As every driver knows, one of the most important elements in your purchase choice includes car warranty (or more accurately, a vehicle service contract). Buy a car brand with a long, quality warranty and you can feel comfortable that, if anything goes wrong, you can get meaningful support to resolve the issue. If the brand you buy lacks long-term warranty, though, you can invest in warranty extensions from some companies.
The problem is when you search the terms best car warranty or most reliable car warranty sites like consumer affairs or motor1, or even market watch pop up.
Take this quote from wallethub:
“The best extended car warranty company is Carchex because it offers five levels of coverage, with multiple contract options ranging from 12 to 84 months.”
Carchex may be a viable option, however it would not be because ‘it offers 5 levels of coverage’. Warranties are quality because they pay out claims reliably and offer usable benefits.
These sites are ads used to bring in money by referring you to ANY car warranty. And unfortunately when you’re looking down at a bill for 5k because you chose a subpar company one of these ad sites told you was great, they will be nowhere to be found.
Important Note: The information below is not an ad and if you choose a company because of the information in this article do so at your own risk. However, if you need help choosing an vehicle service contract that fits your car, message us and we can help. We do not receive any ad money by listing the companies below and there are dozens more options we will review at a later date.
So, that being said, there are ton of car warranty extension companies out there but also a ton of misinformation. So who should you trust?
We want to take a look at five companies in particular. In this guide, we will compare Carshield, Endurance, Carchex, Zurich, and Smart Protect. These are five of the bigger names in the car warranty world, and it is likely that if you do wish to extend warranty you will turn to one of the following companies.
What To Look For In A Car Warranty
Let’s Talk Better Business Bureau
Before we get into the company specifics, lets take a quick look into what makes a good warranty coverage.
The first thing you should look for is a BBB accreditation and an A or higher rating.
Now the company does not have to be in the BBB but if they are and they are not A rated or accredited that’s a sure sign to stay away! You CAN pay for a BBB accreditation, however you CAN NOT stay accredited without having a quality business.
According to Nerd Wallet:
“BBB ratings are based off the transparency and integrity of your business. They follow a code of ethics that sums up what they’re looking for in businesses with BBB A+ ratings: These businesses “Build Trust, Advertise Honestly, Tell the Truth, Be Transparent, Honor Promises, Be Responsive, Safeguard Privacy, Embody Integrity.”
To put it simply, the BBB has a rating system that weighs customer complaints, responsiveness, transparency, and speed of resolution among other factors. If a company does not have a positive rating, you, in essence are taking a serious gamble choosing them.
If a thousand people’s issues did not get resolved then do not be surprised if you choose them and become number 1,001.
Now every company has some negative reviews, but an A rating gives you the peace of mind that the negative reviews you see are an extremely small portion of the feedback the BBB received AND they resolve the small amount of issues they do have.
Most vehicle service contracts will only pay national average of labor charges. This generally breaks down to $80 to $100 per hour. This is usually not enough to cover most shops in the country nowadays but definitely not enough to cover the hourly labor of luxury car repair facilities.
The better vehicle service contracts have options to pay area labor average or posted labor average.
Wear and Tear Coverage
No this doesn’t mean if the company will pay for your oil changes. There are no quality warranty contracts that pay for oil changes. I repeat there are no quality warranty contracts that cover oil changes. What wear and tear coverage means is whether you have the ability to use the policy when your car is starting to fail or do you have to wait for it to fail completely.
If your contract allows you to bring your car in to get fixed when it is just starting to fail, congratulations, you have a wear and tear coverage.
Some contracts will not have this benefit but the company is reputable enough to not deny a claim based off of this, we however still prefer it to be contractually guaranteed.
Now, let’s take a look at each of the companies and work out which car warranty vendor you might wish to partner up with.
The best car warranty companies – rated from worst to best.
Out of all of the companies above, Carshield is the least reliable and effective. Despite having been in business for years, it does not take long online to find them overwhelmed with complaints.
There are thousands of complaints put in about the service received, and there are even some reports of litigation taking place against the company.
In fact, it was pretty difficult finding a dealer who would even accept a carshield warranty.
While they offer a great many services and features, it would be fair to say that Carshield regularly fails to live up to expectation. There are some real horror stories out there regarding the business – their Better Business Bureau rating is poor, an F, and the reviews are littered with stories of expensive car warranty claims without taking any responsibility when work was carried out.
There will be some people who have had a good experience with Carshield, but for the best extended car warranty we would go elsewhere.
BBB rating: F
Hourly Labor: National Average
Wear and Tear: No
Endurance is a platform that has been around for a while, but their BBB profile shows a pretty staggering number of complaints. At the time of writing, they had been involved in over 1,400 different complaints in just three years. They do have longevity on their side, having been in business for more than fifteen years of service. They opened their doors in 2006.
Like Carshield, there are a ton of complaints about warranty contracts not being adhered to and failing to pay out for warranty work. This includes the oil changes they offer.
There are enough people who seem to have had a good opinion of the business, but also enough complaints about failing to pay out that should have you looking elsewhere.
There are also complaints about their promotional marketing tactics, with claims of confusing and/or misleading language that some customers noted as ‘intimidating’.
If you are looing for a reliable car warranty firm, you might want to look at one of the other options on this list.
BBB rating: B-
Hourly Labor: National Average
Wear and Tear: Yes
With over twenty years in business and an accredited BBB profile, Carchex is a trusted and respectable extended car warranty business. They take their job seriously, and they provide a good range of different platforms to pick from.
When compared to the platforms above, Carchex has ‘just’ over 150 complaints on file in the last three years. That is not perfect, but it is a clear sign that they are a better choice than others.
They offer some pretty good services, ranging from pre-purchase inspection of vehicles to used vehicle warranty extensions. Like other warranty companies, there are stories of failing to pay out for car treatments and repairs that they provided warranty for.
Carchex are good for more bespoke, unique policies that cover the kind of things other admins would not provide.
Generally, though, they are seen as a company that responds quickly, gives fair returns, and can be useful for inspecting a car before you invest in full.
Not perfect by any means, but Carchex definitely has a better rating – the fact it is BBB accredited is a good sign, as well.
BBB rating: A+
Hourly Labor: National Average, Area Average, Posted Labor
Wear and Tear: Yes
Given Zurich has been in business for over a century, if they were untrustworthy you would know by now. Zurich is an A+ BBB accredited business and provides insurance, warranty, and other protections for various platforms.
While complaints tend to exist about their travel insurance, the majority of comments regarding their auto warranty extensions are pretty fair.
Yes, there are people who have had some problems with the company. There will always be negative stories about any business. Zurich, though, do seem to come out the other side in a good light more often than not. Given the size of the company, the fact they have had just over 100 complaints in 3 years is pretty impressive.
They are one of the largest insurance firms in the US and operate globally.
If you are looking for car warranty extension with a brand that you can trust, they are a pretty good place to start. Fair pricing, long-term history, and a proven customer service help program.
BBB rating: A+
Hourly Labor: Posted Labor Rate
Wear and Tear: Yes
Smart Protect is, in our opinion, the ‘hidden gem’ of the extended car warranty industry. They have some great insight into the industry, they offer various options – including used car warranty extensions – and, most importantly, they are very unique in their policy creation.
Smart Protect are quite a quiet company, as they very rarely if ever write out to the public. This makes them hard to find and to get working with, but once you do you can see for yourself why they are such a well-liked company.
They might lack the marketing visibility as other names on the list, but Smart Protect are definitely worth considering.
Out of all of the car warranty companies we covered; we believe Smart Protect offers the best value overall.
They underwrite tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of policy per year, and offer a tremendous range of products, services, and solutions that you simply do not find with competitor brands.
If you want to start using car warranty companies, we recommend you start with Smart Protect and work your way back. The best extended car warranty is not always the cheapest, but the most versatile and also the most likely to actually pay out. Compare the above, and you should find it much easier to get the extension that you need without breaking the bank or worrying about being left high and dry when the time comes for repairs.
BBB rating: N/A
Hourly Labor: Posted Labor
Wear and Tear: Yes
We will continue to update the list and add other warranty contracts as we review their policies. If you need help finding the best warranty for your specific situation, give us a call at (410)949-9064