CarShield Review: Is It the Best Car Warranty for You?
Updated: July 24, 2023
CarShield is an independent company based in St. Peters, Missouri, that has been providing extended car warranties for new and used cars since 2005. The company offers their services to other types of vehicles and does so with flexible feature sets meant to fit your unique needs. Plans from CarShield can be very cost-effective and come with minimal to no deductibles.
Continue reading to discover further details about CarShield and its auto warranty protection services.
CarShield provides extended auto warranties, which they refer to as vehicle service contracts (VSCs), and they offer a number of different packages with various levels of coverage. To do that, they act as brokers on your behalf with big, well-respected third-party VSC administrators, like American Auto Shield, that handle contracts and repair services. With that in mind, they are regarded as one of the top and most well-known providers on the market today, giving customers who want an extended warranty for their vehicle complete protection and peace of mind. Anyone seeking an extended warranty for their car, truck, SUV, or any other type of vehicle will likely consider them as an option.
Most plans are very budget-friendly and accept higher mileage than many other providers. Their plans offer different levels of protection for many vehicle types and needs, and they have specialized coverage for vehicles such as electric cars, ATVs, RVs, and motorcycles. All service packages can be taken month-to-month or for a certain contract period and billed monthly on a flexible schedule to fit every need and budget.
The company also offers multiple extra benefits, including but not limited to 24/7 roadside assistance, towing services, and rental cars. Having said that, you might ask: Is it really legit?
Is CarShield a scam?
It's fair to ask if a company offering warranty services can be trusted, especially if a similar company has burned you in the past. Rest assured, Carshield, one of the top car warranty companies, is a reputable provider that has been in business for over 17 years and has been sponsored by many large companies. What's more, they are one of the best-known brands in their field and have been featured on ESPN, HGTV, CNN, TBS, ABC, and many other platforms. Numerous major corporations, such as the NHLPA and MLB Players Association, have endorsed them. All of this attests to their authenticity as a company.
In fact, they have a webpage on their site devoted to showing customers evidence of the claims they have paid over the years, complete with vehicle and repair specifics as well as cost savings. Based on their provided evidence, they have already paid out more than $1 billion in claims. They also have a great track record of responding when customers have issues with their coverage and are more often than not able to come to a satisfactory resolution.
So, if you want a dependable, trustworthy, and well-known auto warranty company, CarShield should perhaps be at the top of your list. If you want to learn more about CarShield's background and reputation, be sure to read our blog post here.
Is CarShield the Right Auto Warranty Provider for You?
There are many reasons why those looking for an auto warranty might want to consider CarShield. They aim to provide some of the most complete vehicle protection coverage there is. Customers can more easily find the best coverage with affordable monthly payments because of the many choices they offer, and you may be able to get discounted rates on top plans based on your unique situation. There are a lot of reasons why you might choose a CarShield plan, and here are a few of them:
- They accept high-mileage cars: They will cover up to 300,000 miles on older vehicles, so you are more likely to get covered and not have to worry about unexpected costs from your car breaking down
- Flexible plans: Not only do they have eight plans to cover most types of vehicles, customer needs, and budgets, but they also offer you the ability to make payments on monthly payment plans or per contract term period
- Low deductible: While this may vary, the provider offers deductibles between $0 and $100 per repair, depending on the plan
- 30-day money-back guarantee: If you cancel your warranty within the first 30 days, you will get a refund
- Choose your own repair shop: You can go to the dealership of your choice or repair facility, as long as it is ASE-licensed (Automotive Service Excellence), and they will work with them with no hassle to you. But if you prefer to go to a repair shop they have a relationship with, they can help you find one near you
- Many perks: Most plans include benefits like rental car coverage or alternative transportation while your car is in the shop, trip interruption coverage, towing and robust roadside services for tires, lockouts, batteries, winching, and fuel delivery if you're stuck on the side of the road
- CarShield app: They have a mobile app, available for iOS and Android, where you can view your contract, make payments, and request roadside assistance
- Promo codes: You can regularly find promo codes for discounts at CarShield, even though they already offer competitive and affordable pricing. Just check online and see
The cons and why it might not be right for you
While CarShield aims to fit all your extended warranty coverage needs, there may be some cons that they cannot address. Here are a few we found:
- May not cover hybrid vehicles: They do not list coverage for any hybrid car parts in any of their plans, although they have plans specifically for electric vehicles. While this could be an oversight, they do explicitly state an exclusion for hybrid batteries
- May not cover all expenses: They may not cover such things as extra shop charges for supplies, storage fees, freight, and some unverified labor hours. Of course, all warranty plans will have exclusions you need to be aware of
- Strained relationship with BBB: They are currently in contention with the Better Business Bureau for alleged bias based on issues and complaints with some customer reviews. Please see our “Reviews” section below for more context
CarShields’ Extended Auto Warranty Protection Plans
CarShield is one of the top extended warranty companies in the US because it provides flexible coverage options with VSC plans, from the most comprehensive coverage all the way to more basic auto protection. However, most plans cover the same list of additional benefits that include trip interruption coverage, rental car reimbursement or alternative transportation coverage, and many roadside services. Most plans are offered on a monthly basis or as term contracts for a certain period of time and mileage limit. On their contract, they stipulate a claims waiting period of either 25 days and 500 miles or 40 days and 250 miles.
Some of their plans will provide for usually un-coverable vehicles, after paying a surcharge, such as if your car has a "branded title" or will be used for commercial, agricultural, or rideshare purposes. With packages covering everything from the engine and transmission to the brakes, priced to fit your budget and needs, we think you cannot go wrong with a CarShield warranty. The following are the many VSC plans that they offer and what they include:
Their Diamond plan is their most extensive coverage, which they promote as being very close to the original manufacturer's warranty in terms of covered vehicle repairs. This service contract provides bumper-to-bumper protection for the greatest number of parts of any plan and provides many other benefits as well. It is an exclusionary plan because it technically offers coverage for everything that could break down within your vehicle, with some notable exceptions. In other words, this plan's contract will not list what it includes in its coverage, just what it excludes from it.
If this vehicle protection plan interests you, you will find the exclusions under the Breakdown Coverage section of the contract. The components excluded from VSC protection include paint, upholstery, clutch assemblies, wheels and wheel covers, seatbelts, exhaust systems, brake pads, non-original audio components, spark plugs, and wiper blades, among other similar components.
This plan works best for owners of new vehicles, technologically complex used cars, or anyone who wants to protect their investment most comprehensively. It is generally a great choice for those looking to add coverage to their manufacturer's warranty or extend it in the most seamless way possible. To read more about this plan, check out our blog post “Is the CarShield Diamond Plan Worth the Investment?”
This CarShield warranty plan has the highest level of inclusionary coverage, meaning that its contract lists the many parts and components it protects. The Platinum plan is specially promoted to owners of newer cars with higher mileage. It addresses most parts of your vehicle that are likely to wear down with time and a large list of related components that fall within those parts categories.
The covered categories are gas or diesel engine, transmission, cooling system, transfer unit, drive axle, electrical, steering, AC, suspension, brakes, high-tech electronics, fuel system, audio system, emissions, and turbocharger or supercharger components. The service contract lists excluded components as well as those included in each category. For instance, you would be covered for the suspension components of the control module and switches, among many others, but not for suspension alignment, strut or shock mounts, or air springs. If you're interested in this plan, you'll want to read through those inclusions and exclusions carefully.
The Gold CarShield warranty plan strikes a balance between covering as many important parts as possible while also keeping the cost affordable. This advanced powertrain plan focuses on critical categories and is a great choice for used cars in good condition with fewer than 100,000 miles on them.
Covered categories are the gas or diesel engine, transmission, drive axle, transfer unit, cooling system, AC, electrical, fuel system, and turbocharger or supercharger components. As with the Platinum plan, both excluded and included components are listed in the contract.
The Silver CarShield warranty plan is billed as the most affordable plan considering its coverage. Unlike the Gold plan, which adds a few other categories and their components, the Silver plan mainly focuses on the parts within the powertrain. This comprises arguably the most important parts of your vehicle, or those most necessary for driving.
Those covered parts categories are the mechanical engine (gas or diesel), transmission, cooling system (including the water pump), transfer unit, drive axle, and their associated components. As with other plans, excluded and included components of coverage are spelled out in the contract.
The Aluminum CarShield warranty is a targeted coverage plan that deals with electrical and computer-related car issues. It mainly suits modern cars, including relatively new luxury vehicles, with complex electronics and computer-related parts. It is different from the previously discussed VSCs because it does not cover the vehicle's powertrain.
This service contract specifically provides protection for the categories of cooling systems, electrical, steering, AC, suspension, brakes, high-tech electronics, fuel systems, audio systems, and turbochargers or superchargers. For a complete list of covered and excluded components, please refer to the contract.
CarShield offers three other plans tailored for specialized vehicle types or requirements. They are the following:
- Motorcycle & ATV: This is a special plan that is designed for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and other vehicles that cannot find coverage easily and is available only on a monthly basis. This plan covers most of the important parts of such a vehicle, which include the engine, transmission, primary drive assembly, drive axle, cooling system, electrical, steering, suspension, brakes, high-tech electronics, fuel delivery, gauges, as well as seals and gaskets. An optional Luxury Electronics and Touring Package (LETP) may be purchased on top of this coverage.
- Electric Vehicle Coverage: This gives you coverage for fully electric cars, available only on a monthly basis. You may purchase a plan that mostly services the electric drive unit, which includes motors, generators, and differentials, among other components. Alternatively, you may opt for a comprehensive plan that adds protection for the cooling system, electrical, steering, AC, suspension, brakes, high-tech electronics, audio, battery management, and high-voltage battery components.
- Shield Select Program: If your vehicle does not qualify for any of the above VSCs, you will still likely be eligible for this plan which offers you some useful benefits and services. These services include roadside assistance and towing, road hazard tire protection, lost key reimbursement, windshield damage reimbursement, and trip interruption reimbursement benefits.
As with most providers, CarShield bases their pricing on your specific case, which includes your vehicle type, make and model, mileage, and age, as well as your location and coverage requirements. The price you get is also impacted by other factors like your current warranty coverage (if there is any), service history, recent or existing mechanical issues, and more. To get your unique contract costs, you would submit a quote request online or call for it by phone, and then a representative would talk you through it.
CarShield plans cost an average of 99.99 to 139.99 dollars per month, although from our research, we find that some plans can cost as little as $69.99 to upwards of $200. All their service contracts are available on a monthly basis, and their core plan contracts can also be purchased for specific term periods, although it is not clear if those come at discounted total prices. We understand that customers can pay between $1,600 and $3,200 in total for contracts, and in our research, we have found that customers may be able to pay $2,400–$2,800 for Gold coverage or higher. Contracts may come with mileage limits of up to 300,000 miles, which is quite generous in comparison to other providers. You can expect to pay a deductible of $100 per repair, although some plans might reduce that to $0.
The company offers multiple plans with limited and unlimited period lengths and mileages, depending on your preference and vehicle specifics. All plans are quite affordable in comparison to other top extended warranty providers. You can read more about their costs in our in-depth blog post here.
Reviews: What Are CarShield Customers Saying?
Although this provider is extremely popular among extended auto warranty consumers, they have their fair share of critics and opposition. They have many positive reviews and a high 4/5 review score on Trustpilot but have lower ratings on other review websites, including the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where they have a 1.34/5 review score and a D rating. They also do not have BBB accreditation. Keep in mind that CarShield is suing the BBB for what they claim is bias related to how they have been represented on the BBB's website, where they have been placed on alert due to the number of complaints against them. We must note, however, that the provider always responds thoroughly to customer complaints, and they sometimes offer to refund more than required, even if not always to customer desires.
Positive CarShield reviews tout the company's customer service and helpful staff for their flexibility and helpfulness with requests like changing the level of coverage and extending coverage to other cars. Even customers who initially had difficulty getting proper service reported feeling satisfied with the quickness and attentiveness of the claims personnel once the process started. Some reviewers with tight budgets report getting significant discounts for the same coverage based on their circumstances. In general, the positive reviewers of this VSC provider report feeling heard and liking that CarShield answers their concerns and questions satisfactorily and promptly.
Not all CarShield reviews are favorable, however, and in fact, there are a good number of criticisms and negative reactions online. Many of these reviews involve policyholders and former customers who complain about being denied coverage for certain parts despite believing their plans include them. Some of those customers complain about being told by repair shops that they will not accept CarShield warranty coverage, while others are told by the repair shops that the provider will only pay for a fraction of the costs. Some report difficulty canceling their plans and, in a few cases, still being billed after canceling. Many of these reviewers believe the salespeople may have misled them or that the reasons for denying coverage were "buried in the contract," a few of those even going so far as to call the company a scam!
What should you believe?
We think that all these viewpoints are valid, even though we tend to take online reviews with a grain of salt. Some consumers are more motivated to speak up when they have had bad experiences than good ones. On the other hand, some cautious consumers may be pleasantly surprised about a company's service after they ask a lot of questions, follow proper procedures, and feel the need to say so!
As far as negative reactions go, we have noticed a few trends. Customers unhappy with CarShield may be denied service for excluded components in their contracts because they have not had the policy long enough or because they have not driven their car a minimum number of miles. Others may be dissatisfied because the provider will only pay up to a certain amount and complain that they pushed repair staff to put in used or remanufactured parts instead of new ones. We do think that customers should be given clear messaging about what they are purchasing and not be misled through sales tactics, so seeing that a few people may be confused about what is or is not covered is certainly important to note.
At the same time, a CarShield contract is quite thorough and lists all of its stipulations, exclusions, and limitations within its text. We think everyone should read the fine print of the CarShield policy completely before signing it. Your CarShield sales and support team should explain everything to you when you ask, so make sure to do so often. And if you decide that you are not yet ready to go with one of their plans, you could look into other providers and compare features and prices.
Support & Other Contact Methods at CarShield
While they do not provide an email address to reach them at, you may send them a general message by filling out a short online form on their website or by calling 1-800-588-8501. For specific services, you may reach CarShield as follows:
- Customer service: call 1-800-587-4162
- Roadside assistance: call 1-866-222-7869
- Claims: call 1-800-859-9923 or submit online here
- Payment processing: call 1-800-587-4603
- Sales: call 1-800-588-8501
The Bottom Line
CarShield remains one of the best vehicle service contract (VSC) companies we have reviewed. The company offers customizable and comprehensive services at competitive, affordable prices compared to other extended auto warranty coverage providers and does so for a wide variety of vehicle types and conditions. Also, since you can make payments in the form of a monthly subscription, you can cancel your contract at any time; if you do so during the first 30 days, you should get a full refund without any extra costs.
We note that some of the feedback about the provider has been critical, although some may be due to miscommunication between customers and the company. Carshield is generally highly-regarded, but some customers have had issues with car repairs not being fully covered or being denied. We believe that all customer experiences are notable and valid. However, we have seen most, if not all, complaints promptly handled by the provider, and a lot are resolved as being due to previously stated exclusions or stipulations. For this reason, we recommend customers read the details of their contracts carefully so that they know where they stand.
If you are still interested in looking into other options, we recommend doing comparison research here. We have compiled a list of the best auto warranty companies for you to look through, and we think that you can find one that's perfect for you.
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