Rating

8.7

out of 10

Rank 03 / 04

CarShield

USA's #1 AUTO PROTECTION PROVIDER

Overview

CarShield is a big name in the extended auto warranty industry, in large part thanks to their robust TV ad campaigns featuring celebrities like Ice-T (love you, Ice!). We found them to be friendly and helpful and to have reasonable options for the kinds of plans we were looking for. Unfortunately, CarShield is a reseller rather than a plan administrator, so the company’s support only goes so far and, as with many of these companies, we ran into some smoke and mirrors around pricing. Nonetheless, it was one of the better reseller options we tested, thanks to its helpful customer service, easy-to-use app, and month-to-month options.

Company Accolades

COMPANY FACTS

    Mailing Address:
    503 Pearl Dr. St. Peters, MO 63376

    Headquarter Location:
    339 Mid Rivers Mall Dr. St Peters, MO 63376

KEY FEATURES

  • Reseller working with American Auto Shield
  • Accepted by most dealerships and any ASE-certified mechanic
  • Claims must be pre-approved
  • Payment plans can only be spread out up to 21 months
BENEFITS
  • Wide variety of plans to fit most budgets, unique month-to-month option available
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Car rental reimbursements up to $40/day
  • Easy-to-use app
  • No hold times to reach customer service
DOWNFALLS
  • Claims administered by a separate company
  • Cancellation process requires some stubbornness
  • Limited social media presence
  • Almost all plans include a deductible

Initial Call

9

out of 10

Purchase

9

out of 10

Membership

9

out of 10

Post-sale

8

out of 10

Claims

9

out of 10

Cancellation

8

out of 10

Expert Review

As resellers go, there are a lot of good things to be said about CarShield. They offer a wide variety of plans, from the affordable to the robust, and will cover any vehicle, even those with high mileage. They offer month-to-month plans and their coverage is transferrable, meaning that if you sell your car, you can include the coverage, giving your vehicle a higher resale value for the duration of your extended warranty. We also liked that CarShield, like many of their competitors, offers towing and 24-hour roadside assistance. We found their sales representatives and customer service team to be responsive, kind, and helpful – and easy to reach throughout the day. 

That said, the fact that they are a reseller comes with some inherent downsides. It means the price of coverage is marked up slightly to cover CarShield’s costs as a functional middle man, and their customer service team is dedicated only to dealing with sales and plans – they don’t handle claims. And, since they don’t deal with vehicles directly, they don’t have mechanics or other experts on call, which some other companies do offer. 

The biggest hiccup, therefore, comes in the claims department. When it comes to claims, you do need pre-approval on work done (as with most insurance-style coverage). Thing is, since you’re dealing with another company entirely, CarShield’s representatives can only be of limited help. None of this is particularly ground-breaking for the good or bad, since dealing with a separate company is a fixture with all resellers. The good news on claims is that they pay the mechanic directly – besides any deductible in your contract – rather than having you pay and then reimbursing you. Plus, CarShield is taken by just about any dealership and all certified mechanics, so you know you’re covered wherever you go. With all that in mind, as resellers go, CarShield was one that we liked.

In fact, we rated them highly, generally speaking, if not quite as highly as CARCHEX (our favorite reseller) or Endurance (our top choice overall). There were a lot of plusses here. They’re the only company we spoke to that offered month-to-month plans. We were quoted $166.99 per month for the life of our vehicle, a 2013 four-door BMW 328xi with 45,000 miles on it. The downside of the month-to-month option is that you spend a lot more in the long run than you would simply taking out a 5 year warranty and paying it off over the course of several months (CarShield offers payment plans spread over up to 21 months). The upside of the month-to-month option, however, is that you’re covered indefinitely, even if you rack up a lot of miles.

Also, they happen to have an informative and easy-to-use website and what is probably the best app in the business today, so if you’re someone who prefers to do everything from your smartphone, this could be a great option for you.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

There were some pros and cons, but overall we found CarShield to be a solid option for your extended auto warranty, especially for those with high mileage counts on their vehicles. We don’t love that they’re a reseller and don’t handle claims directly, but we found their team to be nonetheless helpful and reliable and their coverage options to be robust and largely reasonable. We like some of the benefits they offer, like 24/7 roadside assistance and towing, and that they pay the mechanic directly on pre-approved claims. They were the only company we tested with a month-to-month option and neither their post-call marketing nor their cancellation process were excessively aggressive.

Initial Call

9

out of 10

Initial Call

When we called CarShield, we spoke to a representative named Shawn Sullivan, who worked with us throughout the purchase process. We found him to be knowledgeable, communicative, and kind. He initially directed us toward the top tier Diamond-level plan, but we ultimately requested a quote for both the Diamond and Platinum options, Diamond being the top level of coverage and Platinum being one step down from that. He gave us a quote that included a $300 ‘customer appreciation’ discount, which was quoted as being only available for one day. However, we [did/did not] end up getting the $300 off, [even though/as] we waited to call back and purchase as part of our testing process. Then, we told him we’d have to think about it, as we’ve done with all our purchases. He was very gracious and gave us a reference number to use when we called back.

Post-call, we received follow-up emails referring to our quote (but without any numbers) and nudging us to call. And we seem to have been added to a general marketing email stream. Nothing particularly egregious, no barrages of emails, but nothing particularly informative either. There was no follow-up call. Overall, we’d judge their post-call, pre-purchase marketing to be fairly gentle.

Purchase

9

out of 10

Purchase

When we called back, we spoke with a different representative who handled our purchasing. They, like Shawn, were helpful and responsive, and they were able to easily find our quote using the reference number he’d given us. The purchasing process was very easy and there was no pushy upsell. In the end, we went with the Platinum rather than the more expensive Diamond plan. 

Here are all of the details of the plan we selected for testing:

  • Platinum plan (their second-highest tier)
  • 4-year warranty
  • 20-day waiting period
  • 21-month payment plan
  • First month or $295 as down payment (reasonable but non-negotiable)
  • Rental car reimbursement: $40/day
  • Trip interruption: $50/day for up to 3 days (this is the maximum they offer)

Membership

9

out of 10

Membership

We found the coverage offered by CarShield to be pretty standard, both in terms of pricing and features. Most companies we dealt with, frankly, had fairly similar plans, so selection comes down to who you like dealing with and any perks around the coverage – and, in some cases, the specifics of your car. As we mentioned previously, CarShield’s most unique coverage feature is the month-to-month option. It allows you to purchase coverage (and pay for it) indefinitely, so there’s no need to worry about what happens in 4 or 5 years when your extended warranty is up. They also had a relatively reasonable 4-year warranty for cars with up to 100,000 miles, so they do have more options than most for those who have – or expect to have – a high mileage count.

The big perks of CarShield’s coverage over other resellers are their towing and roadside assistance and, in particular, their miscellaneous other breakdown assistance: they offer decent daily reimbursements for rental cars should your car break down ($40 per day), and many companies don’t offer trip interruption (reimbursement for hotels and such if your car breaks down far from home) at all, so even $50 a day there is a help. Their roadside assistance can even include lockout assistance (in case you lock your keys in your car) and replacement for lost key fobs, depending on your contract.

Post-sale

8

out of 10

Post-sale

Social Media

To be blunt, we found CarShield’s social media presence to be largely inactive and less than informative. They have a Facebook account and have recently opened an Instagram, but both are used exclusively to promote CarShield, rather than sharing informative resources. While they’d be fine if you’re a CarShield employee or CarShield enthusiast (is there such a thing?), we didn’t see any huge reason to follow.

App

On the flip side, CarShield’s app was our favorite that we tested. It was simple, clean, and easy to use. While some other companies we spoke to are presently developing or redesigning their apps, the CarShield app is the best in the field today. You can contact your customer service rep, file a claim, review your contract, request roadside assistance, and even access exclusive discounts on rental cars and other car-centric services from the app.

Emails

We were pretty neutral on the emails we received from CarShield, both pre- and post-purchase. They were simply marketing emails about how great CarShield is. There weren’t too many and they weren’t too pushy, but they also didn’t contain much in the way of new or helpful information.

Call

We never received unprompted calls from CarShield, and that was perfectly fine with us. Every time we did call, we got straight through to a representative, and we found everyone we spoke with at CarShield to be kind and helpful.

Wait Times

There were no wait times to speak of at any time of day.

Content

This is something we liked. Like Endurance, CarShield offers a set of resources on their website, called the Education Center. It’s a little hard to find – scroll down to the bottom of their main page, then look under “Resources” – but once you get there, you can see company news, auto industry news, tips on how to care for your vehicle, and other helpful articles. While not everyone will spend time making use of this resource, we were glad to see it, and found much of what they shared to be useful and of interest.

Claims

9

out of 10

Claims

We did not have any need to file a claim during our test of CarShield, but we did check up on their claims process to the extent that we could. They have a helpful video on their website under “Claims,” if you want to hear their rundown of the steps to filing a claim (note that the helpful part starts at around 2 minutes into the video). Essentially, if you have a breakdown, you call their roadside assistance and they send a tow truck. You then go to any dealership or ASE-certified mechanic in the US or Canada. You’ll have to give the mechanic your contract number and the claims phone number to call.

The service advisor at your chosen auto repair shop will then call a claims adjuster at American Auto Shield directly. Any approved repairs will be paid for directly by American Auto Shield. They ask that you keep any receipts for work done in case they’re needed down the line as part of your claim. You pay your deductible when you pick up your repaired car. One nice thing is that your rate doesn’t go up after a breakdown, but, to be fair, that’s true of all of our top extended car warranty selections. And, as with all insurance, anything that isn’t covered will fall to you to be paid.

Cancellation

8

out of 10

Cancellation

When we called to cancel, we were repeatedly asked to speak to representatives about what they could do to make us happy. There was a big push to save the deal and keep us from cancelling, so it was a bit difficult – we had to stick to our guns. That said, the upside of this is that, if the reason for our cancellation had been financial problems, it was clear they would have been willing to work with us. So, if you’re a CarShield customer and struggling to pay your premiums, definitely don’t hesitate to call them to see if they can give you a lower price. From our experience, it seemed like they’d be willing to help.

What customers are saying about CarShield

See what other people think about this warranty service

Rating

4

out of 10

August 2020

Amanda from
South Bay, OOO

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6 / 10

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