CARCHEX Warranty Review: A Complete Guide
Updated: July 27, 2023
With over two decades of experience in the industry, CARCHEX is one of the most trusted and dependable extended car warranty companies and a top pick for those seeking an extended warranty provider. As one of the most well-known names in the field, it's not surprising that it's a top pick for those seeking an extended warranty provider. So whether you are thinking of extra coverage for your new car purchase at the dealership, or looking to cover your existing, well-used vehicle, you might strongly consider CARCHEX.
However, it's crucial to thoroughly evaluate if a service provider is the right fit for your unique requirements before making a decision. Our CARCHEX warranty review aims to equip you with the necessary details to make an informed choice.
CARCHEX Auto Warranty Overview
CARCHEX, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, has established itself as a premier provider of extended auto warranties, a testament to their longevity and industry expertise. What often sets CARCHEX apart from other top players in the field is their extensive experience, with many of their competitors being at least five years their junior. They started life as a national car inspection provider for customers looking to assess a vehicle before purchase, then used their hard-earned expertise to offer extended vehicle protection products.
When it comes to vehicle service contracts (VSCs), CARCHEX acts as a broker and partners with reputable and trustworthy third-party VSC providers and administrators like American Auto Shield and Royal Administration Services, among others. CARCHEX markets and sells these extended auto warranties nationwide, offering coverage in all 50 states. If you choose a CARCHEX extended warranty, you have the freedom to select a certified repair facility that has received ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) recognition and may be covered for the repairs of a greater number of vehicle components than many other warranty providers.
CARCHEX boasts accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an impressive A+ rating and is highly responsive to customer inquiries. They offer five Extended Vehicle Protection plans designed for different vehicle protection needs, for which they provide sample contracts on their website. They are generally a trusted and reliable company with a proven track record of delivering high-quality extended auto warranties, but are they right for you?
Exploring the Perks of CARCHEX Services
CARCHEX stands out as a top choice to extend your vehicle's coverage past the manufacturer's warranty term period. There are many reasons why they can fit your needs for warranty coverage, including:
- Relationships with multiple VSC administrators: Acting as a broker for you, CARCHEX works with eight service contract providers and administrators to find the best and most affordable coverage for you based on your location, vehicle needs, and budget. Not only do they work to get you the best deal through these third-party partnerships, but they also stand behind them and communicate on your behalf to ensure the same satisfactory service standard. These administrators include American Auto Shield, Assurant Solution, and Zurich, among others
- Services backed by industry standard-bearers: They boast powerful partnerships with industry research and service standard-bearers, like Kelley Blue Book, CARFAX, RepairPal, and Edmunds.com. These reputable companies not only endorse CARCHEX through their research work but also provide their specific services to CARCHEX customers, giving you truly comprehensive benefits
- Accepts high-mileage vehicles: They protect vehicles with mileages of up to 250,000
- Coverage in all 50 states: CARCHEX stands out for its nationwide coverage, including in California, surpassing other warranty providers that may have limited services to specific regions. In this way, CARCHEX ensures that their services that extend your car's manufacturer’s warranty are available to you no matter where you are located
- Flexibility of warranty options: They offer a diverse range of plans catering to different budgets and vehicle needs, ensuring you receive the required coverage level. Whether you bought a new or used car, CARCHEX provides options that deliver the necessary protection. And their flexibility extends to their payment plans, which can be billed on a monthly or per-contract term basis
- 30-day-money back guarantee: If you change your mind about buying one of their VSCs within the first 30 days, they offer a full refund. See contract for all stipulations and limitations
- Choose your own repair shop: With CARCHEX, you may choose to repair your vehicle anywhere that is licensed, be it your mechanic, dealer, or network chain. And they will help you find a suitable shop through their partnership with RepairPal, as well as through AAA or the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
Why CARCHEX May Not Be Your Best Choice
While they are known for their comprehensive coverage options and outstanding customer service, some prospective customers might still choose not to go with a CARCHEX warranty plan. Some of the reasons they might not be a fit for you are:
- May not offer the specific coverage you need: CARCHEX does not explicitly provide coverage for different vehicle types or for certain components within some vehicles. Other providers have plans made specifically for electric cars or ATVs, and others feature hybrid components for coverage either within the contract or as an added package. CARCHEX does not advertise such coverage, although you may still be able to get your unique requirements taken care of, potentially via an exclusionary coverage plan
- May be more expensive than others: While CARCHEX strives to provide competitive rates, some customers might find that the cost of their extended car warranty plans, especially for high-mileage vehicles, does not align with their budget or financial situation
- They are brokers, not administrators: Because they are brokers for multiple VSC administrators, whom you would directly contact for your claims instead of CARCHEX, the service may not be consistent across these companies. It must be noted that the provider's contracts are administered and managed by reputable providers like American Auto Shield, which also services CarShield customers in the same way. Still, other providers like Endurance provide and manage their service contracts in-house, which might entice some customers more
When making a decision about an extended auto warranty, it is crucial to consider your specific needs and budget. Look at such factors as coverage limits, deductibles, and services offered to ensure that you make an informed decision. Additionally, research customer reviews or talk to previous purchasers of CARCHEX warranties to better understand their products and services. And always be sure to read through all the terms of the contract agreement before signing it.
CARCHEX Coverage Plans
CARCHEX promotes five separate plans on their website, each with sample vehicle service contracts for you to look through. These provide a range of vehicle protection levels, from basic powertrain coverage all the way to exclusionary "bumper-to-bumper" protection, and can be a fit for many new and pre-owned vehicles. They may cover you for up to 10 years and 250,000 miles, depending on the plan and vehicle specifications. Their VSCs typically come with benefits like towing, fuel delivery, trip interruption coverage, rental cars or alternative transportation, and 24/7 roadside assistance— services for which there is no waiting period. Of course, there are service exclusions and limitations, as with many providers, such as maintaining and providing oil changes regularly to keep coverage.
Their coverage can be purchased on a monthly contract or for a specific term period, and the waiting period for claims filing differs between the two options:
- Term contract: 30 days and 1,000 miles or 90 days and 200 miles
- Monthly contract: 25 days and 500 miles or 40 days and 250 miles
Many CARCHEX plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee with a full refund for added peace of mind, after which you would get a prorated refund. Below, you'll find the five plans offered by CARCHEX, along with their respective coverage levels.
Powertrain (Bronze plan)
This is CARCHEX's most basic and affordable inclusionary plan, which lists all the specific parts and components covered for repairs. They used to refer to it as the Bronze plan on their website, but they changed the name to indicate that it is designed to help you protect your car from the "most common and expensive repairs" due to breakdowns of your vehicle's powertrain. This plan covers the major parts of the gas or diesel engine, transmission, drive axle, transfer unit, cooling system, turbocharger/supercharger, and many of their associated components. There may be some notable exclusions and limitations, so we recommend reading the sample contract carefully to see if it fits your needs.
The Powertrain coverage plan is best for higher-mileage vehicles and provides coverage for up to 5 to 6 years.
Powertrain Plus (Silver plan)
The Powertrain Plus plan, which used to be called Silver, offers expanded coverage for new and pre-owned vehicles, adding a few extra parts categories over what the Powertrain plan protects. Aside from the previously mentioned parts covered in that basic plan, Powertrain Plus also protects you for repairs of the fuel delivery, electrical, and air conditioning (AC) systems and their components. Check the contract for specific included and excluded components.
This plan sits in the middle as far as inclusionary plans offered at CARCHEX. They position it as a balance between comprehensive coverage and affordability, giving you the best of both worlds. A Powertrain Plus VSC offers up to 6 to 7 years of coverage and is a good choice for vehicles with more than 100,000 miles.
The Platinum plan is currently CARCHEX's most comprehensive level of inclusionary coverage. It covers hundreds of components and parts with service terms that can go as high as 5 to 10 years. Not only does this plan cover a much greater amount of components within the parts categories also included in the lower-tiered plans, but it also adds the categories of steering, suspension, brakes, high-tech electronics, audio center, and emissions.
It must be noted that some of the parts covered here may not be available under other warranty providers' protection offerings or may only be offered as optional packages. Still, as there will be some exclusions, we recommend you check the contract to see if this plan fits your needs.
This plan offers the highest level of coverage available from the company. This is an exclusionary plan that lists the components excluded from coverage as opposed to those included, and it provides coverage similar to the bumper-to-bumper warranty initially provided by the car manufacturer. It is meant to cover most parts of the vehicle aside from a short list of excluded parts that can be found under the Breakdown Coverage section of the contract. The Titanium plan's terms can last up to 7 to 10 years.
This plan is suited for new cars that are more electrically and mechanically demanding and can provide policyholders with the greatest level of peace of mind.
Extra Care coverage
This plan offers coverage for parts outside of the powertrain. It might be suited as supplemental protection for newer vehicles that still have powertrain factory warranty coverage because it adds coverage for cooling systems, electrical, steering, AC, suspension, brakes, high-tech electronics, fuel systems, and audio center components.
Check out the sample contract to see if it fits your needs.
We conducted our own research and read what customers said about CARCHEX's costs and found out that customers can pay in the range of $100 to $200 per month for a VSC, with a great number paying under $150 a month. Aside from the plan levels, policy monthly payments may also vary depending on whether you choose a monthly contract or a term contract, where you would pay monthly installments for a certain amount of months until you pay off the total agreed-upon cost.
Some term contract buyers may opt to pay the full amount up-front, which could save them money, and we have seen total contract costs vary greatly. You could end up paying between $2,300 and $5,000 in total, depending on your requirements, your vehicle's specifications, and the length of the term. For example, we have seen a Powertrain Plus plan cost $2,850 for a 5-year or 60,000-mile term. Deductibles typically range from $100 to $250 per repair.
Service contract costs with CARCHEX, and almost every other provider will vary depending on many factors, such as the car's make, model, age, mileage, and location. You may be able to negotiate better prices based on your budget constraints, age, or status, among other factors. For example, we have found that a senior citizen can pay around $3300 for a three-year term on a six-year-old luxury SUV. For this reason, CARCHEX provides a free service on their website where you can get instant quotes and a consultation with the company's service representatives over the phone. This way, you would get the most accurate and personalized quote for your car, and they would answer any questions you may have about their services and costs.
CARCHEX Auto Warranty Reviews: Is It Worth Your Money?
We have seen some mixed CARCHEX reviews and reactions from their customers regarding their warranty plans and services. They are a Better Business Bureau-accredited business with an A+ rating. However, the CARCHEX BBB review score is only 1.92/5, although that average score is from a relatively low number of reviews. On Trustpilot, the review score is a modest 2.6/5. However, the majority of actual reviews have positive 5-star ratings.
Many customers have praised the hassle-free claims process and coverage appropriate to their needs as offered by CARCHEX, indicating that it provides them with peace of mind knowing that their vehicle is protected against unexpected repairs. Customers were especially complimentary of the salespeople for being helpful to their case, and many reviewers went so far as praising the respectful and non-pushy representatives that helped them out by name and extension number!
From Powertrain Plus to Titanium plans, positive reviewers seem to appreciate the extent of vehicle coverage they chose and the flexible term lengths, even if they had high-mileage vehicles. And although a few had to be informed of contract exclusions they were not aware of, they seemed to appreciate the transparent and low-pressure communication they received from the provider. Even though some customers faced problems like their claims being denied, they reported that CARCHEX got behind them and got them the necessary repairs or refunds. They generally had great customer service experiences with the provider, pointing out the attentive and patient staff response.
CARCHEX warranty complaints
Of course, it's important to note that not all reviews were positive. Negative reviews from customers mentioned experiencing delays in getting their claims approved or difficulties in reaching a customer service representative during peak times. Some claim that CARCHEX requires lower-quality or used parts to be used because they are cheaper or pay for only a fraction of the total repair costs. Some reviewers report having difficulty canceling their policies, some of whom were unhappy with the amount they were refunded or the time it took to get the refund. Several reviewers went so far as to call them a scam because they felt tricked about their coverage levels, the ease of their claims or cancellation process, or thought that support representatives wasted their time by repeating the same questions and document requests.
While these negative instances were relatively few, it's important to consider them when making a decision. All previous customer experiences with a company can be useful in deciding where to spend your purchasing dollars, provided you think critically about what's being said and how the company responds to it. We know that all top providers will have their fair share of positive and negative reviews, and sometimes, what matters more is how they react to critical customer feedback. Do they try to address it or pretend it does not exist?
To that point, we note that CARCHEX does respond to all customer complaints and some critical reviews and seems to hold customer satisfaction in high regard. They are not always as prompt or as transparently thorough as other providers are online, but they do seem to care. Having said that, we have noticed that some customers may have been misinformed about the level of coverage or the required claims process, so they had to wait longer than desired to get service or approval. For example, a few customers said they were dissatisfied they had to pay out of pocket for covered repairs, although CARCHEX maintains they were just awaiting a proper inspection before paying directly and in full. Thus, we recommend you read your contract carefully to know exactly what you are covered for and the proper procedure to get the necessary service.
You can contact the company's customer support in two ways:
Customer service hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
If you are looking to file a claim, they provide the proper procedure and the telephone numbers for each of their claim administrators here. Make sure to consult the top of the contract for your specific administrator. Finally, if you have specific inquiries or are looking to give them feedback, you may submit a form to contact them online here.
They do not provide an email address for support or general inquiries, so you have to submit your information on one of the above forms to be contacted electronically.
The Bottom Line
CARCHEX has been in business for a relatively long time as a source of vehicle service contract (VSC) protection. They stand out among other extended warranty companies for the quality of their services and their many partnerships with automotive research and service businesses. Whenever a customer searches for the ideal car breakdown coverage company, CARCHEX is always near the top of the list.
The company is often praised for its coverage levels, plan flexibility, communication transparency, courteous customer service, and more. Whether you have a high-mileage car and need coverage for its essential powertrain components or have purchased a relatively new model and want the comfort of extending its coverage to bumper-to-bumper protection, CARCHEX can serve your needs. However, the plans they offer may not meet the needs of your specific vehicle or your budget. Or maybe you are concerned about some of the critical responses out there. They certainly have their fair share of detractors who say they do not always honor their claim requirements or take too long to respond, among other complaints. We hold that all experiences are valid, of course, but we have to give CARCHEX credit for their high response rate and satisfactory resolutions of criticisms and complaints.
Still, if you don't think CARCHEX is the right provider for you, you can check out the full list of the best auto warranty companies on the market. We also invite you to do your comparison research between extended auto warranty coverage companies because we think there's a great choice out there for you!
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