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Is The Carmax Extended Warranty Worth It For You?

Extended Warranty Reviews

By Jack Lightner | 11/23/19 9:00 AM | 0 minutes to read

The CarMax Extended Warranty (also known as the MaxCare Service Plan) is a vehicle service contract that can help you pay should your car need repairs.

MaxCare is an interesting example, because you can only get it for cars sold by CarMax.

We think this is by design, but we’ll get into that later.

Like with any extended warranty the CarMax MaxCare can absolutely be worth it for you, depending on your financial situation, and if you’re feeling lucky enough to hit on 16.

You are feeling lucky, right?

Because if you’re feeling lucky, you can avoid any extended warranty.

But, if you’re worried that your transmission is going to fall out, then you might want to keep reading.

Before we go on, it’s important that we make a quick distinction.

CarMax has two different types of warranties.

They have a limited warranty that is automatically granted to all cars sold, and the MaxCare warranty, which is what we’ll be talking about today.

First though, let’s quickly cover the CarMax Limited Warranty.

What Does CarMax Limited Warranty Cover?

All cars sold by CarMax come with a 4,000 mile / 90 Day (whichever comes first) limited warranty. You’ll get this included with your car whether you buy a MaxCare service plan or not.

This essentially serves as protection should CarMax’s 125-point inspection procedure not deliver on what it promises.

The limited warranty remains in effect even if your car is covered under it’s manufacturer’s warranty.

The coverage is similar to MaxCare, and covers the major systems (engine, transmission, and drivetrain) as well as hundreds of other components in the car itself.

The MaxCare Limited Warranty is also free – as mentioned, it comes with any car bought from CarMax.

The MaxCare Limited Warranty also will run side by side with the MaxCare warranty, should you choose to buy it.

The Carmax MaxCare Warranty Vital Info vs Protect My Car

Terms and Vital Info

CarMax MaxCare

Protect My Car Vehicle Service Contract

Administrator

Consumer Program Administrators, Inc (Assurant)

Protect My Car, LLC

Contact Number

1-800-731-2834

1-888-964-6754

Administrator Hours

Monday-Friday- 9:00 AM - 5:00PM

Monday-Friday- 8:00 AM - 7:00PM

Saturday: 10AM - 4:00PM

Contact Website

www.mrclaims.net

www.protectmycar.com

Get A Quote

Plans only available for cars sold by CarMax. Contact CarMax for further details.

https://protectmycar.com/extended-warranty

Financial Information

 

 

Deductible

$100-$500 per repair visit. Bringing the car to an authorized CarMax center will get you a $50 dollar discount

$100 dollars

Rental Reimbursement

$40 dollars per day, for up to 7 days

$30 dollars per day, for up to 7 days

Towing Reimbursement

$100 or less

$100 or less

Trip Interruption Reimbursement

Not offered

$50 dollars per day for motel and restaurant expenses for up to 3 days

 

For those of you thinking about the CarMax warranty, there’s a few vital bits of information you’ll need.

Firstly, you only have one chance to buy the MaxCare service plan. You have to buy it while purchasing your vehicle. CarMax does not provide you the opportunity to do so after the purchase.

If you didn’t buy it originally, you’ll be out of luck, and you’ll need get another 3rd party warranty.

The second thing you need to understand is that CarMax’s MaxCare plan is not administered by CarMax themselves.

As is the case with many extended warranty companies, when you buy a MaxCare plan, you won’t be dealing with CarMax themselves if you have a claim, which you need to consider when thinking about a purchase.

While we can’t comment on the service quality directly, experience tells us that working through an intermediary typically results in less stellar service, then if you go with a company that administrates and services it’s own contracts, like Endurance and Protect My Car both do.

The Administrator in this case is Consumer Program Administrators, Inc (otherwise known as Assurant), which is based out of Chicago Illinois and can be contacted by calling 1-800-731-2834.

Assurant’s service line is available from 7:00 AM – 7:00PM Central Time, Monday-Friday.

You can also reach the claims portal by visiting www.mrclaims.net.

What Are You Responsible For With The MaxCare Service Plan?

With any extended warranty, you’ll need to adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, as described in the vehicle handbook. CarMax is no exception.

To stay in compliance with your MaxCare warranty, you’ll need to keep receipts that detail the services performed. These work orders should show your car’s VIN and mileage.

Failure to follow this schedule may prevent your repair charge from being approved, but in our experience, this is only in cases of a large deviation from the schedule, such as not doing oil changes or replacing lubricated parts.

You also waive your right to a dispute through a judge and jury. You’ll instead have to work through an arbitration process. You’ll also waive your right to join any class action litigation against the company.

Prior to getting a warranty through CarMax, your check engine and temperature warning lights should be off.

If you experience a breakdown, you are responsible for:

  • Preventing more damage to the vehicle
  • Informing Assurant as soon as possible about the breakdown to get repair authorization
  • Authorize the diagnostic work so Assurant can get an estimate
  • Provide Assurant with your maintenance schedule as specified in the contract
  • Allow your vehicle to be examined by Assurant, if needed (this is uncommon)
  • Obtain repair authorization prior to beginning any repairs
  • If a breakdown occurs on a weekend or holiday, call the claims number on the following business day

You’ll also be responsible for obtaining a manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, found in the vehicle handbook for your car. CarMax leaves this responsibility up to you, even though they sell you the car.

The good news is, many manuals are available online. Just search your vehicle name. Occasionally you’ll have to enter your VIN, but manufacturers including Chevy, Dodge, Ford, And Toyota offer PDF versions on their website.

If you can’t find one on the website, give your vehicle manufacturer a call. You may be able to buy one from them, although it can cost over $50 dollars.

What Does The CarMax MaxCare Plan Cover?

MaxCare covers many of the most expensive parts of your car. These include:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Drivetrain
  • Electronics
  • Electrical Systems
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Cooling System
  • Climate Control

The CarMax MaxCare Contract covers all parts of the car not named in the exclusions below.

CarMax MaxCare Exclusions/What’s Not Covered

It’s important to always review the exclusions on your extended warranty prior to purchase! It’s the exclusions that get you into trouble.

MaxCare includes plenty of these that you’ll need to review.

Exclusion

Estimated Cost Of Repair

Normal Maintenance service and parts including (spark plugs, batteries, wiper blades, engine wires, filters, shocks fluids, hoses and belts).


Essentially anything that is considered “wear and tear” that requires regular replacement.

$15-$600

Brakes (Rotors and Pads)

$200-$700

Tires

$200-$500

Catalytic Converter

$945-$2,475

Exhaust System

$651-$700

Body Panels and Glass

$200-$4,000+

Emissions Repairs

$200+

Alignments, and wheel balancing

$50-$100

 

As a rule, you should expect that anything in your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule to be covered.

This policy also does NOT cover repairs without prior authorization, so make sure to report your repair before you authorize any work being done.

MaxCare also differs from most warranty plans on the market, as it doesn’t cover the exhaust system or the catalytic converter.

Beyond that, it also doesn’t cover commercial use (like Protect My Car’s Ambassador Program does) or any business use of the vehicle involving more than one person.

Otherwise, the exclusions read like most other warranties on the market.

Notable exclusions include:

  • Damage caused by towing a trailer or other vehicle, unless your vehicle is equipped to tow by the manufacturer.
  • Damaged caused by racing
  • Damage caused by acts of nature (fire, hale, flooding, etc)
  • Damaged caused by collision
  • Cosmetic Damage
  • Damaged caused by contaminated fluids
  • Damage caused by rust or corrosion
  • Recall related defects that you have failed to repair, and any damage caused by a failure to replace a recalled part
  • Damage caused by lack of fluids, or caused by improper fluids or irresponsible fluid use
  • A breakdown in a covered part caused by a non-covered part breaking down

What Voids CarMax’s MaxCare Warranty?

MaxCare, much like any warranty, has several conditions that will void your warranty and result in your car not getting covered.

We wrote a full article with a detailed breakdown on what voids most other warranties, which you can read here to get a better understanding of car warranty exclusions.

Your MaxCare warranty will be void if:

  • If you fail to make your payments in time
  • If you cancel the contract before 30 days, and have no claims
  • Your vehicle is declared a total loss, salvage, or junk vehicle
  • You fail to observe the automated warnings your car or fail to observe documented warnings by the mechanic you’re seeing.
  • Damage caused by abuse or misuse
  • Your odometer has been altered or tampered with

Carmax Extended Warranty Reviews

Reviewer

CarMax MaxCare

Protect My Car

Consumer Affairs

2.0/5 stars

4.1/5 stars

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

1.5/5 stars

4.5/5 stars

Trustpilot

2.9/5 stars

3.9/5 stars

BestCompany

3.7/5 stars

4.3/5 stars

 

Sorting through some of the reviews, some stand out positives include:

  1. Many MAJOR Repairs Paid: Several reviews report that expensive repairs have been paid for, including transmission service, and engine related concerns.
  2. High Total Repair Cost Paid: Other reviews mention MaxCare paying out large sums, such as one reviewer who had over $25,000 in repairs to his Corvette paid for by MaxCare over the course of 13 months.

However, for all the positive remarks, there have been some negative ones as well that you need to be aware of.

  1. Incorrect/Minimal Information: Multiple reviews have pointed to lack of documentation as a major flaw. Some of these reviews also feel mislead as to what the warranty covers and what it doesn’t. For our part, this is concerning, although warranty contracts can be confusing.
  2. Delay In Payment To Repair Shop: There also seems to be an issue with payments taking an extended period of time to approve. As a consumer, this means it’ll take longer to get your car back from the repair shop, which is an issue if you don’t have an alternate form of transportation. This is a fairly common problem when a company sells your contract to a financing company, and another reason why it’s worth it to work with a company that directly administers their own contracts.
  3. Issues With Customer Service: These issues include, but are not limited to: long wait times, rude representatives, and an inability to provide clarification on issues. Again, this is one of the downsides of dealing with a 3rd party warranty company that sells the contract to someone else.
  4. Follow Up Issues: A number of reviews mention customers failing to receive the promised follow up for a number of issues.

One important thing to note: review sites may not always give you the complete picture. It’s been our experience that unless the service is exceptional, satisfied customers are less apt to leave a review than unhappy customers.

We encourage you to do the research as well and take a look at the tone of the reviews to make your own determination!

Can You Cancel Your CarMax Extended Warranty?

According to CarMax, you can cancel your MaxCare warranty at any time. To cancel, you’ll need to either contact the dealer you bought the car from, or the administrator of the policy.

If you’re unable to return to the selling location, you’ll need to notify Assurant in writing.

You can contact Assurant, your policy administrator by calling 1-800-731-2834 as previously mentioned.

To cancel, you’ll need a copy of your vehicle service contract and a odometer reading statement to be included in your mailing.

If your service contract is canceled within ninety (90) days after the purchase date, and you haven’t filed any claims, a 100% refund of the service contract cost will be refunded to you, although you will be charged a $30-dollar administrative fee.

If you have made a claim, you’ll receive a pro-rated refund equal to the unused months or miles.

The refund formula is: (Your Extended Warranty Price) * (Miles Or Months Left On Your Contract (whichever is less)) - $30 dollar administrative fee.

If you’re thinking of canceling your CarMax warranty because it’s too expensive, we might be able to help you get a better price.

Get a quote with us and see how much you can really save on car repairs.

Carmax Extended Warranty Cost

Your CarMax MaxCare cost consists of two parts:

Your Deductible: Depending on the level of service you select; your deductible will range between $100-$500 dollars per repair. Again, when taking your car to a CarMax repair center, you’ll receive $50 dollars off this.

Your Payment: From what we’ve seen, your payment can be purchased up front when you buy the car. You also have the option to roll MaxCare into your monthly payment. Depending on the model, your total cost will range between $1,000 - $8,500 dollars, with BMWs, Range Rovers, and the like occupying the higher threshold.

Your cost is going to depend strictly on your car, the mileage, and any risk factors that CarMax assesses on your car. For the best estimate, contact CarMax directly.

The one thing to note here, is that CarMax’s higher deductibles can mean additional expenditure if you have multiple repairs over a short period of time, even if they are covered.

If you’re buying a warranty to avoid paying large portions of cash out, you may want to consider a plan with a lower deductible.

Is Carmax Extended Warranty Worth It?

This is where the jury is split.

On one hand, there’s what seems like an entire category on Jalopnik dedicated to singing the praises of CarMax’s warranty for Range Rovers.

Some of the articles are freaking hilarious (like this one).

 However, for every glowing review, we see negatives as well, including many that were mentioned in our section on reviews.

To make your decision a little bit easier, we’ll give you a side by side with our own vehicle service contracts.

 

CarMax MaxCare

Protect My Car Plans

Deductible

$100-$500

$100

Price

$1,000-$8,500

$2,000-$3,800

Coverage

Less Comprehensive

More Comprehensive (Catalytic Converter, Exhaust)

Average Review Score

2.5/5 Stars

4.2/5 Stars

Complaints

Frequent

Infrequent

Mileage

Up To 75,000/policy

Up To 300,000

All Cars Accepted?

Only vehicles purchased from CarMax

Yes

Self-Administered?

No

Yes

Roadside Assistance?

Yes

Yes

Rental Reimbursement

Yes

Yes

Trip Interruption?

No

Yes

Free Oil Changes/Tire Rotations?

No

Yes (Ambassador Line Only)

Aftermarket Mods?

No

Yes, subject to approval (Ambassador Line Only)

 

CarMax warranties have the potential to be slightly cheaper than our low end plans, but the low price means your deducible will be higher, so the savings may not be all that much.

With that being said, if you can get a CarMax policy for around $1,000-$1,500 dollars, that is a fantastic deal for what it covers, even if the deductible is closer to the maximum range of $500.

However, if you want more comprehensive coverage, you’d be better off going with a Protect My Car plan, or a similar plan from one of our competitors.

Otherwise though, CarMax does compare favorable at face value. However, we have questions about the level of customer service, as well as the details of the discrepancies that frequently seem to be mentioned in the reviews.

The other downside to this policy is it can only be transferred within 30 days of purchase.

That means if you choose to sell your car with the paid off policy after the initial 30 days are up, the warranty won’t transfer, and will instead void. Considering a paid off extended warranty is a great upselling point, this is not ideal.

Many extended warranty companies including Protect My Car, offer policies that are fully transferrable to a new owner, which makes them worth buying even if you plan on selling your car.

We recommend you do your due diligence, and don’t feel pressured into buying an extended warranty from CarMax even if it’s offered during the buying process for your new car. CarMax only offers the option to purchase MaxCare during the car buying process.

While we can’t comment on why this is exactly, we feel that it’s a sales tactic designed to give new car buyers a fit and prevent them from doing comparison shopping after the fact.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does The CarMax Extended Warranty Cover Alternators?

Yes. Your warranty does cover alternators, considering that the alternator is part of the drivetrain! As long as your alternator failure wasn’t caused by improper maintenance or failure of a non-covered part, you’ll be in the clear.

Does The CarMax Extended Warranty Cover Your Battery?

No. Your battery is considered a wear and tire item that is scheduled to be replaced in your vehicle handbook. Most extended warranties do not cover batteries, including our own.

Does The Carmax extended warranty cover brakes

No. CarMax considers brakes to be a wear and tear item. This includes the pads, the shoes, the rotors, and drums. These are again, scheduled to be replaced in your normal maintenance schedule.

Does The Carmax extended warranty cover oil changes

No. CarMax doesn’t offer free oil changes like most extended warranty plans do. CarMax considers oils a fluid, which isn’t covered by the MaxCare service plan.

Does The CarMax extended warranty cover your transmission

Yes. Your transmission is covered, other than the friction clutch disk and pressure plate, and clutch thrown out bearing.

However, if the transmission failure is found to be caused by improper maintenance, or due to issues with transmission fluid, your repair may not be covered, so make sure your transmission fluid is replaced according to the maintenance schedule for your car.

How Long Does The CarMax Extended Warranty Last?

CarMax’s MaxCare Extended warranty lasts either 5 years / 125,000 miles from the date of purchase, whatever comes first.

Protect My Car Gives You More Choice

As previously mentioned, CarMax Extended Warranties are only for cars bought from CarMax, and if you don’t buy one at the time of purchase, you’re out of luck.

Fortunately, you have options.

Protect My Car offers comparable coverage for less. Our average plan costs about $70 dollars per month, and offers roadside assistance, trip interruption, and rental car reimbursements.

We also cover repairs that MaxCare doesn’t, including your exhaust and your catalytic converter.

Better yet, you can choose from a number of different deductibles, starting as low as $100 dollars.

Protect My Car plans can be bought at any time, no matter what dealer you purchased your car from, so unlike with CarMax, there’s no pressure if you want to take the time to compare options.

We’ll work with you to find a plan that works for your car and your budget. We cover cars that are 1997 or newer, with up to 300,000 miles, so there’s a very good chance we have a plan for you.

So if you’re thinking about an extended warranty, get a quote with us today and start saving thousands on your auto repairs.

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