Auto Warranties: What to Look For While Buying One
Updated September 11, 2013
The efficiency of a car depends on its manufacturing. However, no matter how good your car is, it is prone to go for repairs, the cost of which might run into thousands of dollars. In order to cater to these repairs, you have a facility known as auto warranties.
Insurance vs. Warranty
At a broad level, insurance covers damages to a car due an accident. Warranty covers the repair expenses of the car due to general wear and tear. As such, one cannot substitute for the other.
Types of Warranty
There are two kinds of auto warranties– manufacturer’s warranty and extended warranty.
Manufacturer’s warranty is provided by the manufacturer of your car at the time of purchase of a new car. It is not sold as a separate add-on, and the cost of the manufacturer’s warranty is included in its sale price. Typically, the manufacturer’s warranty covers repairs to the vehicle due to normal usage of the vehicle – within a certain period of buying the car, and within a certain number of miles driven.
Extended warranty is a warranty which also caters to repairs. It might be provided by a company other than the manufacturer. It would also typically cater to repairs to the vehicle within a certain number of miles, and for a certain period. However, this would be a separate warranty, going above and beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, both in terms of period and miles driven.
Usually, when a dealer is selling a car to you, he will try to sell an extended warranty to you as well. However, you can buy an extended warranty from any other company. You can shop for it online too, where you would likely get better deals.
Whatever warranty you have, hidden costs and exceptions are a part of the game. So, you need to be careful with either of the warranties.
Do you need an extended warranty?
The first question which you need to address is whether you really need an extended warranty. The answer is solely based on your usage patterns. If you do not drive over long distances, wish to change your car after 3 to 4 years of usage and your manufacturer’s warranty is based on number of miles used, you might not need an extended warranty at all. But if your manufacturer’s warranty applies only for one year and you plan to keep your car much longer, an extended warranty is definitely called for. Also, expensive cars cost more in repairs as well. So, if your car falls in the high-end range, you should have an extended warranty.
However, if you are confident of fixing most repairs cheaply, or you have a very low cost car, then you probably shouldn’t be spending on an auto warranty.
Check these before you buy the auto warranty
- Understand the terms and conditions of the extended auto warranty thoroughly, before you buy one.
- Check what types of repairs are covered – be especially careful to note down the exceptions, and how much they will likely cost over the lifetime of your car.
- Does the warranty cover diagnostic expenses as well?
- Some extended warranties are given only when you get your car repaired at specific workshops. You need to check if such a clause is feasible for you.
- Another point which you need to clarify is about the premiums and deductibles. Make sure that they are satisfactory to you and within your range.
- Certain policies have special clauses such as per-visit reimbursement. This means that you get reimbursed for every visit you make to the repair center, irrespective of the number of repairs in each visit. In such a case, you might have to shell out more than you receive for the visit. Per-repair warranty is what you should look for.
Each auto warranty is different and you need to spend some time in understanding it.
Coverage is the most important aspect. It is almost impossible to find all-inclusive warranties. Many warranties do not cover repair of parts which do not breakdown but are only worn out. Repairs to antilock braking system are usually not covered, neither is damage due to overheating. The period over which the warranty is applicable is another important consideration. So, be very sure about the coverage before you buy an auto warranty.
Finally, keep in mind that cheap warranties might actually cost you more in the long run. When you buy an auto warranty, focus on the quality first and then on the cost.
This post was written by Mike Fischer, who would like to write for more automotive websites, blogs and newsletters. He can be contacted at mikefischer620 com with requests for content. He is currently promoting UnoCarDealers as a venue for buying and selling cars.
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