If you are searching for an extended auto warranty, you may have heard of CARS Protection Plus. The provider has been in business for more than 20 years. But how does its extended warranty compare to the competition?
We’ve taken the time to look deeper into CARS Protection Plus warranty reviews, company’s reputation, coverage levels, and cost. Below, we will determine whether or not the CARS Protection Plus warranty is worth it.
To go ahead and get free extended warranty quotes from our top recommended providers, click below.
In this article:
- CARS Protection Plus Overview
- Do You Need A Car Warranty?
- CARS Protection Plus Warranty Coverage Options
- CARS Protection Plus Company Trustworthiness
- How Much Does A CARS Protection Plus Warranty Cost?
- CARS Protection Plus Customer Reviews
- Our Thoughts On The CARS Protection Plus Warranty
- Top Extended Warranty Providers
CARS Protection Plus Overview
CARS Protection Plus has been in business since 1998 when the company was founded with just six employees. Today, the provider serves all 50 states with an industry-high 200,000-mile acceptance limitation. That means a CARS Protection Plus warranty can cover most cars on the road. The biggest limitation the provider has is that consumers cannot get quotes on the CARS Protection Plus website. They must go through an authorized retailer.
Do You Need A Car Warranty?
There are some manufacturer warranties that cover your vehicle from the date of purchase for many years, with Hyundai and Kia being among the best. But what are you going to do when your factory warranty expires? What if your used car doesn’t come with a warranty?
If you don’t have an extended warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, in place, you will be responsible for any repair costs associated with a mechanical breakdown. Only 40 percent of Americans can cover a $1,000 emergency. For those without a savings account, an unexpected car repair could mean going into debt.
Most car repairs won’t cost you thousands of dollars, but if something major like your engine or transmission were to malfunction, you could be left with a hefty bill. Take a look at some of the average costs for major car repairs from CarBrain.com to see if you could foot the bill.
|Engine Control Unit Replacement||$3,000|
|Air Bag Replacement||$2,500–$4,000|
|Hybrid Car Battery Replacement||$6,000|
|Engine and Cylinder Replacement||$7,000–$10,000|
If these numbers make you uneasy, it’s wise to consider your extended car warranty options. With monthly payments, you might find that taking care of your vehicle is less expensive than you initially thought.
CARS Protection Plus Warranty Coverage Options
The CARS Protection Plus warranty has more options than most providers, with a total of 11 protection plans for your vehicle. However, many of these are closely related and difficult to differentiate from one another. It doesn’t help that the CARS Protection Plus warranty website is outdated, and the plans don’t appear to be listed in any particular order online.
CARS Protection Plus considers the following options to be vehicle service contracts:
|Plan||What It Covers|
|Ultimate Value||This plan is a complete bumper-to-bumper warranty covering most of the vehicle’s parts. It includes a labor rate up to $100 per hour, has some rental benefits, and covers towing or roadside assistance up to $50 per incident.|
|ONYX Plus||Diesel trucks and vans receive specialized protection on this plan. Coverage is similar to the Ultimate Value, except labor is only covered up to $70 per hour.|
|Value Plus||Coverage is similar to the Ultimate Value, except labor rates are only covered up to $70 per hour and diagnostic charges are not included.|
|Independence||This coverage is similar to the Value Plus, except the labor rate drops to $60 per hour and there are no roadside assistance benefits. Towing is still included up to $50.|
|Value Limited||This coverage is similar to Independence coverage, except the air conditioning is excluded.|
|Power Train Limited||This plan covers all essential components, with the ability to add on other systems. Labor rates are included up to $60 per hour, and towing is allowed up to $50 per instance. This plan does have a $200 deductible.|
|Power Train||This is a basic powertrain warranty with towing included up to $50 per instance.|
In addition, there are four Flex Protect levels to choose from with the CARS Protection Plus warranty. Each includes diagnostic charges and rental benefits:
|Plan||What It Covers|
|Flex Protect Level 4||This protection plan includes parts and systems such as the engine, transmission, steering components, brake components, and electrical components. 24-hour roadside assistance is included up to $50 per incident, and labor rates up to $160 per hour can be included for an additional charge. There are a number of exclusions like glass, bumpers, body sheet metal and panels, and safety restraint systems.|
|Flex Protect Level 3||This plan is similar to Flex Protect Level 4, but some of the electronic components lose coverage.|
|Flex Protect Level 2||This level of coverage only includes the powertrain and a few other components, such as turbochargers, suspension, and steering. Roadside assistance is removed with this plan, but you still receive towing.|
|Flex Protect Level 1||This basic powertrain warranty covers the engine, transmission, and drive systems.|
While each plan has its own terms and conditions, there are some parts that are regularly excluded with the CARS Protection Plus warranty, even on the most comprehensive plans.
- Under the hood: Gaskets and seals aren’t covered on vehicles with more than 100,000 miles unless the repair is in conjunction with a covered component.
- Under the vehicle: Plans don’t include the catalytic converter, brake rotors, brake drums, exhaust pipe, mufflers, resonators, tailpipes, frame, structural body parts, wheels, valve stems, and tires.
- Exterior: The coverage won’t include the glass, windows, windshield, and mirrors. These exclusions include any embedded electrical elements on the glass. Furthermore, convertible tops, Targa tops, and T-top aren’t included. There are many lighting components that won’t receive coverage as well, including laser lighting systems, Xenon, LED, sealed beams, and lenses. Plans also exclude weather strips, trim, body panels, paint, moldings, bumpers, and the body sheet metal.
- Interior: The safety restraint systems are excluded. This includes air bags, actuators, seatbelts, sensors, and tensioners. You won’t have coverage for the carpet, headliner, upholstery, or mirrors either.
- Other Exclusions: There is a long list of other exclusions included with every plan. Some of these discuss driver-assist systems, while others are related to maintenance parts.
If you are considering a CARS Protection Plus warranty, you will want to carefully read your entire contract before signing to determine what is and isn’t included with your coverage.
With the CARS Protection Plus warranty, most plans come with towing, roadside assistance, and rental car coverage. The trouble is that all of these perks are limited to a certain amount, some of which are restrictive. These added benefits don’t offer as much peace of mind as we would hope for.
CARS Protection Plus Company Trustworthiness
It’s clear that CARS Protection Plus is a reputable company, striving to cover repairs on consumers’ vehicles. The organization maintains an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, which isn’t something to be taken lightly in this industry.
Additionally, CARS Protection Plus claims to be a part of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, as well as several independent Automobile Dealers Associations in various states. It is also a partner of Meineke.
How Much Does A CARS Protection Plus Warranty Cost?
The only way to get an accurate price for the CARS Protection Plus warranty is to receive a free quote from an authorized retailer. It’s clear that the Flex Protect Levels are going to cost more than the other service contracts. These protection plans can cover a higher labor rate, up to $75 per hour, but allow customers to adjust that to $160 per hour as well.
Other factors that will affect the price of a CARS Protection Plus warranty include the following:
- Age of the vehicle
- Amount of coverage
CARS Protection Plus Customer Service
During regular business hours, it isn’t difficult to get in contact with the customer service representatives at CARS. The only time that you might have a problem getting answers is if you want a free quote. The CARS Protection Plus warranty is not available for purchase on the CARS Protection Plus website. Instead, consumers must go through an authorized retailer.
There are some areas where CARS Protection Plus delivers a positive customer experience. For one, you can choose any repair shop to honor your vehicle warranty. CARS Protection Plus also pays the repair facility directly, so you don’t have to pay anything for covered repairs other than your deductible and any charges that go beyond what your CARS warranty includes.
As for transferability, the CARS Protection Plus warranty can be transferred to a new vehicle owner for a $99 fee.
CARS Protection Plus Customer Reviews
When we look at reviews online, it’s clear that opinions of the CARS Protection Plus warranty can go one way or the other. The provider has just over a 1-star rating on the BBB, while Google rates it with 2.5 stars based on more than 300 reviews. Here are a few customer reviews:
“Had an AC evaporator go bad on my Subaru Impreza. Took into the shop [and the] repair was $1,350 [and] CARS picked up $949 of it. Thanks! I've had CARS warranties on several of my vehicles over the years, and they have always stepped up and paid a fair share of the repair as outlined in whatever warranty I've had with them. I highly recommend CARS if you have a used car you need coverage on.”
-Kevin R. via Google
“We bought this warranty plan for our Volkswagen Tiguan. We had to use the warranty for a water pump, rear main seal, and timing cover. The company said they would only cover the water pump. They wouldn't even cover any of the other repairs. The repair work cost $1,500. The company only paid $300. Do not purchase this warranty! They are a horrible company!”
-Walter K. via Google
Our Thoughts On The CARS Protection Plus Warranty
After looking at all of the facts, it’s clear that CARS Protection Plus is a reputable company and has a wide variety of plan options. However, the plans can be confusing, and the fact that you can’t get a quote for a CARS warranty online is a huge disadvantage.
|200,000-mile vehicle acceptance limitation||Quotes are not available online|
|Offers a total of 11 protection plans to choose from||Plans only available at authorized retailers|
|Direct payments to repair facilities||Although there are many plan options, some seem like re-packaged versions of each other with little to no difference|
|A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau||Plans can be difficult to understand online, |
and no sample contracts are available
Top Extended Warranty Providers
If you aren’t sold on the CARS Protection Plus warranty, there are plenty of other reputable providers out there for vehicle service contracts. We recently researched the best extended car warranty companies in the nation. In our investigation, we found several companies that provide great coverage and service for reasonable prices.
Use the tool below to get free quotes from our top three picks.
Best Coverage: Endurance
Endurance offers direct-to-consumer extended warranties, which means that warranty services and claims are handled directly by Endurance. We gave it a 4.6-star rating and named it the provider with the best coverage.
With Endurance, you don’t have to worry about a middleman or underwriting provider, and Endurance is also known for its excellent customer service during the quote and claims process.
Additionally, Endurance warranty plans allow car owners to choose from any repair shop certified by Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) to complete their covered repairs.
Best For Used Cars: CARCHEX
CARCHEX maintains an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB, and it has received endorsements from industry leaders like CARFAX, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds.com. Our review team gave the company a 4.4 star rating.
CARCHEX offers a total of five extended warranty plans, each of which can be customized. All plans include 24/7 emergency roadside assistance, gas delivery, trip interruption services, and lockout services.
Having trouble deciding between Endurance and CARCHEX? Read our Endurance vs. CARCHEX review.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate rankings of the best providers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of extended warranty plans available, coverage terms, and added benefits like roadside assistance.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. Companies with lower prices per year of coverage receive the best scores.
- Transparency: This score takes into account contract transparency and the availability of a money-back guarantee.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each warranty company.
Read our guides to other warranty providers:
- USAA Extended Warranty
- Fidelity Car Warranty Review
- Gold Standard Automotive Network
- Zurich Warranty Review
- ForeverCar Warranty Review
- First Automotive Warranty Review
- Smart Autocare Warranty Overview
- Members Choice Extended Car Warranty Review
- National Auto Care Warranty Guide
- Warranty Solutions Review