ByPhilip Palermo Lead Senior Editor - For the Home

Philip leads the For the Home section, guiding home security and smart home content. His writing and photos have been featured on Engadget and several local Washington newspapers.

The Best Extended Car Warranties

The best extended car warranty will provide excellent customer service and a straightforward claims and repair process in the case of a breakdown. To find our top pick, we consulted two auto industry experts and compared 40 providers to see which had the strongest history of financial stability and customer satisfaction. In the end, we found two picks that outperformed the rest.

The 2 Best Extended Car Warranties

Range of Coverage

The most transparent provider we looked at, with a wide range of coverage options.
Admirable transparency
Range of coverage
Simple repairs
Claims complaints
Financial strength is under review

Why we chose it

Admirable transparency

Endurance impressed us with its transparency. Unlike many of its competitors, the company’s website provides direct links to sample contracts for each of its four plans. Each of the contracts also clearly states on the first page who the insurer will be (Wesco Insurance). Its top competitor, EasyCare, only provides sample contracts if you send them an email request, and the identity of its insurer is buried in the terms and conditions on the second-to-last page. We like that Endurance makes it easy to compare the actual ins and outs of its contracts for confident shopping. This also indicates the company isn’t trying to hide anything about its contract and is confident in the quality of its warranty.

Range of coverage

The exact Endurance plan you qualify for will depend on the make, model, and mileage of your car. If your car is fairly old, or has high mileage, you likely won’t qualify for the company’s top-level Supreme Coverage (a standard practice in the industry). But Endurance offers three other coverage plans with more lenient requirements, so most people will be able to find a plan that suits their needs. It is important to note that these other plans won’t cover as many parts as the Supreme plan. That said, they will still cover the most vital components of your car, such as the engine, transmission, and drive axle assembly, at a cheaper price.

If you can, we recommend going for the Supreme Coverage:

Unlike the other plans, Endurance’s Supreme Coverage offers exclusionary coverage — a form of coverage that covers so many parts that it’s easier to list the parts it doesn’t cover. Exclusionary plans are the most thorough extended warranty policies available, which means more protection and less out of pocket repairs for uncovered parts.

A word of caution: Exclusionary coverage will be more expensive and is not to be confused with wear and tear coverage. Wear and tear typically includes coverage for parts including door handles, tires, and upholstery. Most extended warranty providers, including our top picks, don’t offer this type of coverage.

Simple repairs

When it comes time to file a claim for repairs, Endurance allows you to take your vehicle to your dealership or any repair facility licensed by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a professional group that certifies automotive repair mechanics and shops. This ensures your repairs will be completed by an experienced professional, and with more than 300,000 ASE-certified mechanics in the U.S. and Canada, you’ll be able to find repairs no matter where you are. Better still, every Endurance plan includes 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car benefits so you won’t be without transportation as you wait for repairs.

Points to consider

Claims complaints

Endurance does have a few flaws. Customers have filed complaints about difficulty getting claims accepted on sites like the Better Business Bureau. While the company has many positive reviews, most only mention exceptional customer service. We noticed complaints that Endurance was refusing to cover repairs it led customers to believe were covered. Unfortunately, experiences like these are common throughout the third-party extended warranty industry — EasyCare also suffers from the same issues. However, there are also reports of Endurance customer service representatives solving such problems. In any case, we recommend thoroughly reviewing your contract on your own and with a customer service representative to make sure you understand exactly what’s covered and what isn’t.


Best for
Newer Car Owners

Reliable for new car owners but strict eligibility requirements.
Financial strength rating
Immediate and extensive coverage
Strict eligibility requirements

Why we chose it

Financial strength rating

EasyCare’s insurer, Universal Underwriters Insurance Company, has a solid A+ rating from A.M. Best. An A+ is the highest rating and represents a superior ability to meet insurance obligations. By comparison, Endurance is insured by Wesco Insurance, which currently holds an A- rating, which is still considered excellent. EasyCare’s superior rating ensures it can back large claims and outlive the length of your warranty. If you meet EasyCare’s strict eligibility requirements, you can rest assured the company can back you in the long run.

Immediate and extensive coverage

While most other providers have a 30-day delay, EasyCare’s coverage starts the day after you purchase your warranty. Your car will immediately be covered, and you’ll have 30 days for a money-back guarantee. EasyCare offers four plans to choose from: PowerCare, PrimaryCare, StatedCare and TotalCare. The plans start with basic internal coverage for essentials like the engine and transmission, and work up to total bumper-to-bumper coverage. All of EasyCare’s contracts are renewable and transferable, so you’ll have the freedom to sell or keep your cars without worrying about the warranty. You can also add on additional coverage like Dent Repair and KeyCare.

Points to consider

Strict eligibility requirements

If your car is older than two years or has over 24,000 miles on it, you’re out of luck. On our call with EasyCare we learned the company does not offer coverage for cars older than two years or with over 24,000 miles. That makes a significant number of car owners ineligible, as the average car in the U.S. is more than 11 years old. The policy stands in contrast with Endurance, which provided a quote for a four-year-old car with 50,000 miles, as well as eligibility for its most thorough plan, Supreme Coverage.

Guide to Extended Car Warranties

How to choose an extended warranty

Know that they aren’t exactly warranties

An extended car warranty is not actually a warranty as defined by federal law. The more accurate term is “vehicle service contract.” The reason has to do with timing. A service contract can be arranged at any time and costs extra, whereas a warranty is included in the purchase price of the vehicle. The term “extended car warranty” is mostly used as a marketing gimmick — it makes the product sound like it’s an extension of the manufacturer’s coverage, when in fact it’s a vehicle service contract sold by a third party. However, it will still protect you from the cost of repair in the case of a mechanical breakdown.

So, just because you’re buying an “extended warranty” doesn’t mean you’re actually extending the coverage you got when you bought your car. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: Extended warranties can actually be tailored to fill the gaps of a manufacturer’s warranty. For example, J.D. Power found that problems with technology like Bluetooth and GPS are the top reasons for declines in vehicle dependability — features manufacturer warranties won’t cover, but extended warranties might (Endurance covers in-car technology that was installed by the manufacturer in some of its policies, but not aftermarket items). Other benefits of an extended warranty include roadside assistance and even rental car reimbursement, both of which Endurance offers.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate

At most dealerships, you can negotiate the price of an extended warranty, which is often marked up from wholesale so the dealer can make a profit. To negotiate a different price, we recommend finding cheaper quotes online and using them as leverage to get a lower price when you visit the dealer.

Experts advise finding a good estimate of the dealer’s cost of the warranty and then offering to pay $100-200 dollars over it. This will generally result in a counteroffer that is much lower than the marked-up price. For more information, we advise looking at negotiating examples by professional negotiators.

Negotiating isn’t limited to dealers either. On a phone call with Endurance, our tester was given the option to negotiate a lower price with a manager (even after they were offered a discount for getting a first-time quote). We can’t vouch for every third-party provider, but trying for a lower price is always worth a shot.

Choose the right coverage for your car

There’s no one-size-fits-all best coverage option; it’s going to depend a lot on the type of car you have and its history. You’ll want to do research on common repairs for your make and model of car too. In-car technology can surprisingly cause common problems that are a pain to deal with. GPS systems, internet, Bluetooth, etc., can be pretty expensive repairs you might want covered. As another example, if you’re considering powertrain coverage, make sure it makes sense for your car — it’s likely only going to be an issue for higher-mileage used vehicles.

Buy early for new cars

Most new cars already come with a warranty that lasts 3 years or up to 36,000 miles, or better. Although it seems counterintuitive to buy coverage from an extended warranty provider while you still have the dealership’s included protection, doing so often results in lower quotes and costs. Simply put, it boils down to one rule: the older your car gets, the more expensive an extended warranty will be. So if you’re confident that you want an extended warranty for the added peace of mind, we recommend looking for a provider within the first year of ownership. The double-protection won’t add any benefits during the first 3 years of ownership, but if you plan to own your car for more than 4 to 5 years, buying early will lead to future savings.

Extended Car Warranties FAQ

Do I need an extended car warranty?

An extended car warranty is not for everyone. A study by Consumer Reports revealed the average cost of these warranties is often more than what you’ll save on the cost of repairs. And 55 percent of those who bought an extended warranty never used it. There’s a good chance an extended car warranty isn’t for you. But if you plan to own your car for a long time or own a used car, an extended warranty can be a worthwhile investment. Cars like these have a higher risk of breakdowns, and an extended car warranty offers the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t have to foot a lot of repair bills.

Can I cancel an extended warranty?

Cancelling your extended warranty is always an option. If you find the cost is too high, or your repairs tend to fall on the exclusion list, or you simply find you don’t need it — you can cancel. The money you get back after cancelling will depend on the contract; it might be a pro-rated refund, a partial refund, or a full refund if you cancel within 30 days.

Can I get an extended warranty on a used car?

Yes, you can. But it can be complicated depending on the condition of the preowned vehicle. It typically will cost more to purchase a warranty on a used car, and you could end up spending more on the warranty than any repair costs. Depending on your vehicle, you’ll have to weigh how often you’re likely to need repairs against the quoted cost of your warranty.

What about manufacturer-backed warranties?

Manufacturer-backed warranties ensure that your repairs include original parts and are in the hands of factory-trained technicians. Automotive expert and analyst Lauren Fix explained: “I prefer going with an extended warranty from the vehicle brand, because there are no third-party parts or services that put you at risk for low quality repairs. Third-party companies can also go bankrupt, taking your money and leaving you without coverage.”

So why does our review focus on third-party providers? Manufacturer-backed warranties are heavily dependent on the brand of your car and the dealership you go to. Rather than recommend a provider that will only serve a select few, we shifted our attention to finding the most trustworthy third-party provider that can serve most people.

“Reputable providers purchase insurance from heavily regulated insurance companies to guarantee the performance of all of their service contracts. If the provider was to go out of business or refuse to pay a claim unjustly, the customer would have recourse with the insurance company.”

Sugein Sanchez Product Manager at RateGenius

The Best Extended Warranties: Summed Up

Best Range of Coverage
Best for Newer Car Owners
States available
Online quote
Roadside assistance
Warranty start date
30 days after purchase
Day of purchase
No. of plan options

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