CARCHEX vs. CarShield

How do two brokers selling identical warranties stand out from each other?

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CARCHEX and CarShield are both established extended car warranty companies with solid reputations. What’s interesting, however, is that both companies sell the exact same warranties provided by a third company called American Auto Shield.

In that way, CARCHEX and CarShield are a bit like two car dealerships selling vehicles from the same brand. You’ll get the same exact car from both, but the price, benefits and customer service experience might be different.

So, how exactly do these two extended warranty “dealers” differ from one another? Which offers the better price and overall experience?

Read on to find out.

What is the difference between CARCHEX and CarShield?

As we mentioned, both companies exclusively sell warranties from the same provider, so the differences between them are most apparent in edge cases.

CARCHEX offered slightly higher prices on plans for our sample vehicles, but the difference was small enough that you might make it up with a cheaper deductible.

CarShield has slightly stronger reviews, but it can raise its deductible significantly in some cases.

What does that mean?

  • CARCHEX is likely best if you drive a vehicle with more than 150,000 miles because it often offers a lower deductible on high-mileage vehicles.
  • CarShield is likely best if you drive a vehicle with fewer than 150,000 miles since it has a lower minimum deductible.

However, it’s worth comparing quotes from both companies to make sure your rates follow the same pattern.

Our take on CARCHEX

Pros

  • Available in all 50 states
  • Generous rental car and rideshare benefits
  • Includes trip interruption coverage
  • Partners with charities

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide quotes online
  • Not a direct provider
  • Mixed reputation for claims handling

Bottom line: CARCHEX stands out for its secondary benefits, including rental car reimbursements, rideshare assistance and trip interruption coverage. Just know that some of its plans can be on the expensive side, its standard deductible is $200 and you can’t get quotes online.

» EXPLORE: CARCHEX reviews

Our take on CarShield

Pros

  • Covers cars with up to 300,000 miles
  • Month-to-month, price-locked plans available
  • Generous rental car/rideshare benefits
  • Offers Aluminum plan to cover expensive electronics

Cons

  • Must call to get a quote

Bottom line: CarShield's high points include its generous rental car and rideshare benefits and its unique Aluminum plan that can help supplement your remaining factory powertrain warranty. Although CarShield's quote process isn't the best, its plan options and lax vehicle requirements make finding the right coverage easy.

» EXPLORE: CarShield reviews

CARCHEX vs. CarShield availability

CARCHEX is licensed to sell warranties in California, while CarShield is not. That makes choosing between the two easy for everyone in the Golden State.

For everyone else, both companies will be equally viable options unless your vehicle has between 250,000 and 300,000 miles.

CARCHEX vs. CarShield coverage

CarShield technically has more plan options than CARCHEX, but things are more similar once you take a look under the hood.

For example, CARCHEX and CarShield offer the same five American Auto Shield warranties — just with different names in most cases.

The main difference in their coverage options is that CarShield goes a step further by offering two additional warranties. One is exclusively for motorcycles and ATVs, and one is for electric vehicles, covering EV components only — such as your drive unit and battery pack.

» UNDERSTAND THE BASICS: What does a car warranty cover?

CARCHEX vs. CarShield cost

Since CARCHEX and CarShield mostly sell the exact same warranties, your decision will likely come down to whichever company offers you a better deal.

The cost of your extended warranty will depend on your vehicle and the plan you want, but we collected quotes from both companies for exclusionary coverage on six sample vehicles to provide some context for what you can expect.

In the end, CarShield offered us a better price on five of our six sample vehicles and a lower deductible on all six. (CARCHEX did not offer us a $100 deductible option, to make a more direct comparison.) However, the difference was usually fairly small, and prices change over time.

» NEED CONTEXT? How much does an extended car warranty cost?

CARCHEX vs. CarShield policies

As expected, both CARCHEX and CarShield have very similar policies. Both pay mechanics directly and allow you to transfer coverage if you sell your vehicle.

One area where they deviate significantly is in their deductible options. CARCHEX offers a $200 standard deductible on most vehicles, while CarShield’s standard deductible is $100. However, CarShield’s deductible rose to $500 for some of the higher-mileage vehicles we got quotes for, while CARCHEX remained at $200.

That means CARCHEX might offer better deals on vehicles with over 150,000 miles — but again, it’s worth getting quotes from both companies to find out for sure.

» LEARN: How an extended auto warranty works

CARCHEX vs. CarShield benefits

CARCHEX and CarShield both include 24/7 roadside assistance, towing and up to $60 per day in rideshare assistance with each plan. They also include up to $125 per day (for up to four days) in trip interruption coverage, which can help to cover the cost of meals and lodging if your car breaks down more than 100 miles from home.

Where they may slightly differ is in rental car coverage. Both companies provided sample contracts that listed up to $100 in daily rental car reimbursement, but two separate CARCHEX representatives confirmed with us over the phone that rental reimbursements cap at $75.

In addition, both companies claim you’ll only be reimbursed for rental cars similar to yours. So, if your Chevrolet is in the shop, you shouldn’t expect to be fully reimbursed for renting a Cadillac.

Quick and easy. Find an auto warranty partner now.

    How people feel about CARCHEX vs. CarShield

    At the time of publishing, CARCHEX has a 4.23-star rating and 4,238 total reviews on ConsumerAffairs, while CarShield has an overall satisfaction rating of 4.5 stars based on 9,058 reviews.

    CARCHEX customers seem happy with the initial signup process, but reports of claims handling are more varied.

    “The agent was very professional and helpful and courteous and easy to communicate with. He explain everything about the coverage, what is covered, how long the coverage will last and the payment plan and I ask about the discounts and he was very helpful with that,” wrote Bernard, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer in Louisiana.

    “Jaguar contacted Carchex and provided details on what needed fixed. Carchex told Jaguar that they will not cover OEM parts but would cover aftermarket parts and are saying that I have to pay the difference plus all sales tax. So instead of paying my $100 deductible Carchex is leaving me responsible for a bill over $2000,“ wrote Bryan in Indiana.

    » SEE FOR YOURSELF: CARCHEX reviews 

    CarShield reviews that mention claims seem more positive overall.

    “Brought my car into the Hyundai dealership for repair. The car was leaking oil from the engine. My Hyundai Advisor called Carshield and it was covered. In these trying times it is so very hard on people that have to pay for car repairs and I was so happy that I had Carshield. I would recommend Carshield to anyone,” wrote Catherine in Florida.

    Still, several customers cited frustrations with mechanics refusing to take CarShield, which may be a sign you should talk to your preferred mechanic about CarShield before you buy.

    “I called because an auto dealer in Conroe, TX said they do not take CarShield to cover any repair I might need on my car. The young lady I spoke to was supposed to call me back with the name of a dealer who would work with CarShield, but no word yet,” wrote Patricia in Texas.

    » SEE FOR YOURSELF: CarShield reviews

    » LEARN TO SPOT RED FLAGS: How to avoid the worst extended auto warranty companies

    Bottom line: CARCHEX or CarShield?

    To recap, CARCHEX and CarShield sell identical warranties, so your decision between the two will likely come down to the price you’re quoted, your given deductible and the secondary benefits that come with your plan.

    CarShield has collected more positive reviews than CARCHEX, and customers seem overall happier with how it handles claims. Plus, the company quoted us a lower deductible and/or a lower price for all six of our sample vehicles.

    That being said, CarShield tended to raise its deductible to $500 for sample vehicles with over 150,000 miles, while CARCHEX kept its standard deductible of $200. Such a wide gap could indicate that CARCHEX could make a better overall offer on high-mileage vehicles.

    In the end, it’s likely worth getting a quote from both and seeing how things work out for you. If neither sounds like a fit, though, be sure to check out our guide to the best extended car warranty companies for top-rated alternatives.

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