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What To Look For To Find The Best Extended Car Warranty
When considering an extended warranty, your needs are what matter most. Bellow are the factors to take into consideration when looking for the best extended car warranty plan:
- What is covered? What is included and excluded in your coverage is the most important characteristic of a plan itself. Ranging from warranties that are extensive and similar to your factory warranty all the way to plans that cover only the major drivetrain systems, providers usually offer multiple tiers of coverage at different price ranges. Pay attention to what added perks are included, such as trip interruption, roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, towing and recovery, or even rewards programs.
- When does the plan start and end? The length (and end date) of a policy is either determined by miles, years, or both (which ever comes first). When a plan begins is determined by specified the waiting period , as most plans don’t start until at least 30 days after purchase.
- What is the cost and payment policy? What the plan costs overall in relation to coverage determines how much value you are getting. Another important factor in price is the payment policy, including the overall payment period, whether or not you can pay in installments, deductible types and cost, and any additional fees. Also, many providers require you to pay out of pocket and then reimburse you later, which is generally less convenient.
- What restrictions/exclusions are stated in the plan? Ask about any mileage or year restrictions and any conditions that might void your warranty and make sure to read the fine print to know what parts/services might be excluded. A service contract can be voided due to things like misuse/abuse, a total loss, odometer tampering, unauthorized modifications, improper maintenance, or environmental damage.
- Can you customize your plan to fit your needs? In addition to having multiple coverage options available, the best extended warranties can be customized, allowing you to add/remove coverage items to fit your needs.
- What is the cancellation policy? It’s important to know if, when, and how difficult it is to cancel your plan, whether or not there is a money-back guarantee, and how long the refund window is.
- Can you transfer your plan to a different owner? If there’s a chance you’ll sell your vehicle before your warranty expires, make sure you know the transfer policy. Warranty coverage can increase the selling price of a vehicle and/or be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations.
- How easy is the claims process? Some providers make you pay for repair expenses out of pocket and reimburse you later, which is a hassle. The best extended warranty plans pay for repairs directly and have an easy claims process with great customer service.
- What mechanic can you use? If you strongly prefer that a particular mechanic works on your vehicle or like to do some minor repairs yourself, this will be an important question for to ask. The best extended warranty plans cover repairs made by mechanics ranging from a limited network of providers they work with to any ASE-certified mechanic in the country, allowing you to use your preferred mechanic that works out of a gas station, as long as he/she is ASE certified.
- What parts can you use? To ensure you are getting a good return on your investment, you may want to make sure that the extended warranty you use covers OEM replacement components and doesn’t force you to use cheap aftermarket parts.
New Car Extended Warranty Reviews
Whether you are buying a new vehicle or own a vehicle that is still under factory warranty, you will have the option of either paying your cars repairs out of pocket or purchasing an extended warranty when your vehicle surpasses the miles or term length for the factory limited warranty.
Let’s face it, having to deal with costly and unexpected vehicle repairs is an annoying part of life. Since vehicle mechanical systems are growingly complex and prone to failure, extending your factory warranty can be an excellent choice. All things considered, extending your warranty on your vehicle seems like it would remove this unnecessary stress from life. So why doesn’t everybody do it?
The biggest reason most people do not buy extended auto warranties is because of the cost. Many others don’t believe they need auto warranty or are unaware of the options available to them. Additionally, in today’s highly competitive auto market, many manufacturers now offer longer and more comprehensive limited warranties on new car purchases, eliminating the need to extend the warranty on your vehicle.
In this section, after briefly going over some important things to factor in when considering an extended warranty for newer vehicles, we’ll give you our picks for best extended warranties in the following categories:
- Best Third Party Extended Warranties For Newer Vehicles
- Best Manufacturer Extended Warranties For Newer Vehicles
New Car Extended Warranty Advice
Acting as an extension to your factory limited warranty, an “extended warranty”, often referred to as a “service contract” typically take effect and provide coverage after the factory warranty expires. While most Americans don’t purchase an extended warranty after their car’s warranty expires, the majority of those who do say that they have benefitted from the added coverage, as over one-third of customers require at least one covered repair during the life of their plan. Depending on what coverage you choose, many extended warranties have better coverage than the standard factory warranty for the same car.
Do You Need An Extended Warranty On A New Car?
Generally, you won’t need to purchase an extended warranty right away when buying a new vehicle. It doesn’t make sense to purchase an extended warranty at the same time you purchase a new car because your car already has enough coverage under the factory limited warranty. Doing so would essentially mean having to make a monthly payment for coverage that you would be years away from benefiting from, especially if you purchased a vehicle with a long factory warranty like one of these brands:
- Hyundai: 5y/60k miles
- Kia: 5y/60k miles
- Genesis: 5y/60k miles
- Volkswagen: 6y/72k (2018 & ’19)
In most cases, you should never purchase an extended warranty if you plan on keeping the vehicle for a shorter period than the warranty lasts or your lease term is shorter than the warranty lasts.
Is An Extended Warranty On New Cars Worth It?
There are some cases when you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty on your newer car. For instance, if you plan on keeping the vehicle for a long time, find it hard to save for emergencies, or would simply prefer the peace of mind and convenience of knowing you are covered, you may want to consider extending your factory warranty.
In order to both expand the available selection of coverage terms and manage costs, the optimal time to purchase extended coverage for newer vehicles is when they are still under the original manufacturer warranty.
New Car Extended Warranty Comparison
There are two options when considering extending your factory warranty: You can purchase a manufacturer-backed extended warranty or a warranty from a third party extended wa`rranty company. Before looking at reviews from each of the providers, it is important to understand the benefits and downsides of each.
The Benefits of Extending Your Coverage With an Aftermarket Extended Car Warranty
Third party providers are companies dedicated to providing extended car warranties. This typically means that you’ll have a wider range of plans to choose from and more flexibility overall. For example, instead of having to take your car to the dealership to be serviced, third party extended warranties generally have much larger networks of service providers, making it more likely for you to use your mechanic of choice.
Another major benefit in choosing a third party provider is, since they specialize in providing extended warranties, there are less conflicts of interest when selling/providing your service, including selling a car, repair services, and commissions incentives attached to your plan. One of the benefits of this is you aren’t forced to purchase third party warranties when you buy a car or within a specified period after buying the vehicle.
Also, since third party providers allow you to purchase coverage at any time, you’ll be covered when you’re more likely to need it. This, along with the fact that you will likely pay added interest on your coverage as a part of your car payment and dealerships often markup the prices of coverage, means you are more likely to get a better return on your investment.
Extending Your Coverage With An Extended Factory Warranty
A manufacturer extended warranty is a vehicle service contract provided by the automaker. Purchasing a vehicle service contract from the automaker itself can reduce stress and anxiety about the quality of the parts and services used to repair your vehicle. While generally more costly overall, choosing a factory-backed extended warranty all but guaranttee OEM parts will be used for repairs and factory-trained technicians will work on your vehicle.
Also, while manufacturers generally offer fewer plan options than third-party providers, they can be a good option for those with less money to pay for an extended warranty (or out of pocket repair costs) upfront, since the cost of the warranty can be added to your car payment.
Best Third Party Extended Warranties For New Cars
With the benefits of each type of provider in mind, let’s look at our picks for the best extended warranties for new cars, starting with third party extended warranty options.
Below are our picks for best third party warranties for newer cars:
- CarShield- 200,000 mile coverage period, 5 plan options, transferability, $0 deductibles, roadside assistance, trip interruption, 30 day money-back guarantee, you can get your vehicle serviced at any ASE-certified repair facility, new vehicles from any manufacturer are eligible anytime.
- Endurance- Coverage period lasts up to 8 years/200,000 miles, 6 extended warranty plan options, $0 deductible options, can get repairs at any ASE certified mechanic; includes a money-back guarantee, trip interruption benefits, and a 30-day money back guarantee. New cars made by any manufacturer are eligible for coverage at any time.
- CARCHEX- coverage periods up to 10 years/250,000 miles with 5 coverage options at nearly 30,000 available repair facilities in the US; includes roadside assistance, trip interruption, 30 day money back guarantee, transferability, $0 deductible options. Available for new cars made by any manufacturer at any time. CARCHEX also has excellent customer support.
Best Car Manufacturer Extended Warranty
Below is our list of the best manufacturer extended warranties:
- Hyundai Protection Plan VSC– Hyundai’s factory extended warranty builds on it’s industry-leading 10 year, 100,000 mile factory warranty with its extended warranty. The Hyundai protection plan VSC lasts the same period/mileage as the factory plan and adds protection for over 1500 parts, includes 24/7 roadside assistance, towing services, rental reimbursement, trip reimbursement coverage, transferability, and nationwide service.
- Toyota- Vehicles are eligible for new car service agreements up to 3 years or 36,000 miles; coverage periods up to 10 years, 125,000 miles. Coverage includes flat tires, lockouts, fuel delivery, $0-100 disappearing deductible charged per visit, coverage can be transferred at once from the original owner, you can cancel within 30 days within 30 days for a full refund. Covers Toyota, Scion, and Lexus.
- Ford ESP Premium Care- Ford’s premium service care plan can extend your factory warranty to 8 years and 150,000 miles with a zero deductible option. Includes tire change, lockout, out-of-fuel gas replacement and battery jumpstart assistance, towing assistance (up to $100 per occurrence), emergency travel expense, and destination assistance.
- Honda Care- For new cars, Honda Care vehicle service agreements cover nearly every component on the vehicle, provided you follow Honda’s recommended maintenance schedule. New vehicles with up to 3 years or 36,000 miles are eligible, with coverage lasting up to 8 years and 120,000 miles. Exclusions include body parts, tires, carpeting, glass, maintenance items, ornamentation, and trim. Includes 24/7 roadside assistance, trip interruption benefits, rental car reimbursement, and a unique emergency concierge service that assists with: emergency cash advance, emergency airline ticket assistance, shipment of personal replacement items, insurance claims assistance, and auto glass replacement referral. Covers: Honda and Acura
- Mopar Vehicle Protection Maximum Care- Coverage up to 8-years/125,000 miles, 5000+ components, choices in deductibles from $0-200, OEM Mopar Parts, car rental allowance, roadside assistance, and trip interruption coverage. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles covered by a 5 yr/60k mile powertrain warranty within 36 months or 36,000 miles of the in-service date are eligible for MVP Maximum Care service contract coverage.
Best Extended Warranty For Used Cars
For example, if you drive an older vehicle, you may need a plan with higher mileage restrictions. If you drive on long commutes, you may need a wide coverage network for repair services. If you live in a region that has snow for many months of the year, you may want your plan to have a more extensive rust perforation coverage.
For many of the same reasons people choose to extend their factory warranty, getting an extended warranty on a used vehicle be an enticing option for many. If you fall into this category, read on! In this section, after briefly looking at things to factor in when considering purchasing an extended warranty on a used car, we’ll provide reviews and a used car warranty comparison for the following categories.
- Best Third Party Extended Warranty For Used Cars
- Best CPO Warranty For Used Cars
- Best Manufacturer Extended Warranty For Used Cars
Extended Warranties For Used Cars
Due to increasing prices for new vehicles and the fact that the value of new cars depreciate as soon as you drive them off the lot, more Americans are buying used vehicles. While choosing to buy a used vehicle may lower your car payment (or keep you from having a car payment at all), doing so also increases the risk that you will have higher maintenance costs. To counter this increase in risk, getting an extended warranty can be a good idea for many, although there are some important factors to consider.
Do I Need An Extended Warranty On A Used Car?
Because the price of an extended warranty is only slightly higher than the price of a new car warranty, purchasing an extended warranty for a used car may only be worth it if you aren’t financially prepared to cover unexpected vehicle costs or your vehicle is unreliable.
If you fall into either of these categories or are willing to pay more in total in exchange for the peace of mind of knowing you are covered, we only recommend purchasing an extended warranty on a used car if the vehicle has passed the expiration date for the factory warranty.
When To Purchase An Extended Warranty For Used Cars
After considering factors like your tolerance for unexpected costs, the reliability of your vehicle, whether or not you can afford to pay out of pocket for unexpected repair costs, and how many miles you drive annually, and how long you plan on keeping the vehicle, you may come to the conclusion that an extended warranty on a used car is for you.
Because the best coverage options are available in terms of both cost and variety during this period, we recommend purchasing an extended warranty for used vehicles that have under 80,000 odometer miles.
Used Car Warranty Comparison
When considering purchasing an extended warranty on a used vehicle there are three options. First, you can purchase a Certified Pre Owned vehicle, which comes with a form of a manufacturer-backed extended warranty called a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty. The other two options are to purchase an extended warranty from a manufacturer or third party, which we’ve already discussed. Below are the benefits of all three choices:
The Benefits Of Choosing A CPO Warranty
Certified Pre-Owned vehicles are used vehicles purchased from the manufacturer that meet a certain level of quality, as specified by the automaker. Generally, CPO vehicles are lower mileage, late model vehicles that pass inspection standards.
CPO warranties work much like factory warranties, in that they come as a part of purchasing a vehicle. For this reason, CPO warranties are the only real extended “warranty” for used vehicles because they are not service contracts. Along with the benefits of manufacturer backing, OEM parts, and service provided by factory-trained technicians, the pricing structure of a CPO warranty means that the warranty is built in with the cost of the vehicle.
Also, some manufacturers extend the original basic warranty to 6 years/unlimited mileage, a warranty plan that is especially appropriate if you plan on putting alot of miles on the vehicle. All things equal, two if you are considering a car with and a car without a manufacturer certification, the CPO vehicle is usually the better deal.
The Benefits Of Choosing An Aftermarket Extended Warranty For Used Cars
Along with the benefits of more flexible plan options, wider service networks, and the ability to purchase your plan at any time (which we already discussed), the major benefit of purchasing a third party extended warranty for a used vehicle is that third party providers offer extended warranty plans for vehicles with much higher mileage than manufacturer-backed extended warranties. Also, unlike CPO warranties, you don’t have to actually purchase a vehicle to be able to get the warranty.
*Some roadside assistance providers like AAA offer extended car warranties in specific regions like AAA Carolinas or AAA mid-Atlantic. All in all, these providers are less specialized and may have smaller coverage networks than the best extended warranty companies.
The Benefits Of Choosing An Extended Factory Warranty Warranty For Used Cars
Though it’s usually more restricted than their extended warranties for brand new vehicles and vehicles still under the factory warranty, most manufacturers offer extended warranties for vehicles that are still under a certified pre-owned contract.
Additionally, some manufacturers offer service contracts for “qualified” used vehicles. While this options offer the same strengths and limitations as already discussed, choosing a manufacturer backed extended warranty for a used car may be beneficial if you are purchasing it to extend a CPO warranty.
With these benefits in mind, below are our picks for best used car extended warranties, starting with aftermarket used car warranties.
Best Aftermarket Extended Warranty For Used Cars
Based on research done by our experts at Compare Car Warranties, below are our picks for best third party extended warranties for used cars:
- Best Used Car Warranty Company: With plans for cars with over 250,000 miles, CARCHEX is the best used car warranty company. CARCHEX also offers flexible payment plans that allow you to finance over 6, 12, or 24 month periods. All CARCHEX plans include trip interruption benefits, lockout/lost key services, around the clock emergency roadside assistance, and gas delivery.
- Best Used Car Warranty Plans: Protect My Car’s Ambassador Platinum plan covers vehicles with over 300,000 miles, providing coverage to an unlimited period. This extremely comprehensive inclusionary policy covers most major parts, road side assistance, rental car coverage, and even regular maintenance such as oil changes. Protect My Car also has an incredibly easy sign-up process.
- Best Value Extended Warranty For Used Cars: CarShield Platinum offer’s CarShield’s highest tier of inclusionary coverage for an unlimited period; covers vehicle’s engine, transmission, AC, electrical system, starter, water pump, and more.
- Best Used Car Warranty Coverage: While a little on the pricey side compared to the competition, Endurance’s Select Premier Plan has the best used car warranty coverage, as it will cover vehicles with over 150,000 miles on the odometer, providing coverage for most of the car’s major systems. Endurance is a popular choice overall by our readers. The overall coverage, repair financing process, and extra benefits are some of the best you’ll find in the industry. As a direct administrator of benefits, Endurance handles claims directly, so you won’t be wondering who to get in touch with if you need help with your coverage.
Best Certified Car Warranty
Below is our list for best certified car warranty, based on the same scoring system we used to choose the best aftermarket extended warranties:
- Mitsubishi: Powertrain warranty period of 10 years/100k miles from in service date; bumper to bumper period of 5-years/60k miles; No deductible, includes roadside assistance.
- Kia: 10 year/100k mile powertrain warranty from in-service date; 1 year/12,000 miles from purchase date. Includes roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and trip-interruption coverage.
- Hyundai: 10 years/100k mile power-train warranty from in-service date. 5 year or 12,000 miles from purchase date.
- Honda: Powertrain warranty period is 7 years or 100,000 miles from in-service date; bumper-to-bumper period is 1 year or 12,000 miles from purchase date. No deductible, comes with roadside assistance.
- Acura: Bumper-to-bumper warranty lasts 6 years or 100,000 miles from in-service date. No deductible; comes with complimentary maintenance, roadside assistance, and concierge service.
Best Used Car Manufacturer Warranty
Below are our picks for best manufacturer-backed warranty programs for used cars:
- Hyundai CPO Wrap Service Contract: This service contract enhances the original CPO warranty for 10 years/150,000 miles, covering 1,500 components, nationwide service, enhanced 24-hour roadside assistance, trip interruption coverage, towing, rental car reimbursement, transferrable coverage.
- Lexus L/Certified VSA: 5 years, unlimited miles, bumper-to-bumper coverage, 24/7 AAA roadside assistance, substitute transportation, travel protection, $0 deductible, transfer of coverage to new owner limited to one transfer. Extends basic CPO warranty for certified Lexus vehicles, coverage begins when standard CPO coverage expires.
- BMW Extended Service Contracts Platinum: includes Bumper-to-Bumper coverage for up to 7 years/100,000 miles beyond the BMW CPO warranty; includes 24-hour roadside assistance, 100% BMW replacement parts.
- Mopar Maximum Care For Pre-Owned Vehicles: bumper to bumper coverage up to 5 years/unlimited miles beyond the CPO warranty; rental services, roadside assistance, trip reimbursement. Begins after CPO warranty expires for Chryster, Ram, Jeep, and Dodge.
- KIA Distinction Platinum CPO Coverage: bumper-to-bumper coverage that your existing Kia warranty by up to 120,000 miles, includes alternate transportation coverage, towing assistance, travel coverage, fluids coverage, maintenance work that can be done at 6,000 service centers nationwide and transferability.
Compare Extended Car Warranties
While CPO warranties are worth it when you can find a vehicle that meets all of the criteria for a car that fits your lifestyle, you can’t simply purchase a CPO warranty separately to fit your vehicle in the same way you can purchase an aftermarket extended warranty for any used car.
For those cases, you have the option of purchasing a factory or aftermarket extended warranty. The chart below provides an extended car warranty comparison with prices from Endurance and CARCHEX (two popular/trusted 3rd-party providers) and the average manufacturer warranty.
|Start Period||3 years/150k miles||Anytime||Anytime|
|Longest Plan||8 years||8 years/200k+ miles||10 years/250k|
|Yes, 1 transfer limit||Yes||Yes|
|Repair Network||Authorized Dealers||ASE Certified Facilities||Nearly 30,000 US repair centers|
|Refund Policy||30 Days||30 days||30 days|
|Pricing||Contact Dealer For Info||Get Quote||Get Quote|
Are Extended Car Warranties Worth It?
Typically, car owners pay more for an extended warranty than they receive in coverage. Also, over half of customers never using their warranty plans during the coverage period. This may leave you wondering if an extended warranty worth it. In order to help you decide on this question, this section looks at the benefits, downsides, and cost factors of extended warranties.
Pros and Cons Of Extended Car Warranties
Choosing to buy an extended warranty is like most purchase decisions; there are benefits and downsides. Below are the pros and cons of extended warranties:
Benefits Of Extended Car Warranties
Extended warranty PROS include:
- Peace of Mind: Unexpected vehicle expenses come at the worst moments. If worry about the unexpected, knowing your coverage will prevent unanticipated vehicle expenses from emptying your wallet can reduce stress.
- Predictability: Not having to deal with unexpected auto expenses allows you to more accurately predict your monthly costs in general, making budgeting a simpler task.
- Convenience: Having an extended auto warranty removes the added inconvenience of dealing with the unexpected, making car repairs less of a hassle.
- Reliability: Extended warranties allow drivers extend standard warranty coverage, helping the vehicle run longer with less hassle due to better maintenance.
- Your Financial Situation: Around 30% of Americans don’t have the cash on hand to pay the average repair bill of around $500. If you are near this category, an extended warranty could allow you to spread costs out over time instead of facing a large payment (and potential financial emergency).
- Potential Savings: The cost of an extended warranty is cheaper than many common car repairs, especially if your vehicle is unreliable.
Why You Shouldn’t Purchase An Extended Car Warranty
Extended warranty CONS include:
- Exclusions: If the plan that fits your price range contains exclusions on several parts likely to wear out on your vehicle, it may not be worth it.
- Cost: Financing car repairs out of pocket may cost you less than the warranty. Many personal finance experts recommend a you set aside an emergency fund instead.
- You Might Not Use It: If you have a plan that doesn’t cover the costs of regular vehicle maintenance, you may never use your extended car warranty, especially if your vehicle is reliable.
- Limited Approved Repair Providers: For some providers, the list of approved repair shops may be sparse.
- Your Vehicle Is Already Under Warranty: If your vehicle is already under warranty, you may not need coverage. You can find out by a vin lookup.
When To Buy An Extended Car Warranty
Your needs are the most important factor when considering an extended car warranty. Below are things to take into account if you are still unsure. You should by an extended warranty if:
- You’ll keep your vehicle awhile: Extended warranties can save money if you put lots of miles on your vehicle.
- You plan to use your coverage: It’s wasteful to purchase a warranty if you don’t use it.
- Good timing: It is best to buy a warranty when maintenance costs exceed the cost of the warranty, meaning it may be best hold off for now and purchase a plan when you’ll need it.
- You prioritize convenience/predictability: Though the cost of a warranty may be more than vehicle maintenance, removing inconvenience of dealing with unexpected vehicle repair costs is worth it for some, especially those who find it hard to save money.
- You will read the fine print: Understanding what is in your contract is critical. Only sign up for an extended car warranty if you are willing to read the service contract. Often, people are unhappy with their plans because they didn’t read the service contract, leading to out-of-pocket costs they assumed would be covered.
Extended Car Warranty Cost
To determine whether purchasing an extended warranty is worth it, compare the vehicle maintenance costs with the extended warranty prices in this section. This comparison, along with your financial preparedness and tolerance for the unanticipated, should determine whether it is worth it to purchase an extended warranty.
Vehicle Maintenance Costs
It’s no secret that the cost of auto repairs really adds up. In fact, the average annual cost of owning a car is $8,469, with the average American spending nearly $2,000 in vehicle maintenance/repair costs every 5 years. After selecting a few common repairs and costs, below are how much you would save in out-of-pocket costs:
|Car Repair||Average Repair Cost||Cost with Extended Warranty|
|Fuel injector replacement||$1,009–$1,416||$0|
|Steering column replacement||$450–$1,100||$0|
The Average Cost Of An Extended Auto Warranty
The upfront cost of an extended car ranges from $1,000 to over $3,000, depending coverage level, vehicle make, mileage, and condition.
Generally, the average cost of an extended car warranty is $1,800 for a quality plan with good customer service. The average annual cost of a plan from one of the best extended warranty companies ranges from $700 to $1500.
All in all, you can expect to pay about $2500 for your plan in total, with $300 and $4000 coming upfront. Most people choose monthly payments that average around $100 until the plan is paid for, which usually takes a couple of years. A common scenario would be purchasing an extended warranty that takes 3 years to pay off but covers your vehicle for 7 years. While monthly payments are an option, most of the quotes our researchers received require some payment upfront.
Factors Impacting The Cost Of Extended Auto Warranties
With the ability to offer various plans to fit your needs, one of the strength of third party extended warranties is flexibility. In order to offer this level of flexibility, providers base their pricing on these factors:
- Your car’s age/mileage: Older cars and/or cars with high mileage are more expensive to cover due to the higher likelihood of component failure because of the increased amount of wear and tear on the vehicle.
- Your car’s make/model: Service needs and repair costs vary by vehicle make/model.. Information providers like Kelly Blue Book, Carcomplaints.com, or Consumer Reports have services that are generally reliable when researching your vehicle’s history in order predict service costs.
- Where You Live: The environmental and weather factors in some areas of the country can cause you to pay more for coverage.
- Level of coverage: Plans with more comprehensive coverage cost more than basic plans.
- Electronics: It costs more to cover vehicles with expensive, high tech electronics (bluetooth, seat controls, voice activation, GPS, complex fuel management) then cars without them.
- Deductible Policy: If you are required to pay a deductible on your plan, they are two ways deductibles are usually charged: per warranty service visit or per repair. If per service, you will have to pay two deductible charges if your vehicle needs multiple repair shop visits to get fixed. Additionally, a”disappearing deductible” means that the deductible is waived by the dealer who sold you the extended warranty contract if serviced there.
- Fees: On top of upfront costs, premiums, and deductibles, some plans have recurring/one time fees.
- Maximum Payout Amount: The max payout amount is the maximum amount that an extended warranty company will pay, usually near total loss amount. Make sure to factor in whether cost is reasonable relative to your liability limits.
- Your driving habits: Driving more miles or in risky/dangerous ways will cost you more.
- Your provider: Some providers are more expensive than others, all things equal.
Extended Car Warranty Coverage
All extended car warranties cover a vehicle’s repair expenses, including the labor for repairs, replacement parts, and other costs directly related to vehicle repairs. What parts, repairs, and additional services are covered vary depending on your specific plan.
Understanding How Extended Auto Warranties Work
While providers market their products as “extended warranties”, the term is misleading. Extended warranties are actually “service contracts” that provide coverage for specified vehicle parts and labor for an agreed upon price.
Although it’s a contract, an extended warranty works in a similar way to car insurance policies. In exchange for an upfront payment, your vehicle is covered and you are protected from unexpected costs during the specified coverage period.
Inclusionary Vs. Exclusionary Coverage
All extended warranties fall into two categories: exclusionary and exclusionary. While inclusionary warranties only cover explicitly stated components, exclusionary items are more comprehensive because they cover all components except parts that are excluded in the contract. Besides true bumper-to-bumper plans, most other warranties are inclusionary contracts.
Extended Auto Warranty Coverage Periods
New car warranty periods typically last between three and five years or 36,000 and 60,000 miles, varying by vehicle make. Even with a 5 year/60k mile warranty, new car warranty periods are still below the average of 150k miles most people put on a vehicle during ownership. In order to prevent people from purchasing a plan when vehicle issues arise, most aftermarket extended warranties do not begin until 30 days or 1,000 miles after purchase.
What Extended Auto Warranties Don’t Cover
While some extended warranties cover items related to regular maintenance, wear and tear, and electrical/cooling/tech, below are items typically not covered:
- Regular maintenance– new tires, tire rotations, filters, oil changes.
- Wear-and-tear- windshield wipers, brake pads.
- Damages/liability from accidents– typically covered by car insurance.
- Factory defects: vehicle brand-related issues concerning factory recalls.
- Corrosion– damage related to rust and perforation.
- Modifications– alterations made to the vehicles to improve performance/looks.
- Interior- issues related to carpeting, interior panels, and upholstery.
- Pre-existing conditions– damage occurring before warranty coverage
- Weather- damage from hail, flooding etc.
- Cosmetic- body work, paint, wheel scratches.
- Auto glass parts– lightbulbs, headlights, windshields.
- Misuse- damage related to the vehicle being abused (racing, off-roading).
Car Warranty Types And Coverage Differences
There are many different extended warranty plans on the market, some of which may fit your needs more than others. Below are the types of extended warranties:
Types of Factory Warranties
When it comes to car warranties, the only warranty that is a literal warranty is the written guarantee from the automaker, which is required by law, that promises to repair your vehicle is various parts fail during a specified period.
If you are the second owner of a vehicle, the new car warranty may have been transferred to you if you purchased before the original warranty expired. Below are the types of factory warranties:
- Factory Limited Warranty– come with the vehicle when it is purchased and cover most systems on the vehicle except basic maintenance and powertrain components. They are the most comprehensive and shortest of new car warranties. Limited warranties range from 3 years/36k miles to 6 years 72k miles.
- Factory Powertrain Warranty- covers all the main components that make a car run, including the engine, transmission, front/rear drive system, and related components (gaskets, seals, driveshafts, axles, transfer case, and differential. Factory powertrain warranties cover fewer components and last longer than the factory limited warranty. Range from 10 years/100k miles to 4 years/50k miles.
- Lifetime Limited Parts Warranty– covers a small amount of basic parts for the entire lifetime of a vehicle. Can range to to 200k miles or longer.
- Emissions Warranty- covers repairs related to emissions components that are outside of the vehicle owner’s control. Manufactures in the US are required by law to provide emissions coverage for 5 years/50k miles.
Other Factory Warranty Types
- Drivetrain Warranty- covers the same parts as powertrain warranty except the engine.
- Corrosion Warranty- corers repairs related to issues related to rust or perforation; range from 4 years/50k miles to 12 years and unlimited miles.
- Factory Accessory Plans- covers factory-made components such as protective paint films, wheel locks, and interior electrical/tech (radio, lights, blu-ray, tablet holders etc.)
- Electric Vehicle & Hybrid Warranty- government required coverage for essential hybrid and electrical vehicle components; ranges from 8 years and 100k miles to 10 years and 150k miles.
- Maintenance Plans- covers costs for regular planned maintenance (often tire rotation, oil and transmission fluid changes, or replacement filters) as stated in the ownership manual.
Extended Warranty Types
Extended car warranty companies offer a wide variety of plans, ranging from basic plans that extend the original powertrain warranty to plans that cover nearly every component on the vehicle. Below are the 4 basic types of extended warranties:
- Bumper-to-Bumper- covers everything in a powertrain warranty plus electrical, a/c, and technical components, usually every component on the vehicle unless excluded.
- Powertrain- covers the most essential parts needed to make your vehicle run; different than their manufacturer powertrain warranty in that it lasts as long as the service contract.
- Named Component– only covers parts specifically stated in the contract.
- WRAP- often purchased after the limited bumper to bumper coverage expires; supplements the powertrain coverage, essentially restoring most of the coverage that the vehicle had under its limited warranty.
Other Extended Warranty Types
- Wear-and-tear-warranties: covers many parts need to be replaced from regular usage like filters, tires, brakes, fuses etc; not offered by most factory warranties but some 3rd party plans cover wear and tear parts.
- Powertrain “Plus” Plans: intermediate plans that cover more than a traditional powertrain warranty and less than a bumper to bumper plan. In addition powertrain components, covers engine components (water pump, oil pump, connecting rods), transmission components (transmission mounts, vacuum modulator, torque converter), and drive axle components (hub bearings, axle shafts, universal joints).
- Premium Plans– covers more than traditional bumper-to-bumper plans, including anything related to heating and a/c, enhanced electrical and high tech, suspension, braking steering, and fuel delivery; high tier plans often include added perks like rental car reimbursement, trip reimbursement, roadside assistance, and discount/rewards programs.
Alternative Options For Coverage Vs. Extended Auto Warranties
In addition to traditional extended warranty providers, insurance companies offer alternative coverage types in the form of car insurance and mechanical breakdown insurance. Below is a comparison of these options with extended warranties:
Car Insurance: While car insurance provides reimbursement for damage or medical bills that occurred during a car accident, theft or environmentally caused (usually weather) incident, it doesn’t cover vehicle repairs related to normal use.
Unlike service contracts, car insurance is federally regulated and required in most states. Car insurance providers usually offer coverage in other insurance areas (health, home, rental) because insurance companies (including MBI providers) are required to have the same casualty and property license that other insurance areas require.
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance: Some insurance companies offer mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI). Like extended warranties, mechanical breakdown insurance pays for auto costs related to wear and tear and routine maintenance. While mechanical breakdown insurance typically less costly with more payment options than extended car warranties, the coverage is typically more limited.
Extended Car Warranties (Comparison): Instead of covering damage incurred in major instances, warranty companies normally offer services only pertaining to vehicle maintenance needed as a result of normal use. Because car warranties only cover issues related to vehicle normal use, they are most specialized, which allows them to offer more coverage options and better service.
Getting The Most Out Of your Extended Car Warranty
To get the most out of your extended car warranty, you’ll need to know how to shop for an extended warranty to get the best value for the money, recognize unreliable providers, and use your warranty effectively when you need coverage.
How To Shop For An Extended Car Warranty
Below are our recommendations for how shop for an extended warranty in order to the get most value for your money.
How To Get The Best Price On An Extended Car Warranty
When shopping for an extended car warranty, you should should get quotes from multiple warranty companies. We recommend getting quotes from at least three different car warranty providers.
Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate for the best price, as some companies may provide price matching or other benefits that aren’t openly available. If all else fails, you may want to reach out to a contract broker, who work with several extended warranty companies to help you get the best deal.
How To Get The Best Value On An Extended Car Warranty
Price is not the only factor to look at when considering the best extended car warranty. Finding the best extended warranty requires you to read reviews, learn about the claims process, understand the exclusions, and thinking about your own needs.
In order to get the best value from your plan, make sure to you should also read the fine print of service contracts prior to signing to ensure the coverage you will be getting is as good as the company says it is.
Make sure you are sure your contract explicitly lists the exclusions or covered repairs/parts. make sure you know details such as when the warranty starts and ends, what voids the warranty, where you can get your car serviced, and is the price of the warranty fixed.
One of the most common reasons customers are unhappy with extended warranties is they wrongly assumed they were covered, only to learn that they have to pay out of pocket for a repair that is excluded in their plan, a misunderstanding which happened because they failed to read the fine print and didn’t fully understand their coverage.
Recognizing Unreliable And Untrustworthy Extended Car Warranty Companies
Not being able to trust your extended warranty company nullifies the peace of mind that is the reason many people purchase extended warranties in the first place. Much of the concern comes from the nature of the business model; as the company loses money whenever they cover a repair.
Characteristics Of The Worst Extended Auto Warranty Companies
In this, compromising position, the worst extended warranty companies don’t give claims up front or provide example contracts, using using legal loop holes and extensive fine print to dupe their customers. All the while, the same companies use high pressure sales tactics and make promises they cannot keep. Such untrustworthy providers go to great lengths to make the claims process difficult, with the aim of preventing paying reimbursements, so that it is very hard for you to get the coverage you paid for.
Watch Out For Extended Auto Warranty Scams
In addition to shady business practices, beware of some companies posing as extended warranty providers who are taking part in scams. According to the FCC, there are many ongoing scams where entities posing as a representative from an extended warranty company use automated robocalls to trick people into believing their car warranty has or is near expiring.
Often using information about your vehicle acquired through public databases, these calls are often a phish attack designed to gather one’s personal information to exploit via identify theft. If you receive one of these calls, don’t give away personal information and notify the FCC.
Best Extended Car Warranty Reviews
When shopping for an extended warranty on your used car, make sure to buy from a reputable warranty company with excellent customer service. Reading real customer reviews from car owners who purchased an extended warranty from companies you are considering is one of the best ways to identify which extended warranty companies offer the best customer support. The best extended warranty reviews come from third-party agencies like the Better Business Bureau and platforms like Trustpilot. Below are examples of positive and negative reviews:
Positive Reviews From Trustpilot
Below are examples positive extended warranty reviews of our top picks from car owners on Trustpilot:
“Feeling Very Protected“
“I had a wonderful experience and was given plenty of information that I was unaware of and I appreciated it all. job well done I felt taking care of.“–David Gladden, US [Endurance Extended Car Warranty Review]
“My experience with your company was a very pleasant one. The representative assisted me was Ralph. Very polite and informative. He was very thorough and made sure I understood everything he explained to me. He was very professional. I would highly recommend this company. Thank you.”–Valerie Miller, US [CARCHEX Extended Car Warranty Review]
“At first I thought it was like all…”
“At first I thought it was like all other companies that make these kind of offers, and I say that out of experience. But as I talked and asked many questions which were answered to my liking and going over the prices . I was reassured after talking to several reps , it was then that I decided to try car sheild, and also ice T is as real real can get.”–Fredie Fowler, US [CarShield Extended Car Warranty Review]
“The representative was very helpful and…”
“The representative was very helpful and answered all the questions, the work was done professionally! Thank you” –Alex, US [Protect My Car Extended Warranty Review]
Customer Complaints From Better Business Bureau
Below are examples of negative customer reviews from the Better Business Bureau:
“When I signed up for the extended warranty plan I asked specifically about 3 parts on my car and was told that it was covered if they were to go bad and today I go to get my car fixed and was told neither part is covered under my warranty plan” [Endurance Customer Complaint on BB
“I paid carchex 135.38 September 22, 20p20. i cancelled this services in a few days which was way within 30 days and never received a refund! refund!” [CARCHEX Customer Complaint on BBB]
“The AC went out in my Mother’s van. She was going to have it fixed since she’s had CarShield for 11 months. The Dealer told her the parts are $1100 for 2 pipes and CarShield won’t cover it. She should get her 11 months worth of payments back if they are not going to cover it. What is she paying for if they can’t pay for 2 pipes what are they going to do if something more serious happens and it can’t be driven?” [Carshield Customer Complaint on BBB]
“I signed up for protect my car. And my engine failed. I contacted them to file claim as they say do and they made up excuses of why they couldn’t repair my engine. All the way to me having rims on my car. Basically saying they just didn’t want to pay the claim i was entitled to” [Protect My Car Customer Complaint on BBB]
Using Your Extended Auto Warranty Coverage
In order to get the most out of your extended warranty, you need to know how to use your coverage when you need it. If you have a warranty and need service, the steps below will help with this process:
- The first thing you’ll do is gather your warranty documentation and get an estimate for the repair from an approved auto shop.
- Next, you’ll submit a claim to the warranty company. They will confirm whether the repair you need is covered and whether they’ll pay for the repair directly or if you’ll get reimbursed, depending on your contract.
- Then, you can take your car in for the repair with the peace of mind that it’s covered. Your provider may even cover rental car expenses, if necessary.
- When taking your car to get repaired, make sure to take your records with you to the service provider for reference, including the paperwork you have for the car and your service contract.
- In addition to your service contract, make sure to present the original, dated copies of service done on your vehicle, including routine maintenance.
- Be sure to save records of any emails, records, receipts, and other evidence of repairs done outside of regular vehicle maintenance. These will be helpful if you need to present them to the provider or for legal action.
Aimed with the goal of giving helpful advice to most readers, in this guide we provided ratings and reviews for the best extended car warranties, including the most reputable extended warranty companies, the best extended warranty plans, and our picks for the best extended warranties for used cars and newer vehicles from both manufacturer-backed and third party warranty company offerings.
This guide also provided an overview of how extended warranties work, what affects their cost, helpful information about the various forms of extended warranty coverage, and the pros and cons of extended warranties/whether they are worth it in general.
With a focus on scientific objectivity, reviews by Compare Car Warranties are conducted with a focus on delivering accurate information to consumers.
Our research team collected data and warranty plan information from over 84 different car warranty offerings from several of the most popular providers and analyzed surveys from over 200 car warranty customers, and conducted a sentiment analysis of thousands of customer reviews.
In order to identify what factors matter the most for customer satisfaction and develop a systematic ranking system to determine the best extended warranty. The ranking system is based on the following factors:
Value for price: this rating is based on number of lower price of plans per year of coverage and price related to coverage, as compared to competition.
Quality of coverage: Based on number of plans offered, variance in coverage terms, and claims satisfaction.
Flexibility: Based on plan customizability, number of add-on services, and payment plan options.
Plan transparency: Takes into account whether sample contracts are available online and and pricing quoted upfront.
Extended warranty company rating: Takes into account whether the business has been around for 10 years or more, industry standing, expert endorsements, BBB accreditation and high customer satisfaction ratings, .
The initial 84 extended warranty plans were given a score in each category above, which was used to determined the cumulative weighted score that ranged from 1.0 star to 5.0 stars. Companies that made the list had to maintain at least a 3.5 cumulative score or have at least a 2 to 1 ration of 5 star reviews to one star reviews year over year. Best in category picks were based on plan offerings that outperformed the other the most in their category, based on 5 star data.
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“What Is an Extended Warranty or Vehicle Service Contract?” CFPB. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, March 8, 2016. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-an-extended-warranty-or-vehicle-service-contract-en-729/.