CarShield is perhaps the best-known auto repair coverage company in the US. They claim that their mission is to take away the stress of potentially expensive repairs on cars that are no longer within the protective bounds of their original manufacturer’s warranty. In today’s blog, we’re exploring the world of CarShield, what service they provide, how much it costs and whether or not the user-based evidence shows that CarShield is worth it.
What Does CarShield Do? How Does It Work?
The idea behind CarShield is a service contract that works as a supplementary force to your regular car insurance. Since the majority of regular car insurance providers don’t cover the cost of breakdown repairs or other car maintenance, CarShield helps to fill that gap, especially for times when the manufacturer’s warranty can’t come into play.
See Also: Understanding ASC Warranty Contracts
Many OEMs provide 3-year warranties on new cars, some up to 5 years but rarely more than that. Cars last for a long time now and many people keep their car long after the warranty has expired. The first remedy they may consider is an extended warranty from the dealership, but these are expensive and not so many people seem to recommend them. They’re seen mostly as a kind of “cash grab” by the dealership.
CarShield is an insurance-like plan where customers choose from a list of available plans, the most notable being:
- Diamond Plan – almost exactly the same bumper-to-bumper coverage as the original warranty
- Platinum Plan – protects engine, transmission, AC, electrical system, starter, water pump, fuel pump and more
- Gold Plan – protects engine, transmission, water pump, alternator, starter, A/C and power windows
- Silver Plan – protects all lubricated engine parts, transmission, water pump
- …And others
Customers apply for a plan and receive a quote based on their circumstances and particular vehicle. If they accept the quote, they are covered. In future, if and when the time comes that they are facing costly repairs, they can pay just their agreed deductible and the rest of the fees will be paid by CarShield, who also handles all the paperwork directly with the auto shop.
See Also: What to Look For When Buying a Used Car
On top of the extended warranty coverage, CarShield also provides additional services to its customers:
- 24/7 roadside services
- Flat tire services
- Battery jump starts
- $75 reimbursement on towing services
- Lockout services
- Trip interruption coverage of up to $50 per day for 3 days
- Rental car reimbursement of up to $40 per day for 4 days
CarShield Cost: How Much Is CarShield?
CarShield doesn’t publish any fixed price on their website because in theory it would be different depending on what vehicle you had, its mileage, current condition, etc. In that way it’s just like when you’re looking at an insurance policy. The price is based both on the vehicle and you the driver.
Interestingly, cartalk.com spent some time contacting CarShield directly and asking about various 2017 models, namely a Ford F-150, Toyota RAV4, Honda Accord and a BMW X3, all quite different cars. The result? All of these vehicles were quoted at $129.99 per month for all levels of coverage, with a $100 deductible. Cartalk.com claims this was the result of their inquiry on every vehicle and plan, but CarShield have previously told other platforms like thedrive.com that their plans start at $99 per month.
Odd as it may sound, the claim seems to be backed up by further information published on autoguide.com, who inquired on a 2012 Honda Civic with 88,000 miles on the clock, and a 2017 Ford Explorer with 45,000 miles, both in North Carolina. The result was the same, $129.99 a month with a $100 deductible. The Explorer inquiry was for a bumper-to-bumper Diamond plan; the Civic was for the powertrain Silver plan.
CarShield Reviews: What Are People Saying?
Companies like CarShield rely on positive feedback from two source types. The first is from their customers directly. It’s the kind of feedback they could publish onto their website or social media. The second kind is from official/expert groups like the Better Business Bureau. On neither count does CarShield appear to do very well.
On TrustPilot, CarShield has an average star rating of 4.1 after 18,325 reviews, but there is a serious counter to that from groups like the Better Business Bureau, which we will cover in the next subheading. CarShield reviews on TrustPilot include 68 percent at “Excellent” (5 stars), and only 18 percent at either “Poor” (2 stars) or “Bad” (1 star).
Examples of positive comments on the service include:
- “The representative that helped set up my new account was awesome and beyond helpful…”
- “The set up was quick and easy…”
- “Everything that I asked was done perfectly…”
- “CarShield has great packages and always answers every question I have…”
- “Great policy, I am totally at ease…”
- “I had a problem and as soon as I talked to someone in customer service it was resolved.”
On the more negative side on TrustPilot, comments include:
- “I was not told of the protocols when claiming a repair...”
- “I recently had a serious problem with my 2009 Ford Platinum…guess what, CarShield won’t pay to fix it…”
- “I was told when I first purchased that certain items were covered. I ended up having to call in to make a claim on an item and was told that it’s not covered…”
On the expert groups such as the Better Business Bureau, CarShield does not enjoy as stellar a reputation as it does on TrustPilot. The Better Business Bureau customer review rating for CarShield is a rather dismal 1.44/5 stars as an average after 966 customer reviews.
It perhaps should be noted that the BBB is often a sounding board for the more negative comments people have to say. It’s quite possible that those with a more positive experience wouldn’t both share it with the BBB, but without proper research into the background of the data, it would be impossible to prove that.
Besides the negative customer reviews, which are similar to those on TrustPilot, the BBB also offers business information on their CarShield profile page. The BBB has apparently received what they call a “pattern of complaint” regarding CarShield; the pattern has been enough for BBB to issue stark advice to its readers and subscribers. According to BBB, CarShield…
- …employed misleading sales and advertising practices
- …failed to cover repairs
- …failed to adequately explain mileage and time component before coverage begins
- …did not cancel their policies and provide refunds
- …delayed taking and processing claims leaving customers without their vehicles
- …provided poor customer service
CarShield’s response to BBB’s inquiries on these complaints was rather “stock” to say the least: “CarShield works hard to provide excellent customer service to all consumers we encounter and to meet the demands and standards set forth by the BBB.”
Despite that stance, CarShield is yet to receive any kind of certification or recognition from the BBB.
Conclusion: Is CarShield Worth It?
So, is it worth purchasing one of CarShield’s plans? If you follow the line and apparent feedback from customers on the Better Business Bureau, then on the surface it can look like a waste of money. On the other hand, 68 percent of the respondents on TrustPilot give the service 5 stars.
As with all insurance, warranty and related financial and customer services, it seems that the critical details always lie in the fine print. If customers take time to read the terms and conditions and ensure they follow the guidelines as set down by CarShield, they will likely become one of those who has a more positive experience.
The fact is that it’s a small price to pay each month even if it’s only really for the greatly increased chance of receiving assistance when it comes to performing expensive repairs on your car.