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:
  • 282 Customer Reviews
  • 68% Recommend This Company
3.7 out of 5
5 star: 57% 4 star: 8% 3 star: 4% 2 star: 1% 1 star: 28%

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  • "Car Shield" they are not!

    • By C.C. D.,
    • Stiockbridge, GA,
    • Oct 8, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: Less than 3 months
    Overall Experience:

    I had a leak from the crankshaft (Powertrain) and the claim was denied because the leak was not a drip. They will lie without hesitation. They are not a "Car Shield", they "Shield the Company" from paying claims.

    Pros and Cons:

    • The Diamond package, supposed to be the best
    • Claims department
    • No communication with the customer
    • Hard to make contact

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

    • Oct 8, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi C.C. Can you please provide your contract number so we can look into this?


  • Lies, deceits, disrespectful, and contract regrets (still waiting)

    • By James F.,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Sep 29, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    CarShield was my choice of signing for my extended warranty company from the believable TV commercials until you need to use it. There are untold fees, lots of runarounds, lack of communication from CarShield adjusters. My car has been in the shop for over 4 weeks waiting for approval from CarShield adjusters. They will call you as if you're calling them for answers. I had one adjuster call me with a very bad attitude as if I did him wrong by wanting my vehicle repaired. He cursed at me with an upsetting voice tone. He told me not to call anymore about my car and its issues, they will tell me when he finds out "what the hell is wrong with my car!" I am trying to calm his voice down because a 7-year-old student can hear him and his angry words. I am telling him kids can hear him because the phone was on speaker while I continue class. He had me on a conference call with the auto shop while aggressively speaking to me and not telling me it's a conference call. The service writer heard him cursing and disrespecting me and disconnected himself from the call. The adjuster hung up on me after telling me not to call CarShield records.

    I waited a day, hoping he would be calm with a better attitude and able to converse with me. I spoke to a different person who made me feel a little better and she apologized for my experience. Not her fault. I was told my car was approved by CarShield on Thursday to be told it was not by the ASE approved company on Friday, 9/25/2020. I am yet to get a communication from my warranty company. I feel disrespected, hurt, lied to, totally embarrassed in front of children and the third-party service writer. Basically, I hurt and got friends and family to sign up with CarShield out of faith and thought it was a great buy from the salesman. Yes, I feel used and angry. Very mad. I hope to hear from some adjuster soon. I need my car.

    Pros and Cons:

    • Sale pitches are awesome (be aware and careful)
    • Lack of communication and keeping the contract holders updated
    • The extra fees, runarounds, communication, not on the same page, making contract holders feel like liars
    • Being told a lie and without a car for a month
    • The sale lies they are to use to sound amazing to get a new contract
    • Using believable vocabulary and sentences to gain your trust

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

    • Sep 29, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      James, We'd like to look further into this. Please provide your contract number so we can access your account and listen to the call. This would be highly unusual for any of the adjusters to speak to our customers like this and we would like to verify this. We are sorry if this did happen. Looking over your claim notes, the repair facility needs your authorization to do a tear down to determine the cause of failure. Please note, we would pay for this only if it is an approved claim. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We're happy to help however we can.


  • Worst warranty company I have ever had

    • By Sara G.,
    • Florida,
    • Sep 14, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    CarShield is the worst company ever. I have been with this for 6 months, costs me $115 monthly. My car needed an engine, they gave me the runaround for 2 weeks, telling me all types of lies. It’s always a different story with them. They do not answer emails from the car shop. You can’t talk with a manager or supervisor. I advise you if you are looking for a warranty, do not get CarShield, this company is garbage!

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • Customer service is garbage
    • They are the worst warranty company out here
    • They all tell lies
    • Waste of my money

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

    • Sep 15, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Sara. There does appear to be quiet a bit of back and forth between you, the repair facility, and American Auto Shield. My best guess is a lack of communication as to why this went on for so long. A tear-down of the vehicle was needed in order to find the cause of failure and it appears the repair facility may not have told you a deposit was needed prior to them starting that. That held us up quite a bit. Your claim is still pending as I see you have decided to take your vehicle to a different repair shop. Please have the new repair facility contact us when they get a chance and we will be more than happy to work with them and get your car fixed.


  • They canceled me when I got only 8 payments to pay

    • By Virgilio C.,
    • Waldwick, NJ,
    • Aug 31, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    In this time of pandemic, after paying 18 monthly payments and being late for 1 month, they immediately canceled my 2 accounts. When I tried reinstating them after 8 days when they canceled my 2 accounts, they said they can’t do anything and reinstate me because I was 1 month late in my payments. They said I have to start all over again and reapply. After I paid 18 months and I only have 8 more payments left, they said it’s their policy not to reinstate my 2 accounts, for which I paid already a total of $5400. They are ruthless and I know why they canceled me, because they can make more money if I reinstate the 2 insurances that I have. I haven’t even used the insurances on both vans, not once, for the last 18 months they were automatically deducted from my credit card so I was never late on my payments until this hardship from this pandemic. They are heartless and I think this might as well get canceled because if ever when it’s time I need to use the insurance, they will probably say it’s not covered. Beware of companies like this who have no empathy for their customers and they will easily deny coverage, just as easy canceling them.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • No sympathy for people who are in hardship and when late on month payment, they immediately cancel you

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

    • Sep 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Virgil,

      We are happy to help out as best we can and we understand the hardships many people are going through during this pandemic. Your account was canceled because you requested that we cancel it. Since it was processed as a cancellation we cannot reinstate the account.


  • CarShield people are thieves

    • By Bobette L.,
    • Hollywood, FL,
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    Do not do business with these thieves! They do not like covering repairs and if they decide to do so, it takes forever. It is the hardest thing to cancel a policy with these people. They are scam artists.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • They do not cover repairs
    • They are hard to get on the phone unless you say you are making a payment
    • Customer service is rude

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

    • Sep 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Bobette,

      Sorry you feel this way. We have millions of customers who have saved over $1 billion on repairs! Most of our customers are quite happy with our service and we're sorry we did not meet your expectations. I see that the repairs you needed were not listed for coverage as outlined on your contract which is why we could not help. We are sorry about the longer than normal claims process. The company that handles the claims has seen an influx of claims being processed due to the pandemic and are working hard to get everyone processed as quickly as they can.


  • Useless

    • By Felix C.,
    • Adirondack, NY,
    • Aug 24, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 1–2 years
    Overall Experience:

    This company is useless. They take your money and never pay out a claim. They just jerk you and the dealer around. Had three claims in; one barely was paid with a fight, and the other two zilch, even though the parts were covered in my contract. I recommended this company to 10 friends and I looked like an idiot every time I submitted a claim, my friends stated seriously. The parts covered aren't covered if another uncovered part caused the damage, so they state. You're better off just paying the repairs with a credit card and paying slowly, it's the same payments but more peace of mind because at least you know your car is being repaired for sure and there are no double payments. This contract is getting canceled.

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

    • Sep 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Felix,

      Sorry we couldn't help you out enough on your repairs. We have helped millions of customers save over $1 billion on repairs and sorry we did not meet your expectations.


  • Still waiting on reimbursement

    • By Victor B.,
    • Miami Gardens, FL,
    • Aug 23, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: Less than 3 months
    Overall Experience:

    Took the car in for a simple thermometer swap and end up waiting over a week. I had to end paying out of pocket for a car rental and work on the car. I only hope that I might get some type of reimbursement. Bad experience?

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

    • Sep 1, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Victor,

      If I have the correct account up, I am not showing a claim was submitted so we did not get the opportunity to help with this repair. If you could please provide your contract number I can confirm that I am looking at the correct account.


  • Not happy

    • By Vic H.,
    • Charleston, SC,
    • Aug 14, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    Have had a CarShield agreement for 9 months. First time I go to use it the dealership can't get through to CarShield for authorization for hours on end. Then when an additional issue is found they denied the claim since my vehicle wasn't towed into the shop. I thought being proactive and taking it in before the issue was serious was the proper thing to do. I'm trying to reach customer service to discuss the issue but was told wait times were in excess of an hour to speak with someone.

    My dealership said CarShield was the worst of the extended warranty companies about getting approvals for service. Wish I had known that in October when I signed up for the service.

    Pros and Cons:

    • Simple to sign up
    • Claims approval
    • Customer service
    • Phone system

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

    • Aug 14, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Vic,

      We are sorry to hear about the hold times, however, those are with the company that handles claims, not us at CarShield. Either way, it looks like your claim is being approved for $2538. Again, we apologize about hold times reaching claims but assure you, you're in good hands. We have paid out over $1.3 million for the month of July on covered repairs to customers just like you!


  • Not worth the time or money!

    • By Ca R.,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Jul 30, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 3–6 months
    Overall Experience:

    First claim with CarShield. CarShield wouldn’t answer the phone. Left several messages and never received a call back. This is a money pit, I am not going to continue with this place and will inform everyone I know not to deal with this place. They are not responding to customers and only collect money as a revenue source. I think I will file a class action in response to their insidious business practice. I will not be doing business with these people again...I have learned a lesson with this company.

    Pros and Cons:

    • No “pros” were specified in this review
    • Customer service
    • Lack of contact with their customer
    • Lack of feedback

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

    • Aug 3, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hello,

      We're sorry you're having trouble reaching us. We are open Mon- Fri 7am-8pm CST and Sat 8am-3pm CST. Typically, we do not have long wait times. If you're trying to reach the administrator of your account, they are a different company. A storm took our their phone lines for a week and they are working extremely hard to get caught up.


  • I have to do most of the leg work, why do I have to do this?

    • By Richard A.,
    • Delaware,
    • Jul 24, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 3–6 months
    Overall Experience:

    They know how to take my money, but I have to do most of the leg work. That's what I pay them for. I myself stay on the phone, waiting to talk to someone. Then they tell me to do something else. The repair facility is going through the same thing I am. Can never get in touch with anyone. I pay the monthly premium, I've been waiting almost a month to no avail. My car still has not been repaired.

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

    • Jul 27, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi Richard,

      We're sorry to hear this and this is not typical of our service. The phone lines for the company that handles claims has been down but has since been resolved. They are working tirelessly to contact everyone who reached out and apologize for the delay.


  • Still waiting

    • By John M.,
    • Charleston, SC,
    • Jul 8, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer
    • Length of Use: 6–12 months
    Overall Experience:

    I put the claim in ten days ago and am still driving a rental car. We (me and my repair shop) have done everything they asked and still no response. You call and every day no matter what time of day they are experiencing higher than normal call volume. I suggest they add a few employees!

    So much for listening to Glen Beck!

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

    • Jul 9, 2020

      Company Response from CarShield, LLC

      Hi John,

      We're sorry to hear about the delay in hold times and with the claim. The claim is moving along as fast as possible. We have had to wait to receive some documents to review and now are in the process of having an inspection done. We hope to have you back on the road soon.


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