.

    • Orange, NJ,
    • Jan 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I called today to cancel my policy because my lease contract had finished and I needed to buy the car and have it financed. By doing that I am covered with full warranty coverage.

    The person I spoke with was understanding and kind and treated me with dignity and respect. She was friendly, kind, and easy to talk with.

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

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    • Jan 14, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Agnes!

      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

    Extra coverage

    • Illinois,
    • Jan 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I wanted extra coverage for my vehicle, it has high mileage, so just in case of costly car repairs I'm covered with some extra protection and I highly recommend CarShield to family and friends.

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

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    • Jan 14, 2019

      Danelle Summers, Customer Service

      Hi Garvin!

      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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Showing 1-11 of 184

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