To get a Member’s Choice warranty, you have to be a member of a credit union. But is it a good idea to buy an extended warranty from a credit union in the first place? We’ll get into the pros and cons of the Member’s Choice extended warranty here.
We’ve reviewed a number of the best extended car warranty providers on the market and will compare Member’s Choice to those as well. If you’re looking for an extended warranty, take a look at a few top providers above and get free quotes from each of them.
Is a Member’s Choice Extended Warranty Worth It?
Member’s Choice Mechanical Repair Coverage (MRC) is an extended warranty program offered by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Mutual Insurance Agency. The plan is only available to members of credit unions. Member’s Choice offers three levels of coverage and roadside assistance. However, there are no sample Member’s Choice warranty contracts online nor online quotes.
This is a third-party extended warranty. In most states, the plan is administered by Consumer Program Administrators. Other administrators include the CUNA Mutual Insurance Agency and Automotive Warranty Services. In California, Member’s Choice is offered as mechanical breakdown insurance by Virginia Surety Company.
To simplify things, you can think about Member’s Choice working through three layers of companies. The first level is the program administrator that actually pays out for claims and backs the contracts. The second level is CUNA, which is the national organization that offers the plan to credit unions. The third level is your local credit union that sells the plan to customers.
CUNA has been around since 1940. It advocates for credit unions in Washington D.C. and gives professional support to its members. The Member’s Choice extended warranty is just one small part of what CUNA does.
|Overall Rating||5.0 out of 10.0|
|Reputation||4.0 out of 10.0|
|Coverage||6.0 out of 10.0|
|Price||6.0 out of 10.0|
|Customer Experience||4.0 out of 10.0|
Is it worth it? No. Member’s Choice warranties are not worth the investment.
Member’s Choice Warranty Coverage
There are three coverage options for the Member’s Choice extended warranty: Platinum, Gold and Silver. Depending on your car, a Member’s Choice plan can cover up to 10 years/125,000 miles. The warranty allows drivers to go to any licensed repair facility in the U.S. or Canada for coverage.
All plans come with the following benefits:
- Rental reimbursement: Covers up to $35 per day for five days (or 10 days under certain circumstances)
- 24/7 roadside assistance: Covers up to $100 per occurrence for towing, jump-starts, fluid delivery, spare tire installation and lockout service
- Trip interruption reimbursement: Covers up to $200 per day for five days if you experience a repair over 100 miles from home
The Platinum plan is an exclusionary warranty, so it covers any part on the car unless the part is specifically excluded. This type of Member’s Choice warranty is comparable to a factory bumper-to-bumper plan. Common exclusions include:
- Cosmetic items
- Damage from misuse or lack of maintenance
- Scheduled maintenance
- Damage from accidents or environmental events
- Aftermarket components
- Wear items like brake pads
- Specific high-tech or performance parts
This mid-level plan covers everything under the lower-tier Silver plan, plus extras like:
- Anti-lock brake system
- Fluid level sensors
- Onboard computer
- Advanced hybrid vehicle components
- Advanced electrical components
The basic Member’s Choice extended warranty covers many parts on the following systems:
- Front- and rear-wheel drive
- Front suspension
- Basic electrical
- Air conditioning
- Basic hybrid components
The Gold and Silver plans use stated-component contracts. Anything that isn’t listed under the coverage section is not covered.
Cost of a Member’s Choice Extended Warranty
CUNA and its member organizations don’t publish prices for Member’s Choice extended warranty plans online. You’ll have to speak with your credit union representative to find out what prices are available to you. Be aware that extended warranty prices are affected by your car’s make, model, age and mileage. A plan would generally cost more for a car with higher mileage since the likelihood of repairs is also higher.
According to our research, extended warranties from top providers cost $585 per year of coverage on average. That’s a good range for knowing what you should pay for an extended warranty. If you are looking at plans ranging from three to seven years, it could cost between $1,700 and $4,000 on average.
The Member’s Choice warranty comes with deductible options of $0, $100, $250 or $500. That’s a pretty good range. Usually, extended warranty deductibles top out at $200 or $250. If you talk with your credit union about the plan, be sure to find out how the deductible affects the total cost. A smaller deductible will usually make the total cost increase, and vice versa.
How to Get a Quote and File a Claim
You’ll work with your credit union when you purchase a Member’s Choice warranty. So, customer service varies depending on what credit union you have. However, the credit union won’t be involved after you make a purchase. These plans are administered by other companies, so you’ll get in touch with someone else when you file a claim.
The first thing to do if you have a breakdown is to connect your repair shop to the contract administrator. The shop can’t do any work unless the administrator authorizes a repair (and unauthorized repairs are not covered). After the work is done, the contract administrator will pay the repair shop directly minus your deductible.
You can cancel a Member’s Choice warranty within 60 days for a full refund. After that, you can cancel for a prorated refund based on time and mileage used. Keep in mind that you won’t get the full value back after 60 days even if you haven’t used the warranty. Extended warranties are usually cancelable for a full refund within 30 days, so a 60-day period is generous.
If you sell your car, you can transfer the warranty to a secondary buyer. You’ll have to pay a transfer fee, which can vary by state.
Shopping for Member’s Choice Warranties
Let’s take a step back and think about who is selling you the Member’s Choice plan. These warranties are offered at credit unions as an add-on product. At the end of the day, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the salesperson you work with is knowledgeable on auto warranties.
Can they explain the pros and cons of extended car warranties and compare it to contracts from other providers? If you are deciding between two different plans, can they recommend which one is better from experience, or will they just tell you to get the more expensive one? Many credit unions offer auto loans, but the sales staff might not be able to talk about what auto repairs you would encounter with your particular vehicle.
The best option is to shop from a warranty company directly. All of its sales staff will be experts on the coverage inside and out, and they can answer any questions you might have. One step away from that is to purchase an extended warranty through a dealership. While you might not be working directly with the warranty company, at least you’re working with people who sell cars and who are knowledgeable when it comes to repairs and maintenance.
Buying an extended warranty as an add-on product from a credit union is about as far from the source as you can get. At best, you’ll work with finance experts who know a bit about cars. But they won’t have the same level of car warranty expertise as someone from a company that only sells extended warranties.
Member’s Choice Extended Warranty Reviews
CUNA Mutual Group has an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but there are very few reviews about the Member’s Choice extended warranty program. There are many parties involved with administrators and credit unions in the mix, so there isn’t just one spot for customer reviews and complaints.
“I recommend finding another company, any company, before buying their coverage. The frustration and stress they caused is not even worth having. They would not budge and would only advise me that I bought the Gold plan therefore they can’t approve my claim.”– Dago P. via BBB
The reviewer goes on to say they found the part in question, an injection pump, listed under Gold coverage and explained that to a few different customer service representatives. It seems like the customer had to explain coverage to the representatives in this situation, and the mechanic was also on their side. However, the claim wasn’t covered in the end.
We also found the injection pump listed under Gold coverage, so we can understand why the customer had a bad experience.
Our Verdict on Member’s Choice: 5.0 / 10.0
At the end of the day, we don’t think the Member’s Choice warranty should be your first choice. The company doesn’t have a great reputation and doesn’t offer sample contracts online. There are too few reviews to make a good assessment of customer service, but from what we can gather, the experience isn’t exceptional.
Our Picks for Best Extended Car Warranties
We suggest you widen your search to include extended auto warranty companies that offer quotes online. When you look beyond the Member’s Choice extended warranty, you’ll find companies that offer more coverage along with extensive added benefits.
Just have your vehicle make, model and mileage ready, and get multiple quotes from reputable extended car warranty companies to compare your options.
CARCHEX: Best for High-Mileage Cars
CARCHEX is a household name in the extended warranty world. The company has been around for over 20 years and offers five types of coverage from factory-style to basic powertrain plans.
We think it’s one of the best auto warranty companies around and is a great option for older vehicles, as it can cover up to 250,000 miles. CARCHEX has an A+ rating with accreditation from the BBB, and it’s endorsed by industry leaders like Kelley Blue Book, CARFAX and Edmunds.com.
Endurance: Best Provider
If you want to save thousands of dollars in auto repairs, check out Endurance. The company is one of the largest third-party extended warranties on the market and has been providing comprehensive auto coverage plans since 2006.
Endurance understands that big-ticket repairs can be costly, so it offers six plans to choose from, ranging from powertrain options to bumper-to-bumper extended warranty packages. We’ve given Endurance a 9.6 point-rating in reputation, customer experience and coverage categories, which is why it is the best out of all auto warranties.
FAQ: Member’s Choice Warranty
What’s included in an extended warranty?
An extended warranty includes specific repairs outlined under a contract. Basic plans cover parts like the engine, transmission and drivetrain after mechanical breakdowns, while more extensive extended warranty plans can cover thousands of parts.
Extended warranties usually include rental car reimbursement, trip interruption coverage and roadside assistance benefits, as well.
Is maintenance covered under warranty?
Some manufacturers cover maintenance for a specific period of time, like Toyota. However, most don’t, and most third-party extended warranty contracts don’t cover maintenance either (besides Protect My Car and Endurance). You’ll have to get a prepaid maintenance plan if you want to cover regular service items.
What is mechanical repair coverage?
Mechanical repair coverage is the core of an extended car warranty. The coverage pays for mechanical breakdowns and failures for parts included under the contract. It won’t cover cosmetic issues, such as a cracked dashboard. Most extended warranties also won’t repair an item unless it has completely failed or has worn beyond manufacturer tolerances.
What does third-party warranty mean?
A third-party warranty is any warranty plan or vehicle protection plan offered by a company other than your car’s manufacturer. For example, the Acura extended warranty is offered by Acura itself, so it’s not a third-party program. But a protection plan from CARCHEX is a third-party warranty.
Under a third-party contract, another company will pay for covered repairs instead of the manufacturer. These warranties come in a range of options, but many companies can closely match what’s covered by the manufacturer.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car warranty provider to formulate rankings of the best warranty companies. Our in-depth rating system takes into account coverage, pricing, transparency, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each provider is given a weighted score in five categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto warranty companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.