What kind of value does the industry’s most popular provider bring to the table?
If you’ve spent even a few minutes looking up extended coverage options for your car, you’ve probably read a CarShield review or two. CarShield is a third-party provider of vehicle service contracts, which are also commonly called extended warranties.
These contracts are fulfilled by another administrator, not the manufacturer. The advantage of this arrangement is that coverage can be tailored to any number of situations. We see this in CarShield’s six plans, which extend from bumper-to-bumper coverage to basic powertrain coverage.
A great provider with a history of over one million vehicles protected and thousands of customer reviews.
In this article:
- Company Background
- The Benefits Of Extended Coverage
- CarShield Signup Process
- CarShield Coverage Plans
- Common Exclusions
- Looking At Other CarShield Reviews
- CarShield Review: Our Verdict
- Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to providing a number of plans, CarShield has helped hundreds of thousands of customers with extended car warranties and is the most popular provider we’ve reviewed. In this CarShield review, we’ll take a look at what the company offers, what the coverage excludes, and what other reviewers are saying online.
CarShield has been in business for 14 years and has covered over one million vehicles in that time. The company has flexible plans and also includes coverage for special vehicles and high-tech equipment.
CarShield is actually a vehicle service contract broker, which means the plans CarShield offers are administered by another organization, also called the obligor. Sample contracts on CarShield’s website list American Auto Shield as the administrator, though individual contracts can go through other administrators as well. What this means is that CarShield plans aren’t limited by one administrator, and that adds to the variety of options available.
CarShield has been featured on ESPN, CNN, HGTV, TBS, and more. CarShield also has a number of celebrity endorsements, and it sponsors NASCAR driver Ross Chastain. Additionally, thousands of people have contributed to CarShield reviews on Google and Trustpilot.
Another thing we like about CarShield is that it provides some perks with each plan. These include:
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Choice of any certified repair shop
- Direct payments to repair facilities
- Low or $0 deductibles
- Rental car reimbursement included with some plans
- Most contracts transferable to new owners
The Benefits Of Extended Coverage
The real benefit of extended coverage is the peace of mind that expensive repairs won’t wreck your budget. Many people today count on their cars to be dependable. At the same time, they count on their budget to be predictable. Unfortunately, no car lasts forever, and even the most dependable cars might need repairs after the factory warranty has expired.
Toyota, Chevrolet, and Buick all rank high for dependability according to J.D. Power. However, as your car gains mileage, you might encounter repairs like these:
- Replacing the power steering hose on a Toyota Camry can cost $371–$644.
- Replacing a catalytic converter on a Chevy Impala can cost $1,372–$1,395.
- A premature water pump failure on a Buick Regal can cost $434–$612.
Extended coverage from a company like CarShield can help you avoid taking a financial hit from repairs. Additionally, many third-party providers offer other perks like those discussed above to make life easier.
CarShield Signup Process
With CarShield, you can either call in or submit some quick information in an online form for a quote. Next, a representative will call you to discuss other details about your vehicle. Things like mileage, service history, current warranty coverage, and recent mechanical issues can impact the price or the type of plan that is available to you.
After a phone call, you’ll be able to see a number of options and choose the best one for you. While prices aren’t published online, costs can be broken into payments over 24 months. Also, you can choose to go with a month-to-month contract, though that may be a bit more expensive than a long term option.
CarShield Coverage Plans
Continuing our CarShield review, the company offers six general types of service plans:
- New Car Diamond: This plan is comparable to a new car’s factory warranty. It is exclusionary and lists parts it doesn’t cover to define the contract. Excluded parts include aesthetic parts, trim, hoses, belts, and wear items.
- Platinum: This plan is the highest level of inclusionary coverage. It covers items that are part of the engine, transmission, cooling system, electrical system, steering, A/C, brake system, and more. It doesn’t cover all of the parts that make up each of those systems, but it explicitly lists each covered item.
- Gold: This plan offers enhanced powertrain coverage. In addition to the engine, transmission, and drive axle, it covers the alternator, starter, power window motor, and more.
- Silver: This is CarShield’s basic powertrain plan. It covers all lubricated engine parts, the transmission, drive axle, and water pump.
- High Tech: This plan is designed for vehicles that have complex electronic systems, as well as luxury vehicles. It includes coverage for power seat control, voice activation control, sensors, cruise control, gauges, instrument clusters, LCD screens, GPS, and more.
- Specialty: Coverage through a specialty plan is available for motorcycles, ATVs, and other unique vehicles.
CarShield plans don’t cover everything, and each contract details what is excluded. Exclusions common to all CarShield contracts include:
- Repairs performed without prior authorization from the contract administrator
- Damage caused by a lack of maintenance
- Damage caused by acts of nature, theft, vandalism, or falling objects
- Modifications to the vehicle
- Misuse including racing or off-road driving
- Tampering with the odometer
All of these exclusions are also common in the industry, to both factory warranties and third-party providers.
Looking At Other CarShield Reviews
CarShield is certainly the most-reviewed extended coverage provider online. There are over 2,000 CarShield reviews on Google and over 5,000 on Trustpilot. Additionally, CarShield has a four-star ranking on Trustpilot.
One Google reviewer who gave the provider five stars said, “CarShield has changed my opinion of extended auto warranty protection for the much-better! Their sales/customer service is consistently friendly and helpful – providing fast, easy-to-understand quotes and follow-up support. And most importantly, they deliver on claims!”
68 percent of CarShield reviews on Trustpilot give the company five stars, however there are some negative reviews. Negative reviews can get more attention, especially because emotions are involved. Getting surprised by a denied repair is not fun, and it seems like that’s what most negative CarShield reviews are about.
Breaking Down The Reviews
If you research CarShield online, you may see that the company has more than 500 complaints logged with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in the past three years. This might seem like a high number, but to put things into context, consider that CarShield has sold more than 500,000 policies during those three years. This means that the actual online customer complaint volume is approximately 0.1 percent of all customers.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most common issues raised in CarShield reviews:
Looking at the company’s BBB profile, many of the negative CarShield reviews are about repairs not being covered. This is not uncommon with vehicle service contract providers. Contracts are long, and the terms can differ from what people see in advertisements.
No vehicle service contract provider has a perfect track record, and customers can always be surprised when certain claims are denied. To minimize this, we recommend you always read the whole text of the contract before you sign anything. Don’t go off of what you hear in a radio ad or TV commercial, as contracts that truly cover everything are rare to nonexistent.
When you understand what’s covered by your plan, you can feel confident knowing which components of your vehicle are protected against breakdowns.
Rental Car Coverage
Another thing to know is that many contracts only consider repair shop work hours when covering rental car expenses, not the hours or days it may take before your car is authorized for repair. That is fairly common in the auto warranty world, though it has come up in a few Carshield reviews. If there is a delay between the diagnosis and the repair, your plan may not cover that portion of a rental car bill.
For example, say you took your car into the shop on a Tuesday and the mechanic relayed the problem to CarShield. Sometimes, CarShield sends an adjuster out to take a look at the car to authorize repairs. Now, say the authorization happened on the following Monday. If your contract provides for a rental car based on repair hours, you won’t get reimbursed for the days when your car sat in the shop before authorization.
Again, this is standard practice for vehicle service contract providers, and this policy is always laid out in the contract. CarShield contracts provide reimbursement for administrator-required inspections and for shipping parts to the shop, but not general delays in communication.
Another standard practice in the industry is to deny claims for problems that existed prior to your contract. This contract clause is completely normal, but it has led to a few negative CarShield reviews for people who were surprised by it. CarShield plans have a standard waiting period of 30 days or 1,000 miles before coverage kicks in. This protects the company from paying for a repair that the customer already knew about. In sample contracts, pre-existing conditions are excluded from repair.
CarShield representatives are allowed to make notes of what is wrong with your car at the time of your extended warranty purchase. This is another normal practice which is based on the contract, though it comes up in some CarShield reviews online.
CarShield Review: Our Verdict
We think CarShield is a solid choice for extended coverage. While it’s easy to focus on negative reviews, the company has made many thousands of happy customers. If you take the time to read the contract terms thoroughly, you shouldn’t be surprised when something isn’t covered. The same goes for any third-party warranty provider.
A Few More Providers To Consider
While CarShield does have great plan options and many customers, we also wanted to mention a few other providers that we reviewed in our comparison of top extended warranty companies. It’s always a good idea to get quotes from more than one company so you can compare plans and determine what is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About CarShield
How much does CarShield cost on average?
CarShield doesn’t publish plan costs online, but it does state that deductibles can be as low as $0 and flexible, month-to-month contracts are available. The cost of your plan will depend on factors like your vehicle’s make, model, year, and mileage.
What does CarShield cover?
CarShield has six main plan types. At the top, plans can be compared to a manufacturer’s warranty. On the low end, plans cover the basic powertrain components and are affordable. All plans have 24/7 roadside assistance, and some include more perks like rental car reimbursement. Also, CarShield stands out for its plans that are tailored to high tech and specialty vehicles like ATVs.
Who has the best extended car warranty?
If you’re looking for the best extended warranty for high-tech components or off-road vehicles, CarShield is the way to go. If you want to extend coverage for a standard vehicle, we think CARCHEX is a great option.