Hitting the scene in 2005, CarShield touts itself as a company that values commitment and the proud history of the automobile in the United States. Its third-party warranty plans have covered more than a million vehicles, paying out more than a billion dollars through claims. As such, CarShield has become one of the major names in the third-party extended warranty industry.
Unfortunately, CarShield has earned an unfavorable reputation that concerns The Drive's editor enough to not recommend the company's services. In addition to thousands of poor online reviews, CarShield has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, which is a big red flag. The BBB, an agency that investigates the merit of businesses, not only identified advertising issues with CarShield's business practices, but it also noticed a pattern of complaints, including failing to cover customer claims, failing to adequately explain mileage and timing components of coverage, not canceling policies on time, not returning agreed-upon refunds, delaying maintenance or paying out claims to ensure customers had a working car as well as poor customer service.
If you're still interested in learning more about CarShield's extended warranties and services, read on as we delve into what the company currently offers. Bear in mind that you should consider all options before choosing CarShield.
CarShield’s Extended Warranty Payment Plans Overview
Warranties offered through CarShield are available for both new and pre-owned vehicles. Offering extended service contracts, the company claims to provide more comprehensive coverage than a standard OEM warranty, while most plans ring in at the lower end of the pricing spectrum.
What you should know, however, is that CarShield is a third-party warranty supplier, meaning that it works with a claim administrator (specifically, American Auto Shield) to administer the warranties. They, in turn, work with the customers and analyze whether your claim meets the liability of the provider, CarShield. CarShield offers six main warranty plans, referred to as vehicle service contracts.
- Diamond: Easily the most comprehensive of the CarShield warranties, it is the closest to the coverage of an OEM warranty for a new vehicle. This plan addresses the powertrain system, drive axle, and drivetrain. It comes roadside assistance and car-rental reimbursement.
- Platinum: This plan is geared towards older vehicles with high mileage. Meant to address the parts that most often wear down with time, it deals with things such as the water pump, power steering, suspension, and brakes. It’s preferred by those with pre-owned vehicles.
- Gold: Balancing cost with coverage, this plan covers much less than the platinum counterpart, but it retains the focus on critical parts. It addresses the engine, transmission, air conditioner, and fuel delivery but does not handle steering or suspension. The structure is better suited to vehicles with fewer than 100,000 miles on the odometer.
- Silver: The most cost-effective plan is this powertrain coverage plan. It addresses the transmission and water pump, as well as any lubricated parts of your engine. While basic, it covers the fundamental necessities for your car to function.
- Aluminum: Meant for more modern vehicles, this plan protects against most computer and/or electrical issues. It covers navigation systems and GPS, along with starter problems and alternator and air-conditioner issues. While the coverage is best suited to new cars, all vehicles have electronic systems covered by this plan.
- Motorcycles and ATVs: Designed for vehicles for which it can be tricky to find coverage, this category covers the essentials for this type of vehicle. The plans are comprehensive, with the only real exemptions being for inapplicable services such as power windows and air conditioners.
CarShield Warranty Plans and Costs
Determining the exact cost of a CarShield warranty is tricky. To price its plans, the company considers the make and model of your vehicle, its mileage and age, and whether you have supplemental coverage. A new car with no reported safety issues will be cheaper to cover than a car well past its prime.
Older cars cost more to maintain, and the more expensive parts are likely to face issues. Consider the value of the warranty and weigh it against the cost. You can end up saving big, particularly if you’re:
- Covering a high-mileage vehicle that is likely to incur issues with the powertrain system and need costly repairs.
- Looking to fill in the gaps on your existing OEM warranty plan to ensure you are fully protected.
According to CarShield, the most basic plans start at $99 per month, with the option to pay up front or over time, and the longest payment arrangement is two years. Many customers have reported a confusing quote process when done online, so it might be better to call to get an exact quote and then demand a copy of said quote in writing before signing up.
Things We Like
CarShield has a host of benefits as a third-party warranty provider, perhaps the most significant being the wide range of options. Another advantage of CarShield is that it offers protection plans for motorcycles and ATVs, which can be notoriously tricky to protect. In addition to its various coverage plans, it also has comprehensive powertrain protection. These parts are the most essential to the operation and the most expensive to repair, so the enhanced coverage is very desirable.
Things We Don't Like
CarShield has some major drawbacks. There’s a lack of detail when it comes to plan breakdowns. The website provides a checklist of what is and isn’t covered. However, warranties are all about underwriting and fine print, and without a thorough understanding of how the warranty will work, it can be a tricky decision. To find this information, consult with CarShield directly. That’s an undesirable pressure when trying to assess a service contract objectively.
Another issue is that there is no option for preventative maintenance coverage. To keep your warranty active, you must perform regular upkeep such as oil and filter changes. These aren’t covered repairs, meaning there will still be out-of-pocket expenses to keep your vehicle in working order.
And, as mentioned earlier, CarShield has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB has challenged the company repeatedly on its advertisements, including once after it sent out a mailer that "creates a false sense of urgency." According to the BBB, "Although the company responded to BBB, it failed to address BBB concerns brought to its attention."
WSB-TV Atlanta did an investigation into the company two years ago, after reports of customer complaints about claims being rejected reached the station's desk. The same happened with WMAR Baltimore, KSL-TV out of Utah, and ABC 7 Denver, all of which offered more customer complaints of coverage failures, customer service issues, or policy constraints that weren't fully explained.
There's a dedicated Facebook page to share CarShield horror stories from actual customers.
Q. What is the average cost of CarShield monthly?
A. It depends on the warranty you choose and factors like the make, model, and mileage of your vehicle. Plans start at $99 monthly, though the cost increases if you choose a more comprehensive warranty.
Q. What does CarShield cover?
A. CarShield has six main warranty plans, ranging from thorough protection similar to an OEM plan to basic powertrain plans. It also offers warranties for ATVs and motorcycles.
Q. Is a car warranty the same as car insurance?
A. No, car insurance is there if an accident occurs and offers liability protection. A car warranty buffers the expense of car repairs as long as the service contract covers the damage.
Q. Does CarShield have a deductible?
A. Yes, and the deductible cost depends on the warranty you choose, with more advanced coverage coming at a higher price.
Q. Does CarShield cover oil changes?
A. CarShield warranties do not cover preventative maintenance such as oil and filter changes. Typically, warranties do not cover routine upkeep like this. It is, however, necessary to keep your warranty valid.
Q. Does CarShield cover oil leaks?
A. Unless the leak results from covered mechanical damage, like a failure in the lubrication system in the engine, it won’t be covered. Only the Diamond and Platinum plans cover oil leaks.
Q. Does Carshield cover air conditioning?
A. All of Carshield's plans except for Silver and Motorcycle cover air conditioning. The plan addresses all the key components, including the blower and the evaporator, two parts that frequently incur damage.
Q. Does Carshield cover power steering?
A. All of CarShield's plans, except for the Gold and Silver, cover this expense. The plans have thorough coverage, including wear and tear on the pump.
Q. Does Carshield cover older cars?
A. CarShield accepts pre-owned cars, even those with higher mileage. While the coverage price may be higher, it offers plans that cover the parts most likely to wear out: transmission, engine, and air conditioning systems.
Q. Is CarShield a ripoff?
A. CarShield is a legitimate business and provides a service for payment. However, there are numerous instances of customer dissatisfaction that would lead us elsewhere.
Is a Warranty from CarShield Worth It?
CarShield has a wide range of plans with suitable coverage, including options for ATVs and motorcycles. However, be sure to get a firm quote before making your decision, especially with user reports highlighting communication issues with the company. The ultimate goal is to save money and treat your ride well, and CarShield is an option. Protect your interests by comparing the rates and coverage to other third-party warranty providers.