Both CarShield and CARCHEX are popular third-party extended warranty companies.
Read our CarShield review and see how the company’s coverage compares to CARCHEX.
Affiliate disclosure: Automoblog and its partners may be compensated when you purchase the products below.
For a relatively small monthly payment, an extended car warranty can protect your wallet from expensive repair bills. These warranties come in all shapes and sizes and can be purchased through a dealership or a third-party company, of which there are hundreds. Below, we review one of the more popular third-party warranty companies, CarShield, and compare it to another leader, CARCHEX. Learn more through our review of CARCHEX.
When shopping for an extended auto warranty, the best thing to do is call around, ask questions, and get quotes. As you research the best used car extended warranty companies, we recommend you consider both CARCHEX and CarShield.
If you’re someone who squirms at the thought of an unexpected repair with a hefty bill, an extended car warranty can change the game. Extended warranties can provide a sense of relief by offering assurance that your car’s covered repairs will be taken care of both mechanically and financially.
When looking for the best third-party auto warranty, it’s important to research your options. Some of the most important considerations include:
Deductibles and premiums
Where the vehicle can be serviced
The period of time of the coverage
Parts of the car the protection plans cover
Whether the warranty has geographic restrictions
We’ve done the research for you on CarShield extended warranties. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of CarShield’s coverage plans.
CarShield Review: Pros
New and Used Cars: CarShield has coverage plans for new, used, and certified pre-owned cars.
Alternate Vehicle Coverage: CarShield warranties for other types of vehicles, such as motorcycles, ATVs, and RVs, are available.
Transferable: All of CarShield’s vehicle service contracts are transferable to subsequent owners, which can increase your car’s resale value.
Benefits: All plans come with courtesy towing, and most plans include additional benefits like roadside assistance and rental car coverage or assistance.
Industry Experience: CarShield has been in business for more than 10 years, which means they have a deep understanding of the industry and experience providing coverage for millions of vehicles.
Repair Shop Flexibility: You can choose from CarShield’s list of ASE-certified mechanics for replacements and repairs. CarShield also pays claims directly to the repair facility, so there’s no waiting for reimbursement.
Coverage Options: As one of the major third-party car warranty services, CarShield has a large selection of plans that can fit the needs of almost any vehicle. Through their tiered coverage options, you can cover just the powertrain, or the vast majority of the vehicle’s parts, and other high-tech features.
CarShield Review: Cons
Hybrids Excluded: The most comprehensive contract doesn’t cover hybrid batteries or parts associated with hybrid-powered vehicle batteries.
Number of Contracts: CarShield’s strength is also one of its weaknesses. The “buffet” of contract options may cause “analysis paralysis” when trying to choose a plan.
BBB Rating: While not completely telling of a company’s reputation, a Better Business Bureau rating can generally indicate the quality of a company’s products and customer service. CarShield has struggled to obtain a high BBB rating, but many companies choose not to respond to customer reviews or pay for accreditation.
Warranty Length: The terms of the vehicle service contracts aren’t listed on the website, making it difficult for car owners to determine whether CarShield will provide an adequate length of coverage. Shoppers will need to contact CarShield directly for information about warranty term length. It’s likely that CarShield’s contract terms and prices will depend on factors like their car’s manufacturer, model, and mileage.
CarShield advertises that it has a plan for every type of driver, whether you have just purchased a new car, are trying to extend the life of an aging car, or have an expired factory warranty. Let’s dig in to their plans to see what they actually cover:
New Car Diamond: Similar to a manufacturer’s new car warranty, this is a bumper-to-bumper, comprehensive plan and covers everything from the engine and transmission to the starter, fuel pump, steering, brakes, electrical, air conditioning and heating, and more.
Platinum: A comprehensive coverage plan for high-mileage vehicles, Platinum protects parts that tend to wear out over time, like the engine, transmission, air conditioning and heating, starter, fuel and water pump, among others.
Gold: This mid-level coverage option is a basic plan that covers a nice balance of vehicle components. Things like the engine, transmission, A/C, and power windows are covered, and it’s a sensible choice for lower-risk vehicles, like those with less than 100,000 miles.
Silver: This is CarShield’s most affordable policy with coverage for your vehicle’s most important parts, such as the transmission, alternator, and water pump.
High Tech: This unique plan is tailored for modern vehicles with advanced electrical and electronic systems. Complex systems are covered but it can also cover basic control and infotainment systems.
Specialty: As mentioned, CarShield offers coverage for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, RVs, and other vehicles.
Each of the six coverage levels has several contract options, so you can further customize your protection.
CarShield Customer Reviews
CarShield’s website claims the company has offered the “ultimate in extended vehicle service protection” to more than one million vehicles over the past 14 years, with more than $1 billion in claims paid. They also claim they personalize coverage and have a history of dependability, reliability, and success. But is this true? We looked into reviews and customer stories to see.
We already mentioned CarShield’s less-than-perfect BBB rating. The BBB has also issued one warning about the company regarding a pattern of complaints alleging misleading sales and advertising practices. While this may sound alarming, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
If you compare the number of complaints to the number of policies sold over the same time period (36 months), a very small percentage of customers take issue with CarShield.
Not all companies respond to BBB comments or get accreditation, as it can be expensive for large companies.
Positive reviews on other websites somewhat quell the initial reaction from these red flags. On Trustpilot, they have an average of four out of five stars, with 68 percent of reviewers rating their experience as “excellent.” The company has close to 2,600 Google reviews, averaging at 4.4 stars.
Of his customer service experience, one Trustpilot reviewer wrote:
The agent was very helpful and thorough in explaining the plan for my vehicle. The agent explained how the plan works for me and the options I have to seek repairs. I asked enough questions to feel that the plan was well suited for my vehicle.”
Others describe the coverage as “simple” and “excellent.” CarShield contract owners said the customer service is professional, gracious, courteous, and kind.
However, there are patterns of frustration among the mediocre and negative reviews. Most notably, reviewers complain that their claims are denied. (This is one reason why it’s so important to read your contract and know exactly what is and isn’t covered.)
Customers are also frustrated that the claims companies that work with CarShield are closed on the weekends and that the process from accepted claim to repair is too long.
Comparing CarShield & CARCHEX
When focusing on one third-party car warranty company, it can be eye opening to see how they compare to other providers. While CarShield has many facets that shoppers will find attractive, like the length of time they’ve been in the industry and the broad range of contracts they offer, CARCHEX is worth considering for these two reasons, as well.
The two companies are similar, offering plans for both new and used vehicles through a variety of tiered, customizable contracts, but the difference is in the details. Like CARCHEX, CarShield plans include 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, and rental car assistance or coverage, and they also allow drivers to choose a repair facility. When the fine print of the vehicle service contracts are examined, CARCHEX tends to offer slightly higher allowances.
According to Angie’s List, the national average towing cost is $109 and a battery service can cost between $75 and $120. That means you can expect either provider to cover most of the costs, but it may not be completely free.
If you own a hybrid, it’s worth us mentioning that it may be difficult to find coverage through CarShield. Some CARCHEX contracts do cover hybrids, but you can expect to pay extra.
A quick glance at the above chart reveals that, on paper, there aren’t stark differences between the two companies. However, as we’ve said, details matter, and CARCHEX outpaces CarShield in the aspects that tend to matter most to consumers in the long-run.
CARCHEX has a strong reputation of quality customer service, as evidenced by the company’s Better Business Bureau A+ rating and accreditation, as well as other online review scores. Their mission has always been to act as a consumer advocate and to help them throughout the entire process of buying and owning a car, and it shows in their policies and practices. They take a customer-centric approach to their sales process, advising shoppers on the best plan for them rather than pressuring them to make a decision.
CARCHEX is also known throughout the automotive industry as trustworthy. The company has been around for over 20 years and has partnerships or endorsements from premier brands like CARFAX, Kelly Blue Book, and Edmunds.
All in all, while CarShield and CARCHEX’s vehicle protection plans vary in technicalities minimally, we prefer CARCHEX thanks to the company’s strong history of incredible customer service, strategic partnerships, and flexibility.