Have you ever had to deal with a car breakdown that not only left you stranded, but also put a dent in your budget? With an extended car warranty, you can cover the cost of some unexpected repairs and have the peace of mind that you won't have to break the bank to get back on the road. This article will guide you through the basics of extended car warranties and how they can benefit you.
An extended car warranty is a vehicle servicing contract that saves you money by paying for your car repair and component-replacement costs. The extended warranty becomes available after the original car manufacturer’s warranty expires after about 4 years of use.
While vehicle warranties last a few years and go up to a certain mileage, they only cover mechanical systems such as the engine and brakes. You’re expected to handle other servicing involving wear and tear yourself, such as oil, brake pad, and tire replacements.
An extended warranty, on the other hand, enables you to pick plans that can offer coverage for standard issues as well as a selection of additional servicing features.
There are many different types of extended car warranties. A bumper-to-bumper warranty is similar to the manufacturer’s warranty and covers most of the car except for some specified exceptions like wear and tear. Powertrain warranties cover the car’s engine and transmission components, while stated component warranties list the parts covered by the extended warranty.
You’ll also find warranties for rust/corrosion and emission control. While automakers usually apply a limited warranty to comply with federal government policy on emissions, an extended warranty can also cover the emission-related parts of the car, like the vapor control valve in the fuel tank.
Finally, you can get an accessory warranty that covers original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, such as navigation systems.
Here are a few advantages of purchasing an extended car warranty:
An extended car warranty helps you save money on unexpected car repair expenses or expensive component replacements. While the initial warranty cost may put you off paying for one, you’ll enjoy the benefits if your vehicle experiences a mechanical failure or parts stop functioning properly.
Dealing with accidents, component failures, and unexpected repairs is challenging. An extended warranty covering your most common car issues can give you peace of mind. You won’t have to scramble for cash at short notice to pay for costly repairs.
While many extended warranty features are similar across various providers, some offer additional benefits that make the service even more worthwhile. Examples include roadside assistance, towing services, and tire replacements.
Extended warranties offer longer coverage periods, some having limits as high as 200,000 miles compared to around 50,000 miles with a manufacturer warranty.
Warranty providers offer several extended car warranties that may suit your needs, some of which are budget-friendly. At a higher price, you’ll find comprehensive policies and those with additional coverage beyond the standard warranty offering. This might include complete tire coverage from road hazards, higher-mileage coverage, collision repair discounts, and key fob replacements.
If you’re thinking about selling your car, an extended car warranty can increase its appeal to potential buyers. You’re allowed to transfer the warranty, which means you can include it as one of the perks of buying the car from you.
Considering the many benefits, how do you choose the ideal extended car warranty that suits your needs? Here are a few factors to consider:
First, you must review your budget to establish whether you can afford to pay for a warranty. Compare prices across multiple warranty providers to find the best deal. Consider also whether the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to enable you to review your options thoroughly before investing.
The warranty provider will create a list showing what components are covered under the warranty and which ones will require you to pay out of pocket. Figure out which component solutions are available in different plans before signing up. Some warranty providers offer additional benefits, such as rental car reimbursements and roadside assistance.
Knowing your car’s history can help predict how many repairs it may need in the future, enabling the warranty provider to give a fair quote. Some older cars might have different requirements than modern cars—for instance, regarding emission controls.
If your car is still under its original warranty, you can start preparing to replace it once it expires. An extended warranty helps you cover components that your original manufacturer and other service providers don’t cover.
Depending on your extended car warranty plan, you might be able to get access to repairs from different service centers. Other warranty providers specify which service center you can go to, which is limiting if you’re traveling and aren’t near a recommended service center.
Depending on your location, your car may need further protection from rust and corrosion. Warranty providers can offer wrap protection for several years to fix the vehicle if it encounters these issues.
When buying a car warranty, there are several warning signs to look out for during your online research:
A company that has a bad reputation online is not worth considering. In particular, look for recurring complaints in online forums and review websites. To determine whether the issues raised are genuine, it’s best to rely on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) which verify the identities of complainants to minimize fake reviews.
If a warranty provider doesn’t have a responsive, friendly, and helpful customer service team, it will be unwise to sign up with them because you’ll receive a low level of support if you encounter any challenges. You can establish what the support team is like by contacting the company to see how they respond. You can also check whether the provider has responded to any online complaints to say it would fix the issues raised.
Some warranty providers create complicated claims processes to make it challenging for customers to make reimbursement claims. It’s a good idea to check written policies to ensure they are clear and ask the warranty provider how they manage claims to understand their procedures.
Look out for automated claim assessments, which are faster and enhance the customer’s experience. Additionally, you can check online reviews for complaints about claim denials or slow responses.
The ideal extended car warranty provider will give you the peace of mind that you won’t have to pay for repairs out of pocket if your car suffers any of the pre-specified mechanical failures or if some components become faulty. You stand to get many other benefits, such as longer coverage periods, multiple cover options, and additional services like towing.
Look out for substandard warranty providers—these typically get numerous negative online reviews, have poor customer service, and have unclear, costly policies. Overall, you should weigh up whether an extended warranty will benefit you and whether your budget is adequate to pay for one.