- California does not allow unlicensed extended car warranty companies to provide vehicle service contracts.
- In California, you are better off directly using mechanical breakdown insurance.
- Select Auto Protect, Carchex, and Autopom! are the best alternatives to use instead of CarShield in California.
California car owners searching for extended vehicle protection might wonder why CarShield is not available in their state. We explain the mystery right here.
While CarShield is well-known in other states, the rigid requirements by the Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA) contribute to its unavailability in the state.California limits extended car warranties to when the car gets purchased, making it difficult for CarShield to operate.
For Californian car owners, this can be both informative and disappointing, but we hope our explanation clarifies the situation. Further knowledge on the subject will help you explore alternative options for vehicle protection that conform to the state's requirements and expectations.
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Why Is CarShield Not Available In California? (Complete Guide)
California has strict laws that restricts companies from selling traditional extended car warranties. This is why you will only see companies selling Mechanical Breakdown Insurance instead in California. This is what the state law allows, creating problems for extended warranty providers.
In California, sellers and administrators of extended warranties must hold valid licenses. Additionally, only dealerships are permitted to sell Vehicle Service Contracts (VSCs), while Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI) policies can be sold only by insurance companies.
These restrictions create a challenging environment for warranty providers like CarShield to operate in the state, limiting their ability to offer their services to California residents.
These strict regulations serve to protect consumers from fraudulent or unreliable warranty providers. By imposing licensing requirements on sellers and administrators, California aims to ensure that the warranty providers are transparent, reliable, and willing to provide high-quality services that preserve and protect the financial interests of consumers.
Can You Buy an Extended Car Warranty in California?
You can buy an extended car warranty in California but it’s a much more complicated process. This is because extended warranty companies are treated the same as a licensed insurance company. So there are more rules and regulations to meet to operate legally.
In California, an extended warranty is known as a vehicle service contract.. These contracts function similarly to extended warranties, where you take your car to a covered mechanic when you face a breakdown, file a claim, and the coverage provider directly pays the repair shop.
The eligibility of your vehicle for an extended warranty will depend on its age, mileage, and condition. Each company has its own criteria, so it's worth inquiring with different providers.
Because of these policies, California consumers are better off acquiring Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for their vehicle. It’s the ideal alternative option for a reliable extended auto warranty.
What Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI)?
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI) is an option we recommend for vehicle owners in California. MBI policies are regulated by the California Department of Insurance and are provided by insurance companies.
These policies offer coverage for various vehicle repairs due to mechanical issues that are not the result of regular wear and tear or accidents. With MBI, you can choose coverage that suits your needs, from basic to comprehensive.
This insurance usually covers parts like the engine, transmission, and electrical components, but the specific items covered will depend on the policy you choose. Premiums are typically paid monthly, and coverage often extends for a specific number of years or miles driven.
One of the benefits of MBI is that you can purchase it at any time, not just when you buy a new vehicle. This means that if your manufacturer's warranty has expired, you can still get coverage for your car.
Plus, MBI policies often provide flexibility in choosing your repair shop, allowing you to work with mechanics you trust. So while CarShield might not be available for Californians, Mechanical Breakdown Insurance is a friendly, reliable alternative to protect your vehicle from costly repairs.
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Vs. Extended Warranty
When comparing options for car protection plans, it's essential to know the difference between mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) and extended warranties. This is to better protect car owners for simple fixes like tire and wheel repair needs.
In California, CarShield is not available as the state offers mechanical breakdown insurance instead. This also helps car owners avoid improperly denied claims and holds the companies responsible for paying. Let's discuss the similarities and differences.
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI)
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance is a type of car insurance coverage that pays for repairs to your vehicle not covered by a standard auto insurance policy or the manufacturer's warranty.
This coverage typically includes repairs to all mechanical parts of the car, excluding regular maintenance. This means there are no illegally sold contracts either.
Key features of MBI:
- Regulation: MBI is regulated by the insurance industry and must adhere to the consumer protection laws of the insurance industry. For California residents, only licensed insurance companies can provide MBI.
- Flexibility: With MBI, you typically have the freedom to take your vehicle to any licensed repair shop.
- Deductible: Like other forms of insurance, MBI policies usually have a deductible that you're responsible for paying when a claim is made.
- Cancellation: MBI policies can often be canceled at any time, with the balance of the unused premium typically refunded.
Extended Warranty (Vehicle Service Contract)
An extended warranty, officially referred to as a vehicle service contract, kicks in after the manufacturer's warranty expires to cover the cost of certain repairs.
Coverage varies greatly among providers, with more comprehensive plans covering almost all mechanical and electrical components and more basic plans covering just the powertrain.
Key features of Extended Warranties:
- Regulation: Extended warranties are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state-level agencies, but are not considered insurance products in most states.
- Repair Shops: Depending on your warranty provider, you may be limited to certain repair facilities or dealership service centers.
- Payment Plans: Many extended warranties can be paid for in monthly installments, spreading the cost over a longer period.
- Extras: Extended warranties often include additional benefits like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption services.
- Transferability: If you sell your car, some extended warranties are transferable to the new owner, which can increase your vehicle's resale value.
What Are The Best Extended Warranties in California?
Since CarShield is not an option in California, it’s worth reviewing some alternatives. These are the three top picks we recommend.
Select Auto Protect
Select Auto Protect has earned its reputation for being a trustworthy provider of extended warranties. They offer comprehensive coverage plans tailored to suit the needs of various drivers. You can also speak directly to an insurance agent to expedite the process.
Their strong focus on customer service ensures that car owners can have peace of mind when facing unexpected issues. Additionally, Select Auto Protect is known for their prompt response times and hassle-free claims process.
Carchex is another excellent option for extended warranties in California. They offer a wide range of coverage plans, from basic to comprehensive, ensuring that there's a suitable option for everyone.
One of their strong points is their transparency in pricing and coverage, which allows customers to make informed decisions. Carchex also provides excellent customer support and has received high ratings from various review sources, making them a reliable choice for extended warranty coverage.
Autopom! is a popular provider of extended warranties in California, with coverage options that cater to different budgets and requirements. They offer a variety of plans, including those that cover high-tech vehicle components.
Autopom! is known for its efficient online quote and purchase process. Their strong customer service and affordable pricing make them a valuable choice for California car owners in need of extended warranty protection.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding