Everyone has heard the same story about car ownership… the moment the warranty expires, everything starts to fall apart. Well fear not road warriors, this article addresses that very topic.
When you purchase a new car it would come with a warranty that would cover specific things that might break or malfunction within a certain amount of time. Keep in mind that most standard warranties are three years or 36,000 miles.
On the other hand, an extended auto warranty, also called a vehicle service contract, is purchased by a lot of car owners in order to either extend the manufacturer’s standard warranty when it expires or to cover an existing vehicle that they have which needs coverage.
For buyers, an extended car warranty provides a peace of mind in the unfortunate event of a malfunction or breakdown of their car.
Buying an extended auto warranty for your car is equally important as buying the car itself. What a majority of folks do not realize is that they aren’t bound to purchase an extended auto warranty only at the dealership they purchased the vehicle from. It is important to keep in mind that there are several aftermarket extended car warranty companies you could choose from.
There are a lot of things that you should know regarding extended auto warranties in order to make sure that you go for not just the best plan, but also the most suitable company to buy that plan from.
That being said, there are plenty of companies which provide extended auto warranties, and honestly it could get a bit overwhelming and confusing to sort through them all. In addition, there are many different plans you have get familiar with to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck.
When a car owner has purchased an extended auto warranty, their car is covered in case a malfunction or mechanical failure of some kind occurs. Keep in mind that particular coverage plans tend to offer coverage for specific things. This is why it is extremely important that you know exactly what is and is not covered in order to avoid any potential problems and hassles when repairs have to be made.
You can understand that one of the most crucial steps in the process of purchasing an extended auto warranty and making it work in your best interest is to understand what kind of coverage you will get. The process of claiming extended auto warranty is quite straightforward; that being said, there may be a few slight variations from one company to another.
If you have an extended auto warranty and repairs are needed, you will need to take your car to a repair facility of your choice, as long as the facility is ASE certified. Before making the repairs, the auto repair facility will contact the contract administrator in order to report that a claim has to be lodged before repairs are made.
When your plan administrator will verify that the warranty contract is up to date and the relevant repairs are fully covered under your plan, the repair facility will make the repairs and the administrator will pay the repair facility.
Keep in mind that you would be responsible for paying the deductible, if any, that is needed for your plan. A majority of plans tend to have a normal deductible of $100 while others offer $50 or even $0. Therefore, you will have to pay it if you do owe one, most likely before the repair bill is paid by your contract administrator.
Best Extended Car Warranty Services
We will rate the best extended car warranty providers in the country based on customer service, business ratings, coverage options, and affordability.
Out of the many extended auto warranty providers in the country, Endurance is easily one of the best options and we feel most confident recommending it. Endurance stands out from its competitors as it has readily accessible sample contracts and verifiable financial stability that customers can review.
In case you need more help understanding all the different coverage options available to you, exceptional and courteous customer service representatives at the company will be happy to walk you through the buying process. Endurance has impressed us with its transparency. Unlike several of its fierce competitors, the company website offers direct links to many sample contracts for all of the company’s four plans. In addition, each of its four contracts clearly mentions who the insurer is on the first page.
More importantly, perhaps, Endurance makes it pretty clear that its contracts cover both old and new cars. It is worth noting that the exact Endurance plan that you qualify for would depend on a variety of factors, such as the model, make, and mileage of the car.
In case your vehicle has high miles or is fairly old, it is likely that you will not qualify for the company’s high-level Supreme Coverage; that being said, it is a conventional practice in this industry. However, Endurance does offer three other warranty coverage plans that have more lenient or lax requirements. As a result, most buyers do end up finding a plan that is suitable for their needs.
But, it is vital to bear in mind that these plans do not cover as many car parts as the Supreme plan. But, they would still cover some of the most important components in your car like the engine, drive axle assembly and transmission — all for a much cheaper price.
- It has many service locations
- It offers flexible payment plans
- It is a direct warranty provider
- It has gold VPA certification
- Not available in California
- No corrosion coverage
Our second best choice for extended auto warranties is CARCHEX. The company is one of the leading names when it comes to extended auto warranties. CARCHEX is definitely worth considering if you are looking to buy an extended car warranty. It is because the company provides you with a lengthy payment schedule, fairly standard coverage across the board and a number of different policy plans.
The service offers you the option to choose from up to five policy plans, and you could get as much as 150,000 miles and six years of added coverage from the current manufacturer warranty. The company offers nationwide coverage which is another plus.
In case your car malfunctions and you need to use the warranty, you would have to pay a repair deductible of $200. We admit that this is higher compared to the standard deductible of $100 which a majority of companies offer before your service would pay anything.
That being said, after that, CARCHEX would handle everything, which includes payment to any repair facility of your choice. In addition, customers can take full advantage of as many as five days of rental auto reimbursement while your vehicle is being repaired. You can get up to $30 each day.
The company’s easy and hassle free online process helps customers compare different quotes from more than one provider that the company partners with. Therefore, it is likely that you will find a suitable coverage option that best meets your specific needs.
Also, the customer reps at CARCHEX are extremely helpful and friendly. They will walk you through all the different coverage options and will explain the key differences between various plans.
- The company offers multiple coverage options that are easy to compare
- Quick response to secure a quote
- The company offers money back guarantee of thirty days
- Helpful and courteous customer service representatives to guide you through the process
- You will get multiple payment options
- Customer support is not available 24/7
- Higher deductible of $200
EasyCare is another great choice if you are looking for extended auto warranty. The company offers multiple coverage levels to customers nationwide. You could avail coverage for up to 120,000 miles and five years on top of the vehicle’s original manufacturer warranty. EasyCare offers you all of the standard features you may expect to have in an extended car warranty service.
That being said, the vehicle requirements stipulated by the company are among some the most restrictive out of the several car warranty services we have reviewed. Unlike CARCHEX, the company only covers vehicles which are under 24,000 miles and under two years old.
The good news is that if your car falls within the narrow restrictions, it is an excellent provider to consider since it offers nationwide coverage as well as four different kinds of plans. These four plans are Stated Care, Total Care, Power Care and Primary Care.
The company’s Total Care package is one of the most comprehensive plans you will get while its Stated Care package provides slightly less. On the other hand, The Power Care and The Primary Care packages are more standard plans. These plans cover main parts of a vehicle like the engine and transmission.
EasyCare is also a direct provider of extended auto warranties and is backed by a financially strong insurance company. EasyCare has a few other perks as well. For one, it has been in this business for about 35 years, compared to Endurance’s twelve years, which makes it one of the more experienced and established providers in this industry.
Also, keep in mind that the A.M. Best financial strength rating of the company’s insurer, Universal Underwriters Insurance, is an outstanding A+. It is above Endurance’s insurer, Wesco Insurance Company, which has an A rating). So, in case you are a new car owner, it is advisable to get a comparative quote from EasyCare.
- Plenty of coverage options if you meet the criteria
- The company offers nationwide coverage
- Insurance deductible is only $100
- Coverage is restricted to newer cars with very low mileage
Autopom (Automotive Peace of Mind) provides extended auto warranty plans for both used and new vehicles. The company’s high mileage restriction, international and nationwide coverage, as well as a selection of up to five different plans makes it one of the best extended auto warranty services.
You could get as much as five years of extra coverage with the company’s extended car warranties. Autopom provides nationwide coverage for vehicles with up to 225,000 miles and 20 years old and. Keep in mind that this is the highest mileage restriction among all the extended warranty providers we have evaluated. Moreover, the company also offers coverage in Canada.
The company offers five policy plans. You could choose from one plan that is exclusive to new vehicles and four other plans which range in coverage options for your vehicle. These four plans are Powertrain Essentials Plus, Powertrain Essentials, Named Component Mid-Level as well as Named Component High-Level. Autopom’s Exclusionary New Car plan tends to cover almost all of the electrical and mechanical components of a car, and it is the company’s most expensive and comprehensive plan.
The company offers customer support by email and phone. The customer service experience with the company is good overall. The service reps are helpful, friendly and patient. They will kindly explain you all the details until you are satisfied.
- The company offers both nationwide and international coverage
- It has the highest mileage restriction
- Excellent customer service
- You can choose from five plans
- Autopom does not provide 24-7 customer support; so you can contact the provider during business hours only
- There is no live chat option
- Insurance deductible is $200
Although last in our list of extended auto warranty companies, AA Auto Protection is certainly worth considering if you are looking to buy an extended auto warranty. The company offers extensive nationwide coverage and a huge selection of policies. In addition, you could spread your monthly payments over a few years.
AA Auto offers up to 100,000 miles and up to six years of extra car warranty coverage. This is fairly standard. The company offers warranty coverage in all of the fifty states; that being said, unlike a few extended auto warranty providers we have evaluated, AA Auto doesn’t provide coverage in Canada.
AA Auto Protection would reimburse you in the form of a rental car with $30 each day for five days in the event your vehicle repairs take over a day. In addition, you just have to pay the normal $100 repair deductible every time you have to use the extended auto warranty service for car repairs.
The great thing is that you will also get a money-back guarantee of 30 days you could take full advantage of in case you are not satisfied with the warranty policy you have bought. Like with a lot of car warranty companies, keep in mind that coverage for your car will start on the day you buy your warranty. That being said, the warranty does not cover pre-existing conditions.
Also, keep in mind that any claim made within ninety days of the warranty purchase date are subjected to review in order to determine whether or not the condition was pre-existing. AA Auto Protection also allows you to choose any repair location nationwide; moreover, you will not need to handle the payment – the company would do it on your behalf over the phone.
AA Auto Protection Pros
- The company offers you a wide variety of policy plans
- You could spread your monthly payments over a few years
- Customer service reps are great and friendly to speak
AA Auto Protection Cons
- You can just get a maximum of 100,000 miles of extra coverage
- The company does not offer 24/7 customer support
There are several types of extended car warranty plans. These plans are discussed below.
A majority of warranties do not offer coverage for damage to upholstery, paint coverage, the interior and cleaning or other minor issues that result from normal daily use. This is where wear-and-tear plans are excellent. They often cover the difference, usually including tires.
As a result, these extended auto protection plans could be particularly appealing to buyers who want to lease a car as they would be liable for the expenses of these repairs once the lease expires.
A maintenance package is another optional extended coverage; it is ideal for oil changes, air filters, tune-ups as well as other similar items. It is worth mentioning that this may be included in many new car purchases. If you are buying this package make sure you read all of the details.
Sometimes this package is supplied by a specific car dealer. You can get a maintenance package from dealerships or as an addition to your vehicle service contract.
Usually called a new-vehicle warranty or basic warranty, a bumper-to-bumper car policy tends to cover components such as air conditioning, vehicle sensors, audio systems, fuel systems as well as major electrical components.
Most of these policies usually do not cover regular maintenance such as oil changes and fluid top offs; however, a couple of brands often have their separate free-maintenance provisions. In most cases, bumper-to-bumper warranties often expire much faster compared to power-train warranties.
When it comes to this warranty many people tend to get misled; keep in mind that a ten-year or 100,000-mile power-train warranty does not necessarily guarantee a full decade of absolutely free repairs for the car. This warranty typically covers only your transmission and engine, along with some moving parts which lead to the wheels, such as the driveshaft or constant velocity joints.
Many automakers may also bundle airbags and seatbelts into their power-train warranties. There maybe a few exceptions, but power-train warranties often do not cover routine maintenance such as tire rotations and engine tune-ups.
The government has, since 1972, required all vehicles to have a variety of emissions controls such as catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. There are two kinds of warranties in this category: design and defect warranties and performance warranties.
Performance warranties often mandate automakers to adjust or repair emissions controls for a minimum of two years or about 24,000 miles in case the vehicle fails the emissions test. On the other hand, in case emissions controls do not work independent of any test, you will be covered by the design and defect warranty for at least 24,000 miles or two years.
Also, keep in mind that major components such as engine control modules and catalytic converters are covered for defects and performance for 80,000 miles or eight years. California residents may be eligible for added coverage on some items.
Factory Accessories Warranty
Finally, a factory accessories warranty includes everything from an engine modification to high-end audio systems from the manufacturer’s performance wing. A majority of automakers tend to cover accessories for a period of one to three years or the remaining period of a bumper-to-bumper warranty.
Make sure you check out all of the specifics before you buy this warranty; modification to these accessories after installation could void your coverage.
It is remarkable and unfortunate to know the huge number of vehicle owners who easily get ripped off after purchasing their favorite vehicle. You have your desired car, and you got the price that you are very happy with; however, keep in mind that your auto dealer could get you on extended warranties and offers.
With these offers, a car dealer may suck another $2500 to $5000 or an extra $300 to $600 per month. These offers are typically on things like Teflon coating, annual maintenance contract, and engine waxing, and extended car warranty. It may seem fairly self-explanatory, but you will be alarmed at the high number of vehicle owners who tend to get lured by these offers.
What is actually quite amazing and unfortunate is that you may simply get scammed on your automobile deal. It is worth noting that the trickiest and most popular rip-off is an extended auto warranty; this is because the terminology involved is really difficult, making it hard for buyers to understand.
If you want to get around this, you must know and understand your car dealer’s terminology as well as get all the relevant terms and conditions straight. Although most extended auto warranties usually deal with vehicle maintenance, keep in mind they do have a restricted coverage period which is, at times, not disclosed to vehicle owners.
For example, an extended auto warranty is typically effective up to a specific term period or a certain amount of car mileage.
So, make sure that you have all of the specific details and terms of the stipulation in case you decide to accept an extended car warranty plan. Also, remember that the car warranty may additionally protect only specific car parts. If your extended auto warranty does not deal with vital car parts, why make a big effort? You must make sure that it is really worth the cost of the car.
A lot of extended auto warranties do not cover major engine problems or gear or clutch difficulties; rather, they just protect the smaller parts of your car.
Before purchasing an extended auto warranty directly a car dealer, check out various internet websites with respect to online car warranties. This is because being on the internet would give you considerably more time to better assess the extended car warranty.
Also, keep a close eye on your deductible as you do not have to get financially trapped and spend lots of money on car insurance you thought was covered by your warranty.
Extended Auto Warranties Are Not Really Warranties
Do not worry we are considering this from a legal perspective. An extended auto warranty isn’t a warranty as per federal law. Rather, the more representative term is “vehicle service contract.” Keep in mind that the reason mainly has more to do with timing than anything else. You can arrange a service contract at any time and will cost you extra. On the other hand, a warranty is often included in the car’s purchase price.
So where does that leave us? Well, the term “extended auto warranty” is often used as an intelligent marketing gimmick, making the service seem like it is an extension of your manufacturer’s coverage; it is, in fact, a car service contract that is sold by an independent third party. That being said, it would still protect you against the expenses of repair in the event of a mechanical breakdown.
Therefore, only because you are purchasing an “extended car warranty”, it does not mean you are really extending the coverage that you got at the time you bought the car. However, it is not necessarily such a bad thing. Keep in mind that you can tailor an extended warranty in order to fill the various gaps in your manufacturer’s warranty.
J.D. Power, for example, found that a lot of problems with technology such as GPS and Bluetooth are some of the leading reasons for the decline in car dependability. These are features that a manufacturer warranty will not cover; however, extended warranties may (for instance, Endurance covers all in-car technology in some of its policies, but not aftermarket items).
Some of the other vital benefits of an extended car warranty include timely roadside assistance as well as rental car reimbursement.
Here are some key things you should consider before you purchase a warranty plan:
1. Do You Really Need It?
The first and most important thing you must ask yourself is if an extended car warranty is something you really need. In case you are buying a brand new car, keep in mind that it would come with the manufacturer’s warranty, whether or not you want it.
So, if you are only planning to keep your car for the term of its original warranty, it is not necessary to buy an extension. If you know how reliable and dependable your car is, it could help you determine if you really need an extended auto warranty. In case your model is well-known to be durable and reliable, not buying an extended car warranty is less of a risk.
However, it is never a terrible idea to take a small portion of the amount you may have paid for your warranty and keep it away if you encounter any future maintenance costs.
2. Shop Around
You should know that you do not need to purchase an extended car warranty from your dealership. Many people do not know this. Remember that many third-party insurance companies offer extended auto warranties.
So, if purchasing an extended car warranty is very important to you, you should look into a few of these options in order to get an idea of the type of coverage you could get and how much it will cost you. You can use this information to negotiate with the dealer.
It is likely that at the dealership you will be offered either an extension to your manufacturer’s warranty or the dealer will offer an extended warranty of their own.
In this case, make sure it is pretty clear who is providing the car warranty in order to know whom you have to contact in case something happens to the car.
3. Buy Early to get a Better Price
Keep in mind that the longer you decide to wait to buy an extended car warranty, the pricier it will get. This is because there will be inflation, and as you have already been driving your car, the coverage would be considered riskier and cost more as a result.
You do not have to wait till your manufacturer’s warranty has expired before you purchase an extension. That being said – do not rush the decision either. Keep in mind that this is a rather expensive purchase that will cost you $2,000 or even more in a lot of cases. Therefore, it is advisable to make sure you know and understand what you’re getting into before spending your money on it.
4. Choose a Reputable Service
When it comes to selecting an extended car warranty service, it is vital that you make sure that you are using a reputable and dependable service, even if it means doling out a little extra.
Always remember that your warranty provider is guaranteeing to pay thousands of dollars for repairs, and it is likely that you will pay them a substantial sum so that they can keep their promise. Before you choose a service, make sure that the warranty provider has strong financials, so they can pay your claim, if they have to.
Besides financial status, it is also crucial to have a good idea of the provider’s quality of service. In this respect sources such as the Better Business Bureau could be used for checking out reviews on a specific company as well as the service it provides. Also, keep in mind that getting reviews from a company’s prior clients would give you a good idea of their reputation.
5. Never Shy Away from Negotiation
When it comes to buying an extended car warranty, know that negotiation is fair game. So, you should call different companies and see what each is offering you with respect to discounts and added bonuses. When you will reach out to a couple of different places, it is likely that you will have a good idea of the cost of the policy and have proper leverage for negotiation. Keep in mind that it never hurts to ask.
6. Make Sure you Check the Perks
As with most negotiable purchases, you would like to make it worth your while. So, in case you are paying plenty of money on your policy, it is vital to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck. Even when you have negotiated an excellent price, keep in mind that there is always a lot more than just monetary value to consider.
A few perks you should look for in your extended car warranty contract are as follows:
- Car rental reimbursement
- Roadside assistance
- Towing to a repair shop
- Travel expenses (if something goes wrong when you are travelling).
7. Understand the Claims Process
One of the major things to consider when purchasing an extended car warranty is how the claims would be covered.
As you are purchasing this warranty in order to avoid paying for your claim out of pocket, remember that it is important to confirm you will not need to do so, even with the guarantee of reimbursement.
Many buyers do not know that many things could go awry when being reimbursed, and one of them is the fact that your provider never actually reimburses your money. There are other problems as well such as long waiting periods, dealing with paperwork, partial reimbursements and wasted time.
So, it is important to make sure that the policy pays your repair shop or dealership directly.
8. The Right Coverage
When buying an extended car warranty, there are plenty of things to consider. Each warranty is unique; however, keep in mind that there are a couple of things that all good warranties should have. These are:
- 100% money back guarantee: In case you are not happy with the purchase, and haven’t made any claim, you must be eligible for a hundred percent refund within thirty or sixty days.
- $0 deductibles: A lot of auto warranty contracts tend to charge deductibles for each part repaired. You can avoid it using a $0 deductible plan and have peace of mind.
- Transferable extended auto warranty: You could choose an extended warranty that lets you transfer your warranty to another owner, in case you decide to dispose your car.
- Repairs: You must ensure repairs can be performed at any certified repair shop or mechanic, and not only the dealership where you have bought it.
- “Wear-and-tear” and “breakdown” coverage: Here it is vital to make sure that each part of your car is covered, so the provider would not have any excuse at the time of payment.
- Exclusionary or bumper-to-bumper coverage: keep in mind that it is much better to purchase a car warranty that covers your entire vehicle instead of one that covers specific parts or systems as a few main elements might be left out of your coverag
Buying an extended car warranty is a major decision for a majority of car owners; however, the ultimate decision would come down to whether you prefer money in your pocket or peace of mind. As we have discussed, there are several things you need to consider when performing an extended car warranty comparison; however, these guidelines will help steer you in the correct direction.
Do not wait until it’s too late. Rather than waiting for a pricey repair, protect your wallet and car with extended car protection. So, if you are interested in buying an extended auto warranty, check out the providers we have evaluated as they are a great place to start.
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